Wednesday, October 24, 2012
More love with love
You may be thinking, what type of guys does Andi date? How can I be that lucky fella?
If you’re pretty old school you probably think I have a tall, dark Native guy. I think a lot of girls I grew up with have it etched in their mind that they can only date Native guys. And that’s fine. If they like Native guys, that’s cool. In fact, I know quite a lot of women who would never date outside the Native community because it’s taboo and their parents flat out tell them they shouldn’t (for traditional and clan purposes. You have to keep the clan going, keep the bloodline pure). That’s fine, to each her own.
Not for me.
I had my man imported from overseas. I’m in love with an Afghan man. Yes. Afghanistan.
When I first met him I had no idea who he was or where he was from. He didn’t have an accent and he didn’t look like what you see on TV. But that wasn’t important. Besides, how do you ask? “What’s your nationality?” No.
It wasn’t important for the longest time mostly because it wasn’t anything serious for a long time either. Our relationship casually drifted into the boyfriend-girlfriend type about a year or two ago. I’ll just say we took this whole relationship thing very casual; we eased into it and I can’t tell you when our “anniversary” is because I don’t know (soon, I think we'll pick a date out of a hat so we can celebrate). We’re more concerned about being best friends because that kind of relationship lasts longer than those silly I-love-you-with-all-my-heart-and-soul-after-three-months relationships.
He’s not what you might think. I see that image of a dusty, hairy terrorist in your head. Shame on you. He’s as “American” as they come, maybe more American than me — heck sometimes he uses better vocabulary than me … than I. He loves sports and movies and he loves Italian food. In fact, I think his lasagna is what did it for me. I was hooked after that first batch.
He’s Muslim. And all that that means is we never have pork in the house. He’s not trying to convert me, he doesn’t get mad at me for being an atheist. And I don’t mind that he prays for me in his language to Allah.
Because of him I have become more knowledgeable about the Middle East and Islam. I understand where he comes from and I respect that. I read more about what’s happening in this war and I have a bigger heart for the innocent people there, and, honestly I don’t have any positive views on this war.
I believe I respect other cultures more and have a curiosity first, and then an understanding next. Since I met him, the world got a little wider, a little more familiar. I never paid attention to other cultures and other people — certainly not the Middle East, and never took the time to learn and understand. Native America and America: that was the Earth for me. Now, I love to learn about other people; their cultures and way of living. I especially love to learn about food from around the world (I’m crazy for Travel Channel, Food Network, Cooking Channel and National Geographic).
Who would have thought! He came all the way across the globe to meet me, a Navajo girl from the reservation.
I never imagined a man like him to come into my life. I think I did have expectations once. But when he came, they flew out the window and now I can’t remember what those expectations were. I do know that I was turned off for just a few moments when he did tell me he was Middle Eastern. He told me slowly and awkwardly. I could tell he didn’t want me to know.
Those silly Hollywood villains in turbans with camels and the images of war came to my head. I mentally slapped myself in the face when I had those stupid thoughts in my head for those moments. Is that what people think about when I tell them I’m Native American? They get turned off a little and start thinking about feathers, beads and warriors on bareback horses running around the prairie just like in the movies? What an ignorant asshole I was in those few moments. This is my best friend. I know I wouldn’t want to be imagined that way; as a stupid Hollywood cliché and the way society paints a stupid picture of us. So why should I allow society and Hollywood do that to my boyfriend?
And because he’s with me, he knows a lot more about Natives than most non-Native men do in this country. He understands where I’m coming from. I actually took him back home to the reservation where my rez dogs barked at him and my cat made his eyes itchy.
He took me to his home a few times and I met his family. They’re very nice. They fed me. And now I love Afghan/Indian food. It’s my soul food. I learned to cook it at home and I’m always searching for more dishes I can make. Oh, bless the Middle East and their food!
So that’s me, a Navajo woman — with an Irish last name — with an Afghan man. I don’t think I’d have it any other way.