I started my student teaching in January, 2006. I was assigned to teach Spanish in a middle school. This particular school district only taught Spanish I in Middle school and had two different versions. They allowed seventh graders the option of starting Spanish 1 in seventh grade and taking the second half in eighth grade or just taking Spanish 1 as a full year subject in the eighth grade. My supervising teacher had been teaching for more than 40 years and so she had a cake walk schedule: six classes of 7th grade Spanish I (part 1.) This easy workload (as compared to a friend of mine who taught German I, II, III, IV and V in a high school, even though her desired post graduation job was teaching ESL) really helped me out in my already stressful life, since I was, in essence, working two full time jobs and finishing up graduate work too boot.
I took trips to see M for Christmas, and each three day weekend I was allowed. . . I saw him again in February and then had to wait for Spring Break in April. M and I had been calling mosques all around his town trying to find one that would allow us to get married. I could tell M was still scared of getting married, and the fact that his mosque still would not perform the marriage did not help. Finally, I found a mosque on the other side of the city that would perform the marriage. It made me very excited to hear the imam sound so accepting of the idea. I had begun to believe I would never find a mosque that would accept us.
The plan was that we would get married during my Spring Break. I started looking for something to wear as a surprise for M. We had been talking marriage so long that I actually had bought a white wedding dress (big mistake!) but this was not an appropriate occasion for this and my life was not conducive to planning a big reception in Canada. My family is also not able to travel frequently or on short notice. I looked over and over for a lengha to wear for M after the marriage.
*For those who may not be familiar, lengha is a traditional outfit in Pakistan for basic receptions after marriage. The traditional colors are red and gold, but people wear all different styles and colors.*
It was surprising to me that lenghas are VERY expensive. The majority that I found were more expensive than any of the American wedding dresses I looked at, and much more expensive than the one that I had bought. . . And so, I did something typically 2006 American, and looked on Ebay. Much to my surprise, I found several gorgeous ones, but as is typical of Ebay, they were usually used and altered and had only one available. It took months to find one that was my size and I liked (and could win at auction. . . )
I ended up with a gorgeous (to me) pink one with two layers and heavy red/gold embroidery. The shirt left much to be desired, it was not well kept and not as had been described, and there was no dupatta or covering for the head. I also did not have the typical jewelry, but since I was doing this as a surprise, it would have to do. Typically the jewelry and lengha purchase is up to the groom anyway, so I felt I was going above and beyond!
Just before my trip M started backing out. He started talking about postponing our plans until the next visit. We had already done this since November, and I had already been feeling abandoned since then. This was the last straw. I could not take it anymore. I was patient with M on the phone as we discussed his idea. I told him that it was not an option. I explained that it was completely up to him, but that I could not live like this anymore, travelling to visit every chance I got and being otherwise alone. I told him that I knew he wasn't happy this way, and that I already knew he was feeling guilty about meeting me anyway. I knew what 'boyfriend/girlfriend' was considered in Islam, and I had been doing it for too long.
My parents had taken time off of work to come and see us get married, I told them to scrap their original plans and I would let them know if they needed to come at all. I packed the lengha in my luggage carefully, convinced this would be my last trip to see M. I knew we weren't getting married, and I knew I would never see him again.