Love in times of pandemic

2021-03-07 12:05:14

[Photo by Ismael Sandiego/China Daily] It is imperative for people to maintain social distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though distance may bring uncertainty and difficulties, true love never fades. Chen Yixiu met her Mr Right on the flight back to China from Chile in October. "We met through a mutual friend who thought it would be a good idea to introduce us since we were on the same flight and could take care of each other during the journey," said Chen, 25. "The tall guy looked handsome even with his mask on. Looking at his curly brown hair, I reckoned he had obviously trimmed his hair by himself for he couldn't visit a barber due to the pandemic," she added, reminiscing her maiden encounter with Xu Peng, 28, at the airport. He gave his only spare N95 mask to her and chose to wear a less comfortable one. "It wasn't until we arrived at the quarantine hotel that I realized his mask had chafed his nose," she said. The two fell in love and began a long-distance relationship with Chen working in Fuzhou, East China's Fujian province, and Xu in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu province-living about 900 km apart. Ahead of this Spring Festival, she headed to Nanjing to see him. It was her birthday on Feb 6 and the duo celebrated the day together. "The pandemic and distance won't affect our relationship. We have similar experience and common plans for the future, and our lives are now brighter with each other," she said. Circumstances are however different for Liu Tingting, a diplomat who was stationed in Tajikistan for the past three years. She was separated from her boyfriend Sun Chen for more than a year due to the pandemic. "She was supposed to return in February last year, and we had planned to decorate our apartment together and then get married," Sun said. "But she decided to stick to her post under the pandemic." Over the past year, Liu and Sun discussed their decoration plans with a designer online. Sun would visit stores and show Liu the furniture through video calls to make a collective decision. Liu finally returned in January this year, but she was under quarantine at a hotel and had to spend Valentine's Day confined to the room. "I wish I could hug him," Liu said. "All I want is that she can come home safe and sound. I want to cook, go shopping, watch movies with her, and do lots of things together when she's back," Sun said. The pandemic may have distanced many couples, but it has not affected the 63-year-long marriage between Chen Jinyou, 89, and Yu Lianjuan, 88. The old couple from Shanghai has a busy schedule. Chen writes poems, paints, or practices calligraphy, while Yu does embroidery or paper-cutting at home. "Although we are encouraged not to go out too often due to the pandemic, we still have a lot of things to do every day, so we don't get bored," Chen said. "The key to our marriage is helping, understanding and tolerating each other." Chen and Yu never said "I love you" to each other, but true love shines through their decades of companionship, an ever-lasting romance outshining any spoken words. Xinhua