Though each of their bygone dreams had been broken by
unexpected accidents, they have enough strength and courage to support
their future endeavors together as one. It's through the computer by way
of the Internet, which let them find their wings to fly again. Two
hearts met each other through the 'World Wide Web,' now holding hands
together from the "cyber world" to the world of reality. Now, this
romantic Internet love story had been downloaded to Baotou from Willow
Car Accident, Changed the Tracks of her Life
Houlei is a beautiful, bright and unclouded Baotou girl, she had been a
teacher at No. 4 Middle School of Baotou and Iron Steel Company. She
graduated from the Foreign Language Department of Inner Mongolian
Teacher's University in 1992. With 1.67m slim shape, elegant hair and
big eyes twinkling with young spirit, she was always the one who boys
admired or pursued. For 22-year-old Houlei, the beautiful life was just
starting. But an unexpected accident suddenly happened. In May of 1993,
Houlei was seriously injured by a car accident, and after 2 years' of
treatment and so-called rehabilitation, she had to face the reality that
she was a paraplegic, never to walk again.
Because her employment was under a probationary period, her then
employer refused to recognized her as an employee or even adapt the work
place to meet her needs. Because of this, she had no job nor income. In
1996, Houlei considered, "Why not help others Children with learning
English?" Since her major was in English, she has the necessary skills
and it would be an awarding opportunity. With the help from the parents,
retired math teachers, she picked choice textbooks and studied the best
ways of teaching. Analyzing children's mentalities, she fished out a set
of active and vivid teaching methods to be used step by step. Her
classes increased as time went by with more public praise, beginning
with 6 students at her first class to around 200 in later years.
Surfing the Internet, Click out a Lover with the Keyboard
Houlei had a wide-range of hobbies and various interests, such as
swimming, skating, playing ball and dancing. She had also many friends,
more boys than girls. But after the accident, they all seemed to
disappear. A few of the good friends visited her once or twice per year.
She learned knitting, making tapestries for filling her time, during the
loneliness, she looked forward to with others in society and
communicating with people. She believed that the unexpected accident
only limited her ability of walking, but it did not change her fervent
endeavour of creating a life for herself.
In 1999, she bought a computer. Being closed to the world near her home,
she started to look for her own world in an unreal space. Through the
Internet she checked for information of foreign paraplegic
intentionally, and contacted with as often as possible. One reason for
this, was to try to and improve her English. Another, was to find out
information and lifestyles of foreign disabled people in other
countries. The American Disabled League recommended to her 5 contacts
from several thousand disabled people. This chance selection gave her an
opportunity to get to know Charles Bean (Called Charlie) by way of the
Hence forward there was one more friend in Houlei's flat life, even
though they could not see each other, there was always one to share and
Charlie was born in 1956, in Eureka, California, USA. In the January of
1975, he met an accident on the way to work motor bike, it injured his
spinal cord and left him a paraplegic. At the time of his injury he had
just been married for 3 months. After that his marriage disintegrated,
but he adapted to the changes of injury physically and mentally soon. He
had worked as bookeeper, owned a restaurant with friends, and completed
a self-study course in bookkeeping. He had been a receptionist,
information technical, office manager and personnel clerk while he
worked for the USDA, Forest Service.
When Charlie got Houlei's first E-mail, he was kind of excited, because
he had an interest in China very much. At first, he considered Houlei as
a short term friend. He had many short-term friends on through the
Internet who would discontinue contact soon after they introduce
themselves. But this time, things were different, they had kept in touch
all the time, and communicated with each other more and more agreeably.
Houlei had asked Charlie, "Why her fate sent her to be in the
wheelchair?" Charlie then tried to enlightened her through his
understanding of the life and independence. Sometimes when he found her
in a sad mood, he would tell her some jokes to make her happy. Charlie's
salt humor, luxuriant experience and knowledge seemed like a book which
could not be finished by just reading it. His optimism and the encourage
to face the reality of the paraplegic gave Houlei admiration for him, as
well as herself.
Three months later, Charlie asked for a photo from Houlei. Their
relationship was getting closer and closer, they were falling in love.
They sent several Emails to each other every day, and also talked a
couple of hours in the chatroom at a certain time every night. If
someday they could not contact each other through Internet, the two of
them would feel sad and lost; as if lacking something in their lives.
Charlie found he had fallen in love with this Chinese girl. And showed
his feelings to her directly with an American straightward character.
With the temperature increasing more and more between them, a kind of of
happiness instead of the loneliness set in Houlei. By this Houlei always
said to herself happily, "There is one person who is always caring and
thinking of me."
Holding Hands, Internet Love Came True
After contacting to each other for one year, there was a little storm.
One day, the Emails she sent out all disappeared. Her parents and
brother and including her few friends tried to persuade her that there
was something true about the Internet: You could not trust those you met
too much. If you did not believe it at the beginning, then you would not
feel loss when at the end there was no more. But only in this unreal
space had Houlei found a feeling of hope. She would not like to think if
it as true or not, after all her life was colorful there, no-one knows
how many times she clicked the name "Charlie" everyday. She could sense
him as real and present to herself. She insisted on turning the computer
on at scheduled times as usual to wait for Charlie's appearence.
In about 4 or 5 days, Charlie sent her a message stating that "His
computer had broke-down and was finally just repaired by a friend."
Houlei's heart was set at rest.
After one month, Houlei got a letter from Charlie, which read:
"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 it 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"
On the fourth of June, 2000, Charlie arrived in Beijing by China Air. At
the airport two chairs leaned close to each other, two hands in
different colors held each other together. Though they had been far
apart with the ocean between them and never met each other, they did not
feel unfamiliar. "Maybe because of common experiences? or "Maybe because
of predeterminate fate?" They felt like old friends at the first
meeting, it is predeterminate that all their past frustrations was for
their getting together today to create their adorable career and life.
After Getting Married, Foreign Husband Showed Every Possible
With 26 years' experience in wheelchair, Charlie is a very independent
individual. After he settled down, he adapted to the life here as soon
as possible, even he has been able to use Chopsticks very well. Charlie
is a very considerated American man. He would buy presents for Houlei
unexpectedly to bring her suprised happiness. Such as Houlei doesn't
know how to do housework, so Charlie takes on much of it. Once, Houlei
was frustrated about not having any black polish for her shoes and said
to herself, "I need to buy black shoe polish." When she was going
through the house the following day, she found the new shoe polish near
her black shoes; one day while eating she said casually, "It would be
better if there were a little more tomatoes." Then at the next meal she
found a special tomato dish. Seeing little things, their sister-in-law
stated to Houlei, "Charlie is such a good husband!"
Yes, Charlie's love is from the consideration only mature adults have.
At ordinary times, Charlie always compliments Houlei on how beautiful
and intelligent she is in front of or behind others. Houlei said it was,
"A kind of happy feeling to hear compliments often, and that sometimes
she felt as a spoiled princess." She often states to him, "I am to be
"No, I will assist you to be independent, just as a so-called
able-bodied are completely." Charlie always answers seriously.
After the wedding, Houlei and Charlie had lived with the parents
together. The parents took care of their daily life carefully, as this
is a Chinese custom. But it made Charlie unhappy and uncomfortable, he
had the feeling of losing himself, his independence. So with Charlie's
strong suggestion, they bought a house and moved out to start their own
and real independent lives.
After being disabled, Houlei had been taken care of very well by her
parents. She had never tried to do housework. After they moved out,
Charlie has persuaded her to learn to do everything. At first she could
not understand, "Why she could not let others take care of her, no
matter what she could not walk. If independence meant she had to do
everything on her own, that meant her 'happy life' would be broken!"
Houlei's mother also could not understand, "Why it seemed she made
mistakes while she tried to help them." For this purpose, it was hard to
avoid to having quarrals. Charlie's theroy is, "What I can give you
would be limited, there are still many contents in your life to fulfill.
You must know how to take care of yourself. Make yourself as the same as
the so-called able-bodied from all points of your life. The, and only
then can you be confident to adapt tothe socity around you and live
happily. I had promised you to help you become independent, I will do
what I had said."
Charlie is fulfilling his words step by step. Finally, Houlei is
understanding that Charlie is the person whose promise will be kept and
who could be counted on all her life. The love for Houlei from Charlie
is special and self-giving, he is thinking of something for all her
It is getting obvious that Charlie's American viewpoints had influnced
Houlei little by little. Houlei was changed by Charlie unconsciously,
she started to enjoy cooking, washing clothes, doing some housework and
inviting friends to their home to serve them as a real partner in a
strong marriage. As time passes, Houlei has come out of the shadow of
being a disabled person, she is independent! Sometimes more independent
and confident then some abled persons! She does not care about other's
sights and thoughts, and does not feel inferior to others any more.
Charlie and her often takes walks together through the streets
themselves, talking and laughing on the way. She is happy for her
changes, the happiness adds more feeling for her towards Charlie.
You Here, the World is Getting More Beautiful
There is a proverb in China, "Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder."
This is a very suitable proverb to describe Charlie and Houlei.
In Charlie's eyes, Houlei is the most beautiful girl in the world.
Charlie has said, "Houlei could operate English classes by herself. It
prove she is a capable lady, being her husband, I am the luckest person
in the world. In America, people do not feel pity for disabled simply,
but support them with opportunities, give them room to develope their
independence. Disabled can attend all kinds of social activities without
discrimination. There are Miss wheelchair or models' competetions held
in diffrent parts of the country often." Charlie has said and believes
that, "Houlei would be able to win with her beauty and ability." With
this comment he has written to them to consult the details for future
opportunities. Charlie's love Houlei and what he told her opened another
window for her, let her see disabled people's lives can be colorful and
full of dreams. She has discovered many opportunities and hope to try
everything new she likes.
At present, it is no problem for Houlei to live by herself, but Charlie
still pays a lot of attention to her, such as housework, still Charlie
does more. Charlie can cook western food very well, while on holidays,
all the family gets together. Charlie can serve all the family and now
Houlei's brother wishes to become a student of his to learn to cook.
During his free time, Charlie sometimes plays mahjong with Houlei's
family. Houlei said, "As long as he feels happy, I am happy, too."
Since Charlie came, Houlei's English classes have added a good helper,
with a foreign teacher's help, students' listening and oral English has
improved rapidly, they have gained more interests as well. Charlie is
humorous, conversable and loves children; they all love him and consider
him as a good friend. In November of 2000, they started a private school
"Houlei's English School," there are around 500 students in attendance
now and growing.
Before when Charlie declared he would go to China in the bar of his
hometown, he was laughed by his friends, "Drop everything you have in
America to go to China for an Internet fantasy? Leave your family,
friends? That's too crazy! Charlie, she will not be there, she is only
in the computer!" Now their photos are hanging in the bar in Willow
Creek and a restaurant in Hoopa. Everyone of the town knows Charlie has
a beautiful and capable Chinese wife and they are presently living
happily in China. Their story has become a much-told tale there as well
as here in China.
Looking for Part One? It's