I’m pretty new to being an actual “expat”, even though I’ve lived overseas most of my life. Born in Hong Kong to missionary parents, the term never really applied to me. Third culture kid, sure, but I was not the one who had left my home, or who was living in a foreign country. I was neither American nor true local Hong Konger, but rather some strange conglomeration of all my cultural influences. Hong Kong, by the time I was growing up there, had become such an international hub that I lived not astride two cultures, but many. A global community, from which a global sense of identity arose.
I lived in America for 11 years after moving there for university, starting in Seattle (<3) and ending in Boulder, Colorado (<3). After an unusually long undergraduate career I completed a degree in Philosophy, with a certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies. I had always known that after graduating I wanted to move back to Asia. My husband (willing party to my wild travel fantasies) and I decided Taiwan would be a nice, neutral territory since neither of us had ever been, and moved at the end of 2018.
Despite having known what it is to be an expat intimately my entire life, I’m only now experiencing it for the first time. I believe that expats have a unique responsibility in the world to connect people, to facilitate understanding of other cultures, and to encourage global cooperation. In these times, we are also uniquely positioned to genuinely grapple with existing legacies of imperialism around the world, and to be better advocates for our fellow humans in the pursuit of equality and justice.
I try to become a better, more informed and more respectful expat through earnestly seeking to uncover more about this unique place I now live. What I find I hope to share with others, that it might encourage them to do the same.
Here’s a Myspace-reminiscent questionnaire I made up so you can get to know me a bit better:
My spirit plant is a fern.
Nostalgia is my drug of choice.
When I wake up I write down my dreams.
I currently love listening to Yumi Zouma, Toumani Diabaté, and as always a lot of lo-fi (shout-out to Chillhop Music, Lofi Girl & The Jazz Hop Café).
Sometimes I dabble in painting.
Most of my life has been spent in Hong Kong.
Things I want to write about are culture, travel, eco tourism, sustainability, religion, poetry, reiki, spirituality, women’s health and planet earth.
My unrealized hobby is playing the guitar. It only sits in the corner gathering dust.
I will not apologize for loving Titanic. Also Coldplay.
I could not live without windows.
Three books I recommend are An Interrupted Life: The Diaries, 1941-1943; and Letters from Westerbork by Etty Hillesum, Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett, and The Beautiful: Collected Poems by Michelle Tea.
My most timeless album is Takk by Sigur Ros.
I believe in the transformative power of stories.
I am scared of driving.
My goal this year is to start driving.
I currently live in Keelung, Taiwan.
Get in touch @ corissa.joy.peterson[at]gmail.com