Sunday, July 5, 2009

The End of the Road

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.


  1. its sad isnt it?? what pak families do to their children, the horrible guilt and gradual breaking down of their minds. i dont ever want to live through this again.

  2. I dont understand why any of the masajid wouldn't marry you. It IS ALLOWED in islam for men to marry jewish or christian women. What was the problem? Uggghhhhhh

    I can't stand people trying to make up their own version of Islam.

  3. UAR--That is what I kept saying to them, but each one told me that they were "responsible" for the marriages they performed and they did not feel that it was appropriate. Some went even further to say that since this is not an Islamic country, THAT rule didn't really apply. I went for counselling at a mosque here to try to get an idea of what would happen if I did a fiancee visa and just brought him here to get married, thinking mayby it was more liberal. . . .NOPE, more organized. hmmmmmm maybe that story should be an entry. . .it's a long story.

  4. My brother in law wanted to marry his fiance, a christian canadian.. and he is syrian.. born and raised here.. and most imams in the area wouldnt do, the one that agreed gave him and her hours of lectures, then pressured her in agreeing to calling herself a muslim so he would marry them.
    In the end it didnt work out. they broke up a month before the wedding due to her parents and certain christian demands for the wedding.. ie. alcohol a must, etc..

    but still. islamically its ok. so why do the imams here in canada decide its not ok.

  5. I go with 'power trip,' it makes me feel better. But honestly, I think they really think it won't work out and don't want to be responsible for a "fragile" union. I think they are also afraid of what will happen when the couple has children. I think it comes from a sincere and well-meant place, but I also don't think it's fair for them to judge and disregard what is allowed by the Quran.

  6. On tip of my seat...even though I know the ending! LOL

  7. That is really annoying about the imams, but I am glad you understand the reason that they want the kids to be Muslim. However, notice how they take liberties with interpretation of this, but not with other things, like when it comes to women. Sigh.

    What a special lehnga. I always loved that pic of you and the beautiful color. Now I know how special it is. Can't wait for the rest of the story.

  8. I could feel the heartbreak in this story! (I'm glad I know the end to be good or I would've cried for sure!)

    Life is so hard, sometimes. The greatest joys are found at the end of the most torturous roads.

    Stay blessed, Crysmissmichelle :D