19 Feb
Love and Entrepreneurism


My husband and I met when we were twelve, married when we were twenty-one, and recently celebrated our forty-fourth wedding anniversary. We have always enjoyed hearing the love stories of other couples, and since this is the month of love, I thought I’d give you a glimpse into my new project.

I met Wajid and Maysoon eight years ago when my daughter urged me to make a hair appointment with an excellent stylist who owned his own salon. I went, I loved Wajid’s work, and I became a regular. On the next visit, I met his wife, Maysoon, and observed the love that filled their salon. When they looked at each other, it was like the world around them had fallen away. They smiled and laughed often.

Over many haircuts, I heard snippets of their intense and frightening journey from Iraq to Canada. They were engaged in Turkey, where they lived illegally, hoping to make it to Canada. A few days after their engagement, they were taken to a Turkish prison. Eventually, the authorities returned them to Iraq, and, after weeks in very crowded, unhealthy circumstances, pivotal decisions were made. Their love grew stronger despite many hardships and disappointments.  

I learned that Wajid had been styling hair in his homeland since he was about nine years old. By the time he was fourteen, he had owned his own salon, in Baghdad. Being able to cut hair had saved his life on several occasions.

I knew this was just the surface of a more in-depth story. In the late summer of 2013, after many conversations and lots of laughter, Maysoon asked me when I would like to start their book. Each time she trimmed and tinted my eyebrows, we had joked about me writing their story, but I didn’t know if she was serious. She was, and we began working the very next week.

My first few interviews were with Maysoon alone. We laughed and cried, and my heart broke when she told me she had never been for coffee in this way. She explained that going out with the girls wouldn't happen in her homeland. This was her first all-girl coffee outing.

My mind whirled with questions about the details of daily living in Iraq and during their attempted escapes. Maysoon actually made four escapes, and only the last one, which was with Wajid and their children, resulted in her getting to Canada. One day, when we were visiting, Maysoon said, “I told my father, I would rather be poor with Wajid than rich with someone I didn’t love.” Now that was something I could understand.

More often than not, I interview Maysoon and Wajid together. They tease, correct each other, and finish each other’s sentences. Their love and gratitude for each other is obvious. They leave our meetings, holding hands. We often meet for breakfast, and we think we will have consumed approximately 350 eggs, between us, while interviewing for this book.

My goal is to release this book in October of 2015. I feel like I have lived, vicariously, some of the joy and pain that Maysoon and Wajid experienced in Iraq and Turkey, and I have shared much of their story with my husband. I asked my husband if he thought we could have survived a journey like Maysoon and Wajid made, and he said, “Love is a great motivator, and entrepreneurs usually find a way to solve their problems. I know we would have tried.”

Maysoon and Wajid, Christmas in Canada, 2014.

Comments (10)

  • Rhonda Fischer
    March 21, 2015 at 03:56 pm

    WOW!! Powerful, I absolutely love it! =)

  • Avery Chapman
    March 10, 2015 at 07:00 pm

    I liked hearing about your stories today.

  • Brooke HCVC Student
    March 9, 2015 at 10:32 am

    We are looking forward to having you come and share your writing and blogging stories with us.

  • gayle senger
    February 20, 2015 at 07:13 pm

    MAUREEN; Another beautiful enlightened story. Happy Belated Anniversay. FYI Harvey and I just celebrated our 48th Anniversay. We also met when I was twelve and were married six years later. Very similar we are. Best regards with much happiness.!!

  • Layne Strelic
    February 20, 2015 at 02:22 pm

    It will be wonderful to hear about good people from Iraq. We have been so immersed in the bad stories of cruel and unloving people that we forget most of the people from Iraq are just like us. They want and need love, respect others, and want a wonderful future. I predict Maysoon and Wajid will be able to convey the true story of life and love in Iraq. I am so looking forward to the tale. Thanks for doing this for us, Maureen. Layne Strelic Solana Beach, CA

  • Mandy Ross
    February 20, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Amazing Maureen! My heart is filled with tears! Can I talk about this in my Monday love letter?!

  • Marion Murawsky
    February 20, 2015 at 10:45 am

    I agree with Pearl. Can't wait to read the whole story!!!

  • Dianne Peterson
    February 20, 2015 at 10:31 am

    I look forward to reading the book! Enjoy the eggs!!

  • Carol Senger
    February 20, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Looking forward to reading their story!

  • Pearl Hipkin
    February 20, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Can't wait to read their story !

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