Thank god. I personally found having a baby/family and going through the experience of pregnancy in Dublin, painful. I often wonder if my baby would have been born “healthier” if I were in a cleaner environment. One where the streets are not plagued with garbage, drunk vomit, and cigarette smokers at every step. Did I make a mistake by not moving back to Cali or to Belgium early on in my pregnancy? Would things have been different, better, had I been in a calmer and healthier environment. So many people have children in Dublin; people who are far less healthy than me and their children seem to be born without any health concerns. So, it’s probably wasn’t Dublin’s fault. So, that leaves me…what did I do “wrong”- if anything? I can ask this question for the rest of my life but really all I want and care about is that my baby can lead a normal childhood, a normal adulthood, that her speech will not be impaired, that she won’t be teased or bullied. Every parent hopes for the same even if their child is born with the best odds. I guess I worry a little more because her odds are hindered. My husband always says, “She has the same chances in life as anyone else.” I find comfort in this.
It’s been nearly 3 years since I added an entry in my diary. The last 3 years have been amazing, chaotic, eventful, simple, exciting, and never dull. The reason I first started writing a blog was to share my experiences marrying outside of my culture and religion- sharing my challenges. After a few months of marriage, all that didn’t seem to matter anymore. I guess it’s because I never felt that my husband and I were from different worlds…only my family did. In the last 3 years, we have traveled a large portion of western Europe and had our first baby. Just 3 weeks ago, we had a little baby girl. We are over the moon but it has been a challenge. Being new parents is challenging as it is, especially without the help and support of family. We have an additional challenge as our daughter was born with a cleft palate. My diary has always been a place I can come to write my thoughts, share my experiences, and keep myself sane. I guess now that I’m facing another challenge in life, writing feels like a good way to keep myself strong for my baby girl and for my husband…for my family really. I think i’ll be writing daily or at least every other day to get my thoughts out in writing. From the pregnancy, to the birth, to the first few weeks as a new mom…it’s really been traumatizing! I think it’s time to put pen to paper, or in this case, fingers to keyboard and start clearing my mind.
After realizing that he was in love with me, I tried to convince myself that I didn’t feel the same. At first it was easy; I just began to distance myself from him. No more hanging around campus after class or meeting up for tea after school. I went straight home after school always with the excuse that I had things to do at home. I thought the longer I distanced myself the more he would stop feeling this way about me. But, I missed him. We had so much fun together. We laughed, we talked about things I never discussed with anyone…things like theories, making bets with God, playing games with people, but never about religion.
A week went by and finals were approaching, I texted him and said I needed to talk to him. I know I struck panic in him. After our final exam, We walked to a near by restaurant. I sat across from him, stared him in the eyes and didn’t say a word. He nudged me, “Say it.” So I did, I said, “Listen, I don’t think we’re on the same page here. I know you like me but I think I should give it another try with my fiancé.” I couldn’t come to the point, I couldn’t say the truth. I couldn’t say, “You’re white and not a Muslim, I can’t be with you.” I was such a coward. He looked at me with a sad smile and said only one thing, “Can I kiss you one last time.” He still remembers the song that was playing when he kissed me that day.
He walked me to the train station and I didn’t even hug him, I shyly waved and walked down the urine smelling steps and disappeared from his view. I sat on the train and the first thing I did was text him, “I adore you.”
I realized that moment that I was very much in love with this man. That I couldn’t walk away. That my heart was heavy with love for him. That climbing a pile of shit to pluck a rose only to realize that I had lost my sense of smell was not how I foresaw my future. That I would love him and be with him until I couldn’t anymore. I decided that I would love him and enjoy every second with him that I could not knowing where that journeys would take me. We still had a few weeks in San Francisco, months in Shanghai and graduation in London to look forward to. Let me be with him until this all has to end.
I write this post as I enjoy a poolside view of La Koutoubia in Marrakech on my honeymoon. It’s all a bit surreal to reflect back on the tumultuous journey that has brought me here to this paradise. I can’t believe that I have fallen in love and married a man with skin the color of this crepe, eyes the color of this pool, and language as foreign as this couscous. How did I get here? I remember the first time I realized he was in love with me. We were standing on top of a hill overlooking the bay bridge, it was his birthday. He was standing behind me with his arms wrapped around my shoulders. He joked and asked what my parents would say if I brought him home to them. I laughed a deep laugh. Deep because it was not even fathomable to me. I told him very directly as I continued to laugh, “No way, my dad would literally kill me, disown me…” He sighed and pretended to let out a small laugh as he said, “Yeah, my brothers pretty racist too especially towards Muslims…he would go crazy.” Silence sunk in as the sun set and the breeze picked up. We started to walk down towards the city and with a solemn voice he said, “I don’t want this to just become a memory.” My heart slowed to a deep drumming beat, my throat dried, I took a deep breath. I thought to myself, “Oh no, he’s in love with me.” I was scared. Scared not because I had just gotten out of a 3 year relationship and 1 year engagement. Scared because I was Muslim and he was not. Scared because he was white. Scared not only because my family would never accept him but also because I didn’t think I would ever accept. How am I now on a honeymoon with this very man? Read my next post to follow the story!