Visiting Palestine - Day 2
31Days Day 2 and i'm already wondering what I got myself into. Is this 31 days of Palestine or 31 days of Natalee. Or is this 31 days of how Natalee came to support Palestine. Decisions, decisions.
I get asked all the time how I became involved in the Palestinian cause. The answer is really quite simple. I met a Palestinian, I married that Palestinian and we now have 3 kids. Lots of people who have no connection to Palestine are now standing against the injustice of the occupation so it isn't surprising that I would become such a champion of the cause with a direct connection.
Today I'm going to get personal and talk about how I met and married my husband.
Way before #YOLO was a thing I was a genuine believer in taking any opportunity for adventure that comes your way. Because of this mindset I've lived all over the country, traveled internationally with small children (alone!) and basically had a lot of awesome experiences just because I was open to it. In April of 2005 when the opportunity to move from Minnesota to Arizona arouse (the decision was actually made in February) I didn't hesitate for a minute. Have you ever been in Minnesota in February? It gets so cold there that occasionally I still see cars that need to be plugged in not to freeze when I go home. And we aren't talking electric cars.
So after a lengthy road trip on Route 66 in a teeny tiny car with my cat, Sgt Pepper on my lap, I see palm trees for the first time in my life. I instantly meshed with Arizona and the lifestyle. It was the first time I lived solely for myself. I loved my life, my friends, my struggles all of it.
I recall vividly hanging out at my apartment one day after work with my fellow servers from Joe's Crab Shack. I said life was awesome and care free, not that I was wildly successful or living large. Not a big party just a few people hanging out when my friend Dani shows up. She begs me to come out with her. She's met a boy who rides a motorcycle and he's her Prince Charming and they are destined to ride off into the sunset or something like that. Problem is Prince Charming has a 3rd wheel named Feras. Enter Natalee.
You see my 'you only live once' mentality thought have you ever been on a motorcycle? No! Go for it! So I did. I had to kick out a house full of people and borrow tennis shoes from a friend (apparently flip flops are not advisable for motorcycles, who knew?)
Fast forward through a car ride of me complaining about wearing actual shoes and Dani and I arrive at Feras house where the boys were waiting for us. The most exotic, handsome man I had ever met opens the door and introduces himself (Feras) and proceeds to lead us to the messiest room I had ever seen and offer Dani and I pizza leftover from the night before. For real.
It's so funny looking back at it now. Dani has no problem eating the pizza but I politely declined. (Seriously who eats pizza from the day before off the bedroom floor)
In spite of the fact that I was offered Russian roulette with food poisoning from him, I was immediately drawn to Feras. A lot of people talk about love at first sight and I'm not sure that's how I would describe it. What I would say is when you meet "the one" you can just feel it. And if you aren't to afraid to embrace that you can find something amazing.
From the moment we met the only time Feras and I were apart was when someone was working. He moved in 6 days later and we were married after 6 weeks.
We just went to the courthouse one day for a marriage license and ended up calling 2 friends to be witnesses and got married in blue jeans.
We've gone from Arizona to Georgia to Pennsylvania to ohio. We've had 3 kids. We've traveled all over the middle east together.
Every single minute isn't easy but every single day I'm grateful for the gifts that embracing risk has brought into my life. 12/21/2015 will be our 10 year anniversary.