A touching love story...

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A touching love story...

Postby ZacK » Thu Oct 28, 2010 12:57 pm

Thu, Oct 28, 2010
China Daily/ANN

Waiting 50 years for love
by Liu Zhihua

A love story that had its beginnings in 1953 Hangzhou, survives personal and political upheavals, to come to fruition decades later. Liu Zhihua reports

It was in the autumn of 1953 that Danny Li met Yuan Dibao in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, and fell in love. But fate intervened forcing the pair to live on two different continents for 54 years. Miraculously, in May, the couple came together again and got married in September.

Their story became a hot news on Chinese newspapers and TV stations. Netizens declared their love "was the purest in the world".

"It was like a dream. I never expected to see him ever again," 83-year-old Li says.

Li was born in Beijing in 1927, to a French mother and Chinese father.

At the age of 24, she became one of the youngest teachers of Zhejiang Medical College at Hangzhou, and became well known for her mastery of four languages - Chinese, English, Russian and French.

In 1953, Yuan Dibao, a handsome 25-year-old freshman entered her life.

Yuan was the class monitor, and the best student in Li's Russian language class. He was brilliant and diligent, earning full scores on most quizzes and exams.

"He was a good person, very nice to others. All the students and teachers liked him very much," Li says.

As Li began to learn more about Yuan, she discovered they had a lot in common. Her warm feelings for him evolved into love.

Despite the prejudice against a relationship between a teacher and student, they grew close.

Only Li's parents knew what was happening. Every time Yuan went to Li's office, ostensibly to ask for help with studies, they would arrange their after-class dates.

The city of Hangzhou was witness to their sweet love story.

Yuan would often walk Li home and stay for a while. Her parents were open about their fondness for this polite and charming young man.

While Li was in paradise, Yuan was torn between happiness and guilt.

"I sensed he was holding back something, but didn't pay much attention," Li tells China Daily.

What Li didn't know then was that Yuan was married.

Yuan was already 25 when he was finally admitted to college in 1953. He was considered well past the age for marriage in his hometown, Gulangyu Islet in Xiamen, Fujian province. Arranged by his family, he married his sister's friend.

A year went by but Yuan said nothing about his marriage to Li.

In 1954, before moving with his school to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China, he finally summoned the courage and told her he had a wife - a woman toward whom he felt morally responsible and cared for until her death.

Li was shocked. Although she loved Yuan, the couple broke up.

"I had no choice. We couldn't build our happiness on the misfortune of another innocent woman," Li says.

They never saw one another after that.

In 1956, Li left for Lyon, France, with her mother. The father joined them in 1962.

Before leaving China, Li wrote to Yuan informing him of her departure.

To her surprise, she received not one but several letters over the next few days. The couple then began to keep in touch through mail.

Letters from Li reached Yuan's workplace, and he kept them at a relative's place to hide them from his wife.

"His letters were a great comfort to me in those days," Li says.

Her new life was hard.

She not only struggled to survive in a society that was strange to her and refused to recognize her diplomas and certificates, but also experienced culture shock.

Li learnt shorthand and typewriting, and finally found a job as a secretary in an international trade company.

Meanwhile, Yuan graduated and started working in Xiamen.

In their letters, the couple seldom mentioned their hardships. Yuan shared with Li his happiness over becoming a father, and Li sent him tins of baby milk powder and clothes, knowing that those were days of scarcity in China.

When the "cultural revolution" (1966-1976) started, Li's letters began to be returned. To avoid causing any trouble to Yuan, she stopped writing to him.

But Li could not forget him.

"I could not start a new relationship, although there were many who knocked on my door. I found his love for me most earnest, and felt no one else could match that," she says.

In 1976, as soon as she was sure it was safe, Li wrote to Yuan's workplace as before. But that letter, too, was returned.

She didn't know Yuan's workplace had changed; he had informed her of that in a letter he managed to send out in 1973, but it never reached Li.

The next contact between them occurred 45 years later, in May, 2010.

During the Spring Festival (in late February), Ouyang Luying, Yuan's third daughter-in-law came to know from a relative (the one who helped Yuan hide Li's letters) that her father-in-law had once dated a beautiful foreign teacher.

"When he told me the story I was deeply touched; my mother-in-law had died in 1994, so I encouraged him to write a letter."

Although Yuan often visited the places in Hangzhou that he and Li used to frequent, he never expected to resume contact with her.

Ouyang awakened all his deep memories. He stayed up late for several days to pen five letters.

Besides six short sentences expressing his wishes for good health in Chinese to Li, Yuan also wrote in English to her relatives lest she was dead, saying that he was a student and friend of Li and wanted to know where she was.

He sent out one letter every other day; if he didn't receive a reply to any of them, he decided, that would be the end of the matter.

At last, a letter arrived from France.

With trembling hands, Li opened it. Seeing the familiar handwriting, he thought, "Thank god! She's alive!"

The envelope contained a photo of Li and a three-page letter. In it Li took Yuan through all that had happened in her life.

In 1974, nine years after their last correspondence, Li earned the equivalent of a Master's in Chinese and soon got a job as a Chinese teacher at Jean Moulin - Lyon 3 University on condition that she would earn her doctorate within 10 years - a condition she fulfilled in 1979.

She retired in 1992 as an associated professor from the university, and then worked as vice-president in a non-profit organization that helped the university's Chinese students.

She remained single and lived alone in a house her grandparent left her after her parents died.

On May 1, she saw Yuan's letter waiting for her when she returned home. "I didn't reply immediately, because I couldn't believe it was true," Li says.

She sat with his letter in the yard from noon till midnight. When the next day brought another letter, Li was finally convinced this was no dream.

The couple started exchanging letters as before. Sometimes, with help from Ouyang, they would talk over the phone but preferred letters as Yuan suffers a mild hearing loss.

"Ouyang called me 'Danny Mom' during her first phone call. I had never been called mom before. I can't describe how I felt!" Li says.

A month later, Yuan invited Li to Xiamen, and said it was up to her whether she wanted to live with him or just visit.

When Li flew to Xiamen, Yuan and the family met her at the airport. Yuan held a bunch of 55 roses.

Li accepted Yuan's offer of marriage, and they registered their wedding on Sept 21, the day before the Mid-Autumn Festival, traditionally a time for family reunions in China.

Yuan's sons held a big wedding ceremony for them on Sept 26.

Li and Yuan now live in the third son's house. Every morning they take a stroll on the beach, hand in hand.

"What is gone is gone; we want to be with each other for the rest of our lives. I have poor sight, and he has a problem with hearing.

"I'm his ears, and he is my eyes," Li says.

(Source: http://www.divaasia.com/article/11267)

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Postby duriz » Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:06 pm

Simply beautiful.
Thank you for sharing Zack.

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Postby ZacK » Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:11 pm

I was very touched... Thus thot that it's worth sharing :celebrate:

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Postby sleepy » Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:25 pm

Brought tears to my eyes. Touching !

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Postby carebear » Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:03 pm

A touching love story.......
Many a time, we yearn for love that is lost and desire for the forbidden fruit.
However, we should also cherish what we have and love those who are closest to us.

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Postby csc » Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:04 pm


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Postby verykiasu2010 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:58 pm

Beautiful ! Absolutely beautiful love story !

Thanks, Zack, for the sharing!
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Postby Guest » Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:17 pm

Great story Zack except for one small typo error by the reporter:

At last, a letter arrived from France.

With trembling hands, Li opened it. Seeing the familiar handwriting, he thought, "Thank god! She's alive!"

Should be "Yuan opened it" right?

Hey, shows that I really read through the whole love story in detail!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Postby peterch » Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:23 pm

Deeply touched....... :love:

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Postby RRMummy » Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:46 pm

Thanks for sharing Zack!

Just like in the movies... :love:

Point to ponder.. you suppose people long ago treasure each other more than the people of today?

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