Love at first sight still a thing, Chinese man discovers in Vietnam

By Hai Hien   June 26, 2024 | 05:29 am PT
When Yang Chao laid eyes on Nguyen Thanh Van at her clothing store, it was love at first sight, and two days later he confessed his feelings to her.

It was the afternoon of Lunar New Year’s Eve in 2017 when the young man from Hunan, China, arrived in HCMC for a vacation.

Strolling down a quiet street, he was intrigued to find a garment store still open. When he stepped inside, his heart skipped a beat as he caught sight of the shop owner's warm smile.

"I was immediately captivated by her radiant smile and captivating eyes," the then 27-year-old reminisces. "Not only was she beautiful, but her voice was also comforting. At that moment I felt an urge to stay connected with that girl."

As he checked out the store, Yang discovered a variety of lace dresses, his family business’ main product in Guangzhou.

He engaged in conversation with Van, four years his junior, talking about his job as a manager at his family clothing factory and expressing interest in a long-term business tie-up. This helped him get her phone number.

Over the course of text messages, he learned that Van was still single. On the second day following their encounter he boldly declared his wish for her to be his girlfriend. "If I didn't speak up, I feared that Van might fall for someone else," he says.

A pre-wedding photo of Van and Yang  taken in 2018. Photo courtesy of the couple

A pre-wedding photo of Van and Yang taken in 2018. Photo courtesy of the couple

But the HCMC local was skeptical of love at first sight. Given his good looks, steady job and solid financial standing, she could not believe a man like Yang was still single.

She turned him down saying she did not want a long-distance relationship and pointing to their cultural and linguistic differences. She says: "My main concern was being deceived. Many such scams have been exposed by the media, so I was hesitant to take risks."

She thought Yang would be discouraged following her rejection. Instead, after returning to China, he continued to text her daily to ask about her well-being and work, leaving her surprised.

In addition to managing the lace factory for his father in Guangzhou, Yang was also running his own business.

Having gone through a long-term relationship that eventually failed, he had no intention of marrying and wanted to spend his time traveling. But meeting Van changed his mind. "Your gentleness and vitality captured my heart at our first meeting. I wish to spend the rest of my life with you."

This confession, which came after months of messaging, finally touched her heart. Observing Van's growing fondness for him, the young man intensified his pursuit. Every weekend he flew in to HCMC from Guangzhou to visit her. They dined out, took walks around the city and had heartfelt conversations.

After three months they became a couple.

Van's parents were strongly against the relationship, fearing Yang was a potential scammer. But he was undeterred. Understanding their concern, Yang organized a gathering on Van's birthday to meet her family. Despite being really nervous, he plucked up courage and confidently asked for permission to take her to his home to meet his family.

Yang and Van decided to invite close of her friends to accompany them to reassure her parents. In Hunan, Van was warmly welcomed by everyone in his family – grandfather, father, cousins – strengthening their hopes of a shared future.

To demonstrate his commitment, Yang diligently learned Vietnamese. He also offered Van the choice of whether to live in Vietnam or China after marriage.

Finally realizing his sincerity, Van's parents consented to their wedding, which took place in November 2018.

But right before the wedding in HCMC, Yang's family faced a series of predicaments: Due to business problems, his father was unable to fly to Vietnam to attend the wedding, and his grandfather had suffered a fall, requiring an extended stay in hospital to treat a broken leg.

All the doubts about Yang came rushing back due to the absence of family members, prompting Van's parents to even consider canceling the wedding.

Only after he arranged a conversation over telephone between the two families, reassuring them of his intentions and promising to take them on a visit to China, did her parents relent.

Van and Yang with their two sons on Valentines Day 2024. Photo courtesy of the couple

Van and Yang with their two sons on Valentine's Day 2024. Photo courtesy of the couple

After the wedding Van moved to Guangzhou to be with her husband. At first the young bride was stressed as she sought to adjust to life in a foreign land.

Yang patiently supported her, helping her learn the language whenever he had free time.

Knowing she could not eat Chinese food, Yang found Vietnamese restaurants to take her to, and even learned to cook Vietnamese dishes. He also made sure she made monthly trips to Vietnam to be with her family.

Van gradually got accustomed to her new life, and gave birth to two sons over the course of three years. Concerned for her well-being, Yang pitched in to take care of the kids, from feeding and bathing them to soothing them to sleep.

He invited her parents to live with them and help their grandchildren learn Vietnamese language.

In 2020 the couple entered the clothing industry. Instead of importing garments from Guangzhou to sell in the Vietnamese market as is common, they set up a company in Vietnam to make garments for the Chinese market, a concept Van suggested.

They initially faced many challenges. During livestream selling sessions, Van drew criticism for her Chinese accent.

Whenever he saw his wife cry from distress and humiliation, Yang would encourage her saying: "If others can do it, so can we. I’m here with you. We can overcome anything."

Van and Yang at the opening of their fashion store in HCMC in early 2024. Photo courtesy of the couple

Van and Yang at the opening of their fashion store in HCMC in early 2024. Photo courtesy of the couple

After three years of hard work their business began to flourish. In early 2024, noticing Van's longing for Vietnam, Yang suggested they should return to her country and establish a company focusing on livestream sales and fashion retail.

His primary aim was to empower his wife by establishing her own business in her homeland. In his opinion, a woman's self-worth grows when she values herself and strives to build her identity. He says he always wishes these qualities for Van because she deserves them.

As for her, she says his love instills confidence and strength in her. "Being with him, I've learned that love transcends physical attraction; it's a connection between two hearts that conquers all challenges."

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