A love story from China to Windsor

Constance Xiong
By Constance Xiong May 1, 2017 21:54

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They could barely communicate with each other, but when Canadian Rick Newcombe first laid eyes on Xinlan Xie, he was love stuck.

They were introduced by their boss, the principal of the school where they both worked in Guangzhou, China.

I find Xinlan very clever and very sweet, and very funny – I couldn’t help being attracted to her,” said Newcombe.

They got married last year (a second marriage for both), and when the work in China ended, they came to Canada.

Now, they are settled in Windsor.

“She has a lot of energy which makes up for my energy,” said Newcombe.

For Xie, Newcombe is a well-read and well-mannered man, who she said is respectful of others and especially of her.

Their relationship has also developed around a lot of common interests and hobbies.

“For example, we like to travel, sometimes go outside for a walk or go to museum. Also, he especially interested in Chinese culture, like calligraphy, painting, traditional music and traditional Chinese performing arts,” said Xie.

Language remains their biggest problem.

Xie is a Chinese literature teacher in China, but she didn’t speak English well.

We do have obstacles during our communication but we are very patient with each other. What that means is that if I like this person, his personalities and hobbies, then I can cope with other aspects,” said Xie.

“We go to Chinese cultural events, we also go to Canadian cultural events. The events are almost all in English, and Xinlan has trouble understanding. Sometimes we go to the Chinese events and I have trouble following what’s going on. We go out to restaurants with my friends, but they don’t speak Chinese, sometimes with her friends, but they may speak very little English. So, sometimes, we have to sit and be quiet for a long time, and other times, we are talking happily,” said Newcombe.

Although, language is an obstacle between them, Xie says technology helps. Sometimes they rely on computer translation apps.

“The point (before deciding to marry) is to figure out if he is the right person and if you like this person or not. If you think he is the one, … then you need to trust and tolerate each other and stick to it. Otherwise, it will be very hard to last,” said Xie.

Newcombe says his Chinese is very weak, and he still has a long way to go before he’s proficient at the language.

He is a teacher at Academie Ste. Cecile International School in Windsor, a private school, founded on Catholic values. For now, Xie stays at home, because her application for permanent residency is still being processed, and she does not have the legal status to work here yet.

Canada remains an unfamiliar environment for her – the first time she has ever lived abroad. Initially, Xie’s family did not agree with her choice to move here. Newcombe was also worried about the transition, especially since she alone so much during the day.

Xie admits she, too, was concerned.

“I was worried about being depressed myself when I first arrived, because my previous work was very busy and I needed to deal a lot of things everyday, but now suddenly there is nothing for me to do. He (Newcombe) was worried about to that when he took me back to Canada, very worried,” she said.

“He encouraged me to meet some friends, and also introduced his friends to me. He doesn’t want me to feel lonely in Canada. He hopes I am happy every day,” she added.

Newcombe’s family really likes Xie. He also makes a point of driving to Dundas, Ont. to visit his daughter from a previous marriage. It’s a 3-hour drive which they try to do each month.

“He thinks we need to be happy every day. If you put too much pressure on yourself just because you want to make money like some people, then that’s not the life he wants. All he wants for me is to feel happy, then he is happy,” said Xie.

For this Windsor couple, their relationship exists regardless of national boundaries, regardless of language.

They just see it as love.

Constance Xiong
By Constance Xiong May 1, 2017 21:54

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