I am not sure how much I will write and how many parts this will be but I will start telling a bit of what I am calling, My Asia Journey.
Once upon a time there was a young girl who lived in a small town (I looked up the population and in 2000 the town where I lived had 117 people. Yes it really was a small town). That girl had graduated from university and was working in international purchasing/manufacturing for a company a few miles away. (Let’s not mention that she had said a few years earlier that she would not work at that company.) Then one day her life changed when she was asked if she be willing to go to Asia and help do some training. Why not. It sounds fun.
That girl was me. In 1991 I made my first overseas flight. I went on the sense of adventure and the first class ticket was a sweet bonus. I arrived in Taiwan in April and began working in an office with about 20 Taiwanese and 1 other American. We worked long hours and Saturdays were normal work hours. They spoke Chinese and some English. I spoke English with almost no Chinese.
I remember my first lunch there. I wrote in my journal, “I ate at a real Chinese restaurant.” I experienced quite a number of new foods and came to love Chinese food though I admit that there are some things I avoid. At that time the only salad dressing available was Thousand Islands. The pizza toppings included tuna and corn.
Most of the staff were young and single and they were eager to show me around. We went out to eat or toured the city on the weekends. I learned how young America really is when I went through the National Palace Museum and saw things from BC or AD 100.
I began to learn cultural differences. Standing in a nice neat line is not the way to do it. I stood crowded on a bus during rush hour. I was living in the middle of a busy city with more people in my apartment complex than the town I just moved from.
I visited a small Chinese church. I was surrounded by temples and superstitions. During Ghost month our office was broken into and a number of the staff were frightened that we had not done something to appease the ghosts. People lived in fear of the ghosts. I walked down the sidewalks and saw people burning paper money or saw the table of food they had set up for the ancestors. I realized the great need there for the Gospel. I prayed in new ways for missionaries.
The ten months that I stayed there changed my life. That was my first overseas experience but it was not the last.
In many ways Taiwan still has a special place in my heart maybe because that is where I met my husband and where my daughter was born which all happened years later and we will save that for another part of the story.