Thursday, June 30, 2011

The most wonderful experience life can give

Last week a colleague of mine came back from a weekend trip with the boyfriend with a new sparkling accessory on her ring finger.  She was beaming and I couldn't be happier for her

A colleague of mine surprised us all when he proposed to another colleague who is also his long-time girlfriend.  He had made this animated video of their story vague enough that we couldn't immediately tell what was going on but sweet enough to catch our undivided attention.  The video concluded with this message: 

Despite all the amazing experiences and world travels, it's just BEING with each other is the most wonderful experience life can give.  

That's when we realized what was going on.......and here I am crying again.  Soooo simple yet so heartfelt and touching.  Although I wanted it so bad at the time I've accepted that this isn't my story and won't be.  I can't say we met ten years ago in an elevator and became inseparable ever since.  I can't say that on my first birthday together he arranged for John Mayer to serenade me.  I can't say that we packed up and traveled the south continent the day after our graduation (also that wouldn't be halaal).

That's alright.  My story will still be special in its own way and today I'm happy.  I hope and I dream and I wish and that makes me happy.

The signs are everywhere.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Would you judge me if....

Would you judge me if I married a FOB? 

What??? of course not! 
Of course.  You're my best friend.
I will only judge your decision by the way your man treats you.
What if he said we had to have our wedding in the village his parents live in and then we're going to have ghetto pictures?
These things aren't that important.  What's important is that you have a happy marriage.  You totally have eldest daughter syndrome.  

Ummmm actually the wedding is important.
Anyway there's a difference between a REAL FOB and a FOB.  I know you wouldn't actually marry a REAL FOB.
What do you mean?
A REAL FOB is like when a girl goes back home and marries a guy that she bring here and he'll come and work for her dad or uncle.  That's very different than a guy that came to the US on his own and is already established.  You can totally marry one of those guys.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

When I realized my parents weren't perfect

This is how things should be. This is how I'm supposed to feel. This is how a guy and a girl are supposed to be CONNECTING.

Juice came to right at a transitional pivotal moment in life and he was a very welcome distraction. As a result of my relationship with Juice I began to harbor anger inside of me towards my parents. The feeling may have always been there but I just didnt' know what it was or what my unsatisfaction was. I felt that up until this time my expectations for a significant other were naïve, ignorant, and just too low.

Why didn't they teach me? Why didn't they sit down and have open discussions with me about a subject that was way more important and life-impacting then whether I got a n A+ or an A in calculus AP or whether or not my shirt was loose enough as to not see the outline of my undergarments when I left the house.  I became angry.

My parents were supposed to be my role models. They were all-knowing and all-wise. Yet their relationship which I began scrutinizing in detail was nothing I wanted for myself. I obverved interactions that I had never paid attention to before. If they were a source of comfort for each other then I didn't see it. If they were a source of mercy for each other then I didn't see it. I was always daddy's girl and my brother was always momma's boy. We were spoiled.  They favored their children over each other in many aspects and for so long this special treatment I received blinded me from seeing the cracks-huge cracks.

Up until this time I thought mr.perfect was an engineer, doctor, or a very successful businessman. He prays 5 times a day and is conservative-meaning he doesn't sit with women at dinner parties. He has a good reputation which I think just means he has never gotten into trouble. His family were known as “good people” and I'm still trying to figure out what that means. He gets along with my parents and supports me in my eductional and career pursuits.

I had no ideals of what a nurturing and passionate relationship was and it took Juice for me to question how far less than perfect my family was.

Friday, June 17, 2011

We talked and talked and talked

Juice and I chatted online and I finally gave him my number after the third time he asked. Letting a boy I liked call me was a big step for me at that time. I knew this meant things would likely progress and I felt a little guilty. Guilt is a feeling I'm still battling to overcome and it largely stems from the community I was raised in and the way mom and dad (mainly dad) brought me up. Who knows though, this could just be my future husband-so then it would be ok!

At this time Juice attended school in a different state, and things did progress. We talked on the phone for hours a day-and I mean like 4,5,sometimes 6 hours a day. He called me every chance he could and I was usually staring at my phone screen waiting for the moment. There weren't any akward silences or boring babble, we always had something to talk about. He was very intellectual. He had a lot of opinions on politics, culture, religion and so did I. We sent each other youtube clips and links of interesting commentaries.

We talked about his past relationship which was a subject I was very curious about.  He fed into some of the fantasies that he knew every girl shares.  "So where is your dream honeymoon destination?"

He also read Qu'ran like a sheikh and would send me clips of his various recitations so that I could proudly upload them onto my ipod to have with me. That's my man!

At 24 It was the first time I remember having this type of attention from a guy. Not just any guy, but a pretty hot dentist...and it was exciting!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Good Muslim girls don't hold hands with boys"

Growing up in a conservative Middle Eastern household my father was very strict about casual relationships with the opposite sex. Being that as a young girl I always strived to make my daddy proud of me-I obeyed. This has left a lasting impact on me into adulthood. I was often shy around guys who I perceived to be potential.

When I was around 9 years old my dad took me to a family picnic that the community used to hold often when I was growing up. I was playing a game Red Rover with a bunch of other kids my age. If you're not familiar with this game, first of all you're missing out! It basically involves two teams with the members tightly embraced hand-in-hand making a human rope. One person is picked to try to run through the other team's rope and break the bond of hands. If that person is unsuccessful they must join the new team. We started out boys against girls and somehome I ended up being the first girl on the boys team. So I was holding hands with a guy on either side of me.

At one point my father walked into view and I became very self-conscious. I knew he would be disappointed to see me playing with the boys-much less holding hands. He just glanced over a few times then went away.

Good Muslim girls don't hold hands with boys,” was all my father said to me in the car during the drive home. “Ok” I said.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The first time we met

I was 23-amost 24 when me and Juice met. Juice had a light tan, short spiky hair, green eyes, and smelled nice. Sometimes when I'm walking in the cosmetics section in a department store I get a whiff of the cologne he wore and become nostalgic. He didn't have the best set of teeth, but everything else about the way he looked more than made up for it. He was also a careful dresser and impressed me by pulling off pinstripe dress pants. Me on the other hand, I was wearing an urban outfitters hoodie trenchcoat and wedged flipflops. I could tell he plugged in the iron that morning which is something I never do.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Once upon a very long time ago

I was a late bloomer in the relationship department. Always boy crazy, but too innocent and Allah-fearing to dip my toes into the water. In second grade I had a crush on my friend's big brother. He was at least 5 years older than I. He was a big kid and I was a little kid, but still he was cute and made a lot of fart jokes which I thought was hilarious. Interestingly enough I find him a little less than repulsive today, yet he's married (separated I now hear).

I was also in love with my teacher's son at the small private school my parents started me out in. He was a mischievous, skinny white boy with red hair. He didn't go to my school but would come hang out after his school let out. When I suspected he would be there that day I insisted on wearing a dress and that my mom put extra bobby pins and clips in my hair to hold back the frizzies.

My most memorable childhood crush lasted longer than I would like to admit. The son of a family that moved into our community when I was still watching Under the Umbrella Tree. All the girls thought he was cute but I was pretty sure I had the best chance to end up marrying him in the future. I may not have been tall or had pretty long straight hair (this was pre-hijab) but we had the most in common. We were both smart in school and said we wanted to be doctors. I thought he would never want a dumb girl even if she was really pretty (as you can tell, I really didn't know much about how guys think).

I must have been 8 years old when I told my father that I was in love with my crush (I said it in arabic too). My dad was lying down in bed and shot up at my announcement. “SHOOOOO” (whattttt). I repeated it but this time I was embarassed. I hated disappointing my father. He just stared at me and said “7araaaam” and I said ok. We never talked about guys, or fact things are still like that today in my household almost 20 years later.

From the Holy Quran

And of His Signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you might find peace of mind in them, and He put between you love and compassion”
Chapter 30, verse 21 of al-Qur'an