Expat Interview With Betsy & Dan - America to Taiwan

Published: 6 Dec at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Taiwan
Betsy and Dan met and married in Seattle, land of coffee, grunge, software, and bookstores. They had satisfying careers, and raised their kids. And then something happened: they began to yearn for adventure. Was it the rain? Was it the traffic? You’d have to ask them, but now they live in Taichung, Taiwan, having traded coffee for tea, Seattle rain for Taiwan typhoons, and Nordstrom for Night Markets. They love it. Betsy and Dan blog at Tomorrow in Taiwan (see listing here)

Tomorrow in Taiwan

Here's the interview with Betsy & Dan...

Where are you originally from?
Seattle, Washington, USA

In which country and city are you living now?
Taichung, Taiwan

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
We’ve been here for a little over three months. We will definitely stay for two years and hope to stay longer.

Why did you move and what do you do?
We’re at the stage in our lives where are careers were winding down and we wanted to try living in another country. My husband got a job teaching at an international school. I’m along for the adventure.

Tomorrow in TaiwanDid you bring family with you?
Just each other. The children are grown and have adventures of their own. Our parents have retired from their own adventures and are living vicariously through ours now.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
So far this has been easier than we expected (although I realize that we are in the early, romantic stages). Taiwan is easy for us to live in and we did lots of research in advance of the move.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Mostly we socialize with people from the school – both locals and expats. We are also meeting people (both locals and expats) through International Women’s Association of Taichung (IWAT) and the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM). Everyone we meet is very friendly and helpful, but we are limited by our lack of local language skills.

Tomorrow in TaiwanWhat are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
I love exploring the mountains. They are so dramatic here and the air is fresh and clean. In the city I like going to the markets – the morning market for very fresh vegetables and fruit, the evening market for prepared food for dinner, the weekend dirty market for bargain hunting, and the night market for fun and people watching.

What do you enjoy most about living here?
The food! Try everything. The food from the street trucks and the little Mom and Pop restaurants is particularly good. And we have a favorite soup dumpling place next door to our apartment.

How does the cost of living compare to home?
We are living on much less here than we did in Seattle. If we want to have exactly the same things we had in Seattle (American brands, chain restaurant meals) we would spend more. But why do that? The local brands are great and the food is fantastic.

Tomorrow in TaiwanWhat negatives, if any, are there to living here?
Sappy old American pop songs everywhere – the worst of the 70s.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Bring what you need to make your home into a safe haven. For example, we brought spices for our favorite comfort foods and lots of our favorite movies. Some days we need to curl up with a bowl of chili and a great old American movie.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Being illiterate. Because we can’t read Chinese characters it took us far longer to learn our way around – we couldn’t decipher the road signs. Everything is more uncertain because we can’t read here.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Do your research. The more you know about customs and differences from your culture when you arrive, the easier the adjustment will be.
  2. Remember you are the visitor. It’s supposed to be different from your home culture.
  3. Be curious and open to the new and different.
  4. It’s not about you. Be careful how you interpret others.
  5. Go local. Skip Starbucks and McDonalds for the local version.

Tomorrow in TaiwanTell us a bit about your own expat blog.
Tomorrow in Taiwan was started for family and friends. It’s both a record of our journey and a guide for new expats.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
You can email me at betsy{at}nortonmiddaugh{dot}com

Betsy and Dan blog at http://tomorrowintaiwan.wordpress.com/ which we recommend a quick visit if you haven't been already. Tomorrow in Taiwan has an ExpatsBlog.com listing here with some great comments already - but there's always room for more, so add a review if you like! If you appreciated this interview with Betsy and Dan, please let them know by leaving a comment below.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Tom wrote 9 years ago:

One of the better sites I've visited. Good advice on living in someone else's land.

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