C is the best. Seriously now I’m not giving her that title for no reason. I think that she’s amazing. For four years she has “tolerated me” as she kindly said over dinner last night. I corrected her “accepted darling, tolerate is what we do so naturally in England but it’s what gives us so many problems” to which she giggled and said “baby everything has to be political with you, tolerate is what I do now I’m British” we both laughed so hard our bellies ached. Of course only the two of us know exactly what we mean. That’s just it you see what we share only the two of us know and this has been a problem of ours for a while.
Some people have looked at us and said “Arab and Chinese don’t mix” according to them they don’t. Others have said “never thought you two would get together, the Buddhist and the critical theorist” somehow that’s less racist but still quite ignorant. Others have said “would be interesting to see what your kids would look like if you could have any” now that just pisses me off because I know our kids would be gorgeous – if we had any. “They’d speak arabic with a Chinese accent” someone once commented and found herself so funny she almost peed her pants.
C and I were discussing all these comments over dinner last night and I have to say now we find them quite funny. I told her that’s “tolerance for you”. She finally admitted she “accepts” me.
What made us aware of our journey last night was those comments that we’ve heard along the way. I must say apart from her mother saying “white and yellow don’t mix” we’ve never had any problems from my family or our close friends. The nicer things we’ve heard along the way have been “I knew you two would get together China always vetos the West against any action against the middle east in the UN security council” (one of my friends). Another friend (C’s) made the remark “Arabs and Chinese are dictatorships/authoritarian so naturally you two suit each other”.
Mostly we’ve ignored these comments and remarks because no one knows what goes on between us. I told C once in the early days that “the one thing we’ve got in common is a love for food” She laughed and said “Maria is that all?” I replied “think about what food means in our cultures. It’s about sharing with family and friends, it’s social and it’s giving and and taking and if we don’t like anyone we can’t sit and eat at the same table as them but yet no one knows why only we do, unless of course they share our cultural values” She looked at me and smiled and said “that’s so true” and as a result that’s what has defined us as a couple; friends, family, giving, taking and sharing. So when anyone asks what a Chinese and Arab have in common we both respond “one thing, food”. Oh and I forgot to mention love!
Today is four years C and I together. We’ve come a long way and we’ve been through so much together. She’s supported me through everything and I’m grateful for that. I’ve supported her too and always stood by her.
I think about how these years have passed and how we have passed through so much. .I think about what we do for each other and give each other, these are not material things. I think about the decisions and choices I’ve taken for C and with C. One decision which shocked many people I know was my choice to relocate with C. It’s not even been a month but I’ll say this, despite the small town mentality and stepford wives society I’ve made the best choice ever. I’ve given up a lot I know. I don’t regret this. I look at C and I realise that this move is the best thing for us both. We’ve had a rough couple of and it’s not been easy for either one of us. I think most couples would have let go and moved on. I’ve put C through a tough time in the last year especially. I realise I was afraid to commit and to accept that someone can love me like this, as she does. I’m glad she stayed and I’m glad we’ve moved. Life seems calmer and clearer now. We are more settled and in sync with each other; something that has been missing for a while.
Someone told me that two people make a relationship work and it takes a lot of hard work. I thought I knew what that meant before. I know it now. It’s easy to walk away and move on. It’s easy to start again with someone else and take what you had for granted. What’s not easy is to work things out and stay. To show vulnerability and ugliness. To show insecurity and to work it out with the person you’re committed to. C and I have been through a lot in four years and we’ve known each other for over five years. If you love someone it’s easy to commit and work things out and it’s hard to take the easy option and run. Don’t take anyone you love for granted and take responsibility when you have someone’s heart. If you can’t be responsible then you can’t love. That’s a lesson I’ve leaned and that’s why I’m here with C now.
Where everyone looks the same I struggle to find someone capable of cutting my hair and making me look different. Different ie not the same as the others in this town. The women here are mostly blonde, slim and slightly orange either from sunbeds or spray tans. They tend to wear floral dresses or blouses with floral skirts. Usually blue eye liner or mascara and pink lipstick. I won’t be one of them. They speak with a common accent missing out r’s and t’s.
I passed the hairdresser yesterday and I noticed the women in there all look the same. I went into Southampton it’s grim. It was my first trip to west quay shopping centre and I thought I may find a Tony and Guy or Headmasters, I was mistaken. The women there all seemed to have the same hairstyles as the ones in Romsey.
I called Claire this morning, my stylist in Wimbledon. She’s amazing. I’m booked in for next week. Cut and colour. Perhaps if they see my style here in Romsey I’ll either be “out of place” or an inspiration. Either way I don’t want to be one of them. Sometimes I’m shallow. Sometimes my words have a deeper meaning but I use shallow, superficial examples to articulate something more. In the end, we all make meanings from our experiences and not everything is interpreted in one way.
These are a few images of the places that I used to go to as a child growing up.
I still go to these places and it’s where I reminisce. I have so many fond memories and it’s my way of having a few moments of peace.
Recently I’ve not been in the mood to write anything. I’ve had a heavy heart and a lot on my mind.
In Arabic we say “hope is the last thing to die” I keep hoping for a better tomorrow. I keep reminding myself that everything is temporary and as such nothing lasts forever. This is my hope!
Last week C and I took a day off from unpacking and winding each other up. We found ourselves discovering parts of the New Forest. It was a nice day out which allowed us to see some very beautiful parts of the country.
We decided to go and visit Milford on Sea which is really quite beautiful. On a clear day you can see The Isle of Wight.
We stopped off for lunch at what appeared to be a regular English pub, The Beach House. It was actually quite beautiful and the views of the country side and sea was breathtaking.
We had a delicious lunch. We both got the phily cheese steak subs, yummy.
Afterwards we took a trip to Hurst Castle which involved taking a ferry over to the island. It was a very nice journey and we saw some more beautiful scenery.
After a nice day out and some clean country air we headed back to our little village and had a lovely meal. I cooked a fresh king prawns/white wine/ linguine pasta dish. Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of dinner.
C and I are at my parents place for the weekend. We arrived yesterday afternoon. My parents, in particular my father, accept our relationship. My mother told us that she’d made up the bed in my old room and that she’d left us towels and a bottle of water each on either side of the bed. My father made a very funny comment and said “wallahi (I swear to God) I never expected my eldest daughter to bring me a daughter in law” and he just laughed so hard. Then he commented “I don’t want to know what you do but it’s hilarious” and he couldn’t stop laughing. C and I didn’t know where to look.
My parents have been pampering us both. We feel very spoiled. This morning C woke me up at 9 am. She’d woken at 6 am and joined my parents for breakfast at around 8am. She said my father had asked her some awkward questions such as “do you two plan to get married? You know if you do our church won’t accept it” then he continue “but that’s fine since we’re living in England you can get married and it’s normal and that’s fine also”. He kept giggling. I think my relationship both amuses and traumatises him. The good thing is that it’s out in the open and that he’s acknowledging it. It humours me when I hear the things he says. I love that he’s asking C and doesn’t ask me.
We were meant to go watch the cycle London ride which is happening down the road from my parents place. Unfortunately it was pouring with rain and my friends decided against standing in the rain to cheer some cyclists. I’m glad since I was still having my morning coffee and was not in the mood to get soaked. Plus I’ve only brought shorts and t-shirts with me. Sometimes I forget I live in England and expect summer to be summer.
By midday C was exhausted and she’s tucked up in bed taking an afternoon siesta. I feel like waking her up but that would be mean. All the roads out of here are closed until much later this afternoon which means we can’t leave until much later. I’m not complaining.
I’ll head back to the village this evening and guess what? I’m back at my parents tomorrow night for an early start at work on Tuesday. I’m doing a semi-full week and I’m feeling that I’ve not really moved away from the area. Life is sweet!