Having a foreign-born spouse immediately places a man — or woman — in the curious cultural position of sharing in two worlds. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll be quick to say that living in Taiwan, the Republic of China, for a year gave me a second home. It also gave me a first (and only) wife.
I rarely write about expatriates or the pain of leaving a home behind. Or about the richness of bringing up our family in a Sino-American culture with twice as many holidays. Of the many stories I’ve heard about bi-national people, one stood out. A friend did cross the world to live in the States, did return to Taiwan on homeland visits, and did lose a husband and child. It was poignant when I saw her treated as an American hwa-chiao in Taipei’s market, but as a bargirl when she tried calling her husband at the military post where he was stationed.
The memory of this situation led years ago to drafting “Test of English as a Foreign Language.” I wrestled with the story line, the character and location until, just a few months ago, the ending resolved itself. To paraphrase Thomas Wolfe’s wise words, “You can never go home again.” You can read “TOEFL” at Rose and Thorn Journal (http://www.roseandthornjournal.com/Spring_2012_Prose_1.html). I hope you’ll enjoy it, appreciate the fact of having a home if that’s your situation, or embrace your homelessness as an adventure if you don’t.