“Four years ago in November I arrived in Amsterdam with a large suitcase. Coming straight from a tropical island, where it had been 28°C, Amsterdam was a chilly -4. No-one had told me to bring a winter coat. I had come here to be with my boyfriend, a 2 metre tall Dutch boy with curly hair. I had met him in Germany where I was an exchange student.
It was hard for my parents to see me leave for Amsterdam. They know nothing of Europe, but know my boyfriend. He had lived for a while in Taiwan before we went to live in Amsterdam. They support me and are happy for me. My parents have never been here. If they come, I’ll definitely take them on a boat trip. Not on a tourist boat; I’ll hire a boat and we’ll sail along the canals. I love the water. I live on Borneo Island where I am surrounded by it.
I grew up in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital. A large, busy city where you can sing karaoke, barbeque and go shopping 24/7. Life in Taiwan is stressful. Asians are greedy, competitive and used to working from nine in the morning to nine at night. It’s always busing in Taipei and always heaving with people. The Netherlands is much more relaxed. Taiwan is much more rushed. Even when eating. You eat from street kiosks and if you go to a restaurant you’re out again within half an hour. In Amsterdam you make eating into an evening out and can be at the table for three or four hours. I love both worlds.
What surprises me is how the women dress. The first time I went with my boyfriend to a Christmas party at his work I was the only one who came dolled up in a long, purple dress. All the other women wore simply black dresses. In Asia, people are more materialistic. In the Netherlands they say, “I’m not paying that for a designer bag, I prefer to travel”. Amsterdam has changed me in this aspect. I’m now much more down to earth.”
188 people in Amsterdam have the Taiwanese nationality