Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'm glad I don't live in Somalia

I learned something new this morning. For the past twenty-four years, whenever Somalia is prominently in the headlines, my husband thinks of me and the different paths my life could have taken. This was news to me. I don't think much of anything when I hear about Somalia, but, apparently, hubders does. Interesting.

The story behind his musings goes way back to college to a tale of unrequited love--(okay, in retrospect, I'm sure there was no real love involved, but that didn't occur to me until I was much older and somewhat wiser). I'll try to make it short, but I may not succeed.

I attended an agricultural university where there were significant numbers of international students. Many of the campus co-eds learned the hard way that normal pleasantries--such as smiling and saying hi--were often interpreted as romantic overtures by said international students of the male persuasion.

I worked the taco bar in the cafeteria and tried to be friendly and helpful to everyone who came to me for Mexican yummies. Every day a guy would come and order a taco salad. Sometimes we would chat a bit if things weren't too busy and I eventually learned that his name was...I'll just call him Asad, and that he was from Somalia. We became what I would call casual acquaintances. He said that the Somali government was paying for his education and that after graduation, he would become the head of agriculture for the country. (I completely believed him at the time, but on reflection, he was probably not completely honest with me--duh!) Soon, he started asking me to go to dinner with him, but I had decided long ago, that once I was of marriageable age, I wouldn't date anyone who couldn't take me to the temple. (For those who are not LDS, temples are where we Mormons marry for time and all eternity--something very important to me). However, standing at the taco bar preparing burritos for customers hardly seemed the appropriate time and place to explain this to Asad. I tried to put him off in more casual ways but he was persistent, so I eventually agreed to go to dinner with him. I reasoned that I would pay for my own meal and there would explain why I couldn't date him.

A few days later we went to dinner and after talking for two hours, a good portion of it about the whys and wherefores of my decision not to date him, he asked if I would wait for him while he went back to Somalia for a year. He would then return and marry me. I was dumbfounded, to say the least! Yup! I won't date you, but I'd be happy to enter into nuptials!? It was most likely a language problem that accounted for this miscommunication, despite his fluent English--that, or a fervent desire to procure US citizenship--again, something that only occurred to me much later. I, of course, explained that marriage was out of the question and that we could only be friends.

He continued to come to the taco bar. He called me frequently, gave me ivory jewelry and a book on Mormons and Muslims. His favorite phrase was, "I don't know, but I think that one day, you will marry me." He seemed completely harmless and I never felt threatened in any way, but I was looking forward to the fast approaching day when he would fly back to Somalia. However, that day came and went and he didn't fly. He continued to call and wanted to see me, but I was invariably busy--usually, legitimately so. One day he called, got a bit angry and told me that he had stayed an extra month just so he could see me and now I was never available. Never being one for confrontation--okay, I'm a wimp!--I calmly explained to him, that I hadn't asked for him to stay and that my schedule was busy and that's just the way it was. He eventually flew home; calling me en route to ask if he could send me a new wardrobe from Paris--which I flatly refused to let him do. The LAST thing I needed was to be made to feel indebted to him because he spent a wad of cash on me!

Although there were multiple attempts to contact me after that, they were easy to deal with, owing to the fact that he was half a world away. I never saw him again. Now I don't want to leave the wrong impression. This was not a case of tall, dark and handsome falls madly in love with me. It was more a case of short, dark, so-so looking and somewhat whiney refuses to take no for an answer--a much less romantic scenario!

By the time he left, I was dating Hubders and the rest is history. In the intervening years, we've seen Somalia in the news for the following: large famines (Hubder's imagining me starving to death); bloody coups (husband imagining me living in exile in Paris, or, worse, murdered with my family); drug cartells (he's imagining me married to the guy who wastes anyone who gets in the way, and me getting wasted as payback or some such thing); and now pirates (use your own imagination--though I doubt it will be as original as his!)

I've always said that life with Hubders is never dull, but I'm happy to report that the excitement of life with him is of the ordinary mundane kind, and much more to my liking than the life he imagines for me as wife of Asad, the Head of Agriculture for the government of Somalia.


  1. I never knew this story! But I will say, that I agree. I am also glad that you don't live in Somalia. That is mostly because you are great and I would miss you (I can be selfish at times). Thanks for the smile!

  2. That was so very entertaining! I'm glad you don't live in Somalia too! We'd all be totally missing out.

    And, just for the silly record, I swear I've been posting comments on your blog, and they aren't showing up! I hope this one does!

  3. I also don't remember this story. Some of the parts seem familar but not all. Yeah I can't imagine you being a drug cartels wife!! Love you tons!

  4. I'm always a little chagrined at what I discover in retrospect but couldn't quite see clearly when I was there in person. Funny, isn't it, how our perspectives change?

    This is a great story. You could turn it into a great object lesson, I'm sure . . . somehow.

    Thanks for stopping by . . . I appreciated your comment the other day. I'll be visiting you here, too!