Kristen, a white Christian girl from America, never thought she’d marry someone different from her. But then she met a Christian man from China on a road trip, a man who would bring her unexpected love and blessings.
I always wanted to end up with someone different from me, but would that ever actually happen? I was pretty cynical.
Instead, I pictured myself ending up with someone who, like me, had grown up in small town New Hampshire his whole life. The people I met at college were all basically male versions of myself: native New Hampshirites of French and Irish heritage. That’s when I decided to make a voyage to Italy to study abroad — and, perhaps, meet someone there.
At the same time, life seemed to be taking me to the Midwest. I found myself on my way to St. Louis, Missouri for a large Intervarsity Christian conference called Urbana. Of course, sitting beside me in our van was this random guy from China, who I ended up talking to about my plans to travel to Italy, as well as everything else we could think to share with each other. Conversation flowed easily despite my shyness and his imperfect English. I never mentioned the part about finding my man in Italy, but I was secretly hoping that this guy wasn’t developing feelings for me.
I went to Italy, but only stayed two weeks before making the tumultuous trip back to the U.S. I missed my family and friends so much it felt like my heart was being stretched out across the Atlantic Ocean. At that point, my dreams to do international missions seemed flushed down the toilet. I figured if I was so lonely after only two weeks in Europe, how could I ever live in Africa as a missionary?
Then that May, I was reunited with my Chinese road trip companion at a Campus Crusade meeting. The next day happened to be my friend Sam’s 21st birthday, and she invited him to her day-long party that included laser tag and going out for drinks. Afterwards, I found myself coming home to some strange and unfamiliar feelings towards this Chinese guy — that maybe I could really like him.
That summer, he became part of my close group of friends and we did everything together, from spending a day at the beach to wasting an evening at Wal-Mart. Though I had deep and genuine feelings for him, I still didn’t believe anything would come of it. He was four years older than me, a graduate student working on his master’s degree, while I was going into my senior year as an undergrad. Plus, we came from two opposite ends of the Earth. Before, when we first met on that road trip to St. Louis, I feared he was falling in love with me. By then, I doubted he even saw me as anything beyond just a friend. But I so enjoyed the excitement of liking him and decided not to worry what would happen. How I wished that summer would last forever.
That July, he mentioned over lunch that he loved this lady, but wasn’t sure what to do because she lived in New Hampshire and he planned to move to Wisconsin in a few months for school. I assumed he referred to some Chinese woman who I’d never met, but he had known for his entire three years of school at the University of New Hampshire. After all, if he meant me, he would have said so.
I felt disappointed, but we were spending the whole day together in Boston and I didn’t want my feelings to get me down. I still felt honored he would share his deepest feelings with me, as if I were his younger sister. I felt so close to him and optimistically mused to myself that perhaps, once he finished with school in Wisconsin, he would come back and maybe something would happen then.
Later that day, while at the beach, I shamelessly devoured a large bowl of coffee ice cream he had bought for me. While my mouth was full of ice cream and he happened to be loading things into the trunk of his car, he suddenly turned to me and said, “You know I like you, right?”
At that moment, he was the most adorable creature I’d ever seen, and I was probably the most excited girl on the face of the Earth. I ran around the parking lot, squealing so loudly that the whole of New England probably knew what was happening. He just stood by his car the entire time, patiently waiting for me to calm down and smiling shyly. I talked non-stop the entire drive home, letting him know I’d liked him since Sam’s birthday party and blushing every time he lifted my hand up to his lips and kissed it gently.
Since then, much has happened including two road trips to Wisconsin, a trip to Florida, an engagement, and three weeks in China. The most amazing thing is that falling in love with him and surviving a full week longer in China than I did in Italy rekindled my dreams of doing missionary work overseas.
I never expected any of this. But I thank God for blessing me with such a wonderful guy and for not giving up on my dreams of international missions. I’m extremely excited to see what our next step will be, and can’t wait to marry him this coming July.
Kristen expected to marry an Italian guy and move to North Carolina. Life decided to take her in a slightly different direction.
How did you meet? Why do you love him/her (or Chinese men/Western women)? How two different people “complete each other” in unexpected ways? We’re looking for a few good stories from Chinese men and Western women in love to share on Fridays. Submit your original story or a published blog post today.