Last Saturday, 28-year-old Chen Jingyang and his 22-year-old Russian bride Sophia held a simple wedding feast for friends and family at a hotel in Heihe city, Heilongjiang province.
Sophia came to the border city of Heihe five years ago to study Chinese. While at university, she gained a great appreciation for Chinese culture and learned to speak Mandarin fluently. After graduation, rather than returning home to Russia, she started work at a company in the city.
In the second half of 2016, Chen, a coal mine worker, met Sophia through a friend and managed to work up the courage to ask her for her WeChat. Afterwards, whenever Chen was done with work he would spend all of his time chatting with Sophia. Since he didn’t live downtown, he entrusted his friends and family to give her flowers. Soon, he asked her out and their romance quickly blossomed.
Sophia said that it was love at first sight. After one week of dating, she asked off from work to go visit Chen at the coal mine. Soon, she decided to quit her job altogether to pursue their relationship. For two months, she lived in shabby mining housing with outdoor toilets and baths, and frogs and rats running amok. She said that while that may have been the hardest time of her life, it was also the happiest.
After dating for half of a year, Chen proposed marriage, and Sophia said yes. Currently, the couple has no flat, no car and no savings, but Sophia told reporters that they have something much more precious. “I believe that love is the most important thing. We just need to work hard, and I’m sure that we’ll soon be able to buy a home and car,” she said.
Chen has quit his job at the coal mine. In April, the couple plan to visit Sophia’s home in Russia for a formal ceremony. As for their future, they say they plan to start a business in Russia, and travel back and forth between their two homes.
While cross-cultural marriages are becoming more and more common in China, stories about them rarely fail to excite widespread interest on Chinese social media — particularly when the foreign woman decides to throw caution to the wind and opt for a “naked marriage,” without the traditional Chinese prerequisites of having a car and home.
[Images via NetEase]
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