The Two Taras: Same Name, Very Different Lives


Across the world in China, Tang eats in a cafeteria with her coworkers. She buys snacks from a vending machine that also sells cigarettes. Tang follows her lunch with a game of ping-pong.

These young women have more in common than one might think. Both love sports. Tang loves yoga and swimming. Walsh loves going to the gym and taking spin classes.

They both fret about sky-high real estate prices.

"I've always thought that I would own a home by now, but D.C. has a bubble for housing prices," Walsh said.

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Chinese Wedding vs. American Wedding

Both women are married. Tang wore red robes at her wedding. That's considered lucky in China, a tradition dating back 1,400 years. Walsh wore a classic white dress.

While Walsh lives with her husband, Tang's husband lives some 600 miles away in Shanghai, where he was offered a job in real estate. In China, one doesn't say no to opportunity.

Tang sees her husband every six weeks.

The two women both want to own homes and have children. Tang wants two, despite her country's emphasis on having only one child.

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"I heard that if both the man and woman are the only child in their families, for the next generation, they can have two," she said.

Most days, Tang hits a restaurant with girlfriends after a long workday. Back in the United States, Walsh and her husband cook dinner before settling in front of the television.

"We like 'Modern Family,'" Walsh said. "We really enjoy 'The Office' too over the years."

Tang doesn't watch much TV in her Beijing apartment, but when she does, she'll watch American shows like "The Good Wife" or "Gossip Girl."

Two Taras Differ On Views of Religion

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While so much about these women is similar, so much is different too.

Walsh and her husband were married by a priest and attend Catholic Church weekly.

"Family is really important to us, so we want to have as many kids as we can, around three or four kids...and it's important to us that they are raised Catholic in the Catholic community as well," Walsh said.

Family is important to Tang too, but in atheist China, religion is not.

"Well, I respect people who have religions, but...when I grew up, I didn't know how to believe in [being] religious, but I respect them," she said.

Emotion Not Expressed as Openly in China

The two women differ in how they express emotion as well.

"I say 'I love you' every single day to my mom, to my dad and my brother and to my husband and even to my dog," Walsh said.

In China, Tang admits that she doesn't always tell her husband that she loves him, even though she feels that way.

"We are not taught to always say, 'Hi, Mom, I love you,' but you can feel that they love you of course, but they don't really express their feeling to your directly," Tang said.

On the subject of each other's countries, there is mutual admiration.

"I think in America, you can have your dream and people always talk about [their] dream and believe that one day your dream can come true," Tang said.

Walsh said that she thinks China is a fast growing superpower full of opportunities.

"I know that the U.S. and China, their economies are really closely tied, so in a way, we're bound to China and they're bound to us... so it's really important for the U.S. to have a great relationship with them," Walsh said.

Two women with so much in common despite 7,000 miles between them.

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