Vietnamese girl 'roams' the Middle East to find Iraqi boyfriend

Hai Minh disguised himself in Iraq to find Husam with the only clue being a picture of him and the company name, after 5 months of losing contact.

4 pm every day, the phone of the 27-year-old Hai Minh rings like an alarm. The screen showed a man with blue eyes, Husam Najim Abdulwahed, 34. 15 minutes of conversation as fast as the blink of an eye. Before the shutdown, Husam, petroleum engineer at Awar Al Khaleej, sent his location to Minh. Today he is off the coast of Dhi Qar, Iraq, nearly 6,800 km from his girlfriend.

"After a misunderstanding a year ago, Husam always sent the navigation for my peace of mind," Hai Minh shared. The two have a deep love after more than 3 years of love. That misunderstanding she shared with VnExpress a year ago.

In July 2016, Hai Minh, assistant director at a 5-star hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, went on business to Egypt. Husam also came here for training and contract signing. Incidentally, two people share the same hotel room next to each other.

"I am doting, so I often forget about furniture, every time I go in and out it is a noisy talk. He was annoyed so he knocked on the door to remind," Minh said. Because of that, Minh gave a box of Vietnamese coffee to Husam instead of apologizing. But she argued, "it's a public area, it's a bit noisy. You don't need to be so fastidious." Husam laughed, saying she was "strange, suddenly apologizing and then criticizing other fastidious people".

The following day, they often meet in the hotel lobby and talk socially, then exchange Whatsapp application to chat more in English. Before the 5th day of Minh's departure, Husam invited her to walk around the city in a jeep. For half a day, they shared each other about their hometown, age and job. Husam also boasts of signing a successful contract. He bought Minh's parents a famous Egyptian scarf. She donated a stone, bought on a trip to Mexico last year.

While passing a mosque in Cairo, Husam led Minh in. After a while of doing the ceremony, he suddenly said a sentence in Arabic which later translated to her: "I hope I can be happy with her all my life under the witness of the Alla. And I have meet".

Minh was deeply touched by the feelings of this Muslim man for himself. When he offered her hand, she agreed. "I don't know why I agree so quickly, I just feel like I want to," she said.

The day Minh returned home, Husam put her stuff in the car and said, "We'll see you soon."

5 days was not enough to make Minh fall in love, but it made her believe and sympathize with Husam. Unlike the Arab boys she knew - sweet and romantic - Husam looked as stern as her work. "I feel he's strong enough to worry about me, because I am independent and strong," Minh said.

Love far, both chat regularly. Sometimes he taught her mother tongue, the one that Minh heard most was انا احبك (I love you). Every morning when he woke up, Husam always reminded Minh to call his parents because she was the only child. He also told of his mother and older siblings, who live 500 km from the capital Bahgdad. Watching any news about Vietnam TV, he immediately texted her to ask questions. They met twice more in Dubai and Malaysia in the following years.

Except for the trips to the rig, the remaining days Husam texted, called Minh on time. If he had to go to the rig, he would always tell her 4-5 days in advance, a year he never missed. There were times when he went out to sea and lost contact, making Minh worried, Husam always patiently apologized. He responded with a video, sending photos of what he was doing to make her feel secure.

The incident came in July 2018, when this time Husam received a health check, knowing that his exposure to toxic substances could affect the ability to give birth. He said he loved Minh but "has no intention of getting married and will live alone to old age". Although she encouraged and accepted to move to another country to live, as long as they were together, Husam insisted on impossible.

"I was confused, suspected he had a wife and children. I thought that if I kept quiet, Husam would beg for forgiveness, but a week passed and there was no response," she said.

At that time, her heart was as confused as silk, thinking that she loved the wrong person and was deceived. She said, "I know this burden is heavy, but I'm not alone, I'll carry it with you," but in return it is still silent. "I called the Iraqi network and knew his number was still working. I believe he was trying to not answer me," Minh said. Finally she blocked the contact, deleted whatsapp.

One week after blocking the number, Minh received a call from an unknown number, saying Husam was in an accident. Reason didn't let her believe anymore, so he continued blocking that number. She took an unpaid leave to volunteer in Kenya to ease the pain.

On October 17 of that year, she reopened whatsapp and thought, "once hearing Husam say that he no longer loves, he will give up." As soon as she logged in, she received a lot of Husam's messages, read 30 minutes without exhausting and even pictures of him in the hospital.

"You said you were poisoned, you had to use a breathing tube. I was confused, panicked, I could picture you running out of bed in a hospital bed. I texted, called back frantically, but he seemed to evaporate from this world." she recalled.

Hai Minh dug up everything to find Husam. She locates the ship he works on, finds the 70 ports the ship goes through, calls each place but nowhere has the name of the man she has fallen in love with for the past two years.

On October 26, 2018, she flew to Egypt, returning to the hotel where the two first met to ask for information but they could not provide it. She posted on the site to find people in Iraq, searching from Husam's name and photos with friends and family, it did not work ...

"The only thing I have is a picture of you at work. I plan to fly to Iraq to find you by the company name and location in this picture. Everyone says I'm crazy, but I'm scared of losing you." , afraid she will regret it all her life, "she confided.

In early December of that year, she covered herself with a heavy make-up of Muslims into Iraq. The location of the ship in the picture of Husam sent at Umm Qasr Naval Base, 7 hours by bus from Baghdad. I arrived but Minh could not come in because it was a military area. She struggled to find the whole morning, all information in Arabic, no English. Thinking about the distance she had traveled, in exchange for no news about her boyfriend, she cried her eyes in the hot sun.

Then an Australian-born photographer specializing in taking the boats helped Minh inside. Here she met everyone who asked about the ship Husam worked on, as well as showed his photos. Some say Husam has been an engineer for five years and his ship is on a rig, not knowing when to return.

In the following days, Minh un la la harbor area, inquiring of the return of the sea. Exposing the sun to hot, dry weather during the day, cold at night, made her sick. To the 7th, the fever, she remained in the harbor from morning till late afternoon.

On the night of December 15, Minh fell asleep when a journalist suddenly found someone. She didn't think it was Husam until he was in the flesh before him.

"My body was red from fever and tired. My limbs were shaking, no one beat me and I just cried like rain. The two of them hugged each other and hiccup as if the homeowner and the photographer were not there", the girl said.

All misunderstandings the next day were resolved. Husam showed Minh the papers suffering from respiratory failure due to oil poisoning, which took 2 weeks in the hospital. At that time he was at sea, there was no phone signal, that's why she could not call. Later angry with her so he deleted the account.

Minh also asked "why lie his name" when Husam gave him his passport. At this point, she just broke, the Arabic pronunciation is similar but rewritten differently. "I have never lied to you. I love you. That will never change in this lifetime," said the pious man, blushing.

After the "landslide" misunderstanding, Minh and Husam's love seems inseparable. Last June, Hunsam and his brother and sister came home to launch their parents, asking for marriage. He complies with her decision to perform the ceremony according to Vietnamese tradition.

On returning home, Husam held Minh's parents by the hands and cried, telling them about his fatherless orphanage, so he always wanted to have enough parents. So he planned after the wedding and stable work in Singapore, will welcome the parents of both to ease care. Minh and Husam's gala dinner party was at a restaurant in District 3, HCMC early next year.

* The girl's name has changed.

Phan Duong