Retrospective

Wow, last time I posted was in October! That is way too long ago so let’s get caught up. This year was filled with so many amazing changes and looking back, I can’t believe it all happened. Even though it was crazy for a while, there have been welcomed periods of boredom.

Despite the calmer waters, time is still moving pretty fast. Work is going great and every day I’m reassured that I made the right choice leaving a huge corporation to work for a small company. I am going to the Hawaiian Islands next month for work! I’ll be there for 2 weeks split between Oahu and Hawaii, so stay tuned for a post about Hawaii travel.

Wedding planning is DONE (for the most part). There are some loose ends to tie up but we’re waiting until March/April to get the ball rolling. At this point, I regret not going with my original dream to elope…or at least a semi-elopement with immediate family and few friends. To me, getting married shouldn’t involve obsessing over color themes, answering questions about fabric preferences, picking out fonts for invitations, dresses, food tastings and all that crap but that’s what I find myself doing. Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful this is even happening but I think my mind is more focused on marriage than it is a wedding, so as much fun as this process is, I’m ready to be marry T.

I’ve been reading a few books on how to have a healthy marriage. When T and I first got engaged, I felt like we needed to educate ourselves on marriage, even though we’ve known each other for so long. We’ve never lived together (duh) and that’s what I was most nervous for. Obviously, we know each other really well, but I was still nervous. For example, he’s never experienced me watching an hour’s worth of YouTube videos right before I go to sleep… or that when I come home from work I grab a snack, plop down on the couch and scroll through social media for 20 minutes. Although those things may seem trivial, my mind kept thinking “will I still be able to do that?” or “is it going to be a problem?” It’s not unlike me to be overly communicative and prepared, so we talked through some things and I feel more ready than ever.

We recently figured out how exactly we’re doing our fusion wedding day and explained every detail on our wedding website so everyone will be in the loop. After the wedding I’d be happy to share the website so everyone can see exactly how we did the whole thing.

It’s crazy to think about 2015. I pulled up some older blog posts and being able to re-experience everything is so cool. I knew this year would be great,  but I had no idea it would be packed full of so many blessings. I have gone through so much growth and change this past year that if I listed everything it could easily span over a few years: changing jobs, moving, traveling, family (babies!), relationships…almost everything has shifted for the better. I hope everyone can find a way to reflect on the positives and grow from the negatives.


Float on!

-Rosh

The Sooner The Better

Things have really taken off since the engagement. I feel like I’m reserving, booking and putting down deposits left and right. The wedding date is set for Spring 2016!!! Combining both cultures into the wedding has been a fun? challenge. For example, the outfits… Typically, South Asian wedding dresses are red and American dresses are white (duh). The compromise is for me to wear a white traditional Pakistani dress, we actually found one and it’s stunning!

One thing I want to make sure I don’t lose sight of is that at the end of this wedding craze, there is going to be a marriage. I am not sure that anyone is really ready for marriage, but I want to do my best to be prepared. I don’t know if pre-marital counseling is something we’ll do but I’m open to it and any good book recommendations are welcome.

This time last year I was in a pretty rough spot. Of course a lot has changed since then but the single most important thing I want to stress to people in similar situations is that the sooner you let your parents in on who you are, the sooner you get to enjoy a really awesome relationship with them.

This is extremely hard for first generation kids to do because our parents literally come from a different world then us. Even saying “I love you” is something they didn’t grow up with. Not saying they weren’t loved— it was just expressed MUCH differently. I admit, when I confided in my parents about T, it wasn’t a love fest right away. After some time passes, people are more open to forgive and eventually you get a chance to talk through everything.

I realized that the source of my sadness was not my family directly but it was the lack of connection we had. How can a person possibly connect with people that they feel they have to hide something so big from? Once everything was out in the open, the bad connection got a chance to get better with time. Because of a stronger family bond, I feel lighter, ready to have fun and more like myself. So long story short, open up to your parents, and don’t take years to do it! In the end they want to be there for you, if you let them.

Because I’m amazing at planning things, I wanted to give a list of wedding related tips like: What to Reserve First, How to Budget, Planning a Fusion Wedding…etc… but the only things I’ve learned so far is that somehow your budget will get blown out of the water, people will find reasons to complain, and what may seem simple is 100x harder when you put the word ‘Wedding’ in front of it, but as long as you remember that the person you’re marrying at the end of it all is your best friend then the rest doesn’t really matter.

Other updates: I’ve been a vegetarian for about 3 months. Thanks to binge watching 5 documentaries on Netflix, I realized how much I like my animals alive. Work is going well, family is doing great and I’m definitely aware of all the blessings coming our way and very thankful for them.


Float on!
-Rosh

Rings and things

When things get going, they get going pretty fast. Ty managed to pull off the surprise proposal before the formal engagement and it was spectacular. This is how it went down…

Since I knew the date of the formal engagement he had a really short window of time to try to pull off a “surprise” (side note: pulling off a surprise for me is nearly impossible). He reserved 5 nights throughout the month where I had to be free for anything he had planned. The first was a fancy dinner, the second time we went rock climbing and on the third he said we were going for a walk in a park. By that time I had already decided he was going to do it on the fourth night because going for walks in the park was nothing new. But as we were walking along, we came upon a clearing with rose petals, candles and photographers snapping away as he dropped down to one knee and popped the question. I’m not even sure I said yes, I may have blacked out. Snot and tears were coming out of about every pore in my face. His sister was the one who set it all up so she got a front row seat in the bushes. Afterwards, we went to dinner where he surprised me by inviting my friends, some even drove from Kansas City to be there. The effort and time he put into building the perfect ring for me was something I didn’t even know he was capable of and his proposal was everything I wanted–expected but unexpected in the moment. The next day T hosted a BBQ with the same friends that came in the night before which capped off the big weekend. The worst part was giving the ring back and waiting for the formal engagement with my family.

So fast forward through the LONGEST week of my life and it’s time for the formal engagement. My family had to plan this date around my sister’s due date for her baby so she wouldn’t be traveling too much while she was further along in her pregnancy. The engagement was on Friday August 21st. The guest list was only family, on my side it was my parents, 5 of my siblings (including my sister-in-law), my sister-in-law’s parents (who are awesome), my uncle (kind of random but still awesome). And then on T’s side it was his mom, his sister and their grandparents (who are again, awesome). The night started out like any typical desi night, everyone was running a little late…mainly me and my mom, things were a little disorganized but some how it ended up being fun. Like actually fun. At the start everyone was just chatting and then my dad prompted my mom to move forward, my mom threw the ball (figurative, not literal) back to my dad and told him to say a dua’a (a short prayer) and then we could move on with the engagement. My dad then threw the ball to my sister-in-law’s dad and before we even had a chance to explain to his family what a dua’a was, we had already started. The prayer was partly in English so that helped a lot. After that T gave me the ring and we exchanged gifts between the families. My favorite part of the night is that after T put the ring on my finger, him, his mom and my mom took a picture together and my mom said “you have two moms now!” and she was so happy. I love that lady. After about 1000 pictures we had dessert (before dinner!) then went out to a really nice restaurant.  Check out my instagram (@SaroshMoheet) if you want to see a pic from that night.

I am so happy that I got to have the emotional, private, proposal because it helped me keep my emotions in check around our families when it came time to be public. T really describes this whole engagement thing as a 3 step process. The first being that we got the green light from my folks and they set a date for it, the second being the proposal and the third being the official engagement.

So the day after this was my sister’s baby shower and it was cool to greet everyone and get lots of positive prayers and congratulations. In fact, one of the guests invited both T and I to her wedding (she also married an american guy) and we went! It was awesome to experience a Pakistani event together. We’ve made a lot of decisions about the feel of our wedding, like how we really want to respect both cultures, highlight both families and really have a strong sense of fusion. We’re starting to look at venues this week…LIKE WHAT.


Float on!

Rosh

The week where everything becomes official

It’s safe to say I never thought I’d be able to get engaged to T, I thought we’d elope somewhere and figure it out as we go. Even when my mom got on board this year I thought something would inevitably happen to change her mind. Her mind did change but not in the way I or anyone expected, her willingness to accept others has grown so much and I’m so grateful for that. Sure she’s religious, has trouble pronouncing some english words and is kinda cooky but she’s my mom and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

I told my parents they were my best friends and both of them just about melted. In the span of a year, I’ve gone from being so distant and disconnected from them to being joined at the hip. Making the step to let them into my personal life made a world of a difference. Getting here wasn’t easy but it was so incredibly worth it. Speaking of parents, my dad made a pretty important phone call a couple weeks ago. He called T’s mom and officially invited their family over for the engagement which is in approximately 5 days 4 hours and 37 minutes (can’t you tell I’m not excited at all?)

There’s a lot of confusion with this whole “formal engagement” set up for me. Everyone gets gifts, I get a ring and we eat. It sounds simple but feels far from it. The plan is that we’ll do the gift and ring exchange at the house and then we’ll go out to dinner to celebrate. This whole thing sounds so awkward. In fact, I remember it being very very awkward when my sister and brother had to go through with it for their spouses. In addition to the unavoidable awkwardness, part of me is wondering if things like a ‘mehr’ (dowry) will be discussed, if we’ll talk about the wedding, if getting gifts for everyone is even really necessary (my dad said no and my mom said yes, so obviously I got a very clear answer). T’s grandparents will be there too, as well as my uncle and maybe some extended family as well. When I originally pictured this formal engagement I saw only our nuclear families coming together but it’s morphed into a bigger get together than I originally thought. My sister told me to get used to it now because planning the wedding is going to go the same way.

Speaking of my sister, she’s having a little girl! This is a HUGE surprise considering her doctor said that it was a boy. Somehow information got communicated incorrectly and ‘he’ was actually a ‘she’ all along. However, the best-aunt-ever (me) already planned an amazing baby shower…for a boy, but this is a welcome shock because all we want is a happy healthy baby, so I’ll just have to start from scratch with the baby shower. Oh well, baby girls are more fun anyways, cue the tutus and bows!


Float on,
Rosh

P.S. -Tyler did pull off the surprise, more details on that next week 😉

Leaps and Bounds

It’s been months since I last posted but so much has happened and I finally have a chance to catch up. Every part of life is changing for the better.

I ended up quitting my job last month. I was on the fence about leaving my career but a round of bad food poisoning pushed me over the edge, as soon as I got discharged from the hospital I put in my two weeks notice. Obviously it was not fun but realizing that I could not even go home to feel better was terrible. I felt so disappointed in myself for quitting, I love working and not having another job lined up made me feel like I jumped the gun on leaving. Over the course of 2 months I had applied for 117 jobs.  After the 115th application I stopped applying because I realized I was being a little crazy and going for anything I thought I qualified for. Instead, I decided get very picky about what I wanted with my career, one thing I knew though was that it had to be close to home. Home meant moving back in with my parents, which i was actually excited for. Once I stopped losing my mind I ended up getting a great job with a company I can see myself with for a long time. The position is 10% travel instead of 100%, so I still get some travel perks which is nice.

Coming back home was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. As I’ve gotten a little older I’ve realized that my parents are loving, generous, strong and wise creatures. It took me leaving home, traveling for a while and being independent to realize how amazing parents are. So yes, I’m in my 20’s and I live with them but I would not have it any other way. It’s a beautiful thing to wakeup in the morning and hangout with them before the day starts, a lot of people would kill for that time with their parents.

Our family dynamic has changed a lot in the past few months. This is mainly because my older sister and her husband of 7 years are finally expecting their first child. They were trying for quite some time to get pregnant so all of us are very excited and thanking God for such a blessing. This baby has shifted the waters for Tyler and I in a very good way. We were hoping that we could get engaged this year.  We planned out some baby steps, having things sprinkled throughout the year so my family, mostly my mom, could get to know him better. That plan didn’t actually play out like we thought it would…

Instead, my sister was in town for a week and had a pretty lengthy discussion with my parents, I’m not really sure what was said but whatever it was, flipped a switch with my mom. My mom decided that when we host my sister’s baby shower next month, we would also do a formal engagement between Ty and I.  In our culture, we have a formal engagement instead of a surprise proposal which is typical of american culture. What happens is the boy’s family comes to the girl’s house and his family asks for her hand in marriage. The girl’s family responds (hopefully with a ‘yes’ since it’s planned out), and the boy presents his bride-to-be with a ring. Gifts are exchanged between the families, photos are taken and it’s a happy time for everyone. However, I grew up in America so this isn’t exactly how I envisioned getting engaged, to be honest. I’m so insanely thankful that we’re moving forward, especially since we’ve been waiting so long, but I do hope T pulls off a surprise proposal  before or after the formal one. The plan is to get engaged and married early next year, which is easier said than done. It’s going to be a crazy 9 months trying to figure out how exactly we’re going to do the wedding while still being respectful of both cultures coming together. IT’S SO CRAZY. It is just nuts. It is absolutely bananas. Bananas and nuts. I don’t really understand how it all happened. What we’ve waited years for is finally happening and we’re so ready for it.

I started this blog for a variety of reasons: I wanted to document my post-graduation-big-girl-job-traveling-the-world life but I also wanted to have an outlet for what T and I were going through, incase there was someone out there going through a similar thing. Future posts will probably revolve around how we’re combining out cultures for a fusion wedding or the process in general and the highs and lows around our union.


Float on!

-Rosh

Meet and Greet

I’ve realized my posts are fewer and farther between but hopefully the ‘quality over quantity’ rule applies here. It’s just hard to write down my thoughts since I am all over the place. From DC I went to STL where some major relationship developments happened and then I was off to LA for two weeks. I’m just now able to catch my breath and really sort through what’s going on.

As far as DC is concerned, I don’t think the east coast is not for me. It’s charming and fun but the people, weather and overall vibe make me prefer the mid-west or west coast. I had a few days in St. Louis after I finished up in DC; T$ and I decided to take advantage of the rare time I’m back in town by having our families meet. For the first time. In 8 years.

Needless to say I was extremely nervous, more nervous than I had been about my family meeting him, any job interview, or exam or all three combined. I was a shakey mess because in my head it went only one way: awkward. T$ said it’s important to him that the families meet before we get engaged. Which is opposite of me because it’s not super uncommon in our culture that parents don’t meet until engagements or right before. So from my perspective, if this didn’t go at least decent then there was no way we could move forward at the pace we wanted. A lot had been leading up to this moment.

T$’s mom is a 45 year old single, fun loving, lively woman while my parents are in their 60’s, conservative, happy and family oriented immigrants. As much as I can keep pointing out their differences, there is a common thread that is probably the saving grace in all of this. That being, they both love their kids more than anything. T$’s mom, sister, me, my little brother and my parents had a good time. Everyone laughed, shared food, talked (about casual things, nothing serious) but it really was amazing.

After letting my parents digest what was going on I asked my mom how she felt. She did so well during dinner that I fooled myself into thinking she was supportive but she said she still needs more time. My mom emphasized how she’s not going to be rude to nice people but that she was more so putting on a brave face because she loves me and was really struggling on the inside. I appreciate her effort, and I’m glad she was able to gracefully navigate dinner, even if she needs more time.

My two weeks in LA flew by and I got to bond so much with my sister. I’m headed back to the west coast in a week so I’m excited to see her again soon.

Hope to have more developments on the career, family and love life soon!


Float on,
Rosh

A la la love story

These past couple of weeks I have been in sunny, beautiful Los Angeles. I was so excited for this trip because my sister lives in LA and I get stay with her instead of in a hotel. There’s something for everyone here and if you want the best of that something you’re likely to find it in a city as big/diverse as Los Angeles. Between the beaches, hiking trails, shopping, galleries, restaurants, other major cities that are close by and overall weather I’m not sure how someone could ever be bored here. My favorite thing about LA is that if you’re in the city you can look up and see an absurd amount of planes flying into LAX which I think is pretty cool to watch (especially when you’re stuck in traffic). So enough about Los Angeles, I’ve put off writing about T$ and I so I’m just going to jump right into the synopsis of our story…so far.


The Beginning:
T$ and I met in 10th grade in Mr. K’s study hall. Soon after we becoming friends and some high school drama subsided is where our story begins. Innocently enough we really liked each other. We wrote each other notes, hung out at football games, hockey games, went to the movies…all normal stuff. This all sounds pretty standard so far, but one huge thing was that my family didn’t know he existed in my life. My family is a traditional and religious Pakistani family, so I was raised with immigrant parents. I was terrified that they would essentially disown me for not only dating, but dating a white guy at that. Plus we were so young, there’s no way they would let it happen. Still to this day I feel like I had no choice but back then I was crazy and dramatic (what teenager isn’t?) so who really knows what would have happened. We weren’t totally in secret though, his family knew. His mom was supportive, mostly because he was happy which is all she wanted. Shortly before we started dating, T’s dad passed away. It was a life shattering, world-upside-down time in their lives. He also has a little sister who was young at the time but very much present. So when his mom said he was happy it truly was what she cared about, because so much was going on. T’s dad passing away was really just the tip of the iceberg when it came to his family. A lot went on over the course of the next 8 years. He really didn’t have the easiest life,no one does but damn, his story is something else. We made me a plan that if we wanted to do this, it would be 10 years in the making, just to get to the finish line.

The Middle:
Fast forward a couple of years and we’re both going to the same college (not because of each other) but because it’s where we wanted to go. We coasted through, made awesome friends and somewhere during my 3rd year I couldn’t take it anymore. The secret was just gnawing at me, I had to do something. After fighting and tears (hey, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns) I told my sister. I sent her a Facebook message and just came out with it. Just like that. She asked a lot of questions and I answered them the best I could. I asked her to not tell anyone in my family, which to my surprise she agreed, for two years she didn’t say anything. She dropped hints here and there to my family but nothing major, at least not to my knowledge. Her and her husband were surprisingly supportive. T and I rode high on this for so long, it was just the fuel we needed to keep going. I talked openly with my sister and her husband about T, they asked about him frequently and I was at peace, for the most part.

Fast forward to senior year of college where nostalgia hits you hard. You realize you’re leaving soon for the real world and all sorts of stress comes out of no where. I needed to get a job! Where was I going to live? The scary part being is that you can actually be anywhere, doing anything, but not having a clue to what life will be like was kind of scary. This produced another freak out moment. Could I really do this, a life with T? The way my family is? I thought I couldn’t. I had become very close with them while I was at school and could not bear to disappoint them like I knew I would. So we had a rough patch where I really didn’t know what to do. I went home and had some one on one time with my dad, which was very very rare. Short back story, his sister married a Chinese man and everything turned out fine, she passed away so I never got the chance to ask her about it but I brought it up to my dad. This was the route into me telling him about T.  Our conversation was long, and slow…filled with lots of questions. I thought my dad would handle it well, because of his sister. And he did, for the most part. Somewhere towards the middle of our conversation he stood up and just started pacing the house, sometimes we were talking while he was upstairs and I was downstairs, he seemed very nervous. Look back on this I still laugh, can you imagine having a serious conversation like this? After our talk I told him I wanted to “come out” to everyone else in the family on my own. Next would be my older brother (a huge father figure when I was growing up) and then finally would be the hardest egg to crack, my mom. He didn’t necessarily agree but he said he would wait.

He didn’t wait.

All hell broke loose. He told my mom, who told my brother and those two months are honestly a blur. Everyday there were tears, my mom pleading with me. Arguments with my brother. Overall just a lot of emotions. And the worst part of it was that I felt so alone. T  and my friends were there but there’s no way they could fully understand what was happening. But their support changed everything. They listened when I was frustrated and went on and on about everything that was going on, many times they gave me a shoulder to cry on and helped me see the light in what I thought was a terrible situation. T helped me through panic attacks, freak outs and talks with my family. Without him and my friends I would not have been able to get through it.

Eventually things calmed down, a little. My mom was in denial, there were still tears and fighting but it wasn’t daily, maybe bi weekly. This changed the dynamic between my older brother and me, we had a couple huge fights. Some that I didn’t think we would be able to get passed. T and I had a plan, being so young we didn’t want to rush anyone to feel comfortable as soon as possible. We wanted to give them time. Once my family knew that this wasn’t a question of “if” but a question of “when” then they started coming around. They genuinely felt bad that I didn’t feel like I could come to them for years and years. It took my 6 years to come clean.

So they met. We did a movie and ice cream. The movie was a documentary that our local Muslim/Pakistani community was screening, my dad invited him. This was huge, not only was he meeting my family but he was being exposed to the community. I don’t remember the movie, I swear I blacked out from nerves alone but I remember it being crazy that he finally heard my dad’s laugh, my mom’s adorable accent, saw how tall my little brother was, and how nice my older brother and his wife are. After the movie we got ice cream and it was great, he brought my mom flowers which she accepted and thanked him for. Surprisingly it was never awkward, no silences or no weird questions. We did, however, run into some family friends and just kind of glazed over the fact that T was there. We said our goodbyes, my mom gave him a hug and we left.

After this meeting we were riding pretty high, I couldn’t believe it. We had a family meeting afterwards, everyone went around in a circle and said how they felt. My mom said she’s unsure, it was too soon to say but that he was nice. My dad and younger brother essentially said the same thing as my mom. My dad expressed how he wanted to have a more serious talk with him eventually, but that it was a good first meeting. My older brother listed off good things about him just from the first impression but expressed that being nice overall wasn’t going to cut it, he had to see more. That was disheartening, to say the least. The last thing I wanted was an expectation that T would have to jump through hoops to be with me.

The second meeting was during a muslim holiday, Eid. Eid marks the end of Ramadan which is a month of fasting and overall good behavior. The place where the Eid prayer was taking place was walking distance to T’s super nice and new apartment. So he invited them over for some breakfast afterwards. I wasn’t there for this. Yes, he had them over for breakfast without me. My whole family was there, so this time it’s a bigger group because my sister and her husband were in town. My parents brought him some sweets, he also had sent them some from their favorite bakery in Chicago the week before. I heard this went great, another casual meeting, nothing serious but still major at the same time. After this we were riding pretty high again. My whole family was impressed by his place. Shortly after, my brother bought a house and asked T if he wanted to move in to take care of it. My brother and his wife were to move in the following summer. The logistics didn’t work out but it was huge that he even asked.

I was back in town during late November and I asked if T could come over to dinner one weekend while I was home. This was a bigger deal because my parents would be inviting him into their home, my mom would be cooking him a meal and it just seemed more serious. My dad was all for it and my mom went back and forth for a couple of days but then she reluctantly said yes. Dinner was great, no awkwardness again and my parents sent him home with leftovers and some extra treats. That was right before I left for Qatar and it was a great note to leave on. Towards the end of my trip, T’s mom had some health scares and my mom actively checked up on her (through me) which was really great. So that’s pretty much the story so far, my moms still probably a dull red light (she says) my older brother is probably a yellow light and everyone else is a green light to get this show on the road.

So back track to before the good parts to where I was first telling my family, that feeling of being alone, is partially why I started this blog. I kept Googling “how to come out to your parents” but obviously that wasn’t quite right. Although, I did borrow a few tips from those articles. When I first told my sister about starting this blog she goes “well don’t you want to wait until you’re at least engaged?” which is a point I thought about too. What if we go through all of this and nothing comes from it? It would be terrible. But even if that did happen, if we didn’t end up together, that doesn’t mean we didn’t happen. It doesn’t discount everything we’ve been through for the past 8 years. I also just wanted to keep track of life, so much is happening and my memory is terrible, I wanted a way for me to reflect back on this time.

We think that the next few steps should include T having a serious one on one with my dad and brother, having our families meet and then taking it from there to the next big step. I have a feeling that more tears and fights will break out but I hope I’m wrong. Also, small disclosure: so much more happened from high school days to now but I just wanted to hit the key events that are more pertinent to what’s going on. Again, not everything was always great and romantic, aside from the big stuff there were still other highs and other lows, just like anyone’s life and relationships. I’m really excited to see what this year will bring.


Float on,

Rosh