From Personal Stuff

Stretching Out My Blog

hammockWilyKit and I sleep on a hammock overlooking the jungle in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia

In my years of blogging, I never had anything to do besides sit in front of a computer, reflect, and write down my thoughts. Now that I’m married, own a house, have two children, live in a cohousing community, co-own an Orchard, keep bees, and have 10 garden beds I rarely sit down at a computer wanting to write. I am so focused on producing the tangible– a happy marriage, two awesome daughters, a vibrant local community, vegetables, honey, fruit– that I have let writing slip away. I’ve tried coming back a few times, and this will be my last and (hopefully successful attempt).

I’d like to write about all the things I’ve learned in the past five years. Here’s a sampling

A. I learned how to cook well, and from scratch. Now that I have children, I need to walk my talk. We eat as few processed/boxed foods as possible. I don’t think we’ve bought a box of cereal in 4 years. I use fresh tomatoes when I make my pizza sauce. I’ve never given my daughter ‘baby food’

It’s crazy! And it just feels GOOD.

B. As a stay-at-home-dad I am constantly trying to tinker with organizational systems and cleaning regimens that make the house run smoothly and efficiently. From robot vacuums to scanning and shredding– I am a lean mean organizational machine — who still leaves his clothes lying on the bathroom floor.

C. Living in cohousing has its ups and downs, but my experience so far has been positive.

What Would You Do If She Said You Could Be A Househusband?

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. Read more

When A Man Beats A Woman Right Underneath The Petronas Towers

HM’s Note:  This post describes a situation of domestic violence. 

I was just reading the latest article on AltMuslimah, where the author describes her experience with domestic violence.  It reminded me of a chilling experience I had three days before we left Malaysia… I wrote this immediately after it happened for a newspaper there.


“It’s personal issue. Sorry. I appreciate you telling me.”

With a pat on the back, the guard in front of the KLCC Mall Taxi counter dismissed me, and let an abusive man walk away with his battered wife.

Just hours ago, my wife, 4 year old daughter, and I walked into an elevator lobby right below the Petronas Towers to find a man pummeling a woman’s head repeatedly. Her face was stained with bruises and tears were rolling down her face. Other people present were standing around as if nothing was happening.

I stared at him for a moment in shock before I ran outside to the restaurants near the water fountain. “HELP! A man is hitting a woman! Call the police, call the guards!”

While I was outside, my wife heard him say in Malay, that the woman was a ‘worthless wh**e’ and he had her number, if anyone wanted it.

I ran back into the elevator lobby just as the man escorted the woman into the lift. Without thinking, I stuck my hand out so that the elevator doors wouldn’t close and continued to yell, repeating,

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Things You Should Say (And Really Mean) To Your Future Mother-In-Law

Note: This is the 3rd part in a series about how I met my wife (and daughter). Just joining us? Check out Part 1, Part 2Part 4, Part 5

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.
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How I Met My Wife (And Daughter) Part 2

Note: This Is The 2nd In A Series About How I Met My Wife (And Daughter). Just joining us? Here’s Part 1, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 

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!
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My wife's mehndi

How I Met My Wife (And Daughter) Part 1

Note: This is the 1st part in a series about how I met my wife (and daughter). Check out Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

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.
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