We can all agree that the year 2020 has been a shit show so far. The hot topic of the year being COVID-19 and its ravaging power on humanity affected literally everybody in the world – directly or indirectly. It is quite a humbling thought: the whole world sharing the one and same trauma. But it’s also so fucking annoying!
I thank my stars that there hasn’t been any fatalities in my close surrounding, but I did have to navigate my anxiety and discover new layers of mental dysfunction – I had to also adjust major plans that were set, mainly celebrating my engagement to Moe with my family who was supposed to fly from Montreal to Beirut in the summer, and have the whole tribe reunite to celebrate with us.
See, Moe proposed on the eve of Christmas last year in a private and intimate setting, surrounded by the snowy mountains of Lebanon. And what we thought was the beginning of a beautiful and simple future, soon became the most challenging time of our lives. Moe lost a work project because of COVID-19 and went through a terrifying, albeit acute, health issue that triggered a series of anxiety in both him and myself. It seemed like we lost all kind of control over our lives and we didn’t really know how to handle it. There isn’t any guide book on how to navigate life when one thing hits after another, so we were lost, pissed and just plain hopeless.
But instead of falling into a cycle of self-destruction, we made ourselves aware of our mental health, accepted it and tended to our mental needs. One anxiety attack after the other, we got better at dealing with them. We supported each other through each of the episodes and practiced so much patience. We rid ourselves from any kind of judgement and accompanied one another through meditation exercises and walks around Beirut. Moe would lay on the floor next to me and hold my hand until I fell asleep. He would play me music until I can’t keep my eyes open and breathe in lavender like it was some kind of magic potion. The right kind of partnership we always worked for manifested itself so clearly during the hardest of times, and to that I am so thankful.
When I got offered a job in April 2020 for a position in Montreal, this is when things got even more challenging. It meant that I had to leave Beirut, worse, I had to leave Moe. Granted it was something that we were planning for – starting off in Canada for a few years and then possibly moving back to the Middle-East… but so soon? Moe can’t join me right away as he doesn’t have the citizenship, and I now have a job commitment that could really help us kick-start our future. The airports were still closed by then, so we were playing with lost time and trying to optimize our choices the best way we could.
Shall we get married? we asked each other. Like this? Without my parents? Without a big party? God knows how much we like to party! Yes, but our priorities changed, we’d rather make the tough call and start the immigration process, rather than wait for things to get better and risk letting go such a good opportunity. But most importantly, I would marry you in a ditch if I had to.
Three days is all it took to decide, book our version of the priest, get some flowers and call ALL our immediate families to announce the decision. We told a maximum of 10 people that they were allowed to come to Moe’s house for a mini celebration. As for everyone else, for everyone outside of the country, isolating or too many to join the party, well they were all given a time and a link to join on zoom – the modern day’s way of celebrating. Don’t ask me how everything came together, Moe took the lead on the planning, and goodness how well he pulled it off.
The type of religious ceremony we had to do, usually requires at least both our fathers to be present. In normal times, it’s usually the two direct family members who are present, and sometimes best friends are invited. But not this time, not with COVID-19. This time, it was just Moe and I. We woke up on the morning of April 21st, my mother-in-law did my hair and make up, and right after we got dressed, Moe and I got into our car and drove off to our “sheikh” so we can get the divine blessing over our union – not that we care about that part honestly, we were planning for a civil ceremony, but when things are already too complex, you try to find an easier way out.
It was just us two. Nothing like how I thought this day would be, but so much better than I ever imagined. We blasted classical music on our way there, gitty with excitement and so serene, as if we’ve done this many times before. Nothing mattered anymore, it was just us two, in our own little bubble, calling our own shots and walking to the beat of our own drums. It felt so freeing. I will forever cherish the moment we had to ourselves.
The cherry on top of the cake, were the people who celebrated with us! Everyone who was there in person, and everyone else who linked up with us on zoom. Looking back at some of the footage we have, I get chills seeing uncles dancing, friends cheering with their own drinks, cousins filming and besties dressed up for the occasion. There was so much love, so much fun, it felt as if it was a real wedding party. It was only missing the tight hugs, which I can’t wait to give to every single person who shared this beautiful memory with us. A zoom wedding, first of its kind and memorable as fuck!
Less than a week later, I get the call to pack my bags and catch a flight in less than 48 hrs, leaving behind my new hubby, but taking with me the hope of being together soon and forever.
I leave you with a video montage that captures the essence of our zoom party, thanks to lifetime friends!