When Lianne Lin moved to Taiwan to study Chinese, she didn’t realize that she’d become a study in modern sociocultural relations.
ISSUE: Winter 2010
DEPT: My Story
STORY: Lianne Lin
An Uncertain Education
Earlier this year, I moved from Los Angeles to Taipei, Taiwan — my mother’s birthplace — to study Chinese and experience life in Asia. I enrolled in school and started making new friends. For income, I looked for English tutoring jobs through a website that posts your photo, résumé and email address online.
One day, I got an email from a 43-year-old Taiwanese businessman who wanted conversational English practice. He was thin with average looks and height, and spent most of our first “lesson” bragging (in excellent English, incidentally) about his financial success. He was a cocky, overconfident go-getter who had started companies in several different countries. His cowboy-style shoes had custom-made heels to make him look taller, and every day he wore a huge, obnoxious ring containing a dead bug preserved in amber.