Received a voice mail with good, actually rather magical news from home. Audrey’s books called with the great news that I book, ordered before my departure had arrived. It is so timely, so perfect because I am planning to steep myself in all things Islamic.The book the I ordered was Martin Ling’s Mohammed, a great read and extremely inspirational. It formed the impetus for one intellectual man to become Muslim. Its timing could not be more perfect as I plan to hibernate. Reading, writing and submerging myself in all things Islamic.
Impetus is the force that makes something happen or happen more quickly The synonyms further explain: it is the motivation, stimulus, incitement, incentive, inducement, inspiration, encouragement, urging, pressing, goading, spurring, prodding, a shot in the arm:. Do not need a shot in the arm, an inducement or goading to become a Muslim but the book should expand my knowledge and hopefully deepen my faith.
This is about to be a major announcement. NO I am not getting married, despite numerous invitations. Hahaha. I made a commitment, even signed a contract that will enable me to return to Saudi Arabia for Ramadan which begins this year on March 23, 2023. I shall rent an apartment at the Hilton Residences. Toured it, As If? wheeled me for the tour. The apartment is utterly charming, has a kitchen and even a washer and dryer. The hotel is equipped with a gym and a women’s pool – so I will be able to exercise. Not only that but I had a massage by a women from the Philippines. She will be there to sooth my hungry body. The massage of two days ago included hot rocks. It was so relaxing, perfect. Tea in a relaxing room and then off to meet the boss man to sign the contract. The contract was well drafted, congratulated the lessor by email. I am planning to stay for two months, arriving a few days before Ramadan . One does not feel like traveling afterwards. Plans are being made to travel throughout Saudi Arabia afterwards – visiting my new found friends. Two invitations already.
I might stay longer and celebrate my eighteenth birthday in Saudi Arabia. Strange plans are being made. I was invited to a birthday party for one of the bellman while at the Hilton. There was cake and coke and much hilarity. I sang this stupid version of Happy Birthday that I suddenly and spontaneously remembered. Here are the lyrics:
Happy Birthday to You,
You Live in a Zoo,
You Look like a Monkey
And you smell like one too.
The venue for the party was set in the baggage room behind the concierges desk in the lobby off the Hilton Riyadh.. Planning is underway
Team and I already panning my 80th. Honest. Not 80 candles because we would burn down the baggage room. But I get a longer candle, not the short one. I am laughing as usual.
Several laughing emojis served as the reply.
Me” You too as usual
He: Yes, no doubt
I sometimes wonder what my life would be like without the Islamic faith. Empty is the answer. I pity those that do not have the assurance of an afterlife and the presence of Allah in their life on earth,
At this moment it is only two hours to Montreal. Made reservations in an airport hotel – the same one in which I stayed on the way to my Umrah pilgrimage. This for people not in the know: Umrah is the nonmandatory lesser pilgrimage made by Muslims to Mecca, which may be performed at any time of the year.
For various reasons which shall be discussed. So from no on everything will be familiar – a huge change from the great unknowns that faced me.earlier.
At this precise moment I am sitting in Seat 1-A winging my way from Montreal to Edmonton It was -10, goodness knows what the tempera true is in Edmonton. Faithful readers will know that I left my winter coat in Saudi Arabia so I just might freeze to death. But I shall not. Why is that you ask? Well…my delightful Edmonton wheelchair pusher and me stayed in touch during the three weeks I was in Saudi Arabia. I reached out to her in sheer panic.
Me: Forgot my winter coat in Riyadh. Can I borrow one from you temporarily until I buy another one? I am stupid.
She: Oh noooo. I have a short one you could have it would be big on you! You flying in tomorrow. I’ll bring what I have.
Me: Yes I arrive at 11:19. You are my hero. I will buy another one and return yours to you of course. You are a dear.
She: What flight number? I’ll be sure to have the stuff ready.
Me: 355 You are a darling.
She no worries.
Also texted my Nepal daughter.
She: Canadian Mom how are you?
Me: I am good but I left my only winter coat in Saudi Arabia.
She: NOT GOOd. It’s freezing. I think you missed the worst part though. Lucky you.
Me: A woman who works for Air Canada who pushed my wheel chair is going to loan me a winter coat. So I will not freeze to death. Hahaha
She: That’s awesome. Yeah, we stayed in touch She is very funny.
So not there yet. Now about an hour to go I think. Lots of things have happened that you do not know about. All good. I arrived in Doha safely, some problems but made it there. The sheer joys of Qatar First Class is that if you get stuck in Doha because of a layover – you get a bedroom with a shower and stuff. A mini hotel room. So I was able to sleep. Had a great sleep and was awakened by a gentle woman. We talked for the longest time.
She: You made my day. What a great way to start the day, talking with you.
Me: Thanks that brings joy to my heart to bring you joy.
It was a race to the boarding gate because of the long conversation but we made it on time. I was in 2 E because IA faced the wrong way. It is a mini bedroom with a sliding door, They give you pajamas that say Qatar on them. Had a funny conversation with As If???
Me: 8 hours to go. They give you pajamas.
He: OK For what?
Me: Pajamas say Qatar
He: Ok But who gives me pyjjamas?
Me: You can have mine if you want.
He: Okay Gotta go now.
He: Have safe flying.
Me: I will try. Pilot says he is not sure he knows where Montreal is. I asked him
He: Shut up!
Me: Told him to look on Google maps.
He: Yallah bye
Me: Right after I told him it got bumpy That is Google maps, I said. I am funny.
Then later I got to Montreal and this was our text conversation.
Me: Amazing when I got here a Qatar Muslim employee who had been to Mecca twenty times pushed wheel chair to a woman taxi driver who worked for Bon Jour. I love women taxi drivers, as it is a good living for a woman. I arrived at my hotel and there was a woman dressed in a hijab. I spoke to her. She was from Indonesia. We had the best chat and I promised to come to Indonesia to see how they practice the faith. Better than anywhere because the faith adapted to their cultural norms not the other way around.
Me: I was talking in the lobby to her and an employee walked by and said: I remember you, you were in 134 a couple of weeks ago. I am SO popular, and people remember me.
Went to my room, got a cookie when checking in. Went to bed and slept for a few hours. Then awoke for a while and back to sleep and all. Woke up at 4, did Instagrams and repacked my bags. Called to have help with my bags and a woman helped me. Was early and organized, suddenly realized that I did not have my phone. Another woman rushed to the room, found my phone. I hugged her in relief. Then on shuttle to airport with many people going to places like Can Cun Mexico and Cuba. Not me – going to cold Edmonton.
Then things got real bad but because I was patient and not mad everything worked out. In the First Class Lounge met a Montreal woman with a little boy, wen three made a video. He is darling, his name Felix. He is a great traveler as his mother prepares him and gives him things like stickers to entertain him.
She: He puts stickers all over the seat. I tell him he must remove them. Why Mommy, he said. It looks pretty.
Me: It probably does. You are such a good mother you prepare your child for the trip. He is a good traveller because you are attentive to his needs and make it fun rather than a chore. Airlines should hire you! Hahaha
Photos will be of the Indonesian Muslim women and me, and whatever else I find relevant. Look to Instagram for other entries. Also photo of me with hijab and face mask sent to As If???
Me: Wore hijab and face mask.
No response but he will respond, He is good with responses. Excellent as a matter of fact.
I am sitting next to a man who had hip surgery two days ago. There are only two surgeons in all of Canada that can perform the complex specialized surgery that he must have in order to be active – so that he can play hockey and do active sports with his two children. He could not have the surgery in Calgary because of a stupid rule hat says you can not have such surgery in your own province – so he went to Montreal. He wants to have Christmas with his family so is on this flight. Is that not absolutely awe inspiring? Yes, it is.
About forty five minutes until landing. LET THE FUN BEGIN