I am feeling most discombobulated. Now THAT is a word which means confused and disconcerted. It is such a good word that there are no synonyms in the Thesaurus. The cause of my discombobulation is not difficult to figure out as I am a stranger in a foreign land, not speaking the native language and surrounded with many contradictory rules that embedded and surround the Islamic faith. Then throw in jet lag and an out of commission (sick) English speaking specially chosen guide and it is a sure fire recipe for disaster.
But I do have to say I am doing quite well considering everything. If life gives you lemons, made lemonade. Wonderful people have filed into to fill the breach so I feel very well cared for. My main man, so to speak, is a twenty year old Mecca resident. She lives with her family – nine sisters and one brother. She is so accomplished as has the ambition of becoming a medical doctor. She, of course, had to have a nickname – I gave it to you on a piece of the hotel stationery. She is FAMED which is Future Awesome Medical Esteemed Doctor. She likes, even treasures her nickname. She gave me the nicest present which shall be pictured. It is a ring with a counter. Press the button and say first Inshallah means “if God wills” and is used by Muslims whenever they express their hopes for the future. It serves as a reminder of God’s control over the future, as well as mankind’s inability to change what is destined. It is auspicious: If you want something to happen, you should say inshallah before you say anything else about it. The Quran says as much in its 18th chapter, Surah Al-Kahf.
The next word to be repeated is Mashallah is “what God has willed”, in the sense of “what God has willed has happened”; it is used to say something good has happened, used in the past tense. The next word to be said is; hafizak allah which asks for the protection of God.
I do it, I did it 100 times. This morning sent news to FAMED of my accomplishment.
Traversing through my adventures, my journeys, my spiritual quests I have found it most difficult to both experience the moment and record the moment for posterity, taking the photo or filming the reel gets in the way of being in the moment. I had a very early morning chat with the owner of my tour group eJourney later finding on their Instagram site an excellent reel of the sights, sounds and wonder of what I am, and shall, experience. I will try and have it attached to this blog. I was able to send it to some of my followers on Instagram. It is impossible to capture the magnitude of Mecca in a still photo and my videos are pathetically amateur. A few of my photos shall be seen but, as the expression goes: You had to be there. That is an idiom which is used to say that people cannot understand something because they did not experience it or see it themselves. It is often used as an excuse after someone tells a story that’s not funny at all. For example:
Person A: “Isn’t that hilarious?”
Person B: “No, I don’t really get it.”
Person A: “…You had to be there.”
This is an entirely different situation, there is nothing funny at all about Mecca but the magnitude cannot be captured. One has to be here. And to know of its significance.
However, I do have the ability to turn something serious into something funny. FAMED and I were, as a part of the ritualized Umrah, going to a mosque to pray. Upon entering the mosque it is mandatory to remove one’s shoes, leaving them outside. However I was wearing my extremely expensive Jimmy Choo shoes.
Me: I am trusting and this is a religious experience. But I told you how expensive these shoes are, I am putting them in my purse. Sorry.
FAMED: Alexis, you are SO funny.
Me: Thanks, but I would not be laughing if the most expensive pair of shoes I ever owned did not leave the mosque with me.
We then entered the mosque and I was most devout, praying with sincerity and intensity.
But back to my conversation with the CEO of eJourney.
He: This is Abdulaziz CEO of eJourney. Aziz 1, since we have three Azizs here.
Me: What are you doing up at this time of night. I have an excuse but do you?
He: We have been extremely excited to have you here with us. No exaggeration. We were waiting for your arrival. When I say we I mean the whole company of 30+ employees. Haha
Me: I am popular. WOW
He: I have read your blog and it is popular in our company.
Me: Really??? Now I am crying. Tears of joy, not sorrow.
He: I am asking Aziz 2 to fly to Makkah as soon as he is well.
Me: Poor Aziz 2. Funny conversation with FAMED, a true gem. I love her. Asked her how is Aziz. Dead she said. Dead??!!! She thought I meant the King. We laughed SO hard we had to sit down. She has been a treasure.
He: Hahaha Priceless. Glad you are having a good time dear Alexis And I hope the new days will bring you even more joy.
Later a text from Aziz 2
He: Ms. Alexis. This is Aziz 2 . We have 5 in eJourney
Me: I am laughing at 5 Aziz(s). When I was young I was the only girl Alexis in the whole world almost. No idea what it must be like.
He: Yes my name becoming a bit repetitive.
Me: You could change it. Like put a s in front and be Sazia. I am SO funny.
Aziz 2 is back, released from the hospital and working remotely. Already he has organized a wonderful experience for me. A tour guide and his English speaking wife will meet me in the lobby at 1600 and we shall visit two museums. I am SO excited. Also FAMED shall join us, not as a guide but as a guest. This conversation took place between Aziz 2 and Alexis
Me: I just meant she could come and learn be a guest, like she is my daughter or something. However except for the front tooth gap we look nothing alike.
He: TBH its up to her if she really wants to come she is most welcome.
I became most excited as she really wanted to come and wrote the following words
Me: I love you now. OOPS!
He: (laughing emoji and clapping hans)
Me: I am laughing SO hard. She says she is SO happy. You are (not ate) a nice guy.
He: (laughing emoji) I’m in love with “at” subject.
So I need to get a move on. I am appropriately dressed with a head scarf skillfully tied. It is pictured on Instagram. Photos are two taken from our Umrah procession. One of FAME and myself, another of a stranger in profile. The ring that counts my Arabic words and perhaps the reel from eJourney. It all depends.