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Love in the time of Facebook

  • Published at 06:42 pm February 4th, 2017
  • Last updated at 02:55 pm February 5th, 2017
Love in the time of Facebook
Tell us about yourselves. Elizabeth: I was a grade XII student from Orient, Washington. I have two brothers. My father, Roy Emlick, is also a resident of Washington. Mithun: I lived in Singapore for about a year-and-a-half. I started working in the social development sector when I returned to Bangladesh. How did you find each other on Facebook? Did you have friends in common? Mithun: I have a lot of friends on Facebook – I had a mutual American friend with Elizabeth. I sent her a friend request one day, she accepted, and we started chatting. Elizabeth: I only have ten friends on Facebook and Mithun was the only friend from Bangladesh. When we started chatting on Facebook, we slowly got to know each other better and fall in love. After we finally confessed our feelings to each other, it led to a long-distance relationship which continued for over two years. What drew you to your partner? Mithun: We just clicked instantly. At one point, I tried to go to America to visit her, but I was denied visa. It made us more determined to meet face-to-face. When did you first realise you were in love? Mithun: The first sign was probably all the hours we spent chatting with each other on Facebook. Elizabeth: I’d say three weeks into our friendship, we realised we had developed strong feelings for each other. We talked it out and decided to start a relationship. Jhenaidah-Mithun How did your friends and family react? Elizabeth: I told one of my teachers that I’d fallen for a boy from Bangladesh. Then I told my family, but they were dead-set against this. They thought Bangladesh was a radical Islamist country and Bangladeshis weren’t nice people. They thought if I came here, Bangladeshis would keep me as their slave or worse, rape or kill me. My mother was the only one who gave me permission to come here but asked me to be careful. Mithun: My family was pretty nonchalant about our romance. When did you decide to get married? Elizabeth: A year into our relationship, we knew we wanted a happily ever after with each other. I wanted to get to know him more first, though. Since he couldn’t get a visa, I decided to come to Bangladesh. Since my family refused to support me, I worked at a Walmart for a few months as an accountant and saved money to come here. Finally, I contacted the Bangladesh Embassy, got a visa and came here on January 2. How did you manage to stay strong when your family didn’t support you? Elizabeth: I love Mithun and I believe in God. That is why, when I didn’t get any support or encouragement from my family, I decided to come here on my own. Tell us a little about your wedding and the transition into life in Jhenaidah. Elizabeth: Mithun’s family came to the airport to pick me up. We got engaged on January 4, then got married at Shalom AG Church on January 9. I had a lot of fun on the day. I got dressed for the wedding -- wore a saree and had to sit for a three hour make-up session! Everyone was enjoying themselves. I was very happy when we were finally pronounced husband and wife. At that moment, I felt unstoppable. We took photos together. I will always cherish that moment. I am now constantly ecstatic now that Mithun and I are finally together. How do you like Bangladesh? Elizabeth: The impression I had about Bangladesh was completely wrong. People here are very kind. Everyone respects and adores me. I’m entertained as a guest by everyone. The people I meet are usually from joint familes. Everyone eats together, the mothers put so much care into cooking food for their children. I really admire that about Bangladeshi households. I really like Bangladesh very much. What do you find most interesting here? Elizabeth: I really find Bangladesh’s traffic congestion very interesting. Also, the way vehicles move together. It feels as though the cars will crash into each other every time, but they don’t. It’s very exciting. Besides, I really like the concept of joint families and how guests are entertained here. Many have read and loved your story. How would you advise other young people in love? Elizabeth: Love is a matter of the heart. Different people love in different ways. One should always have faith in love but shouldn’t make any abrupt decisions. But marriage is not a simple matter – people should get to know each other first and then take gradually make their decision.
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