A Love Story at LiMing

Zulin Yang, the general manager of LiMing’s Global Mart, is holding a bunch of red roses he prepares for his fiancée.

Zulin Yang, the general manager of LiMing’s Global Mart, is holding a bunch of red roses he prepares for his fiancée.

Last Thursday, Zulin Yang, the manager of LiMing’s Global Mart, celebrated a special date with his fiancée, Lu Ai, because they have been together for four months.

Yang said he first met his fiancée at LiMing’s Global Mart in the summer of 2012 when he introduced different kinds of pears to her.

“She is attractive to me,” Yang said. “So I pay attention to her since then.”

She came to shop at LiMing every two weeks at that time, Yang said.

“When she shopped here, I would go up to her and ask how her daily life is going,” Yang said.

Other than having a chat with her, he sometimes picked up heavy shopping bags for her, he said.

Gradually, through constant communication they became friends.

“I didn’t express my feelings to her,” he said. “I was afraid I would scare her away from me if I was too straightforward.”

In May 2014, Ai graduated from North Carolina State University with a master’s degree in accounting, Yang said.

“She worked hard during school, and after graduation she found a good job in Triangle area,” he said. “The foundation of our relationship is that both of us have stable incomes.”

Now that she has graduated, Ai has more time for him, Yang explains .

“I would say that the turning point is October 12 last year,” Yang said. “We count that day as our first date.”

As the manager of LiMing, Yang said he has to work all year long. But October 12, 2014, he asked for half of the day off because he had planned to have dinner with Ai.

Grace Cheung, a cashier at LiMing’s Global Mart, recalled, “He was very excited and happy,” .

Yang wore a light blue shirt with a tie, dark brown trousers and leather shoes, and Ai wore a dress. They had dinner at Squid’s in Chapel Hill.

“She was impressively beautiful,” he said. “She looked happy.”

“We didn’t tell each other that we were going to dress wear formally.” He said. “But we coincidentally did. So we counted that day as our first date.”

Yang said after first dating, he went to her house after work every day, accompanying her and talking with her for half an hour.

“I am off work after 9 p.m. every day and she usually goes to bed around 10 p.m.,” he said. “I love her, so I respect her lifestyle.”

Their routine topics are like normal couples: their career plans, friends, families and what they’ve seen or heard that day.

Although Yang is busy at LiMing, he never forgets to take her out for dinner and give her some gifts such as flowers or cards on the 12th of each month, he said.

“When you love a girl, you will naturally devote your time and energy to make her happy,” he said. “When I was young, I was not romantic at all.”

Yang said that sometimes right before he takes out his phone and to call her, his phone rings — and on its screen is her name.

“It’s like we have a strange empathy,” he said. “The longer we’ve been together, the more similar our minds are.”

In the November of 2014, they went to a jewelry store and selected an engagement ring, Yang said.

Yang said the customized engagement ring arrived before December 12 just as he hoped, the day they have been together for two months.

“I proposed to her with the ring and flowers on that day,” he said. “And she said, ‘yes.’”

This week is extraordinarily busy because it is one week before Chinese New Year. The busiest day for Yang happens to be the Valentine’s Day.

“I need to be here at 7:30 a.m. on this Saturday,” he said.

Yang says he never forgets the gift for her, even if he cannot accompany her on the Valentine’s Day.

“Before I go to work on Saturday I will put a bunch of red roses beside the bed and prepare the breakfast for her,” he said. “When she wakes up in the morning, she will be surprised by the red roses and have a happy Valentine’s Day.”


The interviews were conducted in Chinese. Direct quotes were translated from Chinese to English.