Love in Indonesia
Fang Xia is an employee for the Indonesian Takala coal- fired power plant project of China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Co., Ltd. It didn’t occur to anyone that he would find his love here, like the Takala power plant falling in love with the land.
In April of 2014, Fang Xia arrived at the project department of the Babibalu Coal-fired Power Station. At first, Fang could hardly get used to the local people’s English accent and found it difficult to communicate. This made most of the work hard to carry out, but he felt that Indonesians were very warm and friendly, and always wore smiles on their faces. So Fang started learning Indonesian step by step, and tried to communicate with the local people. For example, he would talk to cooks and drivers whenever he was free to better understand the local language as well as culture and living habits.
Fiyo was a university student working at the project department. Outgoing and dynamic as she was, she breathed fresh air into the department. “At first, I was not very familiar with Fiyo. We liked chatting with each other and talking about the differences between Chinese and Indonesian cultures. Gradually, we started getting more and more familiar with each other,” Fang recalled.
Fiyo loves Chinese culture. She learned Chinese when she was in senior high school, and also hired a Chinese tutor to teach her Chinese after work. Later, her colleagues advised her to ask Fang Xia to be her Chinese teacher. Fang agreed without a second thought.
“Traffic jams are commonplace in Jakarta. Fiyo lived far away from the company. Every morning, she had to get up at 4 am to arrive at the office at 6 am. We used the 2 hours before work to learn Chinese. I lived right at the project department. So I only needed to get up at 6. I thought it was tiring for her to get up so early and became more and more concerned about her,” Fang recalled when speaking of his feelings for Fiyo.
A month later, Fang received a notification to be relocated to the Takala project department. Fang
and Fiyo were upset about the upcoming departure.
It was at the time of the Muslims’ Eid al- Fitr, when local people enjoyed a holiday and Chinese employees worked as usual. Fang suddenly had no student to teach, and Fiyo could not see her teacher anymore. They just kept in touch over the Internet and both felt something was missing.
“One weekend, Fiyo invited me to her home. I accepted the invitation happily. That weekend, we went many places together. Her family treated me, a special guest, with hospitality and warmth. Fiyo sang along with radio songs when we were driving and traveling. Looking at the blue sky and sea outside the car windows and feeling the soft wind, we were both very happy. She was willing to share her feelings with me and talk with me about a world of things. At that moment, I felt attracted to her. Going back to Jakarta, I worked up my courage to express my feelings for her. After that, our relationship took a great step ahead,” said Fang.
Learning a lot about the local language and culture from Fiyo, Fang became more comfortable communicating with local people. When he bumped into financial and tax problems, he would turn to Fiyo for help and ask her to do some translations for him. The language barrier was indeed a headache; however, it also became a catalyst for love.
“Thinking that their daughter would be married to a Chinese person and live far away in China, Fiyo’s parents worried that they would have no one nearby when they grew old, so they felt upset. At first, they did not want us to be together. She told me about her parents’ concern and cried over this, but in fact, I understand her parents’ mindset.”
Fang’s parents were surprised and did not agree to this relationship at first, either. “I didn’t tell Fiyo about this, I knew she had already suffered a lot from the pressure from her parents. Moreover, I believed that if we were clear about our decision, and remained determined, parents will always choose to support their children in the end. I took time to persuade my parents, and gradually softened their attitudes.”
In the end of December of 2015, the company organized training sessions for foreign employees in China. Fang applied for a leave to go back to China with Fiyo and took her to meet his parents. Seeing Fiyo, Fang’s parents found her a good girl, and they had no trouble communicating with her in Chinese. They all felt relieved. Fang took Fiyo to Wuhan, Beijing, and Shanghai. Along the way, he introduced her to the cultures of these cities. Fiyo loved China all the more and said she would like to live in China after they got married.
On September 1, 2017, Fang and Fiyo married in Jakarta and embarked on a new life journey together.
Today, Fiyo is studying Chinese in Beijing. She gets impressive academic marks, and plans to go for a master’s degree in the Chinese language. Meanwhile, Fang is still working in Indonesia, and plans to stick to his post until the completion of the project at hand.
“As China is gradually opening up, the barrier between different places will be smaller and smaller. For people in love, no matter where they live and work, the distance won’t be a problem to them.” With a beautiful future ahead, Fang and Fiyo are confident.
2016 年 5 月，方夏和菲欧在塔卡拉项目现场 Fang Xia and Fiyo at the site of the Indonesian Takala coal-fired power plant project in May 2016
2017年大年初一，方夏与菲欧在雅加达订婚Fang Xia and Fiyo were engaged on the Lunar New Year’s Day of 2017.