Ep. 8 – Joyride to Egypt: Twenty Questions

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A zombie puts out more effort in half an hour than I did in that whole, long, incredibly awful weekend. My stomach was in knots the whole time, as I wondered if I was shooting myself in the foot. Insha’Allah, only the foot, and not the heart! I kept trying to reassure myself that I did the right thing, shutting off the computer for the weekend. I needed time to think.

Mr. Answer To My Prayers really did seem like the right name for this fascinating Egyptian man. The more I read, and re-read, his three emails so far, and compared it with the ad he made for finding a wife, the more I liked him. The more excited I got at the prospect of marrying a man living in Egypt! Of course I had no way to be sure, but he sounded genuine to me. I felt it was possible he was telling the truth. I also felt it was very possible I would throw up! Thank God, it rained like a hurricane all weekend, and the kids kept quiet in front of their TV upstairs. A big delivery from Pizza Hut kept them happy, while I stayed in my bed, tossing and turning.

On the one hand, I was encouraging a man to pursue me for marriage, knowing full well he was completely unacceptable to my entire family. I wasn’t asking anyone’s opinion, but I wasn’t ignorant.

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The First Gulf War had carefully molded, and blatantly encouraged, the negative opinions of anyone with a TV. The entire United States would disagree at that moment to one of her daughters marrying a Middle Eastern man. The whole country could agree to fight in the battlefields of Iraq, and die for ‘American Freedoms,’ but I was really pushing my luck just exercising my right to religious freedom. Becoming a Muslim at that moment in U.S. history was challenging, to say the least. Becoming a Muslim, marrying a Muslim, and moving to Egypt? There might not be enough points on the Richter Magnitude Scale for that earthquake!

On the other hand, I was just as ignorant as the rest of my family about becoming a Muslim, marrying a Muslim, and what life is like in Egypt. Mohamed had lived in Canada, and knew what he would be getting if he marries a western woman. Maybe he was telling the truth, and I was the one who was lying! I thought I knew what I wanted, but I honestly didn’t know too much. I kept asking myself what if I’m wrong, and I’m making a gigantic mistake? At what point would I know it? This was an insane situation!

Finally, the last possible moment of action arrived. At ten p.m. on Sunday evening, the lid exploded off the pot and I threw up, barely making it to the bathroom in time. Sometimes throwing up just makes things worse. Other times, you clear the system and immediately feel much better. This was one of those times. Which one? I couldn’t tell! I felt dizzy, and excited, and scared. But it was after ten p.m. on Sunday evening. My self imposed jail term had ended and I practically ran to the computer. Now, finally, I felt better – much better! I knew exactly what to write, having already composed and recomposed a thousand different emails in my head. A thousand different questions had posed for my approval as I was tossing and turning, and now I gave it my best, asking the ones I felt were the most important. I hit ‘send’ and returned to my bed.

All day Monday as I tried to stay focused on my work, my brain kept slipping into replay mode. Daydreaming was never so fraught with anxiety as it had now become. Did I ask the right questions? How will he respond? Little did I know, the tide of my anxiety was only just beginning to rise. There was a crescent moon shining in my eyes, and many more nights to come before the full moon and high tide would coincide.

Anxious and excited, I was flying with a hopeful heart and zooming in the direction of Mars. Soon the workday was over. The children were fed and now asleep in bed. Alhamdulillah, it was nighttime again, and I sat down once more in the pilot seat of my dreams. My Copilot quietly slipped into the seat beside me. I felt my engines fire up with a roar, and my whole body pulsed with an electric thrill. It was an exquisitely happy feeling!

From: Mohamed Abdelhamid

To: Aisha

Date: Mon, 14 June 1999 15:03:31 +0300

Subject: Re: Salam, ya sadi’kati Aisha ;^))

Dear Aisha

Thank you for the long serious letter. I wish I was there when you were sick, to look after you and take care of you. Please allow me to answer all your questions:

Aisha wrote:
Ohhh your letter is so sweet!

It is very kind of you, thank you

I wanted to write you back right away, but my stomach was very upset and I was miserable all weekend. Alhamdulillah, I feel much better now. Anyway, first I will respond to your sweet words, and then I will ask you some questions, ok?

I will be happy to answer all your questions very clearly and honestly

Well, to be completely honest, Mohamed, maybe you might think I am crazy, who can imagine a western girl that wants to live in Egypt? None of my friends, except the one or two who really know me best. But yes, I want to live in Egypt.

Great – you are a very brave girl!

In fact you offer me more because you live in Egypt

If you live with me in Egypt, all the expenses will be my responsibility because I can handle it here.

I would not want you to have to work or do something you wouldn’t enjoy so that you could be here.

I think fairly and I feel about you by the same way. If you do not feel happy here I will move with you to Virginia. Or we can make it halfway, 6 months in Egypt and 6 months in USA. I like you to be happy when you choose to join me.

I would much rather be there! I know who I am, and I am a girl who wants to live in such a place. I think I have it in me.

You are very welcome here!

I have only traveled a little, but enough to confirm this in my heart. And so much the better if you are able to live more happily there, too.

I would be happy wherever I live with you because I feel we could be fall in deep love

Who could ask for more?
Here is a story about my past for you, maybe it will help some. When I had waited almost 5 years

I erased your sad words and I want you forget about the past. You have to understand that Allah draws our fate, even our wrong choice is just a reason, but we have to accept our fate and look again to a happy future

I’m too romantic, I still believe marriage is supposed to be a haven. But now I also want to share the things I enjoy, like my artwork, and music. I’d like to travel, and I want to live wherever I might enjoy living, and on top of that, I want to have a husband who wants all this too… I think I even got more romantic in my years,

Me too… you are a wonderful girl, I feel already I love you very much

Anyway I don’t want to settle for less than this if I don’t have to. At least I will keep trying to find it!

I believe that you did find what you are looking for

And if it means I get to live in a wonderful land of such rich history, and the most wonderful music on earth, hahaha and have love, too??? Not a tough decision! ;^))) Well, and then you toss financial security on top of that pile, and it covers the whole picture with sunshine! ;^) Egyptian sunshine! Alhamdulillah, I adore sunshine! Don’t you?

Yes I do… So I am here, although I love everything in Vancouver except the cold weather… and the work, which steps me down very much

Ok, so now for some questions. I sure hope you understand a little better now about who I am… but I think you should consider the things that you think are very important, and ask me my opinions so we can see if I am compatible with you, too… which leads me to a few questions that I hope you will answer, and then I hope you will ask me some of your own, too!

I think you gave me answers about it already to my questions

First, regarding conflict. How do you handle conflict, Mohamed?

By nice debate and use good convincing conversation until we reach the right opinion

What is your customary way to handle anger?

By controlling myself to don’t be mad. If I can’t, I change the subject. If I can’t, I stop thinking and talking about that problem for some time. If I can’t, then I leave the place and go out to the fresh air until everything becomes back to normal and we can think again quietly.

What if somebody in the day upset you very much, in what way do you wish to be treated when you come home?

Same way as I would do to my wife, just be kind and treat her friendly, honestly from my heart, not pretending, and let her feel my love and care

What kinds of things make you the most angry?

Dishonesty, cheating or using me, or forcing my hand to make me do something I don’t want to do

What if I was the one who made you angry? how shall we resolve this?

I don’t think you would be doing that, because I know the woman and the man when they love each other become same as one person and I will not marry you if we are not in love. But if sometimes misunderstood happens I will try my best to debate with you nicely and use good convincing conversation with you until we reach the right opinion together

Next, religion:
Mohamed, where are you on the religion scale?

I am in the fairly scale. I do my duty in front of Allah, and I try my best to don’t do anything bad to the people, or anything Haram – Allah doesn’t like it, and I did not have any problem with the community in all the last ten years I lived in North America. Everybody respects me as how I am.

What are your opinions on women working if they choose to?

Should be good kind of work, not in disco or nightclub, and respectable, not a nanny in a stranger’s house

How about women’s clothing and behavior?

She should respect herself, doesn’t show her body in a way meaning she puts herself or me down, it is hard to explain, but I saw many ladies in North America dress and be more respectable than some I see in Egypt

I know these things are not really big issues for private life, obviously, but will you tell me what you expect of a wife when she goes out in public? Well, and I guess public is all around you, isn’t it, with that big 3-story farm building next door! So this is a very important question to me… I have no desire to treat my husband with disrespect, but then again I am a western girl, so I may not be compatible with a rigid fundamentalist, even though I am a firm believer!

You are a very smart girl. You have the answer already when you respect yourself. It is enough to be respectful to your husband, when you see your husband will never hug another woman, but just say Hi by western way, you will understand to do the same. When we respect other people’s feelings and culture, everybody will respect us.

My view is that God (Allah) is always giving us blessings, and we have more to thank Him for than we have to be afraid of Him for. He knows the purity of my heart, and I know I will be judged for it by Him. I prefer to pray to a God of love, rather than a God of guilt. I’m an optimist, and I prefer to be treated with trust and respect by others, not like an object of impending guilt and damnation that should be hidden so others won’t sin!
Yes, I understand that what I wear can have an effect, that’s why I would be sensitive to this, but a man will be judged, if he decides to sin, I don’t care what somebody else was (or was not) wearing! Of course a partner in a sin will be judged, too, but my point is that I believe God judges us individually. You can not make me sin if I choose not to. And if I choose to sin, blaming you will not absolve me. If something is wrong to do, it’s wrong, and that’s that. Maybe you have a way of looking at this differently, I don’t mind if you’d like to tell me your feelings on this… please do, ok?

I learned in Canada that my religion is the highest role for the life. And when Allah controls for us our clothing it doesn’t come from nothing. In the summer time in Vancouver, and also in Seattle, I was wearing shorts as the people are doing there. I don’t like to tell you about a story that happened to me because of my clothes did not hide my body enough… I find out that I share the mistake to let another woman thinking about sin, and try to act to have it… we have to use our conscience and follow what Allah wants without any violence.

Well, that was serious enough for now…

I don’t think you will agree yet that “20 Questions” is a fun game… but usually we play it by hiding an object and the others must guess what you have hidden without asking more than 20 questions to figure it out. The one who finally guesses is the winner… sometimes what you hide is the prize for the winner… it can be a fun game! But in friendship and dating it’s useful for learning more personal information, like opinions and beliefs and interests.

Of course, if you wish you can hide something in your closet, not as a prize of course, but I will try to guess it with no more than 20 questions, that could be funny!

So, here’s a more funny question for you… What is your most special possession and why is it so special?

Two things are most special possession for me. My chicken farm because it is a good income, even from the rent, more than what I need to live a nice life here, nobody can step me down to work as a Cashier or Security Guard. And also my (……) is the best special thing I have makes me very happy and fly to the sky when I love to see my wife’s face enjoying very much

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Here’s a bonus question:

Which is your favorite chicken on your farm, and why?!

My favorite chicken in my farm is the one my wife will choose to cook,
because she will enjoy eating it and it could be a very nice night

;^)))

Oh, and about your English, Mohamed, hahaha
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now that I know I am sending you to the dictionary, I will try to be more careful to write clearly. But maybe we offer a nice trade, english vocabulary for arabic lessons!
You didn’t like my silly arabic joke in english in my last email?
> hahaha here’s something for you:
> ?demahom ay ,kayazze
Read it right to left, like arabic is supposed to be read!
Hahaha it was a silly arabic joke, is it too awful for you? Maybe you are thinking by now I am too crazy… you might stop writing to me (but I hope not)! Are you getting a better picture of me?

Yes very beautiful body and soul, funny crazy girl. I love you more because you are a funny crazy girl, but I hope we don’t keep talking for a long time. I am afraid some woman else could be reach me in that wrong time when I am feeling hungry to love and to everything else. It will not be a funny situation for me to lose you as a woman and keep you as a friend

So, ana kwayissah, Alhamdulillah!
Except for the stomach ache, but ‘hagah basittah’ (‘something simple’ right?)
Shukran, ya sadi’ki Mohamed
I like the arabic lessons, you are very clear in your spelling. I feel I can understand you very well. I think this time I won’t write more arabic than this, though, because I see I’ve written a very long letter already. I’ll save it for next time.

All my love to you

salam wa smiles
;^)
Aisha

Mohamed

Oh, no he didn’t. Oh, don’t tell me it’s true – did he just say what I think he said?

Ohhhh Dear, I think I was right… at this speed I am definitely going to burn up! He already offered me the dynamite and lit the match! My copilot was obviously on a completely different schedule than I. Hahaha, I marveled out loud, “You go, Guy!” But it would never work like this with me, I spent my whole weekend playing the ‘what if’ game, and I was ready for this scenario. I just hadn’t expected it to… er… pop up so quickly!

On the one hand, I loved all of his wonderful answers to my questions, except one. He clearly put a lot of thought and time into his reply, carefully answering everything in detail. His words seemed to ring true, as well, leaving me more satisfied with my present course of action than I was feeling during the weekend.

On the other hand, that very last question he answered gave me my next course of action. I shut down the computer and laughed all the way to my bed, giggling like a teenager! Much more at ease, now, I slept happily and never tossed or turned even once all night long. I left my copilot holding his lit match and I turned my back on him again for another two days.

“Shields Up, Mr. Sulu!“

“Shields Up, Captain!“

;^)

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4 thoughts on “Ep. 8 – Joyride to Egypt: Twenty Questions

  1. Sometimes, we have to take chances in life for us and not anyone else… You did the right thing… If it didn’t work, nothing was lost but an adventure… Love, Lor

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