Noureen and Faiz

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How We Met

Faiz and I met in July 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal at International Jubilee Arts Festival. Faiz was an international qualifier and had the most beautiful spoken word piece about religious pluralism. I was immediately drawn to him! As the Operational Manager for the showcase, we kept running into each other. We found out that we both lived in Houston (Faiz had just moved there less than a year ago!) For 6 months, we chatted over Facebook messages, and in December, we finally met each other again at a fundraiser! The jury’s still out on who asked out whom first!

After that fundraiser, we met each other almost every day at coffee shops all around Houston and got to know each other. At the time, I was serving in as the regional project lead with I-CERV (Ismaili Community Engaged in Responsible Volunteering), planning service projects for local communities across Texas.

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In January 2019, on MLK Jr. Day of Service, I had organized a few service projects and invited Faiz to join me and volunteer. We drove all around Houston to attend two interfaith service projects with Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston and Fort Bend Interfaith Community. We had an amazing time interacting with young people and learning about what draws them to service, practicing our shared value of service with religious leaders, and growing a deepness in our commitment to improving our community. There was something so beautiful about being able to live our shared ethics together. From artistic expressions about plurality to serving together with a broader community, Faiz always shares his light with the world and I feel so lucky to feel the warmth from that light every day!

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How They Asked

Faiz and I take an annual trip to D.C. and he made a plan for us to go together to meet with friends. This wasn’t out of the ordinary and I did not think much of it… especially because my sister and he tricked me into believing there was a major issue with the ring.

We arrived in DC and the first day coincided with Global Ismaili CIVIC Day, which is an international weekend of service which I was helping coordinate. We volunteered with volunteers in DC to clean up a park and met some new friends. Again, nothing out of the ordinary because we frequently volunteer together!

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On Sunday, Faiz planned a morning of paddle boating in the Tidal Basin. We spent the morning, picnicking on the water and reflecting on our relationship, how far we’d come, and how excited we were for the journey ahead. It was so beautiful, the leaves were transitioning to fall colors this time of year and it was honestly perfect. Faiz then suggested we walk to the MLK Jr. Memorial. When we finally arrived at the Memorial, we started reading some of the moving quotes by MLK Jr. We stopped in front of one that said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” It’s one that we both have talked about in previous conversations and I remember there was stillness and contentment at that moment.

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Then Faiz got down on one knee and shared the most romantic and thoughtful proposal. He talked about our first service project together and this feeling of being inextricably connected. He talked about sharing LIGHT (my first name and his middle name both mean Light). He talked about building a future to amplify hope through our shared love. I was so pulled to him, exactly as the first time I met him. It was an immediate YES!

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Special Thanks

Jon Fleming Photography
 | Photographer
Chand Hashim
 | Planning