My Parents Know More Than You - Is Love Real? How I Met Your Mother, How I Met Your Father
I write a column for VICE based around my parents… about them thinking I'm famous. Not surprisingly, they now A) consider themselves famous and B) also consider themselves actual authorities on the current state of all things youth and pop culture. I don't blame them. I kinda now consider them authorities as well.
I was mid-asking my dad what a "Skrillex" was when he interrupted me to say, "Baby, do you remember when yer mom poured grits on m'head?"
I didn't. I did, however, remember when my parents were arguing, actually fighting, about if I should be allowed to have a chocolate eclair. My dad cracked an egg on my mom's head, and she chased him with a salad she had just tossed. Obviously, I, a ten-year-old, got in on it and tried to crack an egg on my mom's head, as well. Thinking back, it was kind of not funny. It was just... how things were.
At that moment it hit me: My dad was daydreaming about my mom. Clearly, there were more important things to discuss.
My parents are in love. Skrillex would have to wait.
For so long I had been asking myself if love really existed, and here it was right in front of me. My dad pulling my mom onto his lap, calling her his "girl," her screaming, "I'm Muslim! I can't!"—if only really for the sake of saying it out loud to Allah or something—sneaking kisses and pissing me off when I've been single. My dad saying, "You wouldn't be here today if this pretty lady hadn't sat on m'lap," which is, I guess, maybe cute, but is mostly completely disgusting. (Seriously, though. Who's trying to think about their dad penetrating their mom? That, actually, just made me nauseated as I wrote it.)
I guess it's just that these days the word "love" has for the most part seemed to have lost its meaning. Having been cynical for so long, I would see couples and almost always immediately think, That sucks. They look so miserable. I bet one of them is cheating. Almost like I was proud of myself. Proud of being single. So… pretty healthy.
It seems like in relationships these days, patience and partnership is lost and replaced with this emotional ADD. People want things to work quickly and quit or betray each other when things aren't smooth or exciting. Communication is at an all-time low. Talking has been replaced by checking Twitter and Instagrams and Facebook pages for any signs of anything. We are a generation of fearful escapists, avoiding problems instead of facing them. Sabotaging the things that bring out the good for fear of losing them or being left. Searching for something easy.
My parents didn't have it easy. I forgot that. They had told me stories before of how they met, but I didn't realize until now how much more difficult it had been for them.
PETE AND NASSRIN
They met in Frankfurt, Germany, where I was born. My mom is Persian and was studying German, and my father, a "good ol' country boy," was in the military. She met him on a train. He had beautiful blue eyes and red on his fingers. (She found out later that the colored fingertips had been from ketchup, because he was obsessed with French fries. He was casually carrying a glass bottle of Heinz ketchup in his pocket.) My mother, an extremely classy woman, didn't find this charming (hard to believe, I know), and was on her way to being forced into an arranged marriage. So, she did what any woman about to be married to a man she didn't know would do: She set him up with her lesbian roommate who liked to go out with guys for free dinners. Shockingly, it didn't work out. After that day, my dad came to my mom's house daily with flowers. She turned him down for months. Finally, she gave in. He made her laugh, and they fell in love pretty immediately.
When they decided to get married, the world was literally against them. She was Persian and the US army forbid him to marry her. She was literally considered the enemy. America was helping Iraq fight Iran in the Iran-Iraq war. They kept trying and kept trying. After being verbally abused as a couple and my mother enduring sexual harassment in order to get her papers signed, they were married. Then I was born. At the time my mother had no idea my father had a dark problem with alcohol. He bought a belt buckle and a cowboy hat and convinced her to move from Europe to this magical land called "Texas"… Yeah. Texas. I even have the picture of that outfit.
We got to Texas and my first memories there were of being in a bar with my dad in the daytime. Nice. He would leave my mom and I with no money for long periods of time and go on drinking rampages. After my mom was mugged she kinda realized she wasn't really into the situation. So, one day, he took the car, which had been in her name, and she reported it stolen. He was thrown in jail, and she took me to Iran. It wasn't until recently that I understood that I was actually kidnapped. My dad had no idea where we were. Fucking. Kidnapped. Like a movie or something. (I found this out on my birthday two years ago. They were laughing when they told me. Jesus.)
Around the time of our arrival in Iran the war was really starting to get going. Bombings consumed the nights. We had blackouts--covering the windows with dark curtains so that the planes couldn't locate a target for the bombs. We had bomb curfews. We would sit in the basement bathroom, which was huge, because all the children in the house would be bathed together by their "madar bozorg" (Persian for "grandmother"). I remember kinda loving that part, though. I would make our whole family watch me sing and dance, because they had no other choice. It was great… but also, we were being bombed, so it wasn't that great. (The men didn't like it at all, because it's forbidden in Muslim law for women to sing, which made me do it even more.) The thing was, I never felt scared, because my mom wasn't scared—or at least she didn't let me see it.
When my dad finally found out we were in Iran he started sending my mom love letters. Almost everything that was sent to us from America would get confiscated, so my dad started sending us packs of Juicy Fruit gum. He would stuff dollar bills in the gum wrappers for us. Sometimes he would include notes to my mom, or drawings for me, and he'd always leave me a piece or two of gum. I missed my daddy. My mom did too. She missed her partner, the man she loved.
And then… she did it. She moved us back to America and helped my dad get sober. They worked together and did it. He actually hasn't touched a drink since. It was far from easy after that, but she loved him, so she was in it.
And they're still in it. Their love for each other is, honestly, the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The strength of the two of them together… it's really just incomparable. They fought for each other. They fought for the love they knew was real.
These were stories I had heard my whole life, in pieces. I remained skeptical, though, that this kind of thing could still exist, so I had them both write me letters about what really happened. It wasn't until these letters that I found out my dad had been badly betrayed in a past relationship. My mother had a fear of being vulnerable. Everyone around them fought to keep them apart.
(My dad ended up writing two letters instead of one. I've changed nothing of this correspondence.)
I am happy to write you in answer to your question of how I met your mother and our relationship.
I am smiling now just thinking about when I met your mother.
The story begins with me being a young soldier in the US Army sight seeing in Frankfurt Germany. i think when I met your mother I had been in country about 1 month.
So I was boarding a metro train in Frankfurt when I saw a lovely lady sitting by herself not far from the entrance to the metro rail car that I had just boarded and I sat down opposite of her and I wanted to speak to her but I was shy because I thought she might not speak to me and because of the language barrier, however I was prepared for the language problem because I carried my own little language-translation book. The military had told us out of courtesy an respect for the country you are in- you should try to speak their language they don't have to learn yours- so I was going to try. So I opened my translation book to say How are you and Good evening which is Vegates and Guten Aben in German and she immediately said Danke I speak some English. And immediately I loved her accent and that she was friendly. And then she spoke to me and we started to ask each other questions- me doing most of the talking and I got her address and gave her mine and asked her to have coffee so we could visit which she could not do then because it was late and she had to get home and I needed to catch a train at the BonnHauf (rail-train station) to go back to my army post where I was stationed- but we did make plans for getting together soon for coffee and to visit.
Soon after I sent her a letter to see her again. This was a real letter that I think she still has today, not email in fact that letter has green military tape on it, to make sure no one read it but her. Shortly after writing her the letter I hurt my foot while doing duties at the military post- doing maintenance on our tank to be prepared for combat. I however was not going to miss my date no matter if I had to hobble around and even though my foot hurt. I went anyway and am glad I did. I definitely wanted to know more about this strange, unusual woman from another country. She however planned to introduce me to her German girlfriend, thinking I was not her type, but I could not stand her girlfriend after I met her and was only attracted to your mother but it was not that apparent if she was attracted to me. I did not know until years later that she had been in a serious relationship prior to meeting me. So this is how we met. I had been to town to sight see, drink German beer and meet strange exciting foreign women and guess what "I had been successfull" I guess I just had beginners luck but my trip was a success. I just did not realize until years later how lucky I was to meet your mother and how successful my trip to Frankfurt was in regard to being able to find the person that was right for me to spend the rest of my life with.
Although I had met your mother I had not won her heart and I had my own mental war to fight over trust honesty and commitment as well as other obstacles. I had a start and a goal capturing your mothers heart and keeping it and her close to me but it is a battle that I am winning.
And love always,
P.S. Yasmin your mother did not know what a mess she was getting hersef in when she met me "Ha Ha." And she has never been able to get rid of me ever since then. Our relationship is like trying to pour a drink out of a moving car. It blows back in your face and gets you all messed up and after you get over being mad it's funny and laughter is part of what makes life fun and good part of what makes relationships last.
Dear Yamin [thanks, Mom]
How did I meet your dad?
I used to live in Frankfurt Germany your (birth place) taking courses in diffrent subject also German language for some project.
My German roomate Claudia and I were sharing 2 bedroom house in a nice area. We did not have grocery store in our area but cross the street le French fries stand and it was useful for late night snack. Claudia's favorite subject was about American life in USA and American guys and Friday nights she use to go dancing and dating with American guys. But I in contrary was not interested in American guys and living in USA.
1- My main reason was there lack of knowledge on different cultures, which results in prejudice and superiority.
2- The guys use to dresse very bad with there signature Jercy shirt and short plaid pants I use to call that fashion disaster.
One day my mother called from over seas and told me: get your ticket ready, you are coming home to meet this guy and he has master degree from so and so college in Germany and when he was visiting his family, he saw your pictures he got interested to meet you and marry you and we know his background from a good family. I told my mother I am not interested, and she said: How long you want to stay alone and enjoy your freedom? I answered: As long as my heart beats. I realized this phon conversation is endless, so I promised to get my ticket and go see them. Then next day a very pleasant sunny day in June I went downtown and get my ticket and took the subway back home. I had 20 minutes to the house. The next stop a guy come in, and out of all the empty seat around me chose my face to face seat and kind of made me feel uncomfortable, because I am a shy person and did not like to deal with this, avoiding eye contact for 20 minutes, so I tried to close my eye, I couldn't. Anyway from corner of my eye I saw he had a pretty ocean blue and grey eyes and dressed nice long sleeves burgandi dresse shirt and khaki pants. He tried to pull a pocket dictionary out of his pants pocket, and that time something caught my attention. Tip of all his ten finger was red, kind of matched his burgandi color shirt. He was looking at me and looking at his dictionary, I knew he was trying to say something in German, so I told him I speak English. During our conversation I was thinking about my roomate Claudia, that he could be great for her, because upon my mother's plan I was going home and get married, but this guy looked interested in me. I knew Claudia will get his attention that why I asked him to le some tea and cake with us.
Before my next stop we took information from each other and went home told Claudia she was very excited. 3 day later he came with red roses. I liked it, but this was a turn off for Claudia, because he handed to me, and red roses messed up everything for Claudia and put her in a bad attitude, so she ask him about his political idea about certain subjects and both of them had a strong political disagreement- so my plan didn't work as a match maker- but we remain friend. And one day he took me to the same French fries stand. They didn't give us napkins and we had to eat the French fries and ketchup without napkins. At that time I discovered the true behind the red finger tips. Now we both had the red finger tips.
Our friendship got stronger, and mother keep calling me and I would say: please give me one more week, because I wanted to know this guy if he worth to let go of my parents choice and anyway I keep playing this game with my mother, until she said: Tell me the true: I told her and she wasn't happy.
Your dad and I had nothing in common on the serious subjects except having a good time and enjoying places. He was very gentle and caring, and the best thing- he knew the things that I liked and he always remembered and my birthday and our anniversary. I didn't and don't care about expensive presents but I always like the little thoughtful surprises. Our favorites place was Frankfurt zoo we use to seat in front of monkeys's island watching them how they line up there babies, to get clean and free of bugs, and I like our weekend coffee shop with German cake.
Months later we got married and for the first time I discovered he has unsolved issues. I didn't want to leave him. It was 4 years of the hard time. No job no money and a child. No family around to help you. I thought his good thing was more than his bad things and it was worth to try and stay.
Now all the young generation are very impatient, and they didn't want to wait a little bit to see maybe they can work it out, so they move on to the next and the next. The result of all this one night stand its not going to gain their experience and love but veneral disease.
Waiting to find a right match will never happen nobody is perfect. You have to make perfect in your own way and that means to compromise, be less hard on each other and enjoy the moment that we have.
During his issues we use to fight with cooked rice and salad and egg to each others hair that use to make up funny and at the end we couldn't stop laughing, so the fight always ended. (don't try this at home?!)-
When I was young I use to change the direction to my school because of the fish market, but now I married a (I don't like fish) fish monger with red finger tip and I am loveing it and I am glad I did not give up on him.
With love to my Yasmine,
I hope you are having fun reading some of my letters regarding how I met your mother and our relationship over the years because I am having fun remembering them and writing about them, and hopefully you are able to benefit from them. When I met your mother, I was not looking for a serious long term relationship, I was just looking for fun and a good time. The reason I was only looking for fun is because I had just come out of an awful relationship + marriage and had 2 demons one on each shoulder weighing me down. In other words I had a lot of baggage besides my 100 lbs of military gear because of being a soldier. These 2 demons can be called betrayal and distrust and they weighed on me more than my military gear and with all that baggage there was no room for commitment.
However, after getting to know your mother and being happy when I was around her, I knew I could not let her get away. Your mother brought alive the feelings in me that I thought were dead- respect- honor- trust and love as well as commitment. God meant for me to meet her is my true belief and if I had not joined the army and gone to Germany, I would have missed this great woman and you so I am truly grateful. And the memories are better than any pictures can ever portray, however our story is real and would make a great movie- Ha Ha.
Not long after meeting your mother it came to the attention of my military commander that i was dating an Iranian citizen and they were not happy. In fact the old army slogan is "If we wanted you to have a wife we would have issued you one. " The army thinks a wife is a detterent for you to do your best performance. Well to make a long story short The United States had a hostage situation in Iran and we were on the verge of going to war with Iran just like what's going on now. And the army commander and battalion commander said No Iranians could come on the military post so this meant your mom could not come see me at the post or go to movie or restaurants like we use to do and I did not like it. I told my commander my girlfriend had nothing to do with world politic or what her country was doing and that I loved her and wanted to marry her and they did everything they could to prevent that from happening. They sent me on many gaurd duties 100-200 miles away to keep me away from your mother. Also they arranged for me to get leave to go back to USA in hopes I would get back with my ex wife who betrayed me and they were very determined to make it hard for me to marry your mother. In the long run they were unsuccessful. Thank god.
On your mother's side- the Iranian government as well as her family did not want her to marry me- a Christian and American. They asked for many documents including running a background check on me in Iran with my ID and information. It took us much time, money and effort to get married but it was worth it. Families, military governments, and oceans can't separate Real Love.
We actually had 4 marriages
1 for the German Law
1 for US Law + Military
1 for the Moslem Law
And 1 secret one was our commitment between us in case we could not get the other 3 to go along- It was the FIRST one.
We did not have much money and still don't but we have each other and that is what counts most.
During the course of our marriage we have had like any relationship arguments + disagreement but normally they were about something stupid or unimportant and we would later laugh about them. These are a few a remember the best.
After I got married to your mother I lived off post in a German apartment with your mother. I thought we had the best location across the street from a grocery + convenience store and over a butcher shop and a bar (Guest Haus) and also 1 block from another bar + restaurant. Well 1 weekend military buddies and I were going to celebrate getting back from field day and maneuvers so we went to the bar 1 block from where we lived and the German bar owner said he had never seen an American drink 13 apple snapps and still be able to walk and I was happy to set a record so I knew it was time to go home to your mom but when I stood up I could not hardly walk. All the alcohol hit me at one time and I had to call a taxi. And your mom- I had called before I went to the bar and told her I was going with friends to that bar 1 block from the house to have 1 drink. So she started looking off and on out of our apt window which faced the bar and thought she saw someone looking like me get in a taxi. It was me. Cause I could not walk the one block and when I got home I was feeling good and glad to see her but she was angry. I certainly had not had 1 drink and she knew how to handle unruly rowdy soldiers, sailors or would be muggers because she can swing a broom so good she could have played professional baseball and by the size of the knot she must have hit a homerun. However I did not know about the whole scenario until years later and had been in an apple snappz haze. Snappz haze. I had been told the following morning that I had a run in with the door getting in the apartment. Ha Ha. Another incident that I remember was an occasion where your mother called me to pick up some groceries for and I learned from this that guys are not meant to be grocery shoppers for wives. Your mom wanted me to pick up a few items from the local grocery store ,which I thought would not be difficult. So I gathered the list quickly to complete the order, one of the items being avocados. Of course when I am shopping I try to get the best deals or bargains just like any guy does. So I saw the avocadoes were on sale 2 for $1 and I bought about 10 because she liked them and I ate some also. So when I got home and she checked her order, she was not happy. I had not only bought store brands not name brands but she also was angry that the avacods were hard- I thought that was normal and she said these avocado are hard and not good to eat. They are only good for 1 thing- to throw at you. And she threw avacodes at me while I was running outside of the house and some hit and she was right. they were hard and I was angry + hurt. That shows you love can also hurt you in other ways besides just emotional. So this was my lesson to try to avoid shopping for groceries especially avocados.
Another unusual incident that I remember in our relationship was about what I wanted to cook at home one day. My wife had planned on making a nice meal of salad, rice and some chicken either baked or fried and she had already prepared the salad + rice and she had some eggs and flour on the counter. I however wanted seafood not chicken because I sold seafood and grew up eating seafood. I wanted shrimp and she hated the smell of seafood cooking so we started arguing and we both were stubborn. We both attended the same school of life with a degree in stubborness. Although I think your mother did advanced studies and she thought my degree was from Dumb and Dumber University. But she was wrong. We both were standing in front of the stove me ready to cook shrimp and your mother ready to cook chicken and a food fight started. Your mother- when my attention was on the shrimp- cracked an egg on my head [I was there--he actually cracked it on her head] and I followed with salad on hers and she followed with rice or flour. Can't quite remember the order and I followed with egg and flour on her and there we were in the kitchen with food all over us and the floor so after cleaning up and laughing I think we went out to eat and each of us got what we wanted.
In all good relationships both sides must do some compromise. But neither one liked that word. We both wanted our own way. But we each cared about each other so we did it.
Yasmine, in all relationships, events happen that upset us, anger us, and surprise us, as well as others that make us happy, sad and content but remember it takes 2 to have a relationship and if one is not working or committed to trying to make it work then it will not last, also if both people are not benefiting from the relationship it will not last. Some people are not willing to make a relationship work and thus they are lookin. Fredom is not free it costs g for Free Love and no matter what you may have heard or what songs you have heard "Love is not free. It has to be earned." Also regarding our great country and our personnel freedoms- Freedom is not free it cost somebody and it costs in many soldiers lives that we remember on Memorial Day.
Love + Best Wishes
So, yeah. It's love if it's honest and patient.
Love—if it's real, it's real. It exists, when you let it. I've seen it.
But it's not easy.
Previously - What Does Famous Mean?