Motherland

Taiwan is my “what if” country.

What if my parents had never immigrated to the United States? What if I had been born and raised in Taiwan? What would my life be like? Would I have the same personality, same career, same way of life? These questions re-surface every five years or so, every time I visit and reconnect with family.

But this trip felt different. This time, I wasn’t weighing Taiwan against myself, but I was comparing it to the rest of the world through an alternate lens—its food and dining culture—just like every other country before it.

How did it fare?

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Hello, my name is 水晶

Turns out my English name literally translated into Chinese is “水晶” or “shui jing.” The Chinese speakers in the kitchen had an easier time remembering my name that way and now I’m responding to it. How’s that for cultural sensitivity?

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Mbok Crystal

The first leg of my travels have officially concluded.

It’s unbelievable that after two months I could be so attached to a kitchen staff, but that’s the nature of a professional kitchen. When working under pressure with a group of people for ten hours a day, six days a week, a family forms. There’s no option but to be close to one another.

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