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The attack of the academic failure: Chinese young man marries beautiful 18 year-old Ukrainian girl.
12 years ago, Mei Aicai only scored 320 points on the Gaokao examination [out of 750 points]. With this, he thought his academic career was over, and suddenly found himself at a loss for what to do. At that point, a friend dragged him along to go study abroad in Ukraine, and even though he thought Ukraine was in Africa at the time and couldn’t speak a single word of the language there, Mei Aicai still boarded the flight to this strange new country, never imagining that once he went, he would be there for 12 years…
Anxiety – he only knew one Russian phrase before leaving the country [going abroad]
For Mei Aicai, Ukraine was an unknown country, and initially thought this country was in Africa.
”Before I left the country, I went to Shijiazhuang and learned Russian for a month, but ultimately only learned “hello, I want water”. When I got on the plane, I was really nervous, not knowing what would be waiting for me in an unknown country,” Mei Aicai said.
Upon arriving in Ukraine, Mei Aicai took a preparatory course at the local university, and because he didn’t speak the language, he made a mockery of himself. “When I first arrived, I saw black bread in the store. I thought it was made with chocolate and bought a whole bunch, but when I took a bite, it was both bitter and hard, like a rock. In the end, I had to throw it all away,” Mei Aicai said.
Another time, Mei Aicai went to the hair salon for a haircut and had a lot of trouble describing the hairstyle he wanted to the barber. Eventually, he resorted to buying a pair of scissors and used a mirror to cut his own hair. Russian words are very long, and its grammar is even more complex, with many Ukrainians themselves not even fully understanding it. Mei Aicai couldn’t understand anything during class, as the professor had a deep accent, and to him it all sounded like someone selling lamb skewers.
A lonely life – tomatoes scrambled with egg was a luxury for him
To outsiders, Mei Aicai must have come from a rich household to be able to go abroad, but in reality his parents were average working class people. He chose to go to Ukraine because the cost of a university education was similar to China, and moreover visas were also relatively easy to obtain.
Although his family was not wealthy, Mei Aicai didn’t grow up in hardship either, but when he arrived in Ukraine, the first problem he had to solve was how to feed himself. During the winter in Ukraine, vegetables are very expensive, the price tags all listed prices in kilograms, and no matter what Mei Aicai looked at, he felt he couldn’t afford anything.
“Only after going out in the world did I slowly understand my parents’ hardships. For the first two years, the things I ate the most were potatoes and cabbage, as these two things are the cheapest in Ukraine. Only during Chinese New Year was I willing to buy two tomatoes. At the time, I thought tomato scrambled with egg was a luxurious meal.”
Although it was hard, Mei Aicai quickly became independent, and as someone who had never cooked before at home, he gradually learned how to even cook a few specialties. Mei Aicai said: “The first year abroad, what I felt most was loneliness and helplessness, and everyday I wanted to go [back] home. At that time, I did not have a phone or a computer, so I eagerly waited for the weekends when I could go to the internet cafe to chat with my family”.
Adjusting – playing ping pong opened a new world for him
After graduating from his 1 year preparatory course, Mei Aicai stupidly chose to attend the Karkov Academy of Fine Arts, and he became the only student in the school who didn’t know how to draw.
During the first semester at the academy, he spent most of his time playing video games and skipping class. Mei Aicai felt he didn’t have a goal in life, and wanted to make a change. So, everyday he went to the gymnasium to play ping pong and, as a result, he made many Ukrainian friends, and his Russian also gradually improved.
Most importantly, Mei Aicai also represented the academy and won 3rd place in the Karkov University Student Competition, a first in the academy’s 100 year-old history. After winning the prize, Mei Aicai’s life entered a new era. An athletic teacher regarded him greatly, placed his picture in the school halls, and more and more Ukrainian students and teachers came to him to play ping pong.
Though ping pong, Mei Aicai even found a girlfriend, and began to work hard at his major under her encouragement. Over the next few years, Mei Aicai did well in his core studies, his Russian greatly improved, and he consistently aced his athletics.
Happiness – in both love and career
On the Autohome BBS, Mei Aicai’s threads about his life in Ukraine have reached hundreds of thousands, even millions of views. People all relished in discussing his beautiful wife, and it was through his wife’s support that Mei Aicai started his own business.
When Ukrainian women get married, they take their husband’s name. Mei Aicai’s wife’s name is Mei Dasha and she is still attending high school. According to Ukrainian law, women can marry at the age of 17.
”She may be young but her views are very mature. At school, she is a good student with excellent grades and at home, she is a good wife, keeping our home neat and tidy, doing the laundry and cooking.” Talking about his wife, Mei Aicai has nothing but praise for her.
A happy home life left Mei Aicai with less to worry about, so he had more time to devote to his business. He quit his previous job as an animator and chose to start his own business. Currently, he is running a company engaged in the import/export of equipment and foodstuffs.
According to him, doing business in Ukraine requires little entertainment and socializing, where even taking a client out is unnecessary, so even now Mei Aicai does not drink or smoke, but Ukrainians have high standards when it comes to quality of work.
Because he is in the import/export business, Mei Aicai spends a lot of time each day communicating with people in China, but luckily he can stay at home and simply turn on his computer to work.
”Some people think I am very successful, but I feel my greatest happiness comes from my family. I come home everyday on time to eat with my wife, and afterward we go for a walk. I feel this kind of life is very happy, and next year we are planning to have our first baby,” Mei Aicai said.
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Nice to hear about this guy's story. I have spent some time abroad and it's not easy to make friends with the locals, especially the males since they tend to be envious/defensive about foreigners and cock-block them. Sounds like this guy was lucky that he met warm friendly people, especially since it seems that it took him several years before he could speak Russian well (how he communicated with people before then is beyond me). I also find it puzzling that he could meet his beautiful Ukrainian wife before he could speak Russian well. IME, the prettiest local girls can only speak their mother tongue well
- Freshman Poster
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- Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:33 pm
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