Note: This is the 5th part in a series about how I met my wife (and daughter). Just joining us? Check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. Update: Many of you wanted to read from the perspective of EyeDot aka MrsHM and now you can. Her version of our story can be found in Love InshaAllah: The Secret Love Lives Of American Muslim Women.
Part 5 is going to skip around a bit, covering the time between our engagement to just after our civil ceremony in the U.S.
After our engagement party, EyeDot flew back to Singapore. The original plan was that she and WarriorPrincess (3 years old at the time) would move to the U.S., so I could finish nursing school. But you know what they say… we plan and God laughs. Hard.
EyeDot ended up landing a great job in Penang, Malaysia and asked me if I would consider quitting nursing school to become a househusband there.
Scenario: You are a 27 years old male that sells t-shirts and does some photography on the side. You are currently about to finish your first semester of nursing school, and while it’s ‘something to do,’ your heart isn’t in it. Your fiance lands an awesome job on a tropical [overdeveloped] island in Southeast Asia, and suggests you quit nursing school and become a househusband in Malaysia for a while. You would have *LOTS* of time on your hands and no other stress except maybe culture shock while you get used to being a husband and a father. The downside? You’d have to quit nursing school. What do you do?
If you’ve read my blog for long, you’ll know that I often like to fly by the seat of my pants.
And fly I did, all the way to Malaysia! I decided to join the ranks of BinGregory and MacVaysia, two other North-American men (who I am honored to call my friends) who married highly-educated Malaysian women and moved across the world.
Let’s back up a bit. In December, I took my first post-engagement trip out to see EyeDot…
- – It was during this trip that I discovered that EyeDot’s brother-in-law was Malaysia’s youngest ever State Assemblyman.
- – I also realized, after playing with his granddaughter and chatting with his daughter, that I was in Anwar Ibrahim’s (Malaysian Opposition Leader) house at one point and didn’t even know it.
- – We also met up with Marina Mahathir (daughter of the former Prime Minister) for coffee, who I know through the facebook/blogosphere.
- – For fun, I decided to shave off my beard, playfully explaining to EyeDot that she should see my true face before saying, “I do.”
Suffice it to say, I went from not knowing anybody to … well, unexpectedly meeting some pretty well-known people. Between my blogging contacts and EyeDot’s social circle, I felt pretty comfortable with this whole moving-to-Malaysia business. As for EyeDot’s commentary on my clean-shaven face? With instructions never to shave again, she broke it down,
“You look like Frodo, the Hobbit.”
He was kinda sexy, right?
In April, a couple months later, EyeDot flew to the U.S., and my parents threw us a ‘dholki‘ which is traditionally a women’s pre-wedding party. Except we don’t really do segregation in my family, so it was basically just a big party. Since we weren’t going to have a big South Asian-American wedding in the U.S., we decided to perform some Sindhi wedding rituals. In order of appearance in the following: pouring rice into each other’s hands 3 times; close family and friends bumping our heads together 3 times each (my favorite and the most painful); fanning each other; trying to get a dry date out of each other’s enclosed fist.
This was a pretty big deal for me, it may not look like it in the video– but my mind was blown. Very few of my friends have ever stepped foot into my parent’s house. I’ve always been the traveler, crashing at other people’s places. This was the first time I hosted any friends in my parents’ home. I was so touched by their presence that the moment I said my farewells to Azam & Sophia, and dropped Aadil & WoodTurtle off at Newark airport I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. Actually, it was more like heaving with a combination of tears and snot. TMI?
After the dholki, EyeDot and I drove up to Boston to visit more friends, and on the way back down, we spontaneously decided to drive through Doylestown to pick up our self-uniting or ‘Quaker’ marriage license. The state of Pennsylvania, due to its history of religious tolerance is one of two states in the U.S. which allow for this kind of marriage where no officiant is necessary. In fact, it resembles a simplified islamic marriage contract–with spaces for just two witnesses. It was as simple as driving over to our friend Amira’s house, signing the license along with our witnesses (Thanks Amira and Wasim!), and cutting our doughnut (cake-like, obviously). Simple, intimate, and laid back…
It was the perfect way to begin our life together and an indication of things to come…
Look out for Part 6, a description of our Malay Marriage ceremony. Update: Many of you wanted to read from the perspective of EyeDot aka MrsHM and now you can. Her version of our story can be found in Love InshaAllah: The Secret Love Lives Of American Muslim Women.