Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Do you think you could?

This past weekend we celebrated my sister-in-law Claudia’s birthday. My brother prepared a great meal for us and we enjoyed the evening visiting. During this visit I learned something new about my sister-in-law. Just over 15 years ago she and my brother met and fell in love while each on vacation in Mexico. Eventually they agreed to get married and for Claudia to move to the U.S. Mind you she had little knowledge or understanding of the English language and no immediate family that would be living nearby her.

It was three days before she and my brother’s wedding when she decided she just couldn’t go through with moving to the U.S. She knew she loved my brother with all her heart, but apparently the three days prior to their wedding it all of a sudden became a reality to her that she’d be leaving her family, her culture, and her country. She immediately panicked upon this epiphany and wanted to go home. She and my father had made an instant connection when they first met and had become close over a short period of time. Having no immediate family members here as they hadn’t arrived yet for the wedding, she went to the only other person she trusted for wisdom and that was my father. Apparently she broke down in front of my dad and tried to explain in her best broken English that she couldn’t go forward with this marriage and didn’t know what to do. My father who used his best Spanish as well as English tried to comfort Claudia and acknowledged that what she was feeling was very real and natural. He thought it would be helpful to her if she contacted her mother and discussed this issue. She agreed and called her parents. Her father, who she was very close and attached too answered, and she told her father she couldn’t go forward and wanted to come home. He told her "no, you’ve made the decision to get married and move so now you have to stick with it". She could not believe her father told her no. Unbeknownst to Claudia, after her father told her no he handed her mother the phone and went in the other room and cried for nearly a day and a half. He admitted to Claudia’s mom that was the hardest thing he had to do was tell his daughter no. Of course, Claudia didn’t know any of this until much later.

In the end she and my brother married and are still married to this day. Claudia was diagnosed a few years or so after their marriage with bi-polar disorder and has been on medication ever since. I have to wonder if she had this condition prior and it was just discovered later. I have to wonder if one has anything to do with the other. I have to wonder if it was just a coincidence.

Hearing this story for the first time over the weekend it caused me to sit and reflect on a number of things. Of course, it’s no surprise the love, adoration and respect I have for my sister-in-law, and knowing that I wondered if I could make the same decision she made 15 years ago, and honestly I don’t know if I could. Moreover, I wonder how many other people out there are like Claudia and would be willing or have taken the risk to make such a leap of faith. How many would be willing to leave their family, their culture, and their country for the sake of love? How many people would make this decision within 8 months of meeting one another, with only a couple of face-to-face meetings---all other communications were through transcribed letters and/or translated phone conversations?

I would be curious to know your thoughts. I would also be interested in knowing if you’d make such a decision and/or if you have already made such a decision and how you came to that decision. If you haven’t but know someone that has, please be so kind and share. Lastly, please share the outcome of such a decision.


dusk till dawn said...

hi ibee
when we born we all had a destiny uknown to us till late in life, what brought ur brother and sister in law was faith to be together ,this illness she suffer frm it could be at chilldhood or late in life ,i think the reason she panic br the wedding was no close friends frm her country to share her thoughts and open her heart to them as she is in strange place she does not want other people to know her fears,what her dad did say was a hard thing he does not want his daughter to be a failur,its easy for a man to married frm any country ,but not that easy for a women to make a decision,as she always close to her up bringing ,but she made that decision.and look at them now still happy together,i think they both worked so hard for the relationship to make it work.she adapted her self to be part of that journey of life gd luck 4 both of them

Lebeeya said...

Marriage on its own is difficult to maintain without adding to it the major differences in culture, traditions and family habits, I admire Claudia's strength and love to your brother. Making such a decision must have been extermely difficult, but I am very happy both families were their to support her and that's very important... support from his family and hers!

Personally, I would like to minimize the differences as much as possible in my marriage and avoid future conflicts regarding raising the kids and our lifestyle. So... only Libyan for me lol simply because I want my children to be Libyan.... Love for the country :D

Plus, my family would never agree to allow me to marry a non-Libyan, so that option has been crossed out and not taken into consideration.

Yet again, I will say I admire Claudia. I am sorry about her disorder. I pray for her health.

cofman said...

ramadan kareem & peace to every one !
thanks for the warm friendship, funny times, and amazing experience - thanks
give my love to the little angel!

Lost-Libyan said...

Ibee go to my page ASAP

Happymoi said...

please check my comment section...some has a msg full of hate...could you please respond to it? i think you'd do a much better you suggest i delet it?

msg me at
and i will give you
my personal e-mail which is not this one ok...salams

Happymoi said...

its the same like the one u have in ur blog...someone is been working too hard in the wrong direction!

ibeebarbie said...

Salam Dusk Till Dawn,

Thank you for your comment and insight. I’m not necessarily sure I can concede that it’s easier for a man to marry and leave is country than it is a woman. I definitely think it takes certain strength on an individual’s part to make such a decision.

Salam Lebeeya,
Thank you for your comment; always it’s appreciated and insightful. Good thing you and your family are in agreement – you don’t want a husband that isn’t Libyan and they would never agree to let you wed someone that wasn’t Libyan. ;-)

Salam Cofman,
Ramadan Kareem. May Allah bless you and keep you well always, inshallah.
Oh my goodness it has been a long time my friend. I hope you and Coftana are well, inshallah. Thank you for your regards and will be sure and give Miss Amira your love.