I'm not that ugly, am I?
Question: How do two fairly practicing Muslims with limited financial means make an informed decision about marrying each other when they live on opposite sides of the world?
Answer: They live together for a month.
Was that the collective bunching of a billion Muslims’ panties I just heard?
What we did is not for everyone. Our situation was extraordinary. This is where traditional approaches to courting fail.
We left off just as I boarded a plane back to the U.S. in April of 2009. I had just stayed with EyeDot and her daughter WarriorPrincess for 3 days at the end of my Malaysian adventure. While there, EyeDot and I developed an interest in each other.
Just seven days after I left, EyeDot launched a scheme to get me back in Southeast Asia. She suggested that she ask (read: she ordered) her younger brother to hire me to photograph his wedding in Penang two months later.
You read that correctly. She, the eldest in the family, tried to get her family to fly me (the youngest in my family) across the world so we could have an excuse to get to know each other. Talk about ovarian fortitude!
It seems like a romantic comedy plot [as long as I get played by Hugh Grant, okay?] or even a Bollywood movie [without all the drama and dance numbers…] but it happened. I met and married a woman exactly halfway around the world, adopted her daughter as my own, and moved to Southeast Asia to be with them.
“Turn Left, Ahead”
I have no intentions of turning left.
“ Turn Left!“ The sultry female voice commands.
I spent about four months in Syria, living in a neighborhood called rukn al-din, in the northeast of Damascus.
While there, I lived in a house with several other Muslim men (and one Christian) from around the world. Eventually, everyone in the house except the Syrians and the German did not speak with me, refused to let me eat with them, and branded me a Sign of The Day Of Judgment. Suffice it to say, I make an impression wherever I go. More on that in a follow-up post, though.
So, tomorrow we’re leaving for Islamabad, God willin’. My husband’s stomach is all Pakistanified—he’s having the true experience, poor guy. I’m wondering if we should cancel our delayed Northern travels altogether, but he’s really keen to go.
Yesterday, after much repeated insistence, we were given enough liberty to go out around town with Dinu Bhai. Everyone’s terribly protective and feels responsible for us, so sweet as it is, it’s a bit difficult to act like an adult. Also, this idea of going out wandering without a particular purpose has limited currency here. The idea is that you (women or mixed gender groups) go out with a particular purpose. Only men seem to just hang around in public space in Hyderabad. It’s pre-feminist revolution: men own the public sphere. Even fairly overt and dramatic affection between men is tolerated in public, while even minimal affection between sexes, even spouses, is just not seen and, I’m told, not tolerated in public. This is generally accepted as an appropriate exercise of modesty. I suppose affection between women is generally alright here, but because women are generally only in public with some business, you just don’t see it.