Double Happiness: Love on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau – Konchok and Kimberly


Ever since I discovered the blog Nama-Mama back in April, I’ve been dying to know the love story behind it all. I mean, it’s not every day you run across a white American gal who fell in love with and married a Tibetan man. Well, I’m excited that Kimberly stepped forward to tell us all how she and Konchok met!

If you’ve ever been intrigued by life in far Western China, Tibetan culture, or just what it’s like to raise a multicultural, biracial child in an unusual locale, you don’t want to miss Nama-Mama.

Want to share your own love story or other guest post here on Speaking of China? Visit my submit a post page to learn how

Before I went to live in Xining I sometimes joked to my parents that I might find a nice guy there and settle down. My mother always gave me a disapproving look, which I laughed off because I wasn’t serious. I went back to China because I missed it, and because I had the chance to go to a place out west, where I could be among Tibetans and other minorities.

I met an amazing Canadian woman there and we became really good friends. At the time she was an English teacher for an organization. After she got to know me well, and I had told her that I wouldn’t mind meeting a nice young man, she introduced one of her students: K.

I’d seen him at a couple of gatherings previously but we hadn’t talked. She gave me his phone number and we began to exchange text messages. Then one night when my friend was out of town I couldn’t open her apartment door to feed her cats. I called K to come and help me and he did. We finally got the door open, cleaned up the cat mess together, then I made tea and we put in a movie. We didn’t watch it though, we just talked.

After that we continued texting and going out together on weekends. I consider our trip to the South Mountain our first date. We brought a picnic lunch and found a quiet place among the pines. I told him I was afraid someone was going to steal my boots. Later he shouted “Kim! Your boots are gone!” I scrambled around worriedly looking for them and spotted them right where I left them. The guy had a sense of humor, and I liked that.

Kimberly and Konchok

It wasn’t long before he started to tell his family about me. First his brother, who was quite supportive, and then his parents, who were worried about various things such as the high divorce rate in America and the inevitability of me leaving him once I got homesick for my own country. Though their concerns were valid (they didn’t know me), K did what he always does when it came to his own life: whatever he wanted. And in this case, he wanted to marry me. (I later found out that once a Tibetan tells his family about his girlfriend it means that they will get married if the parents agree. Otherwise, children will never talk about their romantic relationships with their parents.)

He started to talk about marriage three months into our relationship, which freaked me out a little, but if I’m honest, I knew by four months together that we would get married. I told him that we’d have to wait at least one year to be really sure that we were compatible. The months went by peacefully and to this day we have never had a fight. His family has also come to know and like me and we all get along fine.

We are now nearing our second wedding anniversaries. We have a baby daughter who brings us a lot of joy. We are both really relaxed most of the time and take things easy. I can’t imagine sharing my life with anyone else.

Kimberly is an American woman living in Xining City, Qinghai Province, with her Tibetan husband and baby daughter.


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15 Replies to “Double Happiness: Love on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau – Konchok and Kimberly”

  1. It is always so nice to read and hear about stories of falling in love and this one in no exception. I love the fact that a locked door brought them together and the boot joke made me smile as my husband always jokes around with me like that too!!

  2. Hi Kimberly! You guys seems very happy together. May I ask you a question: do you guys plan to stay in Xining in the long run? Do you think you will never miss and want to spend some time back in the US? Just wondering!

    1. Hi Marghini,

      I’ve been in Xining for four years now and so far I haven’t missed home much. Right now the hope is to stay here through our daughter’s primary school education (so that she can learn Tibetan and Chinese natively) and then go to America for her middle and/or high school education. The education system here leaves a lot to be desired and we don’t want to make our child go through it anymore than necessary.

      We may move out of the city at some point and live in one of the area county towns. Right now our life is at a turning point because my husband just lost his job. While that sucks, it does free us up to move anywhere else in the area that we might like (Xunhua is gorgeous for example) but it has to be a place where we can find jobs. We will figure it out! But no, there is no immediate plan to move to the US.

      1. Hi Kimberly,
        It’s interesting to hear your reply as it’s something my husband and I have given a lot of thought to. My step-daughter is in grade 4 now and what you say is certainly true, the education system in China does leave much to be desired. It is quite stressful for kids (and parents!) and I don’t much care for the teaching methods. On the other hand, I’m glad she’ll be able to read and write Chinese. Anyways, we too are hoping to move back to the US before she starts middle school. Our son will be a toddler then, so his Chinese will probably never match his sister’s. Oh, well.

      2. Hi Kimberly,
        it sounds like you guys have a pretty solid plan about staying in China vs. moving back to the US. I think what you decided to do makes a lot of sense. The Chinese educational system is terrible in my opinion and most of the International School are just so expensive!

        As for being in a turning point, I am in a similar situation so I fully understand you! My boyfriend is about to quit his job and I just graduated from University, so we both need to look for a job somewhere in the world. On one hand it is great to have such a degree of freedom, on the other hand the options are so many that we feel a bit lost. Hopefully things will work out at the end!

        I wish to you and to your husband the best luck for these coming changes in your life!

  3. What a neat story and life you’re living! My hubby was (and still is, to a point) concerned about America’s high divorce rate. A legit concern, especially in a culture where it’s largely taboo. But nearly sevcn years in, we’re going strong. All the best to you and your family!

  4. Nice story and so adorable.

    So well, it’s better not to miss much back home in States. Rampage shooting in Santa Barbara killing six people, and then yesterday, shooting at Seattle, killing one and 2 injured.

    Going to cinema, a mentally deranged PhD white guy shooting as if he were a Joker in Dark Knight. It’s like America becomes occupied with shooting cities in recent years.

    The same goes for West in China as well. Well, at least you still can run if you see a man with a long knife.

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