Teacher’s insistence that I had been ruined for any but a Chinese husband made me very ornery. I decided to show her. First I thought I would go back to America to get a Master’s degree in Chinese at UC Berkeley. I was accepted to the program on the condition that I take the GRE at its February session in Hong Kong. I had my plane ticket and everything, but two days before I was scheduled to leave, a taxi cab going the wrong way down the street ran over my foot as I was stepping off the sidewalk into the crosswalk. I had several greenstick fractures in the tarsal bones of my right foot, and I was told not to walk for three weeks. The next Asian region GRE was not offered until May, and by that time it would be too late for acceptance to UC Berkeley in the fall. So I determined to stick it out in Taiwan for another year.
That year the publishing company where I worked sponsored a number of international events in Taipei, and I was very busy with translation and interpretation. At one of those events, I met a young man from Vancouver, BC, and we began a romance by correspondence. Our thought was that we would meet each others’ families when I went back for the California conference in July, and if we all liked each other, we would get engaged then. At first it seemed that we had so many things in common. But the more we corresponded, the more we both realized how far apart our concepts were. The point that killed the relationship was that I refused to give up speaking foreign languages or having friends who might speak to me in a language that he could not understand. So at our much-awaited meeting in July, I broke the whole thing off.
My friends and classmates were surprised to see me back in Taiwan again. They had been sure things would work out between the two of us and that I would be at home in Seattle planning my wedding. I was twenty-four; I had been living in Taiwan for three whole years. I now knew that my fluency in Chinese had ruined me for a monolingual, typical American relationship, but I did not really hold any great hopes of finding a Chinese husband with whom I could relate well and who was not under a heavy maternal thumb. Even my friends were at a loss for words and matchmaking prospects. Once again I could enjoy life, free of the horrible weight of thoughts about marriage. And then, when I least expected it, lightening struck, and I was head over heels in love.