Thursday, March 10, 2011

Presuppositions

My biggest fear on this trip was how the in-laws would behave. If you've read the beginning pages of the blog, you understand that my in-laws could never be considered "fans." I kept running scenarios through my head where I was separated from my husband for too long or where they were just plain mean.

I convinced myself that this was the absolute best trip we could have ever planned. The baby was eleven months old (and terribly, terribly cute.) I figured there was no way they wouldn't like her, and thus she would turn all of the negative energy they had for me, into positive energy for her. Since it was my first intercontinental trip, we were to visit for only ten days. This was another thing that worried me, since M's last trip (scheduled for two weeks) lasted nearly five months. M did not tell them how long we were staying, and this scared me. I had this nightmare that they would push M into staying longer or refuse to take us back to the airport causing me to miss work and/or lose my job.

What actually happened was amazing. When we arrived, Karachi International Airport was not nearly the huge, busy airport I had imagined. M had told me stories of the separate lines for returning citizens and for foreign citizens, and those lines were nothing like what he had described. The officers spoke a funny kind of English asking jumbled up questions that they expected me to understand. M finally tried to just talk to them in Urdu and they resisted, jumbling up more English phrases. One example, "What is your good name?" It literally took me four repetitions to understand what he was saying. I mean, when was the last time someone asked you for your good name? I had also been up for hours and must have looked like I had been run over by a train.

I had changed into salwar kameez on the layover in Dubai and felt very, very out of place in my sandals. It did not matter that everyone else was wearing salwar kameez, I felt like an elephant in my bright, new shiny outfit as compared to the normal everyday wear around me. This is always exacerbated by the fact that my husband insists on wearing western slacks and outfits, EVERYWHERE, our home, our wedding, PAKISTAN.

Each officer was dressed in green uniform that resembled the Pakistani army uniforms I had seen on television. The biggest surprise was that one of the customs agents was a hijab wearing woman. When we got to the desk, in my muddled Urdu understanding, I could tell that the male customs agent next to us, while interviewing someone re-entering Pakistan, was on his cell phone, trying to finagle a visitor's visa to the United States.

11 comments:

  1. lol that was quick...keep going. very interesting with even the little tidbits that youre giving out. you teaser

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  2. Uffff... I finally read through all the blog. Thank God i waited this long, this way I avoided all the frustration of waiting weeks for another installement (I keep the little patience I have for toddler and administration). You sooo need to try and get published!

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  3. lol!I'm not sure there's an audience for my writing. It's free now, and I hardly get comments!

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  4. Honey, if you don't try you won't know. Btw, I read a lot of blogs but I hardly ever comment on them and I'm sure I'm not the only one :) On the Desperate in Dubai blog that has now got a book deal, I never commented. Ever. But I read it avidly. Why don't you install one of those traffic recording things, this way you'll know if people read your blog. Or you might try to re-blog all the posts in a new blog, under a new title, like once a week or so. The rarer the posts, the less people read ;)

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  5. haha good name. i think its supposed to mean your legal name?

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  6. check this.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2011/03/21/arranged-marriage-noor-returns.html

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  7. Interesting, and it happens A LOT. When M's divorce was happening, I was reading a ton of horror stories about the same thing. . .but on both sides. Women who felt like they deserved a money settlement because they weren't getting immigration, men who tried to extort money, women who tried to extort money.

    As soon as M's marriage was done, the woman's family started calling for money. Once he returned to Canada, he received postal mail and weekly phone calls to Canada and to his home in Pakistan about when her brother would get immigration and money that needed to be sent to various family members.

    In the end, the woman M was married to did get a lump sum of money as outlined in the Nikka even though he only met her once. I was really worried for her about getting re-married, but she was able to re-marry before we were able to get married, so it was, hopefully,okay for her.

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  8. good for her. there's certainly a stigma associated with 'divorced' women in pakistan.

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  9. Since the marriage hasn't been consumated, it might've helped her to remarry?

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  10. Yes, but even with that, there is just this horrible stigma with being "rejected." You know? He never visited, she never left her home, but there is still this thought that there must be something wrong if the person is divorced. . .specifically against women. She also was about thirty years old, and that is an issue all its own in Pakistan.

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  11. Yeah, that makes sense... unfortunately.

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