Missing: Biological Father

I wasn’t going to dive headfirst into telling this part of my story without having more substance, but here I am.  In my last post, I mentioned that I hadn’t met my biological father and that raised many questions among readership aka close friends.

I have always struggled to tell my story, because haters (#fuelme) will often believe it is cry for attention.  In fact, it partly is.  I have gone so many years burying so many things I want to say aloud, in fear of negative attention.  But, like all things in life, there is light and there is dark.  Everyone needs validation for their stories — proof that their hardships are real and understood.  Luckily for me, the light vastly outweighs the dark.

My biological father remained faceless for many years.  Literally, his head was cut out in all pictures.  His name was never spoken in our household.  Basically, he was He Shall Not Be Named.

I finally learned his full name (which was incidentally Voldemort [just kidding]) a few years ago.  I plugged it into the omniscient Google and found his ludicrously extensive curriculum vitae.  It was then I understood how and why I was naturally such a tryhard.

Tomorrow, I resume my education at a university at which he is a professor.

Wish me luck! (Though, I have the strength of America by my side; happy fourth of July to those across the Pacific pond.)

-TW

 

“Where are you from?”

Somehow, I stand out like a sore thumb in Taiwan.  Even before exposing my American-accented Mandarin, people immediately notice my mere existence.

For those of you who know me, I don’t literally stick out, because I’m rather vertically challenged.  However, I’ll be waiting for a bus, sitting a coffeeshop, breathing, and approached by complete strangers.  Often the first questions asked are: “Are you mixed-race?” or “Where are you from?”

Now, I tell this my friends back home and they laugh, because they think I look 100% Asian, as I am.  So I never quite understood.  I also didn’t understand how it was strange for me compliment a stranger, but it’s okay to open with questions on ancestry and heritage.

I guess in a way, it makes sense.  They’re asking me to start telling my story from even before the beginning.

I don’t even know my own prologue, but I am full-blooded Taiwanese.  (Although I have never met my biological father, I’ve confirmed he is Taiwanese via Google.)

I’ve talked about this with friends and they pointed out I even stood out back home.  I grew up in Long Island and Central Jersey, then moved out into a Catholic, private university.  I grew up hearing “Where are you really from?”

Which was fine, because I really am from Taiwan, when the other answers above don’t appease them.

Here, once I explain that I grew up in America, it all seems to makes sense to the inquirer.  I just hope it’s all the good stereotypes that ring true.

-TW

Why TW?

Why Taiwan?  The better question is, why not?

I am Taiwanese.  I was born here and moved to the United States at 3 years old.  Despite having Taiwanese citizenship, this is only my fifth time here.

Gluttony: The Early Years
“This is all mine, right?”
Last birthday in Taiwan before journeying to the land of gluttony: The US of A

Though I left at an early age, I held onto memories of Taiwan dearly.  I missed having family around at all times — my maternal, extended family all live on one street!  I missed being taken out to parks by day to feed the fish and markets by night, where I first noticed the moon followed me wherever I walked.

It might not seem like much, but it was enough.

Perhaps it was my grandparents who always told me, “You are Taiwanese.  Not Chinese.  Don’t let anyone ever tell you different.”  (Or who knows, maybe I ate some of the fish food I was suppose to give to the koi.  I was a weird kid.)  Whoever told me, thank you.  I don’t remember a time I identified as “Chinese” and if people mistook me as so, I have always corrected them.

“Foreigner” grandchild, patriarch, and matriarch of the Wang family.

My Taiwanese pride is as innate as my patriotism for the good ol’ United States of America.  Why wouldn’t it be?  It’s the wonderful place with the first people who taught me how to love.  When things weren’t so great in the U.S., I always wanted to escape to the arms of my grandparents.  To me, they are the epitome of unconditional love.

Fellow Taiwanese don’t seem to get what I see in Taiwan.  They are readily armed with all the problems we have, but which nation is without problems?  They tell me, “Maybe Taiwan had potential before, but we are regressing.”  To that, I say, in my terrible, simplistic Mandarin, “Like an arrow, we are being pulled back to launch into something greater.”

If we don’t have faith in our country, how do we expect the rest of the world to recognize we are a country at all?  We don’t have the luxury of waiting for support.  Unfortunately, a majority of our population sees Taiwanese independence as a lost cause.  It’s dangerously becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy in that we feel so helpless we don’t even attempt to try.

I say hell to that.

Every day that passes, we are fortifying our foundation as an independent nation.  However, that doesn’t mean we can perpetuate indifference.  I’m here to spread my American-learned patriotism here.  I bleed red, white, and blue, for both AMURICA and Taiwan.

(And also for Din Tai Fung’s xiao long bao.)

Always DTF…Down To Food at Din Tai Fung.

Ta ta for now,
TW

TW takes TW

I’ve been told to write about my life, but I never felt like my experiences were unique enough to document publicly.

What motivated me to finally write this inaugural post:

  • Vying for a coveted job and being told I need more marketing experience. What better way to show understanding of brand strategy by cultivating my own brand (I say timidly, but loudly!)  Here’s to you, Google.  I will be a Googler someday (hopefully, soon!)
  • Having the happy coincidence of meeting an inspiration and mentor to me, who suggested I use WordPress as a platform to build my personal website.
  • Being angry.

Learning to compartmentalize my anger has been a work in progress.  My coping mechanisms include: ice cream, venting to anyone that will listen (a.k.a. talking my friends’ ears off), and making last-minute appointments with my therapist.  I’ve gradually included jogging and journaling, but recently, it just hasn’t felt like enough.

Thus, the conception of this page! I realized I was angry, because I had so much I wanted to say.

So, you are more than welcome to join me here, where I will try my very best to diplomatically convey my frustrations with identity/quarter life crises, culture shock, and somehow going from the most uptight, Type-A person I know, to up-and-moving halfway across the world.

I jokingly announced my trip to Taiwan (TW) 1 with the hashtag “#TiffanyTakesTaiwan,” but I’m not attempting to Genghis Khan * the motherland, clearly.  In fact, the many obstacles I’ve faced in a little over a month here prove that sometimes, Taiwan takes me (for a buttkicking.)2

GenghisWang

*Despite my best friend’s misleading MS Paint masterpiece

Be it schadenfreude for the many misfortunes I have and am bound to encounter, masochism for my cringeworthy attempts at humor, or genuine curiosity at the inner workings of my weird mind, thanks for joining me for the ride.

‘Til next time,

TW (Tiffany Wang)


1. The abbreviation for Taiwan happens to be the same as my initials. *crowd goes mild*
2. Michael: Your average American male is stuck in a perpetual state of adolescence, you know, arrested development.
Narrator: Hey! That’s the name of the show!