Mars & Deborah 3:
As Deborah went to the departure hall to fly out of Adelaide I knew that the next few months were going to drag on slowly and that I would miss her like crazy. I just didnt want her to go but that was the reality of the situation. When she got back...
>> Continued
 

 

 
     
 

 
 

She's From:   China
He's From:     United States

Here is my story...This is Just part of it as told by a local TV Program.

  Currently translating more.......Folks - Below (Long one) is what HouLei and I have translated from a TV Program aired here on March 16th about us. The Chinese portion is here. We changed some, because it was not completely true and we don't mind stretching a story, but we don't care for things that might completely distort the truth. We have the program on disc, but it is in Chinese. The program only showed part of what you will read, but the show was good and we have received much in letters and phone calls.

"Opening the Wings of the Sun Through Internet Love"
3/16 2002

 

 



   

 

 
       
 

On March 12, 2002, a company named "HouLei's English School (formally known as 'HouLei')" was visited by reporters of CCTV-10. This is a privately "woman-owned" business located in BaoTou, Kun Area, Inner Mongolia, P.R. China. HouLei's English School has become known outside of China through a pen-pal program started between seven schools located in Humboldt -Trinity Counties of northern California. Through this exchange there has been friendship and culture shared between the students. Two newspapers, called "The Kourier" and "The Hoopa People" serving the eastern communities of Humboldt and western communities of Trinity counties report activities related to some activities surrounding Houlei and her husband.

Also HouLei and her husband's picture is displayed in a local restaurant called "Laura's" in Hoopa, and can be found in a couple businesses where Charlie frequently visits when in the Willow Creek/Hoopa area communities. What might attract such interests of two individuals from totally different lifestyles and countries? To answer this question, it should be told from the beginning of a young woman's beautiful love story, sharing thoughts and feelings of all those near her.

Unfortunately, an accident broke the first love and dreams of a young middle school teacher.

One day in spring of 2000, a common family's daughter of BaoTou, HouLei, received a letter from her Internet lover. He said, "He would fly to Beijing from San Francisco, California in the early part of June, 2000." It was a great surprise to her family, for the family members did not believe in her Internet "Affair or dream." The Internet was very new to them, as well as for trusting foreigners (not knowing any, but only through heresay); and, it was felt that their daughter was chasing after a love that was not true.
But HouLei, believing in her new Internet friend and distant lover had expected her family's feelings. Even though her family felt different, she never deterred from her faith in the person she had been communicating with, nor her fate in life. She knew from communicating with this individual that believing in fate and trusting others would change her life considerably. This was an opportunity that needed to be trusted and followed through with. No matter what the outcome, good or bad, it was believed to be her destined fate!

Before this time, HouLei's life was simple and closed. The accident several years ago took all her dreams, and also buried her first love. That was in the Spring of 1993, she had just graduated from Inner Mongolian Normal University not more than half year, and was a young flower blossoming into a beautiful young lady.

She went for an outing with her new-found boyfriend who had just been introduced to one-another and known each other for a short time. This outing, in the beginning, was one of her happiest days of her life, they rode horses, walked and enjoyed the green grass of the country. Sharing thoughts and feelings that only two young lovers would know about. After spending the whole day together on a joyful outing with her first love, they drove for home. Suddenly, they were in a single car accident caused by an unknown malfunction in controlling the vehicle. Instantly, two of the three passengers, including her boyfriend, were killed leaving HouLei alone in the car seriously injured. At the time, HouLei was unaware of the seriousness of her injury, fortunately there was an emergency rescue group at the scene. After being treated it was discovered that she had injured her "Spinal Cord" and would be left as a paraplegic the rest of her life. HouLei with peak and pine face cried her heart out sadly.

The 22 year-old HouLei travelled around from hospital to clinic throughout China to find a cure for her paralysis for 3 years, without obvious effects of returning the use of her legs again. In May of 1996, HouLei returned to BaoTou. Disapppointed with all the promises received from so-called experts to heal her paralysis. At this time, it was time to face her future and a serious problem; "How to live the rest of her life?" At first, she learned knitting from her mother, then relating the books to study, invented new designs. Llater she learned to make tapestries which were so nice that all the family appreciated them and were happy for her. It was the first time for her to gain any kind of happiness and recognition from working at something after the injury.

Then in September, 1996, she opened a fashion shop. Every time there were new beautiful clothes, she would like to try them on first, and then introduce them to the right people. When she saw what was recommended to these individuals look well on them, she would feel very happy and pleased for them. From knitting to selling clothes, everything was fresh for her. Earning a large amount of money was not important, but having something to do that contributed to her life, as well as others was rewarding.
In 1997, HouLei entertained the thought, "Why not help children with their English?" Especially since her major was in "Teaching English" at college and she was originally working as an English teacher when injured. She decided to offer and hold an English class.

At first, there were only six children. Communicating with these students, she felt rarely content, the students only paid attention to her teaching and spoken words. Nobody seemed to consider her different from the "so-called abled bodied" person. With this beginning, her teaching became more affective. Through word of mouth, the students increased more and more. Until June of 2000, she had gone from 6 to 200 students. Her income had improved very much, compared to what she had been paid working as a full-time teacher, fashion shop owner, and so forth.

"Contact on line, making new friends through the unreal world of the Internet".

HouLei's material life was not poor, but the world of her spirit was empty. HouLei always felt she was different from others, such as, taking a walk with others, going out alone to shop or with friends to a film or restaurant. She could only sit in the wheelchair wait for assistance to get around, usually provided by her mother. And very often when they were out, those around her would say, "Why do such people of this kind appear here (Often referencing 'Why do disabled people come out where we have to see them?')?"

Before her friends had been more boys than girls, now she had nobody. Yes, there were a couple friends, but not friends for sharing close relationships. Friends that usually visited out of pity. She was eager to communicate with people close to her and contact others to be a part of society. Later she bought a computer to connect with others on-line.

When she came home after classes, she sealed herself off from others to the unreal Internet to look for her own world. The first day, HouLei learned to surf on line. Discovering "Yahoo Clubs" she found a club for "disabled." This provided her an avenue to ask many questions and to accept her own limitations. She wanted to know more about settling her paraplegic situation and how others lived and coped with their lives. Through Internet searches, she came up with over 80,000 web-site addresses regarding spinal cord injuries, individual's lives and general day to day problems and solutions. HouLei, at first could not believe the amount of information available. More than one person could ever read. She decided to pick five individuals from a list provided by a Yahoo Person Search) with common interests. HouLei chose five individuals to contact; one of them was Charles from California.

Through this chance meeting and ocasion, HouLei got to know this net friend who calls himself "Charlie." The two of them became quick friends and began to communicate very quickly through the Internet.

So, now there was one more friend in HouLei's flat life. Though they could not see each other face to face, they could share their thoughts. Their situations in life were very similar, that is, they were both confined to wheelchairs after an injury. Charlie always enlighten Houlei, he seemed very considerate and humourous. While talking through the Internet, he often joked to her and made up funny topics to talk about. Little by little, they talked congenially.

From this time on, besides in her daily so-called real life, Houlei had one more expectation to look forward to: "In that unreal space, on the other side of the world; there was a foreigner friend whose age, older than hers, whose experience more than hers, whose fervency of the life better than hers." What he shared with Houlei, was just like going to school for her. Houlei could learn a lot from him.

Houlei's mood improved after she got the computer and connected on line, also she became more and more conversable. She and Charlie established set times to meet on line, sometimes several times in a day. If there was a day she did not talk to him, it seemed that the life lacked something; and those around her could see this. After a time, it was felt they knew each other as close relatives, and got to know each other more and more.

Gradually, Houlei had developed special feelings for Charlie. When the brother knew it, he tried to persuaded her not to care too much. He felt this was a problem for her, "Because things on the Internet were unclear and misleading. If you take this affair too seriously, when you lose it, you will feel a loss. If you do not believe in him from the beginning, and you lose him, you won't be hurt." But Houlei thought, "My life has already been this way, no extravagant hopes for marriage or life. Sure there are a couple of girl-friends, but they only visit once or twice per year. I still nearly live as in a vacuum bag. Only this guy from the Internet talks to me all the time. Even just talking about trivial matters, it brings me warm and intimate feelings, and attracts me to be close to him."

In this unreal world Houlei found a bailment of her feelings, she was tasting true spiritual happiness for the first time since her injury. With this new found happiness she beamed with much satisfaction. Seeing this, her mother asked (with concern for her feelings and desires), "What did Charlie talk to you about?" HouLei answered spoiledly, "You'd better not ask me such things. No matter what, it's something good." Mother could feel her daughter's excitement and cares. And thought to herself in a happy surreptitious way, "She is in another world of her own. A very happy one!"

"Be head over heels in love - the story which could not happen happened!"

One Sunday after Houlei finished communicating with Charlie, she received a very special E-mail. Houlei was very excited to tell her mom shyly, "Charlie proposed to me formally." This was the first person to demonstrate love of any kind for her after the accident.

One of Houlei's friends knowing this, realized the matter was getting more serious. She asked, "How much can you trust the sweet words written to you on the Internet? She also advised, "That there are so many people who act as different sexes to play jokes or tease others. You must be sure not to believe too much. He could be unreal. Like many who give themselves a romantic nickname. Who knows if they are male or female?" But Houlei responded with, "There's nothing in my life now, only a computer. During the day I hold class, think of nothing. But during the night time, it is not a real life that I have to share with the opposite sex my own age as a friend, nor a possible husband. What I feel from him through the Internet has given my life back!" So when Houlei went outside or had contact with others, "She often carried in her heart one person. An individual in a far distant place who cared her, she smiled to herself secretly!"

After the time of meeting Charlie on the Internet, since before the accident, expressions of happiness on her face and in her heart were easily seen. She was really in love. During these days, she was very reluctant to leave the Internet, except teaching, She spent most of her time on line everyday. The number of times she typed "Charlie's name each day," could not be counted.

Suddenly one day, the Emails she sent out all disappeared. She tried it the second day, still no messages, the third day, the fourth day... every day was the same. "Did horrible things have to happen?" Houlei said to herself, "My life will go back to like the past seven years? Or maybe something happened to Charlie?" Everyday she was on pins and needles worrying about Charlie and her future. The family also worried for her, they tried to persuade her, "That alls well, just as in others' words, "people talking through the Internet would disappear after they felt bored. No one would bother another." But Houlei did not give up, everyday she was at the computer anxiously looking for a message from Charlie. She insisted on turning the computer on at the same time as usual to wait for Charlie's appearence.

On the fifth day, when she turn the computer on, wah! A message which made her so excited showed up. It was from Charlie! He said, "My computer had broke-down and was finally just repaired by a friend." When he saw so many messages from Houlei, he answered back with many E-mails happily! Houlei's heart was set at rest. After the storm of no contact with Charlie, the Hou family returned to normal.

One morning, the telephone of Hou family rang. Her mother picked it up, but could not understand the person on the line. Thinking it was a wrong number, she planned to hang up. Just then, it came to her that HouLei had an American friend through the Internet and called her brother to the phone. What the brother found was, it was really someone speaking English. Houlei hurried to the phone and found it was Charlie. Charlie said, "I remembered your number and wanted to talk to you. Our time difference is about 15 hours. Here, it is night, and there it is day time, right? I had figured the time difference and thought it was about your time to get up from bed. So I thought I would give you a call."

HouLei felt he was a considerate guy. Charlie was afraid that HouLei could not understand his English and spoke very slowly. While talking, Houlei jokingly asked, "Can you sing a song for me?" Charlie then really sang for her, but not very well. However, Houlei felt what he sang was interesting and pleasant to listen to.
The telephone broke the quietness of the Hou family. A foreign figure from the other side of the world started to appear in their imagination's. Listening to his voice, he would not look too ugly, Houlei guessed. At the same time, Charlie asked for Houlei's photos. HouLei also shared that her mother wanted photos of him. They exchanged photos and with Charlie's photos, there was a short note:

"Lei, I am watching TV now, but I can not concentrate on it. You are forever in my thoughts and heart. What are you doing now? From when we started to communicate, I have noticed a kind of fresh feeling in my heart. This is the best feeling one can have in the world! It makes me very happy and excited, and sometimes sad. But fills me full of hope for our future. Thank you for staying in my thoughts and heart. You are the most beautiful person ever to touch my heart. Love you always Lei! Yours forever, Charlie"

Willow Creek, California, USA--Charlie's hometown.

It was October, Charlie and Houlei fell deeper in love.

"Romance marriage, respecting the life force which shocked both sides of the ocean".

Charlie thought he should share something with friends, not hide it. Then he went to his favorite place to socialize, telling his friends that he would be going to China! The friends could not believe it and said, "Right! You are going to China? You can't do that?" Charlie responded with, "Yes, I am. I really love the girl I have been talking about!" Friends stated, "No way! Charlie, it is untrue, you would drop everything you have in America to go to China for an Internet fantasy? Leave your family, friends, that's too crazy!" Charlie said, "I must do this. I must follow my heart."

Before leaving, Charlie shared with HouLei the ticket numbers and flight number through Internet -- This is the first scene of this article shown on television. The hero of an Internet love story from America, would go out from the unreal space into a Chinese common family. Because of that, the Hou family had a meeting. It was felt that it was a 50/50 chance that he would come. "We will go to Beijing to meet him. If he does not arrive, we can use the trip as a holiday."

For Charlie's arrival, there was much be done. HouLei was always helped by her mother to take care of herself. But Charlie had shared with HouLei about being very independent and the things he did on his own. This made the Hou family take a look at their house and they changed a lot to make things more convenient for a wheelchair to get around. Also, new bedroom furniture was purchased to be used by a person in a chair easier. According to Houlei, "She wanted to change everything from old to new, just like preparing to be a bride and new wife." The whole Hou family was filled with happy longing.

On June 4th, 2002, at Beijing Capital Airport, the Hou family waited for the appointed arrival time on their tip-toes with much expectation. While their minds and hearts where filled with thoughts of wonder and expectation, time passed slowly. At last, the plane expected had arrived! There were many passengers, but there was no Charlie in sight. Worried about this, Houlei tried to ask someone on the plane about her expected guest, "Was there someone in a wheelchair on the plane?" They all said, "They did not notice, so they were unsure. Not sure?" Everyone was anxious now, for someone in a wheelchair should be conspicuous, so they wondered about what does "not sure" mean? They dare not think it over continually, they all closed their eyes for a moment.
Charlie had teased Houlei through the Internet, "May I kiss you?" "No!," HouLei answered, "You can't. This is not Chinese habit." Houlei called to mind and pondered about what Charlie talked to her on the Internet with closing eyes, she expected the words would come true.

While waiting with reverence and awe second by second, it made the Hou family mentally and in theirs hearts with torment. While waiting, each of them also imagined a picture of an American in the chair with opened eyes, but the unreal sky was still muddy. Not knowing how much time had past, suddenly an American in a chair appeared slowly and brightened their eyes! When the whole family moved forward to meet him, the words Houlei and Charlie had prepared to say, seemed lost. Only word Charlie said was, "Hello." Houlei's eyes were wet, as if a dream, an unbelievable dream, had come true!"

Though the one they planned to meet had already seen, the Hou family had another worry: "Such a big guy, how to serve him? One Houlei was busy enough for everyone. They wondered if they could handle another disabled person in their lives or not?" But after they heard what Charlie had to say, they were all surprised. Charlie said, "Besides coming to China to marry your daughter HouLei, I came to help her become independent." He did not only talk, but also had a plan. "After they got married, they bought a new house immediately and moved to live on their own. They then need not count on the family for everyday assistance."

Charlie is just really he said. After Charlie and Houlei transacted their marriage on June 19th, a reception was held on July 1st, 2000. They moved to their new home within the first year. Before Charlie's coming, Houlei had hoped to be independent, a break from others' taking care of her. To live on her own, but she thought it would be impossible, only a dream. But after they have lived together for around one year, with Charlie's help and "reform", Houlei can really take care of herself.

Because Charlie joined in the classes HouLei teaches, students have increased greatly. In November, 2000, they set up a private school, "Houlei's English School of Kun Area, Baotou." There are almost 500 students presently and more always looking for new classes to be strated. Houlei has no self-contemptuous feelings for being disabled person. Charlie and she always take walks together through the street themselves, talking and laughing on the way. There are often many people who show respect and praise of their accomplishments. It has filled their hearts with warmth from the sun.

Charlie told the reporters, "There is an incogitable power in every disabled individual. As long as you dare to hope, your strength and power could be as big as your dreams. He said, He had applied his personal time and energy to insure the opportunity to contribute to forest fire prevention and work while employed with the USDA, Forest Service. By doing so, it demonstrated to others that 'though there are limitations to what a disabled may do, nothing is impossible." Through contributions of time, many changes have been made to allow access for disabled in many fire camps throughout the United States.

Charles' romantic love story and marriage has caused attention by a couple local media sources in is home area. "The Kourier" and "The Hoopa People" newspapers often publish articles about Charlie and Houlei's lives when submitted. Charlie and Houlei are loved by people throughout the Klamath-Trinity Area of Northen California. There are 7 schools which have exchanged pen pal letters with their school. The purpose of the pen pal letters is to promote friendship and encourage the use of English. This year Charlie has started a new business called "HouLei's Language and Consulting Service Co., Ltd." Through the business it is hoped to encourage more English classes and promote future growth to Baotou economically and socially. For anyone interested, our website is here.

"Charles"

>> Continued in Part Two.