‘Sell your stocks when they are high’.
Ya Lin (32) is a fun and determined Taiwanese woman who has been moving around since she was eight. By the time she turned 28 she had to move back to Taipei to find her husband and get married.
What is your background?
I was born in Taiwan. When I was eight years old we moved to Australia. In that time people in Taiwan felt insecure about their future because of the unstable situation between China and Taiwan. People with enough money moved to Australia or the U.S.A to be guaranteed their children would develop in a safe environment and be able to study. This is why almost all the rich people my age in Taiwan have two passports and speak good English. I studied Psychology and Management in Australia. When I graduated I came back to Taiwan to learn Chinese. But I couldn’t fit in, in the Taiwanese culture anymore. I am too crazy and outgoing compared to the more sweet and polite people in Taiwan. I went to Europe with a working holiday visa and lived in Amsterdam for a year. I had different jobs, from washing the dishes to selling diamonds. By the time I received my long-term visa I went to Milan to Fashion school. To do an internship in Fashion, it is important to speak more languages. The Fashion school has a campus in Paris, so I moved again and tried to learn French. Learning French is far from easy, so I never did that internship. I just partied and made new friends. After one year I moved back to Taipei. My visa was expired and as my father said, it was time for me to find a husband. But I knew I would find my husband in Europe, not in Taiwan. So I went back to Europe and started a small business with a close friend in Paris. We exported French luxury goods to Taiwan, which gave me the opportunity to keep traveling between Taiwan and Europe. I met my husband in June 2012 at a party In Paris. Four weeks after we met I told him that if he didn’t want to get married, it wouldn’t work out. Luckily he was looking for a wife too. In August 2013 we got married in Nevada, at Burning Man. In total we had five weddings. One in France -where our parents met each other for the first time- in North and South Taiwan and a few weeks ago in Tainan. It’s important to do weddings in Taiwan.
Where do you stand in life?
This is the first time I settled down. I am a housewife and live in Paris with my husband. I feel like moving around again and Thibault, my husband, needs to learn Chinese so this year we will move to Taiwan for two years.
Are you familiar with the 30 years dilemma?
Yes, in Taiwan people expect you to get married before your thirties. Taiwanese parents provide everything for their kids. You live with them until you get married. My family tried to hook me up on every opportunity, but I don’t feel at ease with Taiwanese man. I went back to Europe to find a man and even started online dating. I had to fulfil the expectations because as long as you keep your parents happy they support you. My dad bought me an apartment in Paris to set up my business and luckily I found my husband too.
How do you see your future?
I want to be closer to my relatives and friends. My relatives all live together, which is normal in Taiwan, but I am always moving around. I look forward to spend more time with them. I would like to have kids and raise them in Taiwan. When they go to school, maybe we move back to Paris. I want to speak better French, and set up an import/export business between Taiwan and Europe. We have a good network in both countries.
What wise lesson did your parents teach you?
‘Sell your stocks when they are high’. Don’t wait to long to find a good husband. When you are 28/29 it’s your best time. After 35 it will become less easy. Don’t waist your time with someone you don’t see a future with. I agree on this and advise every woman to keep it in mind.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
If you think you know what you want, just go for it. Give it a try. Talk about it with the people around you who can support you.
When was your last moment of happiness?
Last night when we had dinner with friends. We hadn’t seen each other for a long time.
What does happiness mean to you?
When you feel intimacy with family and friends.
Under the same sun is an ongoing travel log which you can follow on our travel and lifestyle blog Meet You at the Bridge. The reports show the similarities and differences on what it means to be happy for women between the ages of 25 and 35 who hail from different cultures.
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