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.
They say the 3rd time is a charm. Well, as I mentioned in my last post, I married my now husband 3 times and each time was a dream come true. I suppose the first time wasn’t a marriage but it felt like one- the marriage of two old souls <3.The first time, was in Yungshuo, China. Sounds crazy, I know. How did it happen? We were both grad students in business school studying International Business. We traveled to China for a semester and during a break from classes in Shanghai, we decided to take a weekend trip outside of the city. We backpacked our way to the top of a tea terrace in Yungshuo where there was a bamboo hotel with all glass walls. It was as beautiful as it sounds. At this point, we were only “dating” for about 6 months. Me, coming from very strict moral beliefs and being raised in a Muslim family, dating was not typical neither was traveling with a guy. Thankfully, my husband was very cautious and respectful of my beliefs. Ironically, after talking until the wee hours of the morning, we came to realize we had the same core values, the same moral understanding, and the same sense of humor. Brilliant! This was the first time we ever discussed marriage seriously. So serious that we found ourselves shopping for two silver wedding bands in the rural village of Yungshuo in order to seal our vow to one day marry each other no matter how difficult our journey may become. We managed to find 2 silver bands in a road side shack-like store. They were sold to us by an elderly Chinese man who smiled like a cheshire cat when we tried to explain to him with exaggerated hand gestures that we wanted to marry each other. We even managed to get the rings engraved with the date, our initials, with my husbands ring reading “Forever” and mine reading “Yours.” Making sure the rings were engraved correctly was a challenge on its own as the rings had to sawed open, hand engraved with a pick, then soldered shut. After watching the rings go through the transformation of a pair of rings to our rings, we looked at each other with a sad smirk as we placed the rings on each others fingers. We knew wanted to spend the rest of our lives with each other, we just didn’t know how to make that happen. We knew that were perfect for each other, but we didn’t know how to illustrate that to our families. Being brought up in two different worlds, we had a huge mountain to climb ahead of us. Once our Shangahi semester was over, I would be moving to London to complete the last leg of grad school and he would be staying back in Shanghai to finish off his studies. How were we going to stay together? How would tell our families that we met someone from a different country, with a different language, and a different religious upbringing? Read my next posts to see how we cultivated our relationship from a distance and managed to get our families on board with our choice. :o)
15 days ago I married my best friend for the 2nd time. 8 days ago I married my best friend for the 3rd time. In the last 2 weeks, I have married, TWICE, packed up my 25 years of life in California and moved to Dublin, Ireland. I left behind a brand new car, a fabulous job at the Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, and of course my big fat Indian Family. This blog is a journal of my experiences as a shy girl from a strict Muslim family having met and fallen in love with my extroverted, Belgian, husband. Stick around to read about our first marriage ceremony in Yungshuo, China, how we broke the news to our families, our decision to move to Ireland, and about all our shenanigans as newlyweds!