Muslim Girl in America

I'm an American girl, born and raised, and a Muslim.

The Visit: Day One

on January 6, 2013

So, despite our earlier issues, we did end up making some plans for Saturday night. As his flight got in late afternoon, we decided to meet up for dinner. Well, I should say Texas decided it, and I went along with it. He repeatedly mentioned how he was going out of his way to fly in and that after spending the whole day flying, he didn’t want to go downtown; he just wanted to have dinner somewhere near his hotel. I went along with it – in the spirit of compromise and all – and there was actually a town center with lots of shops and restaurants so we decided to meet there. I’m not inconsiderate to his travel, but I do feel as though he was making a big deal about it over nothing (something I’ve noticed he does often, making mountains out of molehills and making things more difficult than need be), as his flight was only 3.5 hours and he only changed one time zone. If you add airport security time, maybe his travel day comes to 5 or 6 hours, but still. Of course, I say that as I’m the complete opposite. Last time I went to Pakistan (a 2 day journey, mind), I took 30 minutes to freshen up before I was out the door and on my way to do some shopping.

Anyway, traffic made me a little late, but I informed him before our appointed meeting time that I would be late. So we were supposed to meet at 6pm. I showed up at 6:15. He showed at 6:45. Yes, that’s right – we met at a restaurant near him and he showed up later than I did. I also had to pay $6 in tolls to get there. That’s not really pertinent to the story, but I felt it was important to mention. Apparently, his cab was late, which happens. I’m just wondering why it took so long (tune into the end of the post for that answer).

So I am standing outside, freezing in the 30 degree weather, while waiting for him and have started coughing. Not good. (To my best friend reading this, know that I will not let a trifling cough deter us from well-deserved beach time this week). I want to mention here that we have not met before – we’ve only talked on the phone and exchanged photos. So, the first thing I think of when I see him is that the picture he sent me must have been a few years old. He looks kind of the same, but older with thinning hair and a more rotund physical frame. Nothing wrong with that (I’m no Spring chicken, myself), but I’m someone who is not photogenic; I’m way hotter in person than in photos. I don’t know what he thought of me; I couldn’t pick much up from his expression but he seemed pleased. But then again, I’m hotter in person J He did also lie about his height, I realize. I mentioned that I was 5’11”, and he said he was the same (his profile said different, but he changed it to 5’11”. I know because I checked), but he is clearly shorter than me. Sigh. Most guys are, unfortunately.

So we head to the restaurant for dinner. Thai food. Always good and there’s something for everyone (even I as a vegetarian). We sit down, and as I’m still settling in and taking my coat off he starts talking about his job. And casually mentions that he has his own business. Shock and surprise on my face. We’ve been talking for 2 months and he just now mentions he has his own business. When I asked who he worked for back in the beginning, he mentioned some Telecom company. He said he’s a contractor for the company but he’s self-employed. I ask him, “Why didn’t you mention that before?” He just gets a sheepish look on his face and turns his face away from mine and just goes, “Well…” And we both go back to looking at our menus. Meanwhile, I’m thinking, “What else is he holding back or has lied about?” Owning a business isn’t shameful or disgraceful; it’s something to be proud of so why didn’t he mention it? Boys are so dumb sometimes.

So we order and immediately he gets into heavy conversation. “What bothers you? Why did you say this? Why did you say that?” I feel like I’m being interrogated and the tension level at the table has shot up considerably. I respond honestly. What bothers me most is dishonesty and dismissive behavior – I’m a human being who deserves respect and consideration, not to be dismissed because my thoughts and opinions differ from others. I say, “In a relationship, any relationship be it friendship or other, you need to know when to lead and when to follow. You need to trust the other person.” I also mentioned that if I moved across the country, I didn’t want to move into a house right away. I wanted to wait a year. “It’s stressful moving across the country to a new city where you don’t really know anyone,” I say. “I’d rather invest time in the marriage than worry about buying a house and mortgage and moving for the second time in the same year.” He responds with, “I guess that makes sense.” I say, “I’m the one who’ll be making more changes than you, and I’ll need time to settle in before moving to a house.” Maybe that wasn’t a fair thing to say, but it’s the truth; women in our culture do give up more when we marry. He responds with, “Apartments are stupid and a waste of time and money. That’s what I think.” I say, “It’s only a year, it’s not permanent.” He just kinds of nods. We’ve already had this discussion before, but he has brought it up again. Maybe he thought I would just agree with him in person, I don’t know.

Then he asks about kids. Again, another topic we’ve already discussed. I say, “I don’t want to wait, but I do want to invest some time in the marriage in the beginning.” He responds, “So what does that mean?” I say, “I don’t, maybe a year. You don’t just have a baby. It usually takes 9 months anyway after you get pregnant.” And we’re on treacherous waters here. I’m not going near any topic that involves sex, so I skirt around the issue as best I can. He says, “Well, I don’t want to wait. I want to have a baby right away and don’t want to wait 2 or 5 years.” I say, “I’m talking about a year here. And it’s up to God anyway.” What I don’t say is that it’s my frakking body, and while I definitely want kids, if I want to wait to have them we will frakking wait to have them. And if God has other plans, then I won’t complain. Children are a blessing and I can’t wait to have kids, truly. But there’s nothing wrong with waiting a little. And it’s my frakking body!

Our food arrives, and the rest of conversation gets considerably lighter. The food is yummy, and we discuss logistics for the next day. I’ve brought bus schedules and I even brought him a pre-filled Metro card for him to use to make it easier for him. I leave what we do up to him, as he was so sensitive about it. He decides to head into the city and see some museums. That’s fine with me, I say, and we plan where and when to meet.

Then we head out of the restaurant and walk around the area a bit. We grab yummy gelato and sit and talk some more. (It occurs to me as I write this, that the best thing about being a girl on the dating scene is the free meals.) The conversation is much easier now. We’re talking about companies and why they did or didn’t succeed. We discuss Sears and, as I worked there for a number years when I was younger, I provide my behind-the-scenes insights. He doesn’t agree with my view (which is fine – you don’t always need to agree with the one you’re with), but I can tell he’s mildly upset that we don’t agree.

We walk around a bit more.  There’s an ice skating rink (though they don’t rent skates, you need to bring your own), so we sit outside and watch the skaters. He wants to call the hotel to arrange for the taxi back. I say, “Why don’t I give you the number of the cab company I always use?” He responds, “No, I want the hotel to arrange the cab for me.” Okay, not a big deal. But it takes 10 minutes on the phone to arrange said cab. When a quick call to the cab company directly could have arranged it in under 1 minute. He’s making things harder than they need to be. He feels that is the only way to order a cab and he won’t deter from it. Oh dear.

We sit and talk more. We realize we were both born in the same city, and even the same hospital. Is this a sign? Should I move forward with this? Is God giving me a sign that this is it? I can tell marriage with him wouldn’t be easy. Marriage is never easy, really, but I don’t know that I’ll be able to be as open I wanted to be with a husband. I’ll hold things back and continue to carry some burdens on my own. I’ve never had an “easy” life. I’ve been shouldering burdens my whole life. Even now, I work 2 or more jobs to help others shoulder theirs.

I was engaged once – have I mentioned that? Well, during my engagement my father had a mild heart attack. My fiancé didn’t come to the hospital, didn’t really call to check up on things. Not even after his surgery. I felt so alone. My Mom doesn’t drive and my brother lived a few hours away, so I was left to shoulder the burden of things. And I saw how my marriage would have been – I would have been forced to be the strong one all the time. I always have to be the strong one. I just want someone else to be strong every once in a while and help me. Is that too much to ask? There are more medical issues in my family now. There will be more hospital visits and problems. And at this point, I just don’t know if he will help me shoulder that burden. I need someone to help me, even it’s just a shoulder to cry on. I’m so tired of crying on my own.

So, we’ll see how things go today. I’m still going to keep an open mind. Maybe he was nervous yesterday, I don’t know. Maybe I’m deluding myself. Maybe God wants us to be together and that’s why our similarities keep popping up despite our differences. I just don’t know. If any of you faithful readers have any advice for me, please let me know.

Thanks for reading!



3 responses to “The Visit: Day One

  1. B Girl says:

    Maybe God doesn’t want you to be together which is why He’s showing you your differences too? Don’t look for too many signs. We can make something anything with enough “signs”.
    I say if you need to seriously consider the pluses and negatives, he’s not fully convinced you and just be careful you’re not trying to talk yourself into it.
    Good luck with the second half of the visit. I hope you’re able to gain some clarity!

  2. Emma says:

    Yeah, crying on one’s own sucks big time- we ALL bee there! I don’t believe in signs- just take people AS they are. It’s the best best.

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