Unexpected Gain in Business Travel


Recently I went to Taipei for a business trip and spent three days there for work. The schedule was super tight, and I barely had free time to catch up with friends or to explore the city. But I still squeezed some time to meet with my maternal aunt on my last day in Taipei, which was quite worthwhile and meaningful.

She is the little sister of my grandmother, and only one year older than my mother. She moved to Taipei in the early 90s and has been living there for about 20 years. To be honest, I have a very limited impression of this aunt since she is far away from the family all the time, and doesn’t come back to visit family members often. However, she is in close touch with my grandmother and even my mother and is highly recognized by the family because of her success, beauty, independence, and kindness. Since it’s my first time to visit Taipei, my mother urged me to meet her, and my aunt is also very looking forward to hosting me in Taipei. I think it means a lot to her because, in the past twenty years, very few family members had been to Taipei to visit her.


As for our meet-up, she insisted on inviting me for lunch at a well-known steak house, and I really appreciated her hospitality and generosity. During our 3-hour lunchtime, we talked a lot about food and drinks to make full use of every minute left. I updated her on the status of some family members, and also shared my own life and working progress in recent years. Meanwhile, she gave me a very detailed review of how she overcame all kinds of difficulties in her early years in Taipei as an expat from the mainland of China, and then gradually earned recognition and respect from the local. It really impressed and touched me, because I never thought she had been living such a tough life with very limited support from friends and family. But the good thing is that she went through all these hard challenges and developed excellent interpersonal skills. This also resonated with my experience in New York, which was also full of hardships and challenges.


The sharing of similar experiences and values makes us more intimate, and we promised each other to stay in touch afterward. Sometimes, we just need the right timing to develop a deeper relationship with family members whom we were never close to or familiar with. But once the opportunity comes, we should try our best to seize it, and this may bring you unexpected gains.

Lee Zhang, Shanghai

Lee Zhang

You can contact Li Zhang at zhangli0828@hotmail.com.