Hello, I am Casey Ellzey. I’m an American teacher, and I specialize in Asian history and early childhood education. I have been in China nearly three years now.
My story isn’t an unlikely one, but it is one I never thought I would find myself in. My goal when I came to China was to serve one year teaching here before I left for my master’s degree. I arrived in Shanghai in August of 2019. I was only 23 at the time and very nervous to be in a country boasting thousands of years of history. I ended up missing my connecting flight to Shenzhen the day I landed due to security issues, so I booked a free flight the next day thanks to a lovely woman at the airport in Shanghai. She also got me situated in a nice hotel where I could stay the night. I landed in my new home city for the next year at 10:00 A.M. on August 28th. Tired, emotionally confused, and quickly running out of cash a taxi man took pity on me and accepted less money than what it cost to drive me from the airport.
我要讲的故事并不是不可能发生，只是从未想过故事的主人公竟是我。2019 年 8 月，我抵达上海，当时来中国的目的是任教一年，然后去读硕士。来到一个拥有数千年历史的国家，当时只有 23 岁的我显得非常紧张。由于安全问题，我错过了落地当天飞往深圳的转机航班，所以我预订了第二天的免费航班，这得感谢上海机场一位可爱的女士。她还为我安排了一家不错的酒店，当晚我在那里过夜。8 月 28 日上午 10 点，飞机着陆在一座城市，那里将是我未来一年的新家。我身心俱疲，钱也快花光了，出租车司机同情我，以更优惠的价格送我离开机场。
I spent the next few months figuring out China when I met this person online and we had a small connection. His name is Anji. A simple hair stylist from Heyuan, Guangdong. We met in November and had been talking for about two months when we decided that I should come in for a hair appointment to meet each other. That was in December of 2019. We scheduled the time for January 15th, but an outbreak would see that we wouldn’t meet. We texted back and forth for the two months we were on lock down. We got to know each other more and seemed to like each other. Though neither one of us would admit it to the other.
接下来的几个月里，我一直在了解中国。我在网上遇到了他，我们开始联系彼此。他叫安集，是一位理发师，来自广东河源。我们是在 11 月认识的，大约聊了两个月，然后我们决定在理发店见面。当时是 2019 年 12 月，我们把见面时间安排在 1 月 15 日，但新冠疫情突然爆发，这也代表着我们无法见面了。我们隔离的两个月里，互发信息聊天，对彼此有了更多了解。我们貌似喜欢上了对方，但谁也不愿意表白。
In late February I got really sick and ended up in the hospital with an autoimmune disorder. He would send me words of encouragement. Cheering me on from the outside while I was being nursed back to health. I was released from hospital on March 11, 2020. That day we made an appointment to have me come in to do my hair that was now in horrible shape. We met on March 31, 2020 at 4:30 P.M. I can still remember everything we wore that day. It wasn’t hot or cold but comfortable. He asked me to eat dinner with him that night and I said yes on a gut feeling.
二月下旬，我患上了自身免疫性疾病，病得很重，住进了医院。他不断给我发信息，鼓励我克服病魔。我接受康复治疗的时候，他在病房外给我加油鼓劲。2020 年 3 月 11 日，我出院了。那天，我们约好，他帮我理发，当时我的头发已经相当杂乱了。2020 年 3 月 31 日下午 4 点半，我们终于见面了。我仍然记得我们当天的衣着打扮。那天天气非常舒适，不冷不热。晚上他邀请我一起吃饭，我想也没想就答应了。
For the next few days we would see each other daily. On April 3rd we agreed that we liked each other and wanted a relationship. This man who doesn’t speak English wanted to commit to me. We were together about 4 months when we found out that we would be expecting a child. By then we had discussed a possible marriage in the future. We were scared and nervous, but willing to welcome this new life into ours. On our seven-month anniversary he proposed.
接下来的几天里，我们每天都会见到彼此。4 月 3 日，我们承认喜欢上了对方，而且希望建立关系。他不会说英语，但却想跟我表白。我们在一起大概 4 个月的时候，我发现自己有孩子了。那时我们已经开始考虑未来的婚姻大事了。虽然我们会感到紧张和恐惧，但我们愿意迎接这个新生命的到来。我们恋爱七个月纪念日的时候，他终于向我求婚了。
It was November 13th. I had been at work all day and I was really tired, but he said he wanted me to meet him at one of our favorite spots. He wanted to go out for dinner. This isn’t unusual of him, so instead of going home I went to the mall to meet him. He told me his work friends wanted to celebrate, so I said okay. Everything was normal, I had started to get really tired.
那天是 11 月 13 日。我工作了一整天，真的很累，但他想约我在我们最爱的地方见面。他那天很反常，因为他想出去吃饭，所以我没有回家，而是去商场见他。他说想和同事庆祝一下，我同意了。一切都很正常，但我实在累坏了。
I was seven months pregnant at this point and I had worked all day. He then gave me a random letter. I noticed it was in English so I started reading. He had spent all day translating what he wanted to say. “…I feel like our spirits have known each other for many lifetimes, and they have found each other again. Will you make my spirit happy and marry me?” This line I will forever remember. I didn’t process at first, but after a while I turn and he is there on one knee. This man that didn’t speak English, pouring out his heart on paper to me and asking me to be his beloved for life. I said yes through tears, all the while a friend caught it on camera. This one video would start our story online. Many would watch our love story unfold, our daughter being born, and our rise to a little popularity on the famous app Douyin.
This man has helped me out of a dark area in my life, and is my rock. If it hadn’t been for Shenzhen I wouldn’t have met him. My daughter was born in Shenzhen, my family was started here. This city has so many deep memories for me, and I am so thankful for all that it has given me. It gave me a husband, a child, and a family. But more importantly it gave me hope. From walking on the paths near Shenzhen Bay to an amazing medical team helping me with the birth of my first born, this city has blessed me in so many different ways.
I am originally from Ellisville, Mississippi. I grew up in a single parent household. We were quiet people and never really went out much. I am from a smaller town so the shock of a big city like Shenzhen was a bit overwhelming. I spent 22 years in Mississippi and China was my first time leaving home. I am thankful for the lessons I learned in Mississippi that made me tough enough to take on a big city like Shenzhen. My story is unique and I hope it makes someone smile.
我来自密西西比州的埃利斯维尔，在一个单亲家庭长大。我们都非常文静，从来没有真正走出家乡。我居住的城镇比较小，所以像深圳这样的大城市给我带来巨大的冲击，有点难以承受。我在密西西比州生活了 22 年，第一次离家就来到了中国。我非常感激密西西比州教会我的一切，这令我有足够的韧性面对像深圳这样的大城市。我独特的故事希望能让你会心一笑。
You can follow them on Douyin (Chinese Tik-Tok). Account name: 安集哥哥呀！