Dear Mrs. Mandy’s Mom’s Second Graders,

My name is Mandy.

I’m Mrs. Mandy’s Mom’s daughter. I used to live in Texas like you, but then I moved away from the United States to another country called Taiwan.

Yes, I realize my globe is wildly inaccurate. Just be thankful I'm not teaching your kids.

Taiwan is an island next to China and under Japan. It’s a lot smaller than the United States – it’s even smaller than Texas. In fact, Taiwan could fit inside Texas almost 20 times! Because Taiwan is so much smaller than Texas, most people live in houses that are skinny, but very tall. A lot of families live in apartments. There’s not enough room in Taiwan for people to have houses and yards like we have in Texas!

I work for a company that helps computers work together. I write long papers telling customers how to use the products the company makes. I work with two other women the same age as me: Polly and Yvonne. They can speak Chinese and English, and we have a lot of fun together.

Yvonne on the left, Polly on the right. Polly has a lot of hair in her ponytail.

After I finish working with Polly and Yvonne, I go to my second job. I teach kids just like you! Every school day I go to a family’s house and teach English to nine kids from five different families. The youngest is 6 years old. The oldest is 10 years old. They go to school until 6:00pm every day so they can learn all their regular lessons and learn English. All of my students speak Chinese, but they are very good at English, too.

Most students wear uniforms to school just like you. Since I’m not Taiwanese (a person from Taiwan, like a Texan is a person from Texas), buying new clothes is hard. I am little taller than a lot of people here, and my bones are shaped a little differently than theirs are. That makes it hard for me to find clothes that fit.

Some foreigners (people who aren’t from Taiwan) have trouble finding new clothes because they gain weight from eating all the good food here. When I eat lunch or dinner, I usually have rice and noodles with meat and vegetables. The food is very good! We eat eggs and pork and chicken, but it’s hard to find beef here. It’s also hard to find a place that will make sandwiches. Most stores don’t sell sliced sandwich meat. I like to eat lunch at Subway so I can have a sandwich just like in the United States.

Driving in Taiwan is very different from Texas. Many people drive scooters instead of cars. Scooters are like motorcycles, but they’re smaller and can’t go as fast. Adults have to drive very carefully because so many people are on the road at the same time. The scooters are allowed to drive between cars, and sometimes they drive on sidewalks, too!

Taiwan is a nice country, and the people who live here are nice, too. It’s not like Texas, so make sure you ask my students lots of questions!

Your friend,