In this picture you can see my amazing host family.
When you are going to live in the same house with people you have never met before the only thing you hope for is that you will feel comfortable with each other. In my case it is not just feeling comfortable. In my case it is having great time together, talking hours by hours at dinner table, understanding and respecting each other and finding a common language even if English vocabulary is terribly missing 😉
During these great conversations at dinner table I’ve learnt a lot about Taiwanese culture. Now with permission of my host dad I want to share with you a story that made me literally sit with my mouth open being able just to blink in a great astonishment while my host dad was calmly telling me the story of his babyhood.
The story started with a sentence: “Well, I actually have TWO families”.
“Ok”, I shrugged my shoulders, “it must be something similar to our European godmother and godfather”. But I was thinking in a totally wrong direction.
My host dad was born 39 years ago. His parents were very much pleased and proud because he was their third son. But there was another family in their neighborhood that had three daughters but no sons. So they asked my host dad’s family to sell them one of their sons. After a short reflection and a very simple documents procedure a deal was made. My host dad who was 4 months old at that time moved to another family.
Interestingly, he has always had good relationships with both of his families. He says he has 3 sisters and 2 brothers. All of them are equally important to him.
I don’t know what you think about this story, my dear reader, but I was totally shocked. And I assume so are you now.
Why did this happen?
The answer is simple: Boys were/are very valuable in China/Taiwan because they are the ones who have to take care of their parents when they get old and (very important!) after their death. When a girl marries a man here, she doesn’t belong to her family any more. Her husband’s family becomes her family. So her parents can’t count on her.
But you have to consider that the years are passing by and the times are changing. Now you will not hear such kind of stories. And I think this is the way it should be.