I have often been asked, why would I be working in Taiwan? To be honest, on one of my many visits to Taiwan I met my boyfriend (now my husband) and since he was working in Taiwan, I had do make the difficult decision to to relocate to be with him. Before I came, I always had the impression that to work in Taiwan would mean I could work at a slower pace with shorter hours, and just enjoy the more relaxed atmosphere compared to my home in Hong Kong.
I was wrong. I now work in a foreign bank in Taiwan. My colleagues here are very professional and the pace is just as quick as Hong Kong. They are likely to demand quick and accurate responses from me even when I just want to relax with a cup of bubble milk tea. While they do not work long hours, they try to get the most out of their working hours, getting more done each day. I soon realised that Taiwanese people are no less hardworking than others and, in fact, just enjoyed working effectively and efficiently. They are also extremely knowledgeable, but are kind enough to advise me on the issues that I am not familiar with.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. That does not apply here. On weekends I was very fortunate that my colleagues were also my friends. Knowing that I did not have many friends outside the workplace, they often invited me to gatherings and short trips and it was then that I got to know more about them. Taiwanese people are very family-oriented, and many treasure their weekend time and spend it only with their family. They enjoy jokes and laugh easily at silly things. They love nature, and could easily spend a whole day cycling by the riverside, hiking a mountain or two, or just enjoying the warm waters of a hot spring. They dislike stress, and all have their own ways to relax, whether by singing their heart out at a karaoke, getting a foot massage or having an extremely delicious meal.
Don't get me started on the food. I seem to keep putting on weight every month. When I travelled to Taiwan for holidays, I thought I had already eaten everything there was to eat. I was wrong. Every weekend I try a new restaurant or food stall; and after a whole year, my to-eat list is longer than ever. Just when I thought I had found the best beef noodle stall, I would be blown away by another stall hidden away down an alley. Just when I had satisfied myself that I was experienced enough to differentiate more than twenty different kinds of fish, I would be shocked to find that the fishermen in Taiwan could always show me something new.
One of my favorite things to do in my leisure time is to travel to somewhere new in Taiwan every weekend. The convenient network of trains and buses means that I can explore hundreds of towns, each special in its own way. Some have great historical value, with rich histories of the local aborigines. Others are tucked away in mountain valleys, surrounds by hot springs, fruit trees and blooming flowers in spring.
I still get asked if I will be working in Taiwan in the near future. I think about all the things I appreciate in Taiwan: my husband, the lovely people, the convenient transportation, the delicious food, the rich culture, the list goes on and on. My answer is yes, over and over again.