Was it crazy for two women in their 40s with kids, full-time jobs, and no media experience to start a podcast during the pandemic? From our first emails in January, we never would have guessed that by September we’d be wrapping our first season with 18 episodes and hundreds of listeners. In this episode, we look at the progress we’ve made on our journey so far, what we’ve learned about ourselves and each other, and the surprises we’ve encountered along the way. We reveal popular episodes and our favorites, then share what’s in store ahead.
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[0:14] I'm Angela and I'm Annie and in every episode including this one.
We unpack and aspect of our heritage and experiences that have shaped our identity we started this podcast with the intention of learning more about our families relationship with Taiwan and exploring the very nebulous topic of Taiwanese identity.
Five months and 17 episodes later we've had yet another Hearts in Taiwan milestone.
Our season 1 finale really though it feels like every new episode and every new listener that we get is a milestone,
we're so thankful for all the things that we've learned throughout the season about ourselves our families and our communities.
So today let's take some time to reflect on this journey and what it's meant for both of us.
[1:05] We made it to the end of our first season I have such a mixed bag of feelings of sense of such a sense of accomplishment and joy and a little bit of
wow we're already at the end of our first season I mean obviously it's itself determined so it's not like somebody else said oh you have to end today there's going to be more stuff that we're going to be working on but we wanted to reflect on
what has this.
Journey so far meant to us and what have we learned from it from and what has changed for us.
Since we first started even talking about this this was the beginning of this year can you believe that it's been already it's September now.
And we started talking about this the beginning of this year it just it blows my mind still just thinking about that yeah I have to tell you that this started because in January I was doing
vision board exercise is the first time I had ever done a vision board putting that kind of intention into what do I want to spend my time on
this year it was it was not like I want to become a podcaster I think it was more about I want to develop
relationships that are aware of our heritage that kind of intention leading.
[2:34] The whole curiosity that started to wake up around our family and our family's past I'm
so glad that you said yes when I asked you if you wanted to do this exploration just to look into our family's history and then I said maybe maybe we will share it with other people
wanting to be able to continue to grow
our relationship was a big part of this and a big part of why I thought you know this was a great idea when we brought it up and people might ask why
why is this the end of the season like how do you know when you're done with the season but we actually laid out a whole season of topics like we intentionally chose the order of our topics and every single episode was
put there because it was
relevant to a part of the story that like the aspects of Heritage and identity that we wanted to address
so everything up until the raising the Next Generation encapsulates like all these
topics that we felt like it wouldn't be complete unless we included that topic this is a called a journey for a reason so us discovering these
other new things as we go through this adding these episodes like the Japanese one
as we went through this journey we're like oh my gosh this is a really important thing to cover so let's add that and now eight extra episodes later.
[4:04] I think it's so great that we've had these little twists and turns throughout this whole process
yeah absolutely I think going in my intention was just to number one investigate
our family history and whether we had any guilt per se in how the KMT treated the local Taiwanese population
and then secondarily really understand why was there such a rift between the Chinese and the Taiwanese identities and where where would I stand in that and ultimately
I feel like I have a really good handle on all of that now I feel like.
[4:50] We've done our part in healing some of the wounds between the.
Why should I run and been sure insides like like your parents did because we recognize we recognize the Pains of the past.
From the identity standpoint I now feel like I fully have the informed.
[5:11] Intention behind how I choose my identity today that's such a great thing to come out of this with it's very therapeutic
you have to talk about it and you have to recognize where there is pain maybe you didn't realize before and you're like oh yeah and actually you know it's because so many people they can only talk about heritage
and history with their family and when you have the conversation only within your nuclear family it comes with it all of that
baggage and the barriers of the families interpersonal quirks.
Exactly actually I think it's actually a good segue into how this podcast is affected our perspectives on the world so how has this podcast affected your perspective.
I appreciate now how much more complex Taiwan sister is it in relation to the world and I also am able to relate more when I hear about other conflicts between other countries because,
I see how it has played out on a personal level within the countries that are that my family was involved in
I'd say it's it kind of you know has turned me from a history avoider to a history fan like there's a new way that I look at the.
History as a subject that I really did not have an appreciation for before.
[6:40] Is is there any other way that the doing this podcast has affected your perspective.
Well so be on kind of what you were talked about in terms of just looking at it literally and on how we look at the world as a whole geopolitically or otherwise it's been
forcing function for me to do this proactive reflection and learning of understanding more about.
Why I have thus far seeing the world the way that I do.
[7:16] And it's given me so much more pride in my family and myself and knowing where we come from and connecting more deeply with that and that in and of itself effects
how I perceive the world around me and what I want to do about that moving forward it's I think it's really important because I think so many of us we feel
like this anxiety about what we see a lot of
wrong things being surfaced in the world and you can feel a little bit helpless so I feel like the.
Understanding of why the situation is the way it is helps me then know how to use my voice.
Yeah it really helps us realize the power that we have as individuals to actually affect change in every aspect of our life it's it's so great to feel that because I haven't always felt that in my life.
So go us is that what we're saying patting ourselves on the back
goes in anybody and anybody else that's like followed along on the journey because like just by paying attention and in
and educating themselves by listening to what we've been learning I think what will help ground them in what do they believe in what do they want what change do they want to see in the world
and how can they go about making that change happen so.
[8:42] Out of all of the things that we've that we faced in getting this podcast out what's been the hardest thing for you on this journey,
realizing just how little I know about a lot of things it's not as it relates to.
Our Heritage and identity all the stuff that this actual Journey has been about I'm talking more about the
colleges Circle things about it like how little I know about the Instagram I only joint like really started using Instagram because of this podcast.
The technology stuff behind all this all the systems that it takes to put together a podcast but I'm really glad that I pushed myself to do it because I
I made a commitment to myself I made a commitment to you and this is something that I really want to do
and in order to do that I have to face the things that I don't know how to do.
And I'm just kind of like in my digital technical technology box I like try things online and like with like new software and whatever.
[9:56] We all have our strengths and that's why it's great that we have our partnership because I think we have very complementary strengths and skills.
Yeah I think I think the hardest thing for me like in doing this I have all these ideas of how we can tell our story in different ways and you know be that are engaging and interesting to too.
Other people having all the ideas and wanting to do all the things and having to learn how to.
Say no for now has been really hard for me.
It's I think been a really great exercise for both of us in finding balance so talking about.
Working with each other you know because you and I spend a lot of time together but we've never worked together,
feel part of this whole journey was yes understanding our own identities and Heritage but also.
Becoming closer with each other even more so and developing a stronger relationship with each other.
So you know I've always known you to be an overachiever.
[11:06] There are definitely things that I've been able to recognize and realize about you that
I try to think about and take away for myself honestly of how can I also improve on myself based off of the things that I see coming out of you and how you think about things and how you
ghost kind of like how you go through the process because that at the end of the day it will.
Help me to better connect with you on a personal level because I understand more about.
Who you are like who you really are yeah so that's been really fun to be a part of yeah it's so gratifying to be seen like.
I think only you and Ray have had like a front-row show to me and how I do things so and like.
I can learn so much from you because as we said my perfectionism can be crippling and I can learn like healthy habits and perspectives from you of how to set the boundaries.
[12:19] I think it's really awesome to have done this together so that we can see each other more.
Everybody else kind of knows like how fun you are and also kind of like how Mama Bear you can be like taking care of your community.
Seeing all of the things that that you do not only for like executing on your personal life but also how you go about
learning all the new skills that you've been right there with me learning how to edit on Audacity and like try out all of these new crazy stupid things like I feel like if I wrote a book it would be like how to do things the hard way,
and like I'm like I don't expect anybody else to follow me on the hard way of doing this but you've been like game you know it is really interesting like.
[13:10] I think everyone has different relationships with their family members and us as cousins who lived who grew up living like 5 minutes from each other and also being two months apart in age right.
I feel like we we were never as close as we could have been after college we started hanging out together more as friends you and me and Tina
remember we would like sit at the Redwood Room in the Clift Hotel and like do our shishi bougie nights out oh my God yeah,
and we had our dreams of like where we going to be and like this was like back in the beginning of our careers right.
You were like I'm going to be Diane Sawyer shut up did I say that really yeah you're you were going to be like a great interviewer.
And I was like.
[14:03] Oh my God like when we started doing this podcast and I was like oh well I quilted guests in a different season because right now we just want to tell our story oh my God.
Annie is going to become the Diane Sawyer.
I'm Taiwanese Heritage and I know she's gonna interview people.
[14:23] This is going to realize her dream that we set like 20 years ago oh my God I totally did not remember saying.
[14:33] What else have you learned about yourself I think I've struggled the most with the identity part of this I've talked about how.
[14:42] I have always and I still kind of feel like I'm a guest in the Taiwanese identity and culture because of you know my my parents very firm belief that they are Chinese.
I get after doing this podcast I'm like.
[14:58] Two Americans I would make sure I say Taiwanese because they need to know who is Taiwan why is it important and how many Taiwanese people there are.
Out here because we are under counted and with the.
Chinese and Taiwanese people I would I would say the whole thing I would say like I am Chinese and Taiwanese but I would more likely.
[15:24] For the older Generations like Gen X and older I would say I'm Chinese because from their eyes I'm Chinese.
And I don't want to disrespect the Taiwanese Generations that their identity comes with pain and suffering.
I don't want to be like pretending that I'm Taiwanese oppressed.
You know person who whose family has suffered like that but to the younger Generations because of what we learn in episode 10 of what does it mean to be Taiwanese I feel like the modern.
[15:59] Definition of Taiwanese identity is much more accepting and welcoming and also like wanting that Unity.
So I would say I am Taiwanese to the younger generation.
It's good to think about things to the fullest extent and understanding the different audiences that could come into play and you've definitely done that.
Complex but also like you know it's I think it's true to what.
It's small part of activism little little gestures like that absolutely everything we do day-to-day being conscious of our choices being conscious of the words and the actions that we take are also forms of activism.
Switching gears I wanted to think about for some of our new listeners because we probably had a lot of.
You recent growth because of a giveaway that we did and so this could be the first episode or the second episode they've heard they may not have heard everything
so let's do like a section about like just really quick rundown of some of the highlights of the episodes that we put together this season all right.
Miguel was favorite episode sure what we say at the same time and then we can articulate like the why.
[17:21] After the count of three one two three.
[17:27] 3! 10! okay so tell me tell me why Coming to America was your favorite episode
so I really loved being able to learn more about and give voice to our parents stories
because I hadn't really done that and.
[17:47] Being able to hear it straight from them and just feel the emotion of them recollecting.
Their experiences coming to the United States and starting a really big chapter in their lives was really.
Incredible for me and I've never had these kind of conversations up until this point with my parents and being so open about anything that wasn't just school or work.
Do you feel like you've had better or more interesting conversations with your parents since doing that those interviews.
[18:21] It's been tough still you know because things aren't a switch when it comes to a relationship between parents and kids not like all of a sudden we're talking about all of our feelings and all of our
things that have happened to us in the past like it's definitely not that it still takes a lot of work but.
I do feel even just a little bit of progress is still progress,
that there is a little bit more open as a little bit more willingness to bring up things that again are not just talking about.
School or work and I think that that and of itself hell I'll take it that's good.
So what about you tell me about the what does it mean to be Taiwanese
yeah episode 10 what does it mean to be Taiwanese I think was my favorite episode because I think it made the biggest difference to me in terms of my identity struggle and I'm so I'm really grateful for
everybody else who lent their voices to the episode,
and weighed in on their perspectives of the definition of Taiwanese identity because I think the.
They were thoughtful enough to go beyond say maybe the knee-jerk concept of Taiwanese identity and.
[19:48] Really get to an articulation that.
[19:52] I think reflects the the Taiwanese culture and and shows that it's not there's not so much animosity built in and I think people who listen to that episode will feel that to like kind of feel that openness
yeah and how they how they think about when somebody else's are Taiwanese what do you think of them that was really awesome.
Okay oh so those are our favorite episodes I thought it would be good to share it with people because I think you know we pay a lot of attention to statistics so I thought it'd be interesting for people to know like what.
People have chosen as I mean the most popular episodes of what are they choosing to listen to because.
In our original intent of this podcast we thought everybody would start with episode one and listen in order to every episode but absolutely not people totally skip around people like actually I think that,
[20:49] Our number one episode of all time ever since we released it is still the most popular episode no matter how much our audience grows people do start with episode one so people do listen to Mama re Taiwanese first.
And that I'm really glad that they do that because it really makes sure that they understand where were coming from because we're not purely Taiwanese and why we're going down this path
so that is the most popular episode by far both in how many people have downloaded it and how many people listen to it but,
our second most popular is the what does it mean to be Taiwanese episode and that one.
I think we were really nervous about because it was so long.
And we were like it was our longest episode yet and we were worried like should we split it up into two episodes because we were worried that people wouldn't listen to such a long episode.
what we have found is that it still is second-highest in downloads but people have listened to it has the most plays it's definitely an episode that people come back to and explore and listen to a lot more so
those are those are the top.
I think the the fact that those two episodes are the most popular does speak a lot to the original intention of this whole podcast and that it really aligns to why people
come to us at least initially is to be a part of that
this idea of like identity understanding your identity understanding your heritage what does that mean.
And how can you define that and feel confident and what that means and I still very curious because like we have like
our listeners locations are from you know the usual suspect from the US and and Taiwan but also Canada and then a lot of other European countries there's diaspora everywhere.
[22:56] But still one of the biggest surprising things for me is among the u.s. cities we still have a lot of.
Plays a lot of interest from Ohio the suburbs of like Cleveland area and I would like
still trying to figure out like who are listeners in Ohio because it's not an area that I meet a lot of Taiwanese people from if you're out there.
We would love to hear from you and tell us more about your thoughts so that's like the most popular episodes in our favorite episodes.
What would you say is the most underrated episode of like what we've put out and what.
It's not getting as much attention as you think it should so this is going to be last one specific episode and one that and more one theme I would say that not just book clubs are really the most I would consider the most underrated.
I think it's this goes back to this idea of representation matters and the ability to bring to light all this different type of New Media that does represent.
Various parts of the Asian American community and experiences it.
[24:15] It really helps all of us who are a part of that better recognize and,
be proud of where we come from and see our experiences reflected and it's so great to know that we that there exists so much.
More of that kind of media.
That is representative of our experiences that we almost feel like we can never catch up because there's so much content and I love that the that
is even an issue yeah I think there is a lot of interest there in the Asian American creators but maybe like.
Maybe we will.
Not just talk about like how it was as a reader but people like people come for the Heritage identity conversation and maybe we talked with the Creator's more about there.
Process I remember having so much fun just editing pen15 like.
I will be sitting there on the computer and Ray be next to me doing his work and like I could just busting out laughing it's just like the episode made me laugh so much.
[25:24] Yeah I will say I do find myself laughing when I do edit a bunch of our episodes I do find myself laughing.
Add ourselves because I find something is so funny so I'm just like haha as I'm Lila and then I think to myself like.
I don't know that anybody else would have the same reaction if they heard this but I am like dying right now laughing.
[25:50] So I think we're both hilarious and I also another.
I'd say underplayed episode for me is the Wang or Wang episode
because not everyone has the struggles with how their own names are pronounced but especially with the release of Shang Chi the new Marvel
superhero movie featuring Simu Liu as I'm listening to it and seeing how Simu and the other actors have to.
[26:21] To go through the struggle of like how is the movie named even pronounced in all of their press interviews it just it reinforces this like whole.
Thing of how you get other just through language in in the host culture in like the American culture
and like see who had to do a whole tweet like
this is how you pronounce all of these names associated with the movie especially the movie title is self is Shang Chi and when I heard.
Awkwafina get interviewed by Dax Shepherd on armchair expert it was like nails on a chalkboard for me.
Because it was first taxes like so how's this Shang Chai.
Movie what is it pronounced Shang Chai? and then he kept going he was like so tell me about Shang Chai and she's like
no it's Shang Chi Shang Chi Shang Chi I thought you were kidding with like how poorly she thought he was making a joke like not knowing.
How and I'm like oh my God he really he really had no I didn't know research to figure out how to pronounce how the name of the movie that he was about to interview his guests about the not dying
episode like really showed a lot of ignorance on his part.
Right the whole way along and just how.
[27:47] Asian Americans face that kind of that extra struggle of assimilating into American society I think that that episode should be with them through more.
Good now we have all these recommendations that people don't know where to start so we've highlighted a few of the episodes that we think are really key
to this whole first season now kind of pulling away a little bit away from the specific episodes just overall what about what would you say is has been the biggest surprise for you
throughout all of this oh I totally thought that people would only want to listen to like the light-hearted fluffy stuff but in reality
most people listened to the hard hitting episodes the the episodes that were core to the purpose especially
I really thought like the episodes on massacres and cover-ups we're going to be the least listened to because it was such heavy material and like.
[28:45] Often when I'm listening to podcast I just want like the light entertainment I want like jokes and make me laugh and like get me out of this like pandemic disaster but.
I've been so happy that people have taken an interest and spent that time hearing the full story behind what went on behind 228.
And other massacres throughout Chinese and American history and how governments,
respond to those and cover them up and how that's not right,
so I'm so glad and surprise surprise that people have been listening to them and,
stuck through like not just the first half that's only about 228 and white Terror but also the second half about how the government's are covering all this up and that's how we counter
all the harms that have been done in the past so that's been the biggest surprise to me.
[29:44] How about you what was the biggest surprise for you my biggest surprise has been the response to the podcast from non-asian Americans,
I've had a number of people who are white
and their families have been in the United States for a number of generations and they've listened to the podcast
and the responses have been very consistently it was so great listening to your podcast because actually you know it made me start thinking about what.
[30:16] I know about my family's Heritage and what our history looks like and realizing that.
[30:25] You know I don't know as much as I feel like I should or that I want to know and oh I'm
I'm going to see my parents this weekend and that I haven't there's a bunch of questions that I want to ask them about our family's story.
And so thanks for for making me recognize that and making me realize this part of me that I want to dig deeper into.
I was like what it was awesome to hear that and one of my other co-workers he sent me this really nice no.
I've been listening to your podcast at as a white guy it really helps me to better understand the non-white male perspective,
and one more thing that I did get that I thought was really a great another co-worker actually has two adoptive Taiwanese daughters and sent me a no and said hey
I actually have been listening to it with both of my Taiwanese daughters and because I want to try to make sure that
I am continuing to and trying to grow and Foster their own identity and put them in front of really strong.
Asian female role models especially Taiwanese ones and I was like oh my gosh also wow that's amazing so.
Really surprising and so re reinforcing of the things that we're doing and that it's spreading Beyond kind of what our original
plan was absolutely above and beyond like our goal has always been to help others understand their own Heritage and identity and we can only start with our own.
Culture in our own country.
[32:14] We ultimately wanted it to be kind of a template of how might you go about this exploration for yourself there's I think the bottom line is there so much,
for all of us to learn and continue to learn about ourselves and our families and the communities around us and everything that we do whether it's in the form of a podcast or just doing our own reading or
talking to other people around us every little bit matters.
[32:45] For all of us and we're doing this as a collective whole and I'm just so excited to see what else the rest of this year and the next year and Beyond is going to hold for
for you for me
and do the podcast what we're doing for our families so I would love to hear what you hope.
This next year.
[33:12] We'll bring we should address the first question that everybody is going to have especially knowing that this is a season finale episode is will there be another season.
We have been cagey because we hadn't had the conversation until today about whether we were going to have a second season and part of it is because it we have recognized that this has taken so much work and so much.
Time that we don't necessarily have but this is also something that like.
We felt we couldn't not do because we were so compelled by the.
[33:47] The need to explore all of these topics and like get the message out there so,
lot of Transformations coming but I think we're both committed to that the conversation is not going to end and our,
our commitment to hosting people on this journey and being.
Right there with you on your journey through life is is not going to end,
on that kind of know I do also hope that this next year as we evolved what
hearts in Taiwan looks like that the connections that we've made with
other people in the Taiwanese Chinese American Community just that we can have this opportunity to build even deeper connections with them to really
further under our understanding of their perspectives and view on the world so that we can achieve like this broader.
better understanding others perspectives better understanding our own perspectives and then how do we bring all that together to create a stronger community that can really move forward and progress in a way that is going to help,
all of us as a whole so I'm super excited about that.
[35:11] What we want to do most is create a space for people like us to connect with our heritage and.
Our culture like the the heritage of the past and the culture of the present
and in some ways it's going to be celebrating things about Taiwan today or celebrating things that people are creating from the community today and in other ways it's going to be having conversations with people
to really better understand what what drives us to affect change
in the world we are so honored that you chose to spend the first season of Hearts in Taiwan with us to our friends families and listeners thank you for your support.
And to the new folks we've connected with as a result of hearts in Taiwan thanks for your partnership but more importantly thanks for bringing your perspectives to the world.
To see what's next for Hearts in Taiwan make sure to follow us on Instagram or Facebook or
we also recognize that not everybody is on social media so we're going to offer a way to sign up for emails from us on our website heartsinTaiwan.com.
[36:26] We promise not to email you very much because we don't even have time to make a lot of emails so we'll just send emails when we actually have something new for you to listen to or watch and
while you wait now is a great time to rate and review us on Apple podcasts to help others discover us and we'll link to instructions on how to do that
from our website make sure to subscribe or follow at your favorite podcast app so you'll see the next episode after we take a break to plan and produce the next season.
[37:00] Until then follow your curiosity and follow your heart.