Valentine’s Day

posted in: Family, Journey of Love, Marriage | 0

Valentine s Day-page-001

My sister, Rayka always reminds Shehab and me that you need to make restaurant reservations a month ahead of time. I know we’re horrible!

Our first Valentine’s Day as a couple.

Shehab told me that he loved me a couple of days before Valentine’s day, but that was also when he told his parents about me. Since things were already out in the open, Valentine’s day was a little restricted. During our first Valentine’s day, Shehab was given three hours for a lunch date (One hour to drive to my house, one hour for lunch, and one hour to drive home). Flexibility was quite difficult. Don’t worry we spent more than four hours together on our first Valentine’s Day. But we still enjoyed it and made the most out of it.

Shehab brought a single red rose for Little Miss Dora and a second single rose for me. He took me to one of my favorite Thai restaurants, Sawatdee so I could have Rama Tha Delight. We ended lunch at the Tea Garden for bubble tea. (After constant debates, since Shehab prefers buffets). I know it doesn’t sound very romantic, but it was perfect for me.

Our second Valentine’s Day as a married couple.

It didn’t really seem like Valentine’s day this year. Shehab was battling an awful cold, and I was fighting a sinus infection. (which I didn’t know at the time). We spent half the day hanging out at home until I got a craving for bubble tea again. (I think this has become a tradition, except we went to Tii Cup this time).

Later that night we tried to decide where to go, I know it was silly, I mean Valentine’s day! Come on! I gave in and went to a buffet double dating with Shehab and my parents. Again, it wasn’t the most romantic Valentine’s day, but I loved it.

In the course of a year, I realized something. Shehab and I have changed significantly.

  1. Our first Valentine’s day was more about getting to spend time with each other. I was so frustrated with the fact that I only had three hours with him. This time, Valentine’s day was like any other day, but we found a way to spend it with family. After all isn’t Valentine’s day about spending time with the people you love. 
  2. When we were dating, every date/day we were able to see each other had to be special (specifically because of the restrictions). Now that we’re married, every day is special. However, we don’t have to make days like Valentine’s day extra special. I think we’ve become one of those couples who believe that every day is valentines day for them, Oh no!
  3. We’re a lot more relaxed with each other. I miss the days when I used to get really excited and dress up for dates. Shehab would dress up all handsomely as well. It was thrilling and exciting. Now we’re a lot more laid back since we’ve seen each other at our worst. (I’m talking grungy hair, pajama pants, and Shehab’s t-shirt).

Sometimes I wish that we had the opportunity to go on more dates while we were dating. We still have date nights. However, the thrill just isn’t the same. However, knowing that we’re together forever really does make up for the restricted time.

 

 

Hello My Name Is…

posted in: Journey of Love, Marriage | 0

About a week ago Shehab and I went to our first office Christmas party.I made the mistake of misreading the venue, and I took Shehab on a little tour of the cities. Sometimes I’m glad he doesn’t get very angry fast; it helps because he just laughed it off. We finally ended up finding the right venue and there we were at my first office party.

The venue was beautiful; I honestly love Christmas time. The green, the lights, the happy glow all around, it’s a wonderful feeling. But how do you introduce yourself when you’re still so new and half your co-workers couldn’t make it to the event?

Umm, let’s start with Hi I’m Ishika, and I’m… well, let’s just say the Christmas party was a success! After multiple introductions and answering the whole, “what do you do?” questionnaire… Social Media Marketing Assistant,  my husband realized how awesome his wife is. Ok, maybe I’m gloating a little too much.

What I mean to say is, sometimes you never realize what an impact you might make on a team or company. This was Shehab’s second event with my office. Our first was a Client Appreciation event was at a Brewery. Introducing him to my coworkers was fun. Shehab has this amazing, friendly personality and is available to talk to anyone. I’m a little introverted at first. The best part though was hearing one of my co-workers praise my work and let’s just say a couple of words of appreciation from the boss was a bonus.

However, when your boss’s boss comes and praises you at his Christmas party to your husband, well it turns into an outer body experience. Let me rephrase this… I’m used to being at the bottom when it comes to past work experiences: the hostess, cashier, teller, beauty advisor, and shoe sales associate. Not knocking down my past, but it’s always been a controlled atmosphere. This Social Media Marketing Assistant position, well I have complete control of my ideas, projects, and how I want to implement them, with the approval of my bosses as well. But I’m in control of my position.

It feels strange to hear your boss’s boss and his assistant talk about your strengths and how you’ve helped the company grow. It’s amazing to hear them talk about the benefits of your talents. Even though you pretend to be humble, I couldn’t help but give Shehab the “yea, I’m pretty awesome,” look followed by his little smirk.  

Let’s be honest, Shehab already knew that, though. However, hearing my superiors phrase me made a large impact on my life. I constantly call Shehab every day to talk about the new projects I’m working on, changes I’ve made, or the new programs I’ve been testing. He’s supportive and loves hearing about my endeavors. Hearing my bosses praise me and compliment me, well it made my hubby realize that I’m a valued member of this team. The whole, “my wife, accomplished this” is just an awesome bonus.

It’s important to acknowledge your strengths and talents, it’s also important to know that your partner understands your value and capabilities. Often we worry about boasting or making our partner look inferior. I think in a true, lovable, and strong marriage inferiority shouldn’t exist. It’s all about praising each other’s success and helping them bounce back from their failures.

Career versus Marriage

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CareervsMarriage

 

When Shehab and I realized we loved each other, we were both quite ambitious, and we discussed our career goals. I started my career as a Social Media Marketing Manager straight out of college for a small Real Estate and Website design company making absolute minimum wage part time. The commute wasn’t the best, and it was a struggle for an entire year. However, the encouragement and coaching of my supervisor led me to achieve this job I absolutely love.

I don’t regret it, though; it helped me gain a vast range of experience that helped me lead me into the world of Financial Advising. A little side note, social media is still a bit new to the financial advising world. Crazy right!?!

Moving forward, I’ve been at my current position for three months now, and I love it! Like I said Social Media is still completely new to financial advising, and I get to pave the way. For a creative person like me, well it’s an absolute blessing! I get to experiment, bring new ideas, do multiple trial and errors and my bosses are awesome! Let’s just say, right now I’m probably creating a dream job for myself.

And Shehab, he loves hearing about my goals, the new projects I’m creating, and my ambitious thoughts. It’s what we do; we support each other. Now that Shehab is finishing up his MBA it’s my turn to encourage and path the way for him.

Now it’s time to talk options…

Like I said Shehab and I discussed our options when we were dating. I don’t want to open Pandora’s box about careers, marriage, and raising children, but I had told Shehab that I wanted to have a child when Allah was ready for us and preferably when we were financially stable. It’s important. My mom began working after my brother started Kindergarten, and after Dora started going to Kindergarten. It was purely for herself since my dad is fortunate. Now this is purely how my family structure works.

Once I took on this marketing assistant position and realized that I was one of the pioneers of social media and marketing, well it does feel like a great responsibility. It’s exciting, frustrating, scary, and enjoyable at the same time. And having a boss with a great imagination and huge vision, well who doesn’t love achievable dreams right!?!

I want to create a legacy with my career so I can one day show my baby sister and my future children the projects that I accomplished. When you have a boss with a vision, who wouldn’t love that right.

Now when it comes to marriage, Shehab and I agreed on equal duties, structures, and respect. It’s how we envisioned our future. So can we manage careers and marriage. Well, as you know we’re not currently living together but it’s a challenge we’re willing to take on.

What do we anticipate….

1.Being supportive of each other and hoping we fulfill our career goals.

2.Splitting up the responsibilities of the household tasks so we don’t get overwhelmed.

3.Making sure we always make time for each other to keep our relationship growing.

4.When the time comes, we’ll manage around having a child. My mom always says that “children are gifts from Allah, you can’t plan for these things.” But we like to think we would be financially ready.

5.Take one day at a time, knowing that we love each other and are willing to support each other is all that matters.

I mean people have managed to have successful careers and strong marriages right? So why can’t we?

 

A little too much honesty

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Honesty

On our second date, Shehab and I promised each other that we would always be completely honest. Even if it were something we didn’t want to hear, we would still tell each other everything.

Believe me, it drives our parents insane! Since we end up telling each other a little too much, especially when it comes to family secrets. Don’t worry we’re not hiding skeletons in our closet, but who doesn’t appreciate a little privacy right?

We’re a little too honest to the point where we have to face the consequences as well some of these included messages from past relationships and the occasional photo found in Shehab’s inbox. *the mental image still burns. Kidding aside.

We have always been honest with each other, and that’s one of the things I love about our relationship.

Sometimes too much honesty has lead to some of our entire worst fights but we’ve somehow overcome them by talking to each other. We both have different ways of handling confrontation, though.

When it comes to me, I’m a screamer, I get very stubborn and let’s just says sometimes anger leads to insensitive comments. I like to follow up with giving myself some space and thinking about what happened. Shehab, on the other hand, gets a little angry then cools himself off. Once we’re both pretty calm, we like to sit down and explain what happened and figure out ways to fix the issue at hand.

But when it comes to honesty, there is a gray area.

You can’t be too honest about each other’s families.

Like I said, Shehab and I are both very family oriented individuals and we’re quite protective of our families. It’s a good quality. However, it’s also a weakness…

It’s funny the ladies in the Bengali community always said, “never say anything to your spouse about their family,” but let’s be honest you can’t help but observe and comment on individual habits and norms. WRONG!!!

A couple months into my marriage I realized that every family was different. You’re combining two individuals who were raised very differently together to create a new family. But you also have to understand that many families established their ways and sometimes commenting from the outside can make things worse.

It goes both ways, though…Shehab handles criticism a lot better than I do. I think I’ve caused some of the worst fights we’ve had because I’ve gotten defensive over the minimal observations. Sometimes it’s even lead me demanding that he leave. Yep, the completely wrong way to approach a situation right?

It wasn’t until recently that we realized that we’re coming from the outside observing our families from another lens. We don’t know the entire story. Parents have created their traditions and norms over years of practice. Let’s be honest, once rules are established it’s pretty difficult to change. Many people would rather change others than themselves which is another obstacle Shehab, and I face on a daily basis.

So how do you handle the honesty train when it comes to families? Not saying anything doesn’t help, even though I knew about it.

  1. Think of ways to calmly approach the situation without causing your partner to get defensive.
  2. Try to understand why things are the way they are and explain what bothers you about it to your partner.
  3. Talk to your partner about ways to improve the situation – Shehab’s no. 1 rule, “explain it to me and let me handle the situation.” (Don’t expect sudden changes though)
  4. And when it comes to your marriage… talk about what traditions and norms you want to execute in your future foundation. *Remember every generation takes what they learned from their elders and evolves it to build their own.

When it comes to Shehab and me, our biggest strength is honesty, however, our weakness; listening without getting defensive. Especially when it comes to me… Remember ignoring the topic isn’t going to help your relationship grow….It’s about finding ways to discuss and understand each other.

How do you handle excessive honesty with your partner?

The start of our Love Story

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LoveStory

 

I always told myself I would never get married within six months. I kind of feel like a hypocrite now, since that’s what happened! Yep, Shehab and I got married on a day less than six months of our first date. To some, it might sound like a chaotic nightmare. To me, well I’ll get back to you on that.

I don’t regret it, though. Looking back, we’ve had our ups and downs, and it’s only been four months. You could say we haven’t experienced the reality of marriage since I haven’t had my official reception yet, and we only live together on the weekends! Now that’s another story.

I know everyone is probably wondering, how did Shehab meet Ishika? Well here’s how the story goes.

Shehab had been living in the Minnesota since 2013 perusing a Master’s in Business Administration. On April 26, 2014, we went attended the same show at his University. The irony, we have pictures of him sitting right next to my mom! We never noticed each other until the following year. Our family friend was having his Islamic akth on January 18, 2015, Shehab and I both attended the holud ceremony on January 16, 2015. He had just returned from a visit to Bangladesh.

The bride was only a couple of years older than me, and I knew this wedding would lead to the magical question of, “so when is it your turn?” And that’s something I did not want to deal with hearing.

Flashback to the past.

My aunt brought my first proposal when I was seventeen, barely done with high school and I completely freaked out! Since then people had been fearful of bringing me a proposal, I mean I was barely done with high school! My mom always defended me, though, any proposal that came was given directly to me because it was my decision. My aunt and I would have a discussion every year about me being “ready” for marriage. How do you know if you’re ready, without speaking to the guy! My answer was always, “I’ll meet the guy, but I can’t guarantee anything!” She never came back until the following year; it was a fun cycle while it lasted.

Back to the wedding, so like I said I did not want to deal with the…” so you’re next!” or “when is it your turn?” so I spent a majority of my time hiding in different rooms since they had the holud and akht in the house. I guess Shehab spotted me in a single moment when I would peek out into the living room every now and then. I did recall him looking at me and talking to his brother-in-law, which caused me to go back into hiding.

Within that moment, Shehab decided that he needed to get my number. *Shehab later admitted that it was solely to date me; he never thought we would end up married. Anyways he didn’t ask for my number right there and then… He waited until the day of the akht on January 18, and even then it was a little bit of a challenge. I went into hiding the second day as well.

This is how I remember it… I came out to view the ceremony. There was a red couch in the middle of the living room. My dad sat on one end and the other end, next to a couch on a chair was Shehab’s aunt. Trust me this detail is important. They had just served cake, and Shehab sat right next to me. His first words to me, “Aren’t you going to have some cake”? Clever pick up line right!?! This lead into a conversation about cakes because our family friend, the elder sister of the bride makes amazing desserts and she’s finally releasing her yummy recipes at Dolly Loves Food.

So here we’re having our conversation about cakes and his brother-in-law walks by with a nudge and says, “Hey you should tell her about your dad’s business”. And I’m thinking what am I getting myself into? Side Note: Shehab’s dad owns a garments business in Bangladesh that supplies many clothing items to some of the top retailers.

Anyways so he started talking to me about his garments and slowly transitioned into the “Can I get your number?” While my dad sat on one side of me and his aunt on the other!

We started texting after that, but, to be honest; I had no idea that he liked me. On January 23, 2015, he had to attend a conference and on his way home texted me asking if he could see me and have coffee. We ended up going to a Mexican restaurant by my house, and I still had no idea that this was a date…until the next day when he came to my house for my dad’s birthday.

Oh, so how did that happen… well when he came to drop me off at home, my mom invited him and his mom to my dad’s birthday party. She thought it would be nice for his mom to meet more people. Let’s just say both mother and daughter were shocked the next day when Shehab told me he liked me.

Now when did Shehab go from just wanting to date me to falling in love and wanting to marry me?

When my mom invited him to our house, he looked at me and said, “My mom is going to kill me, I never told her I was coming here.”

My response, “Well, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow at my dad’s party if your mom doesn’t kill you and if she does, I guess I’ll see you at your funeral!”

And that’s the story of how Ishika met Shehab and Shehab fell in love with Ishika…

I+H Engagment-50

I should probably clarify some of the terms referenced in this blog posts.

Holud- a pre-ceremony where a yellow paste is placed on the bride and groom’s body as a form of well wishes and luck for their marriage.

Akht- also known as Nikah- this is the Islamic marriage.

How did your love story begin?

*The photo above was from our Engagement on May 8, 2015. The photograph was taken by Altamish + Hannan Photography