Christine & Osman, living the universal language of love.
When I first spoke to Christine on the phone and she described her fiancé Os, I thought to myself, how did a western New York gal come to be engaged to a guy brought up in the country of Turkey with Turkish parents who don’t speak English? How did their two worlds overlap and compliment? Only twenty minutes into the conversation, I could understand how the two were compatible and defied the odds of making their relationship work.
Christine and Os’s relationship is based on honesty, open communication, communication with their families through the universal language of love and a genuine curiosity, joy and appreciation for what’s different about them, their families and the world around them. Their love goes beyond sharing what’s the same, it respects and celebrates what’s different. The confirmation was fully cooked when I met the two at Starry Nites café where Christine tearfully shared the moments they spoke in the universal language of love. One incident was in Turkey, when Christine’s mother helped Os’s mother get up after an accidental fall. The universal language of love through kindness shined between them. They also laughed about their differences as they met one another’s families in Holland, western New York and Turkey. We ended with what they loved and respected about each other the most.
I have learned from my own Iranian-American immigrant background, from my immigrant parents, that having to adapt was essential to survival. As my parents encountered a new language and a new way of life in the United States, they assimilated the best they could by being open and brave. As Christine and Os show in their 2018 union, the reward of being able to adapt and assimilate to another culture and way of being, can be an endless shared love based on mutual respect and understanding. Their beautiful October ceremony at Bristol Harbour in Canandaigua, New York had a gorgeous backdrop of the water and a tulip watering ceremony reminding them and their loved ones of the water and floral elements in nature that uniquely symbolize both their cultures and their love for one another—Holland where Christine’s family is from being the land of tulips and Turkey being known as the place where tulips originated and the Finger Lakes being where Christine visited each summer where she grew up and Os keeps precious childhood memories of growing up surrounded by water in Turkey.
As their officiant, I spoke about the shared values that bond them: respect of family, honesty, open communication and openness to vast diversity in the world. The ceremony was also translated in Turkish so Os’s family who traveled from Turkey to be present at their wedding, could follow the words that united them. I felt the joy emanate from their hearts as they sincerely exchanged their written vows and received confirmation as their guests also did, that different is better than okay, it’s extraordinary and meant to be loved. A valuable reminder for everyone.