A Taste of Home
My coworkers often joke about my eating habits. I'm a picky eater and often only eat rice and vegetables for lunch. A few weeks ago my school served corn, and rather than following my usual tradition of eating very little, I ate four bowls. My coworkers commented that it was the most they'd ever seen me eat, and mentioned that the corn probably came from America.
I don't know if that corn specifically was an American export, but it very well could have been. Taiwan is currently the 10th largest trading partner with the United States at a total of $64.5 billion in trade between the two. $3.3 billion of American goods exported to Taiwan are agricultural products. This includes soybeans （$586 million）, corn （$462 million）, beef and beef products （$363 million）, wheat （$256 million）, and fresh fruit （$221 million）.
In 2016, the U.S. produced 15 billion bushels （1 bushel = 35.2 liters） of corn （25.4 kilograms per bushel）. I'm from the Midwest region, the largest producer of American corn. Most of this corn becomes ethanol or livestock feed, but almost 10 percent was exported to other countries. Taiwan imports 4 percent of this exported corn; it's fascinating that corn is such a substantial part of American-Taiwanese agricultural trade.
It's possible that the corn I ate at school was produced in my native state, Illinois. Most importantly, however, corn is a reminder of home. I ate corn almost every day when I was young. Corn fields dotted the landscape, and a normal summer job was "detassling" （removing the flower from the corn）. On my way to He Pu Elementary School （何浦國小）, I sometimes mistake the sorghum fields for corn fields, and I remember my home.
David Stage is an English teacher at He Pu Elementary School. He was born in Illinois and graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a major in history.