Double Happiness: Artist, Dreamer Never Imagined Taiwanese Hubby or Future in Taiwan | Speaking of China

Double Happiness: Artist, Dreamer Never Imagined Taiwanese Hubby or Future in Taiwan

(photo from myneonsignlullaby dot com)

When Eileen Fogg, the blogger behind My Neon Sign Lullaby, told me she would share the story of how she and Dawen, her Taiwanese hubby, got together, I couldn’t wait. I think anyone who’s followed Eileen for some time will agree that she’s one of the most lovable voices out there, and also a talented artist to boot. In fact, she’s generously shared some of her art with me for this piece. If you love her art, make a purchase at her Zazzle Store

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If somebody told me that I would be married to a down-to-earth Taiwanese guy and eventually move to Taiwan for an adventure, I would probably chuckle and think nothing of it.

I met Dawen online, out of all places. I did my normal routine. I would get online in the morning to check my messages on myspace (wait, what is that?) in the morning. I usually only responded to people I knew, but something told me to respond to Dawen’s message. Dawen’s message was sincere, respectful, not pig-headed. I felt like his message was old-fashioned with a modern twist. I mean, he didn’t say “my lady,” or anything. Who would’ve thought I was responding to my future husband? It’s like the quote, “Life happens when you’re busy making plans.”

Colorful drawing of a couple in love in Taipei by Eileen

(art by Eileen Fogg)

I thought he was even more handsome in person! It’s weird because even when we met for the very first time, we talked to each other as if we’re childhood friends. I never felt so comfortable with anybody before. We can disagree with each other while still being civilized. We pick each other up when one of us is down. We encourage each other to get out and take risks and deal with the low blows of daily life.

Dawen and I may have grown up in two different countries but in the end, we can totally relate to each other. The more we talk about our childhood the more we relate to each other. Go figure!

When he proposed to me, he didn’t do the cliche of bending down in one knee. I liked that. I was watching television while Dawen was in another room using the computer. All of a sudden, Dawen pops out and tells me to pick out a ring online. I got up from the couch all puzzled and looked at the computer screen – wedding rings. I picked the ruby ’cause it’s my favourite stone. Getting hitched felt normal. It was no Cinderalla story but I felt comfortable and it was my kind of romantic. It felt right because I’m in a relationship where it doesn’t define me or take over my identity. I’m still me. I still have interests and goals who just happens to have a best friend to share them with. I actually didn’t get an engagement ring but the thing is, I lost so much weight that I had to get another wedding ring. Now when people look at my wedding ring, they think I had an engagement ring all along. No, my “original” wedding ring kept falling off the finger and I was afraid to lose it so I put it on my bigger finger. On our 5th year anniversary, Dawen have me another wedding ring. Yes, another ruby.

(art by Eileen Fogg)

My husband is detail oriented, a great planner, and organized. I am completely the opposite. Due to this, Dawen was the one who organized the wedding. I liked the fact that the ceremony was small and sweet in Key West. I couldn’t ask for more. I am easy going (I keep Dawen calm). I’m messy so it’s great to have somebody who inspires me not be as such. When you clean your room, in a way you clean the gutter in your head. (I am not going to lie, I am still pretty messy. I don’t think I will ever be as organized as him.)

I honestly thought I would be living in a small house in New England with a bunch of cats and work in Home Depot at the paint section. Well, that was my plan. I’m now writing this while I sip my cup of coffee at a cafe in downtown Taipei. It’s crazy! It’s funny how you’ve been told to have “common sense,” and “have both your feet on the ground.” I’ll be honest, I did neither of those things. I was crazy to take a plane ride to Florida to be with him and get married in Key West. I was crazy to get a plane ride to Taiwan to start from scratch at almost-30 years old. Dawen can now finally show me his childhood, culture, and lifestyle while creating new memories on the beautiful island. I’m grateful.

(art by Eileen Fogg)

Dawen has become my favourite travel buddy. Now that we’re living in Taipei, we’ll be visiting China (as well as Hong Kong), South Korea, and New Zealand in the near future. (Pinches self) Ouch.

Eileen is an artist and dreamer who muses about her life in Taiwan at My Neon Sign Lullaby.

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How did you meet? Why do you love him/her (or Chinese men/Western women)? How two different people “complete each other” in unexpected ways? We’re looking for a few good stories from Chinese men and Western women in love to share on Fridays. Submit your original story or a published blog post today.

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26 Responses

  1. Eileen黃愛玲
    Eileen黃愛玲 November 2, 2012 at 2:44 am | | Reply

    Thank you, Jocelyn. I like to read about interracial relationships on this site. 🙂

  2. David
    David November 2, 2012 at 5:52 am | | Reply

    Interesting. When I was in Taipei for a week back in 2008, I saw only three white women, and saw no AMWW couples. Later on when I got to Hawaii early in 2009, I saw a lot of AMWW and WWAM couples. In China in 2010, I saw a few of both!

  3. namenotgiven
    namenotgiven November 2, 2012 at 8:02 am | | Reply

    One of my favorite blog sites, and one of my favorite bloggers.

  4. jenna cody
    jenna cody November 2, 2012 at 10:52 am | | Reply

    Been in Taipei 6 years and I see a fair number of foreign female/Taiwanese male couples – more and more every year.

    I see a lot of the opposite too, but not too many among my friends (probably because I only have one real white guy friend – the rest of my friends are female foreigners or are Taiwanese of both genders).

    Anyway, hooray for you, Eileen! I’m off to go check out your blog, as I blog about women’s issues in Taiwan and stuff like your blog is interesting & relevant to that.

  5. jenna cody
    jenna cody November 2, 2012 at 11:20 am | | Reply

    By the way, Eileen: that photo of “public housing” you took in September? That’s *my* building. I live right there (but my window overlooks the playground, not the road).

    “Public housing” in Taiwan isn’t what it would seem like to an American: some public housing in Taiwan is bad, but some is among the most popular/sought after housing in Taipei. The picture you took is of 成功國宅: they’re good sturdy apartments built for veterans of the ROC army, who were allowed to buy them at reduced rates when they were erected about 26 years ago. Now, although they’re older than most of the fancy buildings in this neighborhood, they are one of the most sought-after addresses in Taipei. Everyone wants to live there, because you get a sturdy apartment, a good address, great convenience and while they’re not pretty, you do get elevators and desk staff and other amenities.

    So this particular public housing area is home to a lot of surprisingly upper middle class people!

  6. Manny
    Manny November 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm | | Reply

    @ Jocelyn. Thanks for the great story. Have you any more stories of White men and Asian women? I love to hear WMAW stories too. Thanks.

  7. David
    David November 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm | | Reply

    “Been in Taipei 6 years and I see a fair number of foreign female/Taiwanese male couples – more and more every year.”
    Where exactly can we see these couples or even just white females, even tourists. Did not see many in downtown, but saw some white females in the gorge as well as in other tourist areas. But, did not see any AMWW couples.

  8. Sveta
    Sveta November 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm | | Reply

    Very beautiful story and congrats on getting featured Eileen!

  9. Manny
    Manny November 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm | | Reply

    @Jocelyn. I am fully aware that your blog is solely and exclusively dedicated to relationships between Chinese (or Asian) men and Western women. I was merely expressing to you my wish that you will show more content on Western men and Asian women just as you did on Oct 15, 2012 (Asian Women Too Tempting) as I am a White boy interested in Chinese women. Nevertheless, I shall continue to remain one of your most loyal followers as your blog is so informative compared to other sites. For example, you taught me so much such as filial piety, the stereotypes, etc. that I cannot get from other sites. I just simply think that you are one of the greatest persons of all times. If you can grant me my wish by showing stories of WM/AW every now and then, I will be very grateful to you. Take care and thanks for all your great stories and lessons.

  10. askdsk
    askdsk November 2, 2012 at 4:38 pm | | Reply

    @ David
    The oversees circle is quite small. Maybe your children go to the same school. You can meet other couples this way.
    In US, it is all scattered around. There are more such parings here integrated into general population, but most people don’t come to this blog because it gears toward parings between non-native born Asians.

  11. Bruce
    Bruce November 2, 2012 at 7:39 pm | | Reply

    @Manny,

    She doesn’t specialize in WMAW relationship. This blog is mainly for this AMWW purpose only. White men really seek out Asian women seriously when you google all the sites like craigslist, mail order bride site etc. Manny, you really don’t see Asian men seek out white women often. You can check to see if I’m lying. You can search those sites and those white men only looking for sex, one night stands and FWB or 3 some situations (wwm, usually a white couple seeking another asian woman to join). I don’t get paid by telling you lies ,bro! Chinese/asian males have lots of responsibilities toward our families and parents whereas white males have zero to none. Manny, of course , you get no advices from other blogs because they don’t care about details. They just focus on western culture not so much on asian culture. You can check out youtube and see videos of white /black women asking themselves why asian men don’t date them ,etc. Manny, ask yourself a question on why normally an asian family will accept a white man better than the vice versa? I think asian families will show you more respect as a white man because the word “RESPECT” is built in our culture already. An asian man will not get the same respect “most ” of the time due to the western culture. ASian people in general are attracted to respect and warmth. Manny, if you only focus on slapping a chinese woman ass and experiment, I don’t think most people here will help you dude. I have been hinting you alot already on chinese women. Don’t worry chinese/asian women will go “ga ga ” when they see a white shining armor to come to the rescue J/K lol. I’m very curious, Manny! How come your white friends and WMAW bloggers don’t help you out ? I’m serious so tell us here, dude. I don’t think you will ever find a person like me who will find the time and talk to you just like sitting face to face talking to you right now.

  12. eileen
    eileen November 2, 2012 at 8:27 pm | | Reply

    OgJenna, thank you. 🙂

    If you are talking about the public housing i am thinking about then we reallu live near each other. I actually want to live there. My husband did telle about all that. Nesides, its all about location, location, location. I am sorry, i am responding on my phone. Its hard. I didnt say anything bad about public housing. It is the opposite of tje places i lived in the south of boston. You are preaching to the chior. 🙂 i like yourblog, ny the way.

  13. MyTwoCents
    MyTwoCents November 2, 2012 at 10:08 pm | | Reply

    What a lucky guy! I like the 2nd art poster. Is the girl on the right sipping bubble milk tea? It’s my favorite drink.

  14. jenna cody
    jenna cody November 3, 2012 at 12:57 am | | Reply

    @David – well “white women with Taiwanese men” are not exactly a tourist destination! Honestly, is there really a need to “see” them like they’re a museum exhibit?

    Honestly, though, you see them less often because there are fewer of them (not because foreign women aren’t into Taiwanese men: they sure can be, in fact, most single foreign women I meet here totally are…but because there are fewer expat women generally – I blogged about this ages ago: http://laorencha.blogspot.tw/2011/03/expat-women-expat-women.html).

    But the ones that are here, well, they don’t hang out in the same circles as typical foreigners. They’re less likely to go to the foreigner bars (Carnegie’s, On Tap, Roxy – ugh), they generally aren’t in the same social circles as the guys who teach at cram schools or even the businessmen who live up in Tianmu. They tend to be older than the typical English teacher foreigner (English teachers are mostly in their 20s, foreign women with Taiwanese SOs tend to be late 20s/30s). They tend to have far more local friends and you’re more likely to run into them at local events, artsy events, good restaurants, interesting local cafes. You’ll meet them through not being one of the foreigners recovering on Sunday after an all night Carnegie’s and Roxy binge, but through being a strong and long-term member of both expat and local communities.

    In fact that’s true for female expats in Taiwan generally. My husband is American/Canadian, we’re in our early 30s and don’t have kids, but you’ll find us at cool cafes, artsy venues, out with friends or at smaller gatherings held by local friends. We have some foreign friends and expat connections but the vast majority of our social circle is Taiwanese. You won’t find us where you find other foreigners. It’s not that we’re “against” that stuff so much as it’s not our style.

    @Eileen – I know, you didn’t say anything bad! It’s just that when an American or even a Brit/Aussie reads “public housing” they’re likely to think “projects”, and the association is not good. I’d comment on that actual post if I should, not to correct you but to correct any possible reader misconceptions of what “public housing” in Taiwan really is (some of it is crummy, but not Chenggong Apartments).

    It is hard to live here – as in, it’s really hard to get an apartment in this complex as they’re so prized. We got very, very lucky and one opened up just as we were looking to move from our terrible old place in Jingmei (I liked Jingmei but hated the apartment). Apartments in Chenggong are about NT$22,000-$30,000/month to rent (to buy you’d probably pay upwards of NT$20 million), are about 30 ping, generally 3 smallish bedrooms with a generously sized living/dining area and small kitchen, no balcony. Ours is NT$25,000/month in rent, 30 ping, 3 bedrooms, which is perfect for us as I use one room as an office and we have a guest room for visitors. Many foreigners would find that expensive but it’s fine for us (sooo much easier when you’re married!) and is a very reasonable rent for high-end Da’an District near Dunhua S. Road.

    Now that I am a permanent resident, I’d love to buy and own our own place, but I want to stay in Da’an, and who can afford to buy in Da’an!? I don’t want to move to Sanchong or Zhonghe!

  15. Eileen黃愛玲
    Eileen黃愛玲 November 3, 2012 at 4:38 am | | Reply

    (shakes head about the poor attempt to respond on cellphone).

    Jenna,
    Ah, I understand where you’re coming from. That’s true. You actually inspire me to talk about it and use your writing piece (with credit) to talk about the difference between public houses in America and public houses in Taiwan. If you don’t mind. You do make a valid point. 🙂

    I totally know where you’re coming from about the pricing in Taipei. I like living in Daan area. I live in a rather small room but it’s worth it. 🙂

    “Honestly, though, you see them less often because there are fewer of them (not because foreign women aren’t into Taiwanese men: they sure can be, in fact, most single foreign women I meet here totally are…”
    EXACTLY.

    Thanks everyone for your kind words. It really means a lot!

  16. Susan Blumberg-Kason
    Susan Blumberg-Kason November 4, 2012 at 7:35 pm | | Reply

    What a great interview and a lovely story! It kind of reminds me of a story I heard from a classmate some twenty-some years ago. She knew a guy from Taiwan who lived in her dorm. He always helped her out with things like moving, carrying heavy items up their stairs, etc. One day he asked if she could drive him to the airport because he was going back to Taiwan for winter break. She had started to have more than friendly feelings toward him, so when she dropped him off at departures, she took a bold step and hugged him tightly. The traffic control people were pressuring her to drive away, so they didn’t have time to discuss the hug. When he returned a few weeks later, she did ask him about it. They started dating, and when I knew her they were engaged. I always thought it was one of the nicest relationship stories I’d heard. I took her lead and did the same thing a year later, but it backfired terribly!

  17. Manny
    Manny November 5, 2012 at 10:20 am | | Reply

    @Bruce. Hey bro, thanks for the all of the education you are giving me. I now understand more and more why there are so few Chinese me with White chickies. I will apply this dearth of knowledge when I see Kate this Thanksgiving if there is no cancelaion. It appears that the good Lord does not want me to have a Chinese goddess. Firstly, Kate and Pamela were supposed to come to our home town to stay for one weekend and then the plan was canceled when they fell behind in the school project. Secondly, when they renewed their plans to come to visit, then tropical storm Sandy disrupted us and they again had to cancel. So, hopefully this Thanksgiving they will come to my home town where Pamela and Kate will stay in our house. Kate will stay with Pamela in Pamela’s bedroom. I will apply all of knowledge learned from you and Jocelyn’s site. Thus far, I have been talking with Kate via email, texting, etc. but have not yet met her face-to-face, though my sister Pamela said that she (Kate) is super sexy and beautiful. I cannot wait any longer, bro!!!!!!!!! Excitement is running through my veins and I cannot sleep so well as the time draws closer and closer. I owe my sister Pamela a big dinner for helping me broker a relationship with this super sexy Chinese goddess. Don’t you agree?

  18. Henry Yeh
    Henry Yeh November 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm | | Reply

    Haha! I think Eileen, who’s from Florida, felt right at home in hot, humid Taiwan that averages 2 tropical storms every year.
    Oh wait, did I mention the earthquakes?

  19. jenna cody
    jenna cody November 9, 2012 at 10:26 pm | | Reply

    One gets used to the weather in Taiwan and with one exception the earthquakes aren’t so bad.

    But if you read her blog you’ll see she’s originally from Maine, not Florida.

  20. eileen
    eileen November 10, 2012 at 12:26 am | | Reply

    Jenna, that’s right. I am from Maine. I only stayed in Florida for a few years. 🙂

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