Salim sent me a simple email in January of 2009 on the International Pen Pals website "Interpals". Just a sweet note, asking Allah to bless my children, and when I responded to him, we began exchanging letters and learning more about each other. As time went by, I knew he was beginning to care for me a great deal, but it took a little longer for my feelings to catch up to his! (No doubt wariness from a few "hard knocks" in the past!!) Little by little I knew I was falling in love with him, and we talked about me making a visit to Morocco in the summertime during my extended vacation. After a few anxious days in June when I was unsure if I was going to be able to get a plane ticket to Morocco, we finally got the tickets booked and I prepared to meet him in Tangier on Saturday, July 25, 2009. After a long flight, a delay at the airport in Tangier (while they made sure I did not have swine flu!), and a long wait for my luggage, I walked into Salim's waiting arms and felt like I had been with him for years! It felt like "coming home"....we were instantly a couple in synch, talking and laughing, sharing dinner and walking through the city of Tangier. We eventually joined his family, who welcomed me so warmly, as if I was already a member of the family! Everything was wonderful except for the "intestinal problem" that began to afflict me on the 5th day of my visit and lasted until the day I left. I became so sick and the heat made it worse; I couldn't eat, and I knew I was dehydrating quickly. I have heard that you can tell a lot about someone by the way they treat you when you are sick, and if that is any indication, I have chosen a man who will truly stand by me "in sickness and in health'!! Salim was incredible, taking such good care of me, and offering to do anything that he thought would make me more comfortable: he moved a fan from room to room to keep me cool, he went to the souk to get me bottled water and ice cream, offered to take me to a doctor, checked on me constantly.....he was amazing! I know I fell even more in love with him because of his tender care. It was a shame that we missed out on some things because of my being sick, but I learned a lot about this man and his family from the experience.
While in Morocco one of the things that we WERE able to do was sit side-by-side at Salim's computer and peruse the US Govt website that outlines the requirements for K-1 visas, and also read about the process for marrying in Morocco. It is really daunting to try to jump all of the hurdles that are necessary to marry there, traveling from Rabat to Casablanca to file paperwork, awaiting police records, court documents, adoul's paperwork, etc., with no guarantee that we would even be granted a marriage license during my visit. The decision was made to pursue the K-1 visa while Salim investigated further through an adoul that someone he knows is familiar with. When I arrived home, I began filling out the necessary papers, urging Salim to get his documents translated and everything in order so that once we have saved the filing fee, we can send it all off to begin the process of bringing him here!
So that brings us to today, almost 3 weeks since my return from Morocco. I miss him so terribly, but it feels empowering to be taking the actions necessary to end our separation and begin our life together, inshaallah. We speak and/or email daily, encouraging each other when we are feeling sad and lonely, laughing at memories, looking at photos, and just counting the days until we can be together. It is nice to have found this forum and to be among so many others like us who are moving towards a brighter future with a wonderful man or woman. I am looking forward to reading many stories and sharing more of our own as the events unfold. Bismillah, as we all travel along this journey!