This Trip  Didn’t Turn Out the Way I Planned It; If Life Gives You Lemons Make Lemonade; Other Positive Sayings Capturing the Same Sentiment; Bonding Defined and Illustrated; FAMED Not Saudi but from Mauritania;  Photos of FAMED and Me: Flowers and Tray Sent by MATM

I just found this fantastic quote that explains it all beautifully: “Life can still be beautiful, meaningful, fun, and fulfilling even if things don’t turn out the way you planned.” ~Lori Deschene” That is exactly what happened on this trip – my pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
Writing ‘my pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia’ is the strangest, unusual and totally unexpected five strung together words. Those five words could never, ever be the written words of Alexis McBride.  But indeed it is true.

Sometimes I play with my precious, once distinctive first name, laughing at myself. There was a time (in the not too distant past) that I was Sexy Lexy. Now, I have the graciousness to be Flexible Alexible. The Islamic faith provides me with peace of mind, patience and the ability to feel secure so that I can make good judgments and be flexible. For me, it has been scientifically proven that if and when I have emotional support my Judgment scale is in the high seventies (extremely high}). But when I do not have emotional support my Judgment scores drop to the 30s. This explains my poor choice in men, narcissistic men are attracted to me, provide no emotional support, therefore I use bad judgment and marry the jerks. Nowadays I can recognize the jerks before I marry them and dump them.  This is one reason I am single because it seems only narcissistic men are attracted to me. It is okay as I enjoy the independence of being single. But enough of me, do let us get back to the controlling principle which is how life can be meaningful, fun and fulfilling even if things don’t turn our the way you planned.

One of the guiding principles of my life has always been:  “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade is a proverbial phrase used to encourage optimism and a positive can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune. Lemons suggest sourness or difficulty in life; making lemonade is turning them into something positive,”  This principle is the way to live life – it is the way to live life because sometimes most, if not all of us, end up with a bushel of unwanted lemons in our lives.

Other quotes capture this positivism. “Sometimes things do not go as planned – it’s called life.” That is amusing, and unfortunately true. This one adds humour to the situation s well.” If Plan A did not work out, the alphabet has 25 more letters. Stay cool.”  George Elliot authored: “It’s never too late to become who you might have been.” That is simply beautiful and positive, suggesting that change is always possible and one can change in a positive manner, not a negative one. Elizabeth Edwards used evocative imagery to describe the same positive message: “She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way she adjusted her sails.” This is beautiful as it employs the concept of self determination. This truism is most short, simple and to the point. “No Guts No Glory.”

By the way, a truism is a statement that is obviously true and says nothing new or interesting. Some synonyms are: commonplace, cliché, hackneyed/trite/banal/overworked saying,  banality, old chestnut, bromide. I prefer old chestnut. “No guts No Glory is an old chestnut is most amusing.

But back to lemons turning into lemonade. I was provided with a rather priceless opportunity. However, my ideal, perfect pilgrimage began to bear fruit, but it was not dates, it was lemons. . (Hahaha). The precious promised perfectly sounding guide got sick, leaving me feeling like Cinderella at midnight when the carriage became a pumpkin and her shoe fell off.  That lemon turned into the lemonade with FAMED, she is was and always will be my Umrah guide, So this was a blessing in disguise because she is a woman, this is a much better match as of the cleansing procedures can get extremely personal (shall we say). Please use your imagination for this please.
But then something known as magic occurred. We totally bonded, She  evolved into my companion and we have great times together. By bonding I mean: the establishment of a relationship or link with someone based on shared feelings, interests, or experiences. Other words for it are: friendship, relationship, fellowship, partnership, association, affiliation, alliance, coalition; attachment, tie, link, connection, union, nexus. Personally I prefer nexus. Why? Because it rhymes with Lexis. I once leased a Lexus. It was my life’s goal and I realized it when living in the County of Marin, just before I left for the dreaded UAE.

But back to FAMED. We just exchanged a text.
Me: I am writing about you on my blog. You are a star except you are anonymous.
She: I love my neck name
Me: No dear, it is nickname not neck name.
She: I am sorry
Me: I knew it was autocorrect. I was just teasing you. Autocorrect is never correct.

FAMED read a prior blog in which she was mentioned. She texted, straightening me out on her ancestry.
She: Yesterday I was reading your blog. And you wrote that I was a Saudi girl. Yes I was born in Saudi Arabia and I studied there. But I’m from Mauritania. Yes I think a lot of people don’t know this country. It is an Arab Muslim country, located in Northwest Africa.
Me: I shall correct myself and give you back your true self. Hahaha Thank you, I did know you were from an African country but now I know all.
She: Okay
Me: You can keep your nickname though
She: Yes, I like my nickname.

(More about Mauritania later. Sounds like a fascinating place. I shall meet Mauritanians later tonight and tell you more.)

So this batch of lemons becomes delicious lemonade because Guide Guy keeps making mistakes. Constantly. He never quite gets things straight which causes me much stress. He does not care about my feelings or what effect his actions have upon me. Tried to work it out after the first misunderstanding but it keeps happening again and again and again. However, FAMED was always around to help. She gave me emotional support, kept me calm, I laughed, she laughed, we all laughed. We have come up with wonderful alternatives. It is confusing to explain but tonight, because of check out time at the hotel, and the time of the departure of the train to Medina I had hours to kill, out on the streets of Mecca with my baggage I guess. FAMED had a great idea; I come to her place and meet her family. We exchanged texts this morning.
She: I told my family that you will come to my house tomorrow and they are really excited.
Me: I am even more excited to see your family than they are to see me. Tell them this. Hahaha

So you do see that the lemons of the pilgrimage became lemonade. The errors made, that is life. Plan A did not work out but FAMED and I came up with Plan B, C,.D.E, F, G etc, as errors increased in frequency. I adjusted my sails. Got Glory as I do Have Guts.

The photo attached does have a story that goes along with it, which shall be told in some detail later. I was gifted with flowers AND a wonderful tray of food from management of this wonderful hotel. His nickname is MATM. Mohammed Awesome The Millionth. Those not familiar with Muslims will not know that every second man you meet his called Mohammed. He does not as yet know his nickname but I shall tell him.

FAMED and I decided to send him photos to thank him for his kind gift. They are actually SO funny. Photos of the two of us, me with portions of the tray, the flowers and the tray. I could almost cry with tears of joy. It says (in English) Ms. McBride Umrah Congratulations.

Do I feel special? Do I feel Chosen? Yes I do, most importantly I feel Chosen by Allah. How else could all of these good things happen to me???

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