2013 was a rollercoaster year for me.
At the start of the year I had made the decision to quit my job, but because the organisation was changing I had to train the new people into what I did as the old way of doing things. I was unhappy and but I was liberated to make a decision that was so hard because it was not what I wanted to do. The role was making me unhappy and the industry I have been in for the last 5 years has changed so much from the ideals I started in to a cut throat business model to justify it’s existence in the business model that it just made me step back. I actually recently got an offer to work in the same industry again because a while back I’d applied for the role. After pretty much having a panic attack in the middle of Oxford Street my husband told me to ring the recruiter back and decline the job interview.
(My gifts from my last day at work)
Lesson #1 – In 2014 don’t go back to a job that does not make you happy. Find a job where I inshallah blossom and get energy back. Penelope Trunk answered a mailbag question and it hit the nail on the head and finally I got it. If a role doesn’t give you energy when you come home, then don’t do it. Now I realise in the real world we all have to do jobs we’re not 100% happy in to pay the bills. I did that for 3 years and all it did was burn me out and make me miserable.
In the middle of the year after I quit my job I got sick. I also got a phone call from a prospective suitors parents. I rolled my eyes and decided to see what panned out. He could only meet in May on the bank holiday weekend. Fussy much? I rolled my eyes and patted down my mother’s enthusiasm.
Lesson # 2- Always listen to your mother. And God has a sense of humour.
I met this boy and right from the start we hit it off. He was easy to talk to, funny, charming and just someone I could think of as a friend. I hoped he worked out but if he didn’t I wished him all the best. I was ready to go back to work, but first we decided to go to Germany to visit my brother who’s been working there for a while now. Mr. T’s family had called back that they wanted to schedule another meet up which we decided to do after we came back from Germany.
(Berlin in the rain)
I couldn’t stop thinking about this guy though the entire trip. Mr. T finds it hilarious that I was thinking about him and all he was doing was getting on with work lol.
We came back from Germany and decided to meet up at his house. I met his extended family and for the first time I came home. I could breathe, I knew he was the one. I prayed he felt the same way.
Lesson # 3 – Don’t ever loose faith. Always listen to your heart and your gut instinct.
We met up again in June so they could meet my extended family and that was the date that changed my life. One minute we were chatting away and the next we were engaged. Our families were ecstatic and I burst into tears lol! We started planning the wedding the next day. I have to admit I was a bit of a bridezilla and I was getting upset with how long things were taking. But then when we decided on the final date everything went into over drive as we had to plan a wedding in 2 months!
Lesson # 4 – When you have pressing deadlines it’s always best to make a list. Some things will have to be prioritised over others. Everyone will want everything but you can only do what’s meant to be done in the time available. It won’t be perfect but it will be memorable.
We had our Nikah (Islamic marriage ceremony) first and that’s the day I became Mrs. T. I had to wait another 2 weeks before the official wedding though. During those 2 weeks I packed. This was so traumatic for me and if it wasn’t for Shaza’s post on what to pack I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I also got really sick for a week before the wedding. But I also had family fly in from around the world just for my big day, which made me so blessed and thankful.
The big day came and when it was time to leave to go home with Mr. T everyone said no tears. All my family kept telling jokes trying to crack me up, which is why I’m smiling so much in the rukhsati (leave taking shots).
Mr. T’s family took me home and then we jetted off into our honeymoon.
Lesson # 5 – Everything ends but new beginnings are just as sweeter. Prayers are answered and NICE GUYS DO EXIST!!!
We came back from a delightful honeymoon to do the last set of our wedding receptions. It had felt like a long month but we were at the end. Our valima (Groom’s side reception) was lovely. I was a lot calmer and more present. My face hurt from smiling though!
After the valima we packed up my things and headed down to Mr. T’s home in London. It was a shock to be on my own the entire day but Mr. T was making sure I was OK the entire time. I went exploring the next day and went the wrong way lol. I ended up going to the area of our neighbourhood that even he hadn’t explored! I found the right area where all the shops were the next day and walked past the Women’s centre. I resolved to at least go in and ask what they did.
Lesson # 6 – Sometimes you need to get a little lost before you find your way. Don’t be afraid of getting lost.
October was my first Eid as a wife and it was weird celebrating without my parents. Mr. T went to prayers with his dad and brother and then came home. My mother-in-law cooked the yummiest biryani ever and then we came home. I also turned 29 and hubby brought me flowers and took me out for a halal japanese meal. Jaina commented on the venue and we found out we’d just missed each other by a couple of hours! I was brave and tried squid, which is a lot more chewy than you would expect.
(My birthday meal)
Every year I grow up a little and decided that now I’m nearly 30 I need to start dressing a little smarter. Being a married women in the asian culture you’re expected to be dressed to the 9s in the first year, especially at weddings and celebrations. This is not easy for me as I tend to stick to comfort over style, but this time I resolved to look better when going out and about.
(My first Eid-Al-Adha as a wife. My shoes are the same ones I wore to my wedding).
Lesson # 7 – Growing older means growing a little wiser. But keep smiling with the wisdom that comes.
In November we decided to do a trip to Oxford as my parents had taken some family member there in September. That was really fun and there was even a Harry Potter tour but we didn’t manage to go on it. I also decided to bit the bullet and focus on volunteering more for the foreseeable future. I got an interview with the local women’s centre and another organisation that raises awareness for the health issues both locally and nationally. I got the job for both within a couple of days of one another. The women’s centre required a more consistent commitment which is what I agreed to do, and the other one had an event straight after my last wedding which worked out perfectly.
So, what I forgot to tell you was that all this time, Mr. T and I were not legally married. Because we lived in different cities and with the time difference in getting together every couple of weeks it just wasn’t possible for him to come and get legally married on our Nikah day. We decided to wait till we had all the relevant documents and set our relationship down in stone. You would not believe how much they charge just for giving notice to marry! We decided to get married where his parents are so that my family could come down as well. my brother surprised me by coming for the civil wedding too!
We had a lovely day and it was over in 5 minutes. I giggled the whole way through!
(My white dress on my civil wedding)
We ended the year with a turkey dinner at my in-laws place cooked by my brother-in-law. It was the perfect way to end the year.
(Ending the year in my borrowed Santa hat!)
That doesn’t mean this year was all hearts and flowers. There were some incredibly hard moments throughout. No-one gives you a manual on how to fit in when you get married. The story doesn’t end as we ride onto the sunset. There are going to be times when you have to let the emotion out and it’s OK to be overwhelmed. it’s OK to not know what you’re doing and it’s OK to be scared. But with each hard moment, we grow stronger and more able to face the challenges life throws at us inshallah.
All I can advise anyone who’s ever contemplated living with another person is you need to be very patient. You need to communicate because they are not mind readers but they also care about you more than anyone. The good outweighs the bad and things will be OK again inshallah. You just have to work through it together to get to the other side. Thank you to Bride to Wife for her insightful advice on this just after she got married. You really helped me get through the culture shock!
Lesson # 8 – Communication is key, but the right kind of communication takes time to learn. Everyone is different and everyone takes time to adjust.
How was your 2013?