Billionaire Yao Nanshan gave up his wealth and left his home of 30 years in Spain, returning to China to marry a peasant woman. Now he lives a happy life as a farmer among the rice terraces in Yunhe County, Zhejiang Province.
Their love story dates back to July 6, 2013. On that day Nanshan and his friend were visiting China, but missed the last train back to the city.
So Nanshan knocked on the door of a house in the foothills of the mountains. A middle-aged woman answered the door, and welcomed the travelers warmly, allowing them to spend the night in her home.
Their host was Liu Lijuan, a widow who lived alone. Her only daughter moved to work in the city after graduating from college.
They talked all night as if they were old friends. It turned out that Lijuan had suffered much hardship in her life — she married young, and their adopted daughter suffered from osteonecrosis. Her husband became sick, and then later died from cancer.
All these misfortunes had exhausted Lijuan’s financial resources, and left her in debt —the only good news was that her daughter was cured. However, Lijuan still had hope in her heart.
Nanshan was over 50 at that time, and he had met many women who were nicer, more dignified, gentler, and prettier. But he had never met a woman like Lijuan who was able to warm other people’s hearts even when she was in a bad situation.
She made him feel like a teenager again and filled his heart with love — he missed her when they were apart. Nanshan was also a widower; his wife had died from cancer a few years ago. He was filled with sadness that they didn’t get to grow old together. Even though he had a huge bank balance, his inner world was bleak and empty.
When it was time for him to return to Spain, he offered to take Lijuan with him, and also to take care of her debts. But Lijuan declined, insisting that she should pay off what she owed with hard work in order to maintain her dignity.
Nanshan’s admiration for this remarkable woman grew even more, and he wondered just how many women could face life alone like Lijuan with a huge amount of courage and a spine of steel.
Back home in Spain, Nanshan dreamed of Lijuan all the time. He realized that this was the woman he loved, and his place was by her side. He asked his three children to take over the business, and he returned to Lijuan.
Nanshan became the chef at Lijuan’s restaurant in the autumn of 2014, adding steak and salad to the menu. He also added a touch of European design to her bed and breakfast décor, bringing a touch of western luxury to her business. Both of them worked very hard and their efforts paid off, with Lijuan’s restaurant and B&B doing very well.
In October 2015, Nanshan proposed. At first Lijuan was hesitant, because she didn’t want to interfere with the relationship between Nanshan and his children, particularly regarding his will. Nanshan, however, promised over and over again that it wouldn’t happen.
This made Nanshan all the more determined that Lijuan was the right woman for him. After all, where can you find a woman who can resist the temptation of wealth?
Nanshan’s children were all against their father giving everything up and moving back to China, but when they saw the joy and satisfaction in his face, they understood that he had found happiness in life.
On Christmas Day in 2015, Lijuan and Nanshan had a simple wedding ceremony officially joining their lives together, sharing the day with their friends and family.
Researched by Monica Song, and edited by Kathy McWilliams