Having afternoon tea with IWAT members
Members of IWAT move with their husbands to different countries all over the world. While abroad, they communicate with other wives who have similar hobbies to make their lives colorful and vivid. They cherish friendship between each other.
A nice afternoon tea
One sunny afternoon, I went to visit Mrs. Higashiyama in a beautiful mansion in Xitun District. She had already bought some delicious cakes from a nearby bakery for her guests, Coral from Singapore, and Amy from the USA. Then she made some light coffee for the cakes, and started a lovely afternoon party.
Mrs. Higashiyama's full name is Shubeni Higashiyama, while her friends usually call her Scarlet. Scarlet met her past husband in Japan, and after they got married, they moved to Taiwan. When she first arrived, she couldn't speak any Chinese, and could only communicate with her parents-in-law in Japanese when facing this big traditional Taiwanese family-let alone make a good friend of herself. As time went by, she learned to speak Chinese and Taiwanese, got to know some other foreigners' wives, and started to enjoy her life. Now, she has been living in Taiwan for twenty-five years.
Showing talent of design
By entering the IWAT (International Women's Association of Taichung), some foreign wives have got to know Scarlet. Since Scarlet speaks fluent English, getting along with those women is not a problem. And the most impressive and admirable thing about Scarlet is her talent for art with her clever hands.
Scarlet has set up a "Jewelry Design & Repair" club. She said, "Real jewel r y i s expensive, and will probably be destroyed when making things. So I choose semi-stones and high-quality accessory items to make the jewelry more durable, like beautiful and creative necklaces, bracelets and so on." She opened her drawers; all of the contents were her beautiful works, which were almost as good as we see in the boutique shops. I suggested that she should build up a website store. She smiled. She said she has some students learning jewelry design from her, and it is her favorite free-time activity.
Sitting beside Amy and Coral, they kept saying that Scarlet was so good. They brought some half-finished pieces and some broken ones for Scarlet to repair or give suggestions about. On the table are all kinds of tools and accessories, which she bought at the jade market on Wenxin Road and other bead shops. In only a few minutes, working on the broken necklace, it is back to the original look.
Moving around with husbands
Amy has been in Taichung for about two years. Her husband is working for Cornings Inc. in Central Taiwan Science Park. Coral's husband is an architect, who came to Taichung for the Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) project. He is mainly responsible for Wurih Station construction. Lately, there has been some negative news about the High Speed Rail system, but she is still very confident about it. She said "My husband has taken the Taiwan High Speed Rail between Taipei and Taichung several times since last October."
Amy described her life when she just arrived in Taichung: "I was almost like a baby; couldn't or didn't know where to go and what to do. Everything was a challenge." Now she has found out how to adjust and accommodate herself to this environment. "Now I am five years old." She joked. Adding, "What is hard for us is that after we meet other foreign wives and become good friends, they have to go back to their countries because the project is over." They move to wherever their husbands go. That's their lives.
Markets are their favorite places
Coral told me that the places they visit the most are markets. Shuinan market, Xiangshang market, flower markets, jade markets, and all kinds of other markets are where they find their 'treasures.' Moreover, they like to go to exotic restaurants, for example, LAffection, Finga's Base Camp, and Da Tang Sheng Shi, where they sell very good Cantonese deserts. They also like to compare which restaurants serve good food with good prices. There are other people who like to do scrapbooking, and share their unique designs with each other. They use buttons, dried flowers and anything that can be glued on their notebooks and albums. One of Amy's special interests is riding a scooter in Taichung. "This is one of the best ways to get to know Taichung!"
Sharing hobbies with friends who are also from overseas is what these foreign wives like to do, and it has become a very important part of their lives. How long they will stay in this country is still unknown; to make plans for the future seems quite difficult. Maybe the best thing to do is to cherish each friendship and make the most of their enjoyable time together. It is the best way of living in a foreign country.