Living each day with fear, unhappiness and without peace of mind was an experience that has taunted me when I started studying Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University. Adjusting to the environment of homophobia and discriminating behavior gave me a feeling that I was extremely different from the rest of the people in the campus. I was uncomfortable with the discriminating stares, the constant bickering and the behind the back talks that relates to my sexual orientation. Each day, I just want to stay in my room due to the fear for my safety. Studying and living in the environment has never been enjoyable.
As days and months passed, my studies were affected. The pressure of taking Mechanical Engineering as my academic major to please my father took a toll on me. My Dad was a Mechanical Engineer by profession and he wanted me to follow his footstep. I started my college education at the age of 17. Due to my desire to study in a gay friendly community and take a course that is of my interest, I decided to study in Canada and switch my major to a program that had both Business and New Media Studies. Toronto University was a perfect fit and I was so blessed to be accepted to study Information Technology Management at Toronto School of Business.
Finally, I felt like I was given a refreshing dose of cold water in a sizzling hot summer season. Our First Meeting Going to the DJ Carl Cox and Richie Hawtin concert in Pure Club was a way to get away from the hustles and bustles of school life. While having a great time singing, dancing, cheering and enjoying the music, my eyes suddenly caught the attention of a young man named Mike who bumped into me while I was dancing my way through the crowd. Mike and I were like magnets that got attracted to each other. I liked the way he smiles and I enjoyed his sense of humor.
He cracks jokes in any given situation and there are no dull moments with him. After a few exchange of pleasantries, we found out that we were both living in 100 Yonge Street apartments. I was living on the 9th floor and Mike was living on the 15th floor. Other than that, we were also studying in Toronto Business School and in the same department. After many months of staying in my apartment and going to school, I wonder why I met Mike at an unexpected place and not in Yonge Street or in the school campus. It seems that the concert truly paved the way for us to meet each other.
We discovered later on that we share the same love for electronic music. Despite our compatibilities in terms of interest, we stayed as friends, hang out mostly within the school premises, and went to parties together from time to time. Unlike in my previous school in Iowa, I have found so many gender friendly people and amenable places in Toronto. I am so happy in Canada and I have considered this as my second country. When Mike came into my life, I felt like I was given an extra shot of adrenalin. I am more inspired to explore new things and to discover my inner strength.
Mike is the missing piece of the puzzle in my life. It was in December 2005 that faith orchestrated its way for Mike and me to deeply explore our relationship. By an unfortunate incident, Mike broke his left wrist after a bad fall on the street when he was rollerblading. It was at that time when he had to move out of his apartment due to a financial situation, forcing him to mostly live with his sister Laurie or with me. When the accident occurred, Laurie was out of town for a conference. Hence, Mike got stuck with me. I took care of him when he was confined in the hospital.
When he was discharged, he stayed in my house and instantly, I became his caregiver! We have spent the entire holiday season together and our friendship turned into a serious relationship. We loved every moment of our intimacy and we never want to live apart anymore. The deep love, trust, and warmth feeling that we have shared as partners is indescribable. Because we were always in a whirlwind of passion, Mike forgot the extreme pain in his left wrist! Love is indeed a great healing potion. Plans of Settling Down After living together for a year, Mike and I decided that it was the right time to get married.
We want our relationship to be built on solid foundations of the love and support that we have for each other. Although we have been talking about getting married as soon as Mike finishes his studies on September and gets a job, we both cannot wait to legalize our relationship. However, since I am not a Canadian citizen, one of the reservations that we had was my capacity to stay in Canada legally. Even if I still have a year and a half to complete my studies and a possible employment of another year, it would be a great relief to get this issue out of our way to avoid any future problems.
After getting the support of our best friends, we made a decision on December 2006 to get married on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2007. Unfortunately, we could not make any reservations as that day was already fully booked. Hence, we settled for February 16, Friday which turned out to be a more convenient date for all our friends who will attend our wedding. This was the second holiday season that we have made a memorable decision. December was indeed marked for our love to flourish and grow deeply. Our Wedding Day
Getting up early on that day and looking at the person that I am going to marry gave me an overflowing feeling of happiness. I could not explain the feeling of excitement when I get dressed and boarded the limo with Mike. We held each other’s hand and couldn’t stop smiling as we travel to the City Hall. This is the day that we have been waiting for and we could not wait to exchange “I do’s! ” Our exceptional wedding day has proven that a limited student budget is not a hindrance to make the special occasion a reality. We had a simple wedding at the Toronto City Hall witnessed by our best friends Ruth, Naomi, Tanya, Ali and Dan.
While we were standing in front of the Judge who was officiating the wedding ceremony, our hearts were throbbing with happiness as we exchange our marital vows. Chills run down through our spines as we hear the words of the Judge saying, “I pronounce you _________ ”. Our eyes were tearful as we hugged and kissed each other while our friends were giving their warm of applause and congratulatory greetings. Our Families Our families were not present in our wedding day. Mike’s parents had a legal battle of divorce during his childhood years. He never got along with his mom in his entire life and he moved out of their house at an early age.
He could not relate to his brothers who were homophobic. He was only close to his sister Laurie who has provided him with care and support since he moved out of their house. She has also been very supportive of our relationship. Unfortunately, Laurie is a conference organizer and her frequent travels prevented her from attending our wedding. My family was not aware of my sexual orientation although they were suspicious. They never had a chance to know me well because I moved to the United States during my high school years when I was about 15.
When I informed my mother and sister that I was dating Mike and we were getting married, she became worried about how my father would react to my unexpected revelation. Since I am the only son, my Dad became disappointed. He could not understand why I turn out to be gay. He did not talk to me until the summer of 2007 when my Mom and sister paid us a visit in Toronto and congratulated us on our marriage. In Toronto, Mike and Laurie became good friends and we promised her that she would be part of our honeymoon vacation in Turkey so we could spend quality time with her.
My Dad and I had a heart-to-heart talk over the phone and I can sense the pain that he was feeling and his disappointment in learning about my sexual orientation. Dad is a strong person who wanted to give his best for our future. During our talk, I learned that he was concern about the discrimination that I may experience and the legal challenges that I need to face with the choices that I have made. It took a long time for my father to accept me but with the help of my mother and sister, he eventually accepted me for what I am. We are currently in good terms and someday Mike and I will visit my Dad in USA.
It was a great feeling to be fully accepted by my family. Mike has been honest about his problems with his family. Since his brothers could not accept him for being gay and his mother was so hurt when her marriage ended in a divorce, it was difficult for him to talk to them. His only way of knowing about his family is through his sister Laurie. Because of this, I have never met any member of his family personally. I have only seen their pictures in Laurie’s home. We can only hope that they would get along someday and make up for lost time. My family is also eager to see my partner’s family in the future.
The problem that Mike’s family is encountering is beyond Mike’s sexuality. The conflict is deeply rooted in the negative memories of his parent’s divorce and the painful events that followed. It is in Mike’s longing for family love and support that push me to understand, love and care for him more. Mike and I made a vow never to allow our relationship to reach a point where we would end up like his family. We will value our marriage and extend mutual respect, open and honest communication and unconditional love for each other for the rest of our lives. Our Life as a Couple Our lifestyles have drastically changed since we got married.
As a couple, we have shared so much of our leisure times together. We love to relax at home or spend time in a coffee shop while reading books relating to personality development, marketing and scientific research and studies. We are both into arts and music appreciation and occasionally we work our minds and hands on the canvass together. We still love to support local artists. Recently, I have introduced Mike to the community work that I have been supporting. We have spent time in supporting and visiting cancer patients as research on natural treatments is one of my hobbies.
In my 5 years of volunteer service, I have developed friendship with Christina, who has successfully recovered with our support. Our Future Plans Mike was hired as a Production Director at X Agency in Mississauga. We are planning to move to Mississauga after we are officially united in Canada. We want to spend our late honeymoon in one of the tourist spots in Turkey. I still intend to finish my college in Toronto University. Hopefully, when I obtain my permanent Canadian residency, my tuition fee will be more affordable. We are saving for my education and we aim to achieve our goals on the summer of 2008.