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Iryna Filontseva: West Lake witnessed our first date and now we're married!
en.hangzhou.com.cn   2022-01-13 14:06   Source:City Express

My name is Ira, and I am 26 from Ukraine. My husband Rene is Australian, 3 years older than I am.

Around 5 years ago I bought a one-way ticket to China and never looked back. My first and only home in China is Hangzhou, and I truly understand the reason why people call it heaven on the earth--I fell in love with its beauty and convenience from the first sight.

I met my husband in October 2019 during the Golden Week. He at that time was a newcomer and did not know where to go or what to do in Hangzhou. Soon we had our first date by the West Lake. That day we ended up walking for 8 hours around downtown area because we just could not stop talking. We started dating immediately and fell crazily in love. At that time, he lived in Yuhang District and I lived in Xiacheng District, so it took us more than an hour by DiDi to visit each other.

Our common interests include traveling and between two of us we have been to about 50 countries. For the Spring Festival in 2020 we went on vacations to different countries before the pandemic happened. We ended up going to our own home countries, but soon agreed that China might be the only place where we can be together safely. When we came back to Hangzhou, everyone else back home thought we were being crazy.

He proposed to me on the Valentine's Day 2021. Since we couldn't go to any of our home countries, we decided to do the wedding in a very unique and special way. After looking through all the beautiful places in China we have been to and have not been to yet, we thought that nothing could be more special than getting married in Tibet where the Himalayas would be at our feet.

The Tibetan wedding was an "elope", which we told everyone after the ceremony as a surprise. I would describe our wedding as "breathtaking" due to how happy we were and how difficult it was to breathe in the mountains.

We wanted a British friend of ours to preside over our wedding but he was not available. It turned out that we were lucky to meet another British guy Robert who lived in Beijing. He was part of our tour group and officiated the wedding for us. Everyone else on the trip was helpful too. The tour guide helped us find the most beautiful spot in Tibet where we had a splendid view of the Himalayan area.

Like all other brides I wanted to wear a wedding dress. As much as we wanted to do a real wedding, us being from 2 different countries and living in China on top of the pandemic did not help. So, we decided to have a wedding photoshoot, ordering 6 different outfits, with one in the traditional Chinese style. That was a great memory to have and to pass on to our kids and grandkids in the future.

We met in China, got married in China and are living in China. We are made in China family.

Author:Iryna Filontseva  Editor:Wang Jian
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