American man moves back home

Published 11:24 pm Wednesday, November 2, 2005

By Staff
I was told over the weekend that a good high school friend of mine would be leaving the United States and move back to his family's home country to meet his future wife - someone he has never met before.
That news shocked me. I am well aware of arranged weddings, and while my friend is Muslim and that is customary among his religion, I thought that since his family has called Alabama their home for many decades they would let their son make his own decision about who to marry.
His nickname is Alf. In third grade a boy decided he looked like the Alf puppet so from then on that was his name. Everyone knows Alf. I can go to another state, mention his name, and someone would say, ‘Oh, the funny guy? I know him.'
He does, thought, have a Muslim name and his parents visit their home country often. However, Alf was different. He was, to me, American. I never saw him as anything else.
I always thought Alf would be a publicist for somebody famous because that was his dream. He obtained his degree in Public Relations, and he just had a way with people - very easy going, everyone liked him because he was sweet and hilarious, he never had a problem meeting girls.
In fact, when I broke the news to my best friend over the weekend she asked me, ‘Who's going to be my fallback guy now?'
As the story unfolded, I found out that the countless number of hours he put into teaching himself how to play guitar was quickly dropped. His religion didn't allow for that. His mindset changed, and he became more subdued and his intention of working in PR was moot.
While his parents made the decision to raise their children in America and do American things, they just as easily told their child to forget everything American. I mean, he's pledged allegiance to the American flag for 25 years.
Alf never talked about his parents, nor did he talk about what his family did together while they were at home, and I never asked. I felt that if he wanted to tell us about his private life then he would at his own free will. So, for all I know, he knew from the beginning that he wouldn't remain in America. Maybe that's why he never got into a serious relationship, despite his many chances.
I don't think I will ever understand how a person can spend their entire life living one way, and then move to another country, essentially starting over in life through another culture.
Regardless, I will miss seeing Alf on occasions. We clicked and we clashed yet he was always the spice to my life.
Mary-Allison Lancaster is the Managing editor of the Brewton Standard. She can be reached via e-mail at

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