It’s amazing how far people will go for love, even learning a foreign language and then flying to a foreign land to ask for her hand in marriage.
No, I’m not referring to one of the plot lines from “Love, Actually” — I’m talking about Fred and his story of finding love in Brazil, a story I couldn’t wait to hear after he posted a comment and e-mailed me.
I figure, maybe his story will inspire more of you to “think outside the borders” for love. 😉
I am a Han Chinese man born in Hong Kong. After immigrating to the West as a young boy, I was raised both in Western and Chinese cultures. When the time came to start dating, my first preference was for Chinese women. I found them attractive and compatible with my cultural background. Plus, my parents wanted me to marry someone Chinese.
I never thought I would end up marrying a white woman from Brazil.
When I started dating more traditional Chinese women — especially those from Hong Kong — I discovered that our cultural differences were much too wide. For example, these Chinese women didn’t like public displays of affection such as kissing, bear hugs and twirling in the air, or pinching. They considered my behavior too Western and rejected me.
Out of frustration, I decided to try Western women. After all, my older brother was the first date and marry a white American woman and my younger sister was then dating a white man.
Initially, I hesitated because dating a Western woman would upset my folks. I guess I wasn’t alone because all of us — me, my older brother and my younger sister — said we would never marry someone white.
When my brother later announced his marriage to his white fiancee, my parents were so upset that they did not even attend the wedding. Neither did my sister, so I went to his wedding on my own. I guess my sister learned the meaning of “never say never” when she ended up dating and marrying a white man, much to my parents’ dismay. In both cases, my parents eventually came around and accepted these marriages, but it didn’t come easy.
After seeing what happened to my siblings, I decided to chase Western women. After all, my parents eventually welcomed their choices. I knew I would probably have to fight for mine, just like they did, and hoped I would win.
A friend of mine was engaged to marry a Brazilian woman, and he suggested finding love in Brazil. I agreed, but didn’t know how. Then he mentioned he would introduce me to a female friend of theirs from Brazil who would attend their wedding that summer.
In the months before the wedding, I studied Portuguese. When we finally met for the first time in the summer of 2000, we liked each other, fell in love, and enjoyed a summer romance. It was the most romantic summer of my life. She didn’t mind being affectionate in public — kissing, pinching, hand-holding, twirling her in the air, sitting on my lap, and many other fun things that shall remain secret. Then she returned to the US for a winter romance with me.
In 2001, the following year, I proposed to her, and she said “yes.” But now I had to win the confidence of her family in Brazil and ask her parents for the right to marry her. I studied even more Portuguese with a private tutor so I could communicate with them.
When I told my parents I was going to Brazil to formally propose, I expected a lot of opposition from them and prepared to fight for the woman of my dreams. My parents weren’t very happy, but they accepted the inevitable.
When I arrived in Brazil’s capital, I felt so out of place. I didn’t see any fellow Chinese, apart from a few here and there. But fortunately, her family accepted me and really made me feel welcome.
After my trip to Brazil, she moved to the US and we married. We now live in Torrance, California with two children, and have been happily married for almost 10 years.
Fred practices employment law in Torrance, California.
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.