Guest Post: Everything Happens For A Reason (Even Finding Love + A New Life in Taiwan)

Sometimes, when I think about how I grew up in a very average, very white, very Midwestern suburb in the US, never dreaming that I would eventually find my future husband and a totally new life in China, it blows my mind that here I am in Hangzhou. And yet, at the same time I firmly believe (like many of my husband’s friends) that destiny had a role — that somehow, this was all meant to be.

That’s why I love this guest post from Constance, who blogs at Foreign Sanctuary and writes today about how her unlikely journey to Taiwan (where she met her Taiwanese husband) was anything but an accident. (Enjoy the striking photos as well, a delightful sampling of Constance’s own photography.)

Do you have a story you’d love to see featured here on Speaking of China? To learn how, visit the submit a post page for details.

If someone had to tell me twenty years ago that I would be living in Taiwan and married to a Taiwanese man, I would have laughed in their face and then, well, I would have probably grabbed my atlas, turned to Asia, and then tried to find the location of where most of my childhood toys were made. Yes, that was probably the extent of my knowledge of Taiwan when I was little – a far away place where people hammered and sewed and assembled the toys that I played with and then stamped ‘Made in Taiwan’ somewhere on the box or toy.

A Selfie with the Chinese New Year Decor
A Selfie with the Chinese New Year Decor

Fast forward to now and I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. If it wasn’t for that casual conversation with friends over a glass (or two) of wine one cold night in January of 1999, I would have never considered teaching in Asia.The thought never, ever crossed my mind until that point in time.

One of my favorite pictures of us - Paris, France
One of my favorite pictures of us – Paris, France

My fortitude and tenacity was tested to the max when it took me nearly an entire week to get to Taiwan, a nightmare that I recently relived while writing my book. I thought about giving up on my dream to move to Asia so many times that week and if it wasn’t for my recruiter, who gave me the extra reassurance that everything was going to be OK, I probably would be in living and working somewhere in Canada right now.

Hiking in Canada
Hiking in Canada

My thirst for adventure and for experiencing new things led me to sign a third contract at the school where I worked at, which extended my time in Taiwan for one more year. And if it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have been out celebrating with a group of friends the night my husband literally danced into my life. However, if it wasn’t for his quick thinking and cleverness, he would have not gotten my number that night and we would not be together right now.

2014 Taiwan Lantern Festival
2014 Taiwan Lantern Festival

Four years later, my husband and I decided to get married. I always knew he was one (nearly) right from the beginning. We shared the same interests such as travel, we had so much fun together, and he always gave me ‘that feeling’ which never dwindled with time. When the newness of the relationship wore off, the feeling of ‘puppy love’ was still there. I was and still am a better person because of him. He is an optimist who dares me to take chances and to dream bigger. I am a realist who keeps him grounded (with regards to certain things). We complement each other. We are better people because of our relationship and each other. We may have grown up on different sides of the world but that makes life interesting.

Sun Setting over Alishan, Taiwan
Sun Setting over Alishan, Taiwan

On June 10, 2005, four years to the exact date that we met, we got married at the court.According to the lunar calendar, it was a perfect day. Probably too perfect! It was definitely a wedding to remember, all for the wrong reasons. Luckily, we had our Canadian church wedding and reception a few months later which was perfect – well, except for me putting the ring on the wrong finger. Plus, we had our reception in Taiwan where we celebrated with our closest friends.

The Beautiful Beach on Jibei [one of the many islands that comprise Penghu off the coast of Taiwan]
The Beautiful Beach on Jibei [one of the many islands that comprise Penghu off the coast of Taiwan]
Then, we come to the house which we actually purchased three months prior to completion. If it wasn’t for a series of events, this house that we bought over five year ago wouldn’t have been ours. It was the first house we looked at. My husband knew it was the one but I wanted to look at more. It was actually purchased by our neighbor who opted to buy another one. And if it wasn’t been for the poor state of the economy at the time, it would have been sold immediately at a higher price. The house was meant to be ours.


Which brings me to now! If it wasn’t for that heartbreaking news that shook me to the core and tested my hope and strength two years ago this month, but had a happy ending, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. That incident reminds me each and every day of all the good in my life and to appreciate the now, the present!

That is why I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.

Constance is a Canadian expat who currently calls Taiwan home. She blogs about her travel experiences as well as her personal reflections about expat and married life on her blog, Foreign Sanctuary. Photography is one of her passions and she shares photos from her [Photographing 2015] project daily on her Facebook page. She is also an aspiring writer with a memoir in the works.

Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

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35 Replies to “Guest Post: Everything Happens For A Reason (Even Finding Love + A New Life in Taiwan)”

  1. Thanks so much for publishing my post! It is an honor. Little did I know last year when I clicked on the link which directed me to Nicki’s guest post on your blog that I would be featured on your webpage as well. Everything indeed happens for a reason! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  2. I was delighted to get the abbreviated version of the story, but Constance! You left me hanging. I want to know about 2 years ago! I want to read more about the night you met!

    Ah, clever girl. I’m off to click on all the links you left.

  3. Like a mystery writer, you reel us in with the fascinating facts of your life in Taiwan and you marriage and then leave us with questions, hungry to hear more.

    1. @ Nicki Chen.

      I think you are truly an amazing woman and a woman ahead of her times. During the 1960’s and 1970’s when very few Western women were willing to even consider marrying or dating an Asian male, you truly exemplified your greatness by defying prejudice and the trend. Keep up the greatness.


    2. @Nicki Chen – Thanks so much for your kind words – coming from such a great writer that I admire, they mean a lot. And I actually found Jocelyn’s blog because of your guest post on Speaking of China. So, thank you!

      @Fred – I couldn’t agree more.

  4. Alright Constance, now I want to know what happened two years ago. At least I ca not remember any blog post about it in recent time! (or will it be in the book?)

  5. Beautiful story, Constance. Everything happens for a reason, and everything works out in the end. When we’re scared of what’s to come, we really just need to take the plunge and go with the flow. Which I think is what your husband did when he asked for your number many years ago 🙂

    Very romantic photos of the two of you. So sweet. I hope many photos of the two of you to come 😉 Definitely looking forward to your book and what you’ll share about you and your husband…and how you annoy him 😀

    1. Mabel, I was one who used to stressed when things didn’t go as planned. However, now I realize that sometimes the best memories are from the unplanned and unexpected adventures (and misadventures.) You are right – it is important to go with the flow.

      I love that Paris pic as well. I hope to post more in the future as well (I am getting braver)! 😉

    1. Marta’s comment made me chuckle. I know. Totally hypocritical. I post no personal photos lest the Chinese-American Boyfriend’s Family find me out. (Also, not remotely photogenic and exceptionally vain.)

      Constance, why don’t you post many selfies?

  6. @ Constance.

    I did not know that you are a fellow Canadian. I lived in Canada for many years in Richmond, BC and even acquired Canadian citizenship. I miss the fresh air. May the true north remain strong and free! I was there during the time of Trudeau and Mulroney whom we called baloney. Do you miss Canada? Will you and your husband return there to live?

    1. Ah! Hello, fellow Canadian! I love Vancouver and the surrounding area! Such a beautiful place – the scenery is out of this world [especially for a city]!

      I do miss Canada from time to time but I must say that I am very happy and content in Taiwan. I really feel at home here. As to whether or not we will ever return to Canada to live, I am not quite sure what the long term future holds, but right now, we are happy to call Taiwan home. 🙂

  7. I really enjoy reading Constance’s journey of how her life intermingled with her husband’s and how they both came together as a couple. Lovely story!!

  8. @ Constance.

    Sorry for asking this question. But have you ever been sexually harassed in Taiwan? I ask this question because I was reading a post by a White lady blogger who calls herself “Chinaelevatorstories” and she recounted how some Chinese men went crazy for foreign girls like her and one Chinese man pursued her to no end frightening her to death . Then I read another horrific story by a White American lady under the blog name “Shandongxifu” and she said that 3 Chinese men tried to grope her and she screamed and cried. Therefore, I was wondering if you had to face situations like these in the ROC.

    1. I only had one incident my second year here where a guy just kept popping up around my work and asking me for my number. However, one day he followed me on a bus and I took out my cell phone, told me I was going to call the police, and I never saw him after that.

      Other than that, I never had an incident where I felt uncomfortable. Actually, I feel very safe in Taiwan.

  9. After reading the generally positive comments and content of this site, I feel that I need to present another perspective on chinese men that I am sure would resonate with many.

    Chinese men are dirty, ugly and uncivilised. Those who choose to marry them must be crazy or stupid. The only interaction between chinese and the west should be chinese women marrying men in the west, leave chinese men out of the equation. Chinese women are pretty, sweet and demure, so they are alright. How does that disgusting race even produce such contrasting genders?

    Chinese men are a pathetic excuse for their race. They lack everything. They can’t see well because their eyes are too small and the most important of all – a particular organ is minuscule too, how does that satisfy you?

    Finally, chinese men belong to a backward race, they are unable to comprehend human rights (which shows how dumb they are), and they are unable to argue intelligently, all they know is to study hard and they expect to get somewhere in life? You must be kidding me. Go to any forum, you will see that Chinese people are unable to accept constructive criticism, they rant on to defend their race, which shows that they clearly are not smart.

    In summary, we are clearly the superior race and only Chinese women should be allowed to join us. Chinese women are quick to embrace our men because they can see that we are better than them.

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