There is a special term in Chinese for a foreigner, 外國人(Wàiguó rén). We hear it a lot as we walk around our neighborhood, go to school, go swimming, go to the playground. Little kids will see us walking and will say -- Look mom it's a 外國人(Wàiguó rén). We understand that we do not have the asian skin, the black hair and the beautiful almond shaped eyes. We do not look like the people who we live around. We are different, we are foreign and we don't fit in. For the most part I don't think it's said to be negative, people who say it just say it because they notice that we are different.
Sometimes we pretend that we can't understand, sometimes we look at the kids or the adults and smile showing that we understand. Sometimes we talk to them and let know that we understand them. Sometime we tell them yes we are a foreigner but that they are a Taiwanese person. It all depends on our mood. Sometimes it frustrates us that at times they feel the need to separate us from them. Usually I get most upset or sad when I see how it effects my kids because they understand that they are different and how they won't ever be able to fit in. They can speak the language and they are trying their best to adapt to the environment but people will never stop looking at them as foreigners.
The term 外國人(Wàiguó rén) is usually the first thing we hear from people we don't know. The next term that we here is asking what country we are from. Are we from America, England, etc. So we listen to and for those two words the foreigner and then where we are from.
It's very different here (in Taiwan) to always have the comment and always be made aware that you are VERY different from everyone else and that you are a foreigner. In the US you might go up to people and try to find out where their ancestors are from but you wouldn't go up to just anyone and say that they are a foreigner even they have a skin color different from you, or an accent different than you. Because of the melting pot effect in the US it's a little bit harder to figure out who's the foreigner and make a big deal about it. Of course I could be completely wrong about that opinion too.
After some of my friends have been around me and my family long enough they hear the comments or they are usually asked to explain who we are and why we are here. My friends will ask me if this is normal, and we usually answer yes this is normal. My friends are usually in disbelief that these questions are asked of us. But I tell them it's part of normal life here in Taiwan.
The more often I'm called 外國人(Wàiguó rén), the more I realize that as a Christian I should never feel like the United States of America is my home. It's where I was born and it's where I was brought up, but because I accepted Jesus as my Savior this world is not my home.
Hebrews 13:14 - "For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come."
What a beautiful promise. While Jesus was still on earth he made the promise that he was going to prepare a place for us in heaven. What a blessing and what a promise.
John 14:2-3 - "