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A retired Aussie programmer from Sydney, I am an ardent traveller, student of things Chinese, and in retirement both an online teacher and online MOOC student. I write mostly about travel and experiences in China, and of interaction with Asian culture and people. Don’t expect controversy because, like a cat in a puddle, I tread carefully - but sometimes I just might throw in a ‘googly’!
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Second trip to China- Getting Married    

By LaoGui 老贵的博客
741 Views | 7 Comments | 4/7/2019 1:53:21 PM

At the hunlli

I was in a strange, nay weird state on the second trip to China, having worked for a company taken over and being dismembered.  I had sat at a desk on double pay for two months, doing absolutely nothing under strict instructions to do nothing, and then released in October, after guo qing jie, went to China.  I had consulted lawyers, immigration experts self-proclaimed and they had advised me that I would lose my queue place if I married in China - the queue for my fiancee to come to Australia, but it didn't make sense to me, so I went to China planning to proceed nevertheless.



There were several interrogations at the embassy, separately and together, but we had prepared and had reams of paper - accounts, statements, emails.  This was the time of the Melbourne cup visit to the embassy.  Then in early November to Ningbo, to a hospital, to a dark dank room where I passed a specimen, then to a crowded public room where I gave a blood specimen surrounded by a crowd of onlookers seemingly waiting to see if my blood was red!  My unlabelled blood specimen, rolling around in the tray seemed to meet the requirements however, so off we went to what appeared to be a police station.  Here I was instructed to sign my name as 'ge le ge' in hanzi characters which I had never seen in a little red book.  Then it dawned on me that we were actually married! haha.



My two friends, a oouple, from New Zealand arrived shortly afterwards; he being 2 metres tall was something of a sensation drawing many 哇,那个老外那么高!



Being less than flush with money then, I was somewhat worried about the hunli cost but the hong bao took care of that, and there was never any discussion of any 'pinjin' or dowry, nor did I know of this custom.  I have no recollection of the feast except for my Chinese wife eating river turtle and my having to sing both solo and in duet with my NZ friend.  Pub with no beer' was one of the songs.



Thence to putuoshan, where it rained, and rained and rained, to the extent that the return boats did not sail and we had to stay waiting for the rain and sea and wind to relent.  At one of the temples I left/lost my wallet and passport (a nightmare thing to do, I know) but was tracked down by one of the monks - there is a follow up to this that I'll relate later.



From Putuoshan back to Ningbo, Hangzhou, then by train to Fuzhou and Xiamen.  Fun and games in her company hotel whence we were ejected.  After Gulangyu my friends continued on to Hong Kong and we back to Ningbo.  My Visa was running out so we extended I think in Hangzhou,and walking out down the wide steps I was accosted by an official.- to my alarm.  Xiansheng, xiansheng deng yixia! Zhe shi bu shi nide zai Putuoshan diule yushan' Is this the umbrella you lost on Putuoshan? OMG - after a month they brought back the umbrella from Putuoshan to Hangzhou, identified me and returned it! Unbelievable.


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#2019-04-07 14:42:23 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

So you married your Chinese wife on your second trip to China. In normal circumstances people would think that was rushing things a bit, and in normal circumstances they wouldn't be wrong.

Now I am not saying this was what happened in your case, and I assume that we're going to learn if it was or not as your blogs proceed.

But based on my experiences it is pretty common for Western guys who have met an amazing Chinese woman on their first trip to China, and that is most Western  men who make a first trip to China. If you're a single male travelling to China for any reason, chances are you're going to meet any number of single Chinese women who seem amazing. That's because they are generally very attractive, mysterious, exotic, cute, a lot of fun to be with and very different from what you grew up with back home. 

When you first start meeting and dating Chinese women they are intoxicating. And then you meet one that simply takes your breath away. You feel like you can't live without her. But you have to leave her at an airport and board a plane that is taking you back home and far, far away from her. 

The entire flight and every hour of every day since you land, you are calculating how fast you can make it back to see her again. And you are losing sleep at the very real possibility she will meet someone else who steals her away from you. You have an overwhelming need to make her yours forever.

Inevitably that need leads to thoughts of marriage. She's too good to be true and you can't risk losing her, so you float the idea of marriage before her. To your ecstatic amazement your dream woman is overjoyed at the propect and suddenly planning the wedding has begun. 

You make that second trip as soon as your circumstance will allow, you wed the Chinese woman of your dreams and, indeed, the entire second trip seems more like a fantasy than reality, it is all so good. But then comes another flight, alone, going back to the drudgery of work and normal life. Only now you have to add to that the ongoing ever present pain of missing someone endlessly.

You are about to face the biggest test of your life...

How will you fare?

The above is not aimed specifically at you LaoGui, but I am interested to see if it does apply. And if so, how you fared.

#2019-04-07 19:19:25 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

This is an amazing story - thank you!

I have also been to Xiamen and Gulangyu - they are beautiful places.

If there's one important lesson to learn from this, it's the fact that if it FEELS right, then it is.

Our heart and our gut know more than our head. I wish I'd listened to my heart and gut, (rather than my head), many years ago. If I had, then I wouldn't have spent 29 years with the 'wrong woman'.

I wish you both all the love and happiness in the world.

#2019-04-07 20:35:54 by oldghost @oldghost

Not in the least hasty - there had been a long internet and phone correspondence, in the era before wechat and skype or even messenger. Two years in gestation, starting from a year before my first trip. If a day, a night passed without a phone call or email I was sure to be in trouble.  And the phone bill in those days was in the $1000's.  The first trip and the second were carefully planned and friends were invited for the second.  It was not done lightly at all.
As to jealousy or worry - I have never experienced jealousy in my life, it just doesn't happen for me. Marriage had been the intention from day one more or less, both of us were determined all along.  The immigration process took a further 7 months after my second return; of course she scolded me mightily for the lavish flowers and cost of greeting decorations.  

老鬼

 

#2019-04-07 23:22:19 by lifeisadventure @lifeisadventure

Fascinating story and well worth following. I like John’s comments too, and want to know how It turns out for you. I wish you both all the best!

#2019-04-08 13:44:23 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

@oldghost - I didn't even think of jealousy, let alone suggest it. I was talking about the fear of losing her. It was about the intense feeling of not wanting to lose her. Nothing to do with jealousy.

I also didn't say you were hasty. I said others would think you were hasty and under normal circumstances they wouldn't be wrong. But then I went on to discuss how these are usually not normal circumstances. And you have now added further explanation as to why these were not normal circumstances.

You seem to think I was being critical, but I assure you no criticism was intended. I am quite enjoying this series of blogs.

#2019-04-09 05:58:40 by oldghost @oldghost

@JohnAbbott no I am not suggesting your remarks were critical at all - what I am saying is that I had none of the feelings you describe, and no worry either, perfect confidence in fact.  There had been a long application process at Sydney Immigration, interviews with the Australian consular staff  in Shanghai on both trips, and consultation with an immigration lawyer in between (waste of time and money).  The only imponderable was how long the wait would be.  My teenage son was living with me at the time and naturally there was a question mark over the threesome relationship, but that would have to work itself out.

老鬼

#2019-04-16 16:22:12 by liquidmetal @liquidmetal


@oldghost

"I had sat at a desk on double pay for two months, doing absolutely nothing under strict instructions to do nothing,"

 "then to a crowded public room where I gave a blood specimen surrounded by a crowd of onlookers seemingly waiting to see if my blood was red! "

Laugh.Nice sense of humour.

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