Anyway, Catherine, Kath, Cahleen and I had an awesome lunch today at Booday, talking about all sorts of interesting things (no details, sorry) pertaining to expat life, being female expats in Taipei and being female bloggers generally.
It was great - there aren't enough female expats in Taiwan as I've said quite recently, and even fewer female bloggers (notice my links to the few I've found on the righthand side) so it was fantastic to sit down and chat informally with some of the few who are here. We numbered three Americans/one Kiwi, three Caucasians/one Asian American, three as-yet childless women/one mother, of the Americans we had two West Coasters and one East Coaster (me) but in the end I think we've got way more in common than is different between us - and that's what's important.
We're all serious about building good lives for ourselves and not dithering about in purposelessness, we're all here for the medium-to-long-term (if I end up at Tai Ke Da for Applied Foreign Languages we'll all be here for a longer haul). We're all married and one of us has a kid, but we all enjoy discussing things that don't revolve around husbands and babies (although we talked about those too).
I personally left feeling fantastic - just the chance to talk with other lovely Western women - real women, not the archetypes and stereotypes so rampant in the expat community - about stuff was a sort of Happy Tonic mood lifter and confidence booster. Women, in numbers, supporting and not judging is something we need more of in the Taiwan (and Asian, and worldwide) expat community (and women's sphere generally), and I have been thinking a lot since the post about the dearth of expat women in Asia about how that can be really hard to come by, and what might be done about it.
That's what community is really about - a shame blaster when you need it, a sanity check when you feel like "if women like it, it must be stupid" is taking over the expat world, and a confidence booster to tell you that no, you are not alone in feeling weird about looking different from the vast majority of local women, that no, you are not weird or unwelcome in the expat world because you're not interested in Carnegie's or a Taiwanese girlfriend, and that yes, your needs are also worthy of thought and public discourse.
And I mean worthy of public discourse whether it's something simple like where to buy women's Western-size office shoes in Taipei, without having to wade through hundreds of posts of pure rubbish on Forumosa, or something complex like views on women in politics, moving to Taiwan because of marriage or being pregnant and having a baby in Taiwan.
We all need that - we all need more of that. Maybe if it were easier to come by, there would be more expat women here for the long haul in the first place!