Guapa means good-looking or handsome in Spanish. It’s also a lovely word to start off a story about an equally lovely couple — Laura, from Spain, and Tony, from China.
Thanks to Laura for sharing this story, and the photographs.
Tony calls me cariño (dear), sometimes guapa (good-looking), and other times Lauritina. It is really wonderful to have someone who calls you guapa when you get home.
We met in a Suzhou Starbucks, while I was having a coffee with a friend and he was chilling out after a meeting in Suzhou.
He came over the table and he introduced himself. He wanted to practice his English and our table was the most suitable one for that purpose. We talked for some minutes and when we told him we actually speak Spanish, he took out a book from his bag, I couldn’t believe it, he bought a book to learn Spanish the same day we met. Well, that must mean something, I thought.
In the following days we met a few times more in the same place, and then finally exchanged numbers. After some weeks of talking and meeting randomly, he invited me for a night walk and hot tea.
How I remember that night, when he held two cups of tea in his hands. We talked and walked, never minding that the night was cold. We went to the Stadium, where Tony spoke of his hobbies, his favorite poems, and life.
He walked me home, where he suddenly popped a question. “Do you like me?”
I turned red like a cherry tomato, and felt so much pressure at first. But he looked a bit worried — and I thought, Well, he is asking for some reason. So I said, “Yes!”
Then he also said, “I like you.”
One evening, we went out for dinner with his mum, sister, brother-in-law and nephew. I won’t forget that day since we shared such a nice time together. His nephew, Shuo, also enjoyed kicking me under the table. Afterwards, we met his sister’s family quite often.
His sister and nephew even spent two weeks with us during the summer holiday — by that time, Tony and I were already living in Shanghai. Coming home after work to such a nice family really made me feel like I had a real home. Dinner was sometimes ready, and Shuo was jumping around.
This year, we went to Linyi for Mid-Autumn Festival to visit with his family. Just like every other Chinese family, we gathered together and ate — a lot! (I guess that’s why I was so sick in the days afterwards.) We spent time with Tony’s mother and father. I have to say, Tony’s family is amazing. They are so happy and easygoing. I had a lot of fun with his father, who I met for the first time. He made such a great effort to communicate with me, and we really connected.
During those days, many people came around the house to say “hello” — and also to see me, the foreign girlfriend. Everyone raised some interesting topics: Which language do you use? How is your family? Do you have brothers and sisters? Do you like it here? What are your plans? My favorite question of all was, Do you have peanuts in Spain? I liked it because peanuts are so important in Spain — such as in peanut soup. Someone even proposed that I export their peanuts to Spain (I’ll think about it).
My father is now in China, and he has enjoyed his time with Tony’s family. They somehow manage to communicate, from a few Spanish words to a few Chinese words and all of the translations in between. They manage to communicate even when nobody is there to translate for them, which is awesome.
I have to say, Tony and I really complement each other. He is very patient and that calms me down a lot. Maybe this sounds like a stereotype, but I seem typically Spanish in that I can’t stop thinking sometimes — in a messy way — about everything. When I had problems with my visa, he was always there to put my mind at ease. Later, after I got my visa, Tony confessed that he too struggled with my visa issues, yet he didn’t show his struggles. He was so strong, a strength I hope to have one day.
Laura is a project manager in Shanghai.
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.