TAIPEI (The China Post) — Michelle Casale moved from Germany to Taiwan a couple of years ago and immediately became an Internet celebrity. She is also known as “Red Bean Cake Sister” (紅豆餅妹) and has more than 50k followers on social media.
In an exclusive interview with The China Post, Michelle revealed that although she had a rough childhood, it didn’t stop her from working hard to earn what little she had.
At the age of 10, she worked as a newspaper delivery girl in her neighborhood and she has worked many jobs since then.
In 2010, sixteen-year-old Michelle traveled for the first time to Taiwan. It was her first time “away from home” and she realized “that [she] needed to change [her] life.”
She never really liked her life in Germany and dreamt of a new start.
Her four-week trip to Taiwan “changed [her] perspective on life” and she knew she was going to move here after she graduated.
To move to Taiwan, Michelle worked as much as she could for the two years before her graduation.
She was an employee at an Italian dessert shop during the day and a waitress at a French restaurant in the evening. She only saved up as much as she could.
After accumulating enough money for her flight to Taiwan and graduating high school, Michelle flew back to Taiwan. She calls her decision the “best decision of [her] life.”
When she first moved here, she lived with a homestay family. Soon after, she met Mr. Huang, who gave her the opportunity of working as an employee at a red bean cake (紅豆餅) stand at Banqiao (板橋).
She said that accepting the job was “the best choice [she’s] ever made.”
Many people ask her why she didn’t choose to teach English when she first came. Even though teaching gives a higher salary compared to working at the red bean cake stall, Michelle didn’t want to waste her time when she could be learning about Taiwan.
“Why should I be an English teacher?” Michelle asks, “I can speak English and German, it doesn’t benefit… me. And I wanted to understand the Taiwanese people… I want to be like a Taiwanese.”
Michelle talked about how many foreigners come to Taiwan temporarily, but she’s here to stay because she has finally “found a home.”
After working as an employee at the red bean cake store for about a month, her boss gave her the opportunity for a promotion to becoming the store manager.
This opportunity gave her a chance to learn Chinese with her coworkers and customers.
In less than a year, Michelle could understand most things in Chinese and could communicate with Taiwanese people.
Not only did Michelle learn the language, but she also met many people and made a lot of friends. She thinks “Taiwanese people are friendlier” compared to Germans and that it’s easier to make friends here in Taiwan.