Wednesday, January 30, 2008


*this is from a letter I wrote to Masum not so long ago

Really I don't know why I'm writing to you now. I can't sleep. I feel sad. And lonely. And totally awake. But I guess I wanted to tell you something.

Even though I can't understand the way that your family is behaving, this whole situation has in some strange way really helped me understand my childhood. More specifically, it has helped me understand the kinds of choices that my father, and my mother to some extent, had to make. Choosing between love, family, happiness and children is never easy. It seems like those things shouldn't be in opposition to one another, but all too often, they are. In fact, in a lot of cases, like in my family, the choices are quite impossible. When I was a child, my father chose his happiness and hoped that his children would understand. And well, we didn't. We didn't understand at all. We felt abandoned and alone and I grew up mostly feeling like I didn't have a father. My father's decision was a little more complicated than that and he made a lot of mistakes, but now I see that there was probably nothing that he could have done to make me happy or to make feel like I was still important to him.

I guess what I mean is that children don't really have the ability to accept the complexity of the decisions that adults make. And that while I'm sorry about the fact that you have to give up love, that in the end, Neeha will really respect you for it. I hope that one day you can have a frank conversation with Neeha about your relationship with me and how we came to be in Korea. And I hope she can appreciate the sacrifice you made so that you can get to know her. I hope she can find out about the man that I knew when he was here because it would be a shame for her to miss out on that person.

I also hope that when Neeha falls in love, you will do all you can to support her decision, whatever it is. Even if you think it's the wrong decision. Just because you and your wife were cheated, doesn't mean that she should be, too. So please, just try to accept it. Because even though love makes us stupid, it also makes us happy, in a miserable sort of way. And everyone deserves a chance. Don't judge your daughter the way that your family has judged you. If you did that, our relationship would really be a wasted experience.

And I'm sure that my father is thanking you right now. Because for the first time, I really feel like I can forgive him for all the mistakes he made when I was a child. For the first time, I feel like I can understand what he was up against. So even though we aren't together anymore, maybe we have both managed to salvage a relationship- strangely me with my father and you with your daughter...I guess we should be thankful for that.

I can't tell you how much it breaks my heart to try and accept this situation. Just when I think I'm doing okay, I get swept up in a torrent of emotion and when that happens, I know that I just have to ride it out. I miss you terribly. And for some stupid reason, I still hold onto the glimmer of hope that something in this situation will change. But don't worry, I don't have any expectation that it will, and I'm doing my best to put us behind me, no matter how much I don't like it.

It just feels so unfair because before you, I could never imagine actually trying to spend my life with a person. And now I just can't imagine trying to live without you. I'm not sure how to fill the emptiness that I feel now that you're no longer a part of my life. I can't imagine finding another person who could take your place. Maybe I'm just destined to be a lonely wanderer forever.

Anyway, I hope your beautiful daughter is helping to fill the void in your life. At least you have her to come home to everyday....

As always, your jaan

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I've been getting over it

I'm back in Korea. I've been back for nearly a month.

Well, the drama that has been my life for the last 2 years is nearly over. When I came back to Korea, I learned that Masum, through some feat of emotional blackmail on the part of his family, decided that he couldn't divorce his wife because he would lose not only his daughter, but his whole family. I'm totally at loss. I just can't understand the situation and my only consolation is that he sounds absolutely miserable. Maybe that sounds awful for me to say, but really, my heart is totally broken and if I thought he was actually happy with the situation, I would really be questioning why I ever tried sticking with him in the first place. I guess I'm questioning that anyway, but you know, him being miserable makes the question a little easier for me to answer.

I guess I was really angry at him. But now I just feel really sad. I'm sad because his family didn't even try to understand. They don't seem to care about his happiness at all; all that matters is his obligation to his family. I feel angry that I remain so powerless in the situation and that no amount love makes a difference. Culture and family are forces that love just can't compete with in this situation. I mean even the Bangladeshi friends who know me said that he should ditch me for his wife and do whatever his mother told him to do.

I feel totally pathetic because I'm still holding onto some lingering hope that he'll change his mind and tell his family to get over it. And that after he does that, his family will eventually forgive him and at least accept the situation even if they don't like it. But I know deep down that it'll never happen and it's a waste of time to fantasize about being with him again. But it's just so hard because it wasn't so long ago that we were talking about marriage and babies and where we'd want to live. He asked me to help him figure out how he could get a visa and a job in another country, and I did that. I had a plan. Actually I had lots of plans, all he had to do was divorce his wife.

And now I'm just trying to figure out what to do with myself. I've spent so much time over the last two years making plans that include Masum that now I feel a little bit overwhelmed with the fact that the world is wide open and that he isn't part of the plan anymore. Honestly, I don't even want to think about that reality, but that's what it is now. I've been falling apart for the last month and now I'm trying to put the pieces back together, but I don't even know where to begin.

I only have a month left in Korea. I bought my plane ticket outta here last week and that has done a lot for my mental state. And I didn't just buy any ticket. I'm going to Nepal for a month before I return to America because frankly the thought of returning to Vermont in the dead of winter with no job and nothing to do is depressing.

Add to that the fact that I have a lot of anxiety about finding work in Vermont in the first place because low wage jobs and boredom is kind of what drove me to Korea. I feel really strange about the prospect of returning to America "forever". I guess that for the last few years, I've pictured myself living outside of the US sort of indefinitely and the prospect of forever in any place makes me feel a little antsy. Especially without Masum. I guess for the last few years I've always just considered my home to be wherever he is, whether that's Bangladesh, or somewhere in the US or even in Cuba or South America... And now, well, home seems to be Vermont whether I like it or not.

And it's not that I don't like it, it's just that, well, I haven't really considered the fact that I would be living there again. And while I'm really happy and excited to be surrounded by family and friends again, I'm really depressed about the fact that I'm alone and that the only person that I've ever really thought I would want to spend my life with won't be there to share it with me.

God, I really miss him. He's been gone for more than two months and I've thrown everything of his out of the house, but I still feel his absence constantly...

but, I guess I'm getting over it. I hope.

Life is so unfair.