Asian Cultures, Interviews, Norway and Norwegian culture

我在台湾长大I grew up in Taiwan: Interview with Målfrid

「 我们小的时候就像其他小孩子。有一次我们两姐妹和父母逛街,我们指着街上一个人说,看,外国人!我们太习惯当地生活,都不为意自己本身就是外国人!我们有幸住在台湾一个小小的地方,父母认识很多本地人,所以我们经常得到邀请,参与婚礼之类的宴会。我们会走到山上、农场,参加不同的聚会,享受美食。我很喜欢台湾生活的一个部分,是那个很热闹的文化。我们住的那个小地方经常有夜市,还有很多节庆,街上总是闹哄哄的:新年、中秋节、灯笼节,小孩子提着点蜡烛的灯笼,还有很多庙会,街上会有巡游,有人会带着龙头跳舞,还有人打鼓。这一切都让小孩子很兴奋,即使我当年是个害羞的小孩,我也很喜欢那个热闹的文化,这些都是伴着我成长的美好回忆。相对于挪威,台湾给我一个大家庭的感觉,那里不会有人自己独个儿住,我们住的那个地方是农业地区,几代人一起住是很普遍的,家里有奶奶、孩子、阿姨、叔叔,互相照顾。我知道现在已经变了很多,但当时真的是那样。

我是在十五岁的时候回到挪威,我很努力地融入挪威社会,所以对于台湾就没有想太多。一直到八年之后,我到了中国旅行,才突然发现,原来我还可以说一些流利的中文—那时候我才知道原来我还没有完全忘记中文。可是我的词汇量太小,所以其实我不是明白很多别人说的话!除了语言之外,我觉得在台湾长大,使我变得更开明。如果我举办一个宴会,我不介意客人带其他人来。我的态度就是「既来之则安之」,我喜欢自由、自发的活动,我喜欢旅游,我的朋友来自世界各地。你如果曾经在外地住过,体验过不同的生活方式、不同的价值观和社会运作模式,你就会更容易接受新的事物。在我现在的工作中,我特别会协助来自外国的个案。可能相对于其他人,我更能够明白这些个案的当事人,更关心他们每个人的故事。来自不同背景的人,都有他们自己的故事,而听者需要抱有开放的态度,才能真正了解他们。 」

Målfrid grew up in Taiwan because her father was a missionary there. Her family lived there until she was 16. Now Målfrid is a social worker based in Stavanger.

“We were children like other children. There is a story of my sister and I walking along the street with our parents. We pointed out at someone and said “look, a foreigner!” We were not aware that we were foreigners ourselves, because we were so used to it! We were lucky to live a smaller place in Taiwan and our parents knew a lot of people, so we were invited to events like weddings. We would go to places up in the mountain, and at farms, where we were invited to eat with a lot of local people. There was always gathering of people and nice food. For me, one good thing from living in Taiwan is that the culture is very lively. There were night markets in the small town where we lived. There were many festivals. There was always a lot stuff on the street, and people everywhere. There was of course the Chinese New Year, the Mooncake Festival, the Lamp Festival where children carry their lamps with candles in them. There were the temple festivals where there would be processions on the street and someone dancing with a dragon head and people with drums. I think all of that are very exciting and was very happening for children. Even though I was shy as a child, I enjoyed being in a culture where there is always something going on. So I think very fondly of that growing up. Compared to Norway, in Taiwan there was more of a big family feeling. People would not at all live by themselves. Where we lived, which was a farm area, it would be very natural for several generations to live together. There would be grandparents, children, aunts and uncle looking after each other. I know that has changed now since we left, but it was the way it used to be.

I came back to Norway when I was 15, then I did not think too much of Taiwan, but instead I was trying hard to fit in the Norwegian society. It was not until when I travelled to China eight years after, and was able to speak Chinese with a good accent – that was when I realized I still have some of it in me. But I did not have a big vocabulary, so I did not really understand all that much after all! Apart from the language, I think growing up in Taiwan impacted me in the way that, it made me more open-minded. If I have a party or dinner, I am open to people bringing along someone. Whatever happens, comes along! I am more spontaneous. I like travelling, I have friends from different places in the world. I think when you have lived somewhere else, you have seen people living different ways and they have different value structures, and ways societies function, you become more open to new ideas. In the job I have now, I have taken interest in patients who have foreign backgrounds. I think maybe it is easier for me to relate. I am more interested in the stories they have to tell. Sometimes people from different backgrounds has different stories, which you need to be a bit flexible to understand where they come from.”

The interview series is a project to explore the lives of individuals living in the intersection of the Chinese and Norwegian cultures, to show the similarities and contrasts, expectations and surprises, and the possibilities of synergy between the two cultures, experienced by individuals, one story at a time. 人物访问系列 以活生生的个人故事,探讨生活在中挪两个文化之间的人物,面对当中的协调与矛盾、期望与惊喜,以至互相补足提升的可能。