I’ve never done too many truly bold, romantic things in my life, but just about five years ago, after getting a job offer in China, I told my on-again, off-again girlfriend of several years that I wanted to drop by her house to talk to her.
We had dreamed about living in China after a friend had come back from a few years living in Shanghai and Hong Kong and telling us all about his experience. Neither one of us had ever been to Asia, but it sounded fascinating.
So when the opportunity came around a few months later, straight out of the blue, I had to see Delores. We were, by the way, off again at that time. But I could not image going to China without her. It had been our dream. I realized I loved her and I didn't want to lose her.
So, my talk went something like this: "Marry me and let's move to a faraway land." How’s that for a shocker?
We each had a job and a house where we were living in the US state of Florida, so it wasn't like we actually needed to move halfway across the globe. But this opportunity called to us. So we both decided to take a leap of faith in each other and in a new country.
Those first few months in Shanghai were some of the most wonderfully intense times of my life. We were newlyweds in a new country at a time when many of my contemporaries were starting to think about their retirement.
China drew us closer together and helped bond our relationship.
Now it's almost five years later. March 31 is our fifth wedding anniversary. The time has gone by fast, and I have no regrets. China has become our adopted home. We moved north almost three years ago and have become Beijingers.
We have felt welcome and have received many blessings here, and have also tried to give back to China, in part through our work. In my case, that’s media, and in my wife’s case, teaching.
We hope we've been able to show our relatives and friends around the world what China and her people are really like, and why we like it here -- to be a bridge of sorts, at least in a small way.
The experience also reminded me that before you make a commitment to someone, make sure they want to go on the same adventure in life that you do. I still feel like I'm on my honeymoon five years later. I know I made the right decision in a life companion and in a new home.
About the author
Matt Prichard is a copy editor and writer who works on the front page team of China Daily. He has lived in China for more than four years, in Shanghai and Beijing. Before that, he had a 30-year career as a reporter and editor in the United States and Latin America. He has an ABJ from the University of Georgia and did postgraduate work at the Universidad Nacional del Sur in Argentina. He speaks Spanish fluently and is still learning Mandarin.