Double Happiness: How An American Woman Fell In Love With Xi'an (And One Special Guy) | Speaking of China

35 Responses

  1. Constance - Foreign Sanctuary
    Constance - Foreign Sanctuary September 26, 2014 at 10:08 am | | Reply

    What a beautiful story – an example of everything happening for a reason. I love how you asked him for his number and he offered it to you. I also met my husband (who is Taiwanese) at restaurant/dance club but when he asked me for my number, I flat out said ‘no.’ Luckily for me, he cleverly got my number and well, let’s say, I am happy that he did!

    I wish you all the happiness and everything works out for you in the States!

    1. Marissa
      Marissa September 27, 2014 at 3:59 am | | Reply

      Thanks so much, Constance!

  2. R Zhao
    R Zhao September 26, 2014 at 10:26 am | | Reply

    What a beautiful post. It reminds me a lot of some of the things I’ve gone through with my husband. It’s a long road and isn’t always easy, but being married can be so wonderful and teaches us a lot about life and ourselves. It’s great that you have your husband to lean on and it sounds like you love each other a lot. As for moving back to the US, it’s a huge transition! It will get easier, but of course, there will always be highs and lows.

    1. Marissa
      Marissa September 27, 2014 at 4:00 am | | Reply

      Thanks, R Zhao! Purely out of curiosity, are you the R Zhao I’m friends with on FB?

      1. R Zhao
        R Zhao September 27, 2014 at 8:12 am | | Reply

        Hmmm, I don’t know. I haven’t used Facebook in awhile, but I do have an account. I go by my full name on it though (first name is Rosalie).

        1. Marissa
          Marissa September 28, 2014 at 5:32 am | | Reply

          Rosalie, I actually had you confused with someone else, but I’ve just sent you a friend request on FB 🙂

  3. Ri
    Ri September 26, 2014 at 10:37 am | | Reply

    Awwww, what a sweet story!
    Congratulations on the nuptials (though…well…late I guess) and also on getting your husband’s visa to the U.S. so easily. It’s a shame what came after was such a pain to deal with. Hopefully things will go more smoothly now he has a social security number. ^^
    (Also, your red wedding gown is fabulous! <3 )

    1. Marissa
      Marissa September 27, 2014 at 4:02 am | | Reply

      Thanks, Ri! That red wedding gown was so much fun to wear, albeit atypical of my style…as R Zhao mentioned there will be ups and downs but things will go more smoothly as long as we’re patient. 🙂

  4. Susan Blumberg-Kason
    Susan Blumberg-Kason September 27, 2014 at 1:40 am | | Reply

    I love this and realized I didn’t know as much about your story as I had thought! I didn’t know you first went to China with Goucher. ZJ has to be a real catch because 1) when my 5 year old Martin accidentally called you in Xian, ZJ was a real gentleman. And, please, anyone who wouldn’t flinch at commuting into NY for a book reading AND go on to take fabulous photos without being asked is a real keeper! I hope you kept all your wedding dresses! They’re great!

    1. Marissa
      Marissa September 27, 2014 at 4:11 am | | Reply

      Thanks, Susan! I never shared so much of our story as I wanted to do so after having finalized our move to the US and celebrating one year together. I always intended to reveal it here, thanks in part to how inspiring Jocelyn is 🙂 We bought them on Taobao so I could keep them, and it was difficult to find shops that sold dresses, especially in my size. Most Chinese brides rent dresses. My show-stopping dress is still at my in-laws in China 🙁

  5. Double Happiness story | Xiananigans September 27, 2014 at 5:35 am |
  6. Fred
    Fred September 28, 2014 at 5:53 am | | Reply

    @ Marissa.

    Wow! What a wonderful story! I was fascinated by the fact that you changed from not finding Chinese guys to be worthy of dating you for being unattractive to suddenly falling for one. Your experience is highly reminiscent of mine whereby when I as a younger Chinese man only wanted to date and marry a petite slim Chinese (or another Asian) girl because white girls were too big and fat for my liking, and then suddenly I changed to loving white girls now. I am now married to a white girl who is bigger and heavier than I am. People within my circle were initially shocked when they found out about my sudden and extraordinary reversal.

    Did anyone try to dissuade you from marrying a Chinese man?

    I am glad that your marriage is successful. I read Susan Blumger Kason’s book and she said that her Chinese parents-in-law in Hidden River advised her that so long as you two love each other you can conquer all obstacles. Even if the whole world is collapsing around you and you are living in poverty, you can still be happy if you and your spouse love and respect each other.

    I wish you and ZJ the best! Keep up the greatness.

    1. Marissa
      Marissa September 28, 2014 at 10:57 pm | | Reply


      I wouldn’t use the word “worthy” to describe why I never dated Chinese guys before. I didn’t grow up in a very racially diverse community, and I wasn’t well-acquainted with any Asian Americans, let alone Chinese Americans.

      Of course people tried to dissuade me from marrying a Chinese man, but you can’t help who you fall in love with. I’ve generally cared very little about what others think. You could say I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum.

      I’ve heard similar sentiments from ZJ’s family in the countryside that as long as we love and respect each other, we can conquer everything. My parents’ sentiment, when we revealed to them on Skype a year ago we were going to register our marriage, my dad in particular, was that they were happy as long as I was, and as long as ZJ made me happy and treated me well.

      Thanks for your sentiments and we’ll do our best to continue being great! 🙂

  7. Fred
    Fred September 30, 2014 at 1:31 am | | Reply

    @ Marissa.

    Firstly, I am “Fred” and not “Frank.”

    Secondly, I am sorry for misquoting you when I used the words “not worthy” because I thought that was your intention. Now I understand that you were raised with very little Asian exposure and thus you did not find yourself attracted to the Asians due to the lack of exposure and not due to prejudice.

    Thirdly, you rock American white girl!!!!! Keep up the greatness.


    1. Marissa
      Marissa September 30, 2014 at 5:52 am | | Reply

      I’m so sorry, Fred!

      I hope I still rock! Thanks again for your comments. It’s great to hear from other AMWF couples 🙂 Jocelyn has done an upstanding job of creating a virtual place for us.

  8. Grace Buchele Mineta
    Grace Buchele Mineta September 30, 2014 at 4:45 pm | | Reply

    Lovely story Melissa. Y’all look so happy together. And it’s a cute love story.

    1. Marissa
      Marissa October 3, 2014 at 9:49 pm | | Reply

      Thanks, Grace!

  9. Fred
    Fred October 2, 2014 at 12:48 am | | Reply

    @ Marissa.

    I am curious about one thing though. Jocelyn wrote that when she was in China, she encountered sexual harassment from some Chinese men because they viewed Western women as a bit promiscuous and thus some harassed her sexually. I was wondering did you encounter any incidents of sexual harassment and mistreatment based on this stereotype when you were living in China?


    1. Marissa
      Marissa October 3, 2014 at 9:54 pm | | Reply

      Yes, Fred, I did experience incidents of harassment and mistreatment based on the promiscuity stereotype of Western women. Luckily, never anything life threatening, or I had my husband by my side. The harassment and mistreatment did hinder my desire to go out alone, and that’s a real shame.

  10. Sveta
    Sveta October 3, 2014 at 8:39 am | | Reply

    Okay, I’m kind of late, but wow you and your husband look like an awesome couple 🙂

    1. Marissa
      Marissa October 3, 2014 at 10:02 pm | | Reply

      Thanks, Sveta! 🙂

  11. Fred
    Fred October 4, 2014 at 5:58 am | | Reply

    @ Marissa.

    Was the sexual harassment as bad as the following:



    1. Marissa
      Marissa October 10, 2014 at 5:09 am | | Reply


      what I experienced could never be categorized with the plight of women in Egypt, nor most women who experience sexual harassment. It’s unfortunate, but it happens almost everywhere, even the U.S. Case and point:


  12. Fred
    Fred October 10, 2014 at 5:27 am | | Reply

    @ Marissa.

    Wow! It is shocking to read about men who resort to violence to secure a date with a woman. It is without wonder that the woman rejected him.

    I wish you well with your new Chinese husband.

    You rock, Marissa!!!!

  13. Ella
    Ella August 29, 2016 at 4:18 am | | Reply


    My name is Ella and I am thinking of going to university to study East Asian Cultures and Civilisations, and I really want to look into doing an Immersion programme to pick up a new language, possibly Mandarin or Korean. This may seem very random, and I can’t quite explain how I ended up on this website, but I just wanted to say that this is one of the loveliest things I have ever read! Please say hello to your husband for me, and hello to you of course, I hope you both are safe and well!

    I’m sure you will continue to be an inspiration to others through showing your love for each other, thank you so much for posting this!


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