So Proud of Myself;  I Did It for the Third Time; Eid Mubarak: The Gift of a Painting from Qatar Graces The Entrance of My Apartment; A Framed Photo of My Primitive Art and a Framed Photo of My left Hand; The Muslim Young Women Who Applied the Henna; A Glorious Exchange with a Pakistani Muslim Woman at the Muttart Conservatory; Emails From a Future Date and a Graduating Saudi Woman; The Grass is Greener Misused Leading to Consumption of Humble Pie; Norm Defined

To all those not in the know, this is the meaning:  “If you want to wish someone you know a happy Eid, you can say: ‘Eid mubarak’ to them. When translated into English, it means ‘blessed festival’ or ‘blessed feast’. It is the most common way people express their celebration to family and friends.” 

Did not receive great numbers of  Eid Mubaraks this year, the few received were treasured and brought forth great joy. Began this Saturday morning (Day 1 post Eid) with a photo on Instagram with the following caption: “The painting a gift. It was drawn in Qatar so it is special to me. I am proud to say that I happily completed Ramadan with gratitude and thanks. All praise to Allah (SWT).  Eid Mubarak!” 

The photo will appear at the end of the blog, embedding photos has proven impossible.  Readers of the blog will hear more about the painting and its ‘environment’. It was given to me by someone who shall remain anonymous. The artist was residing in Qatar, the donee (not the artist) associated the painting with bad memories so it was never displayed. Now it proudly reigns in the entrance to my apartment. The ‘models’ were purchased in a dollar store, have been adorned in various headgear. It did seem appropriate and honorary for them to be wearing hijabs. The black framed ‘art’ was completed at a children’s class held at the Alberta Art Gallery. Do admit that my creativity does not extend itself to art. So I traced my left hand, with its beautiful henna design. A photograph taken in all of the hand’s glory shall also make its way to the blog. The henna design was drawn by a beautiful young Muslim woman at the August 2022 Edmonton Heritage Festival held at Churchill Square.   My Instagram posting of that time also included a photo of the henna artist. Its caption read: The young Muslim woman applying henna at the Muslim Festival. She taught herself henna applications and one could choose from drawings. I was treated with profound kindness by the Muslim women, given gifts of food, the henna and a Quran. 

My Eid celebration was more than a little unusual. One was planned for Wednesday evening – I was fasting on Mecca time so such celebration was allowed. However, the Edmonton Oiler play offs were that evening – fans were rushing to the game and clogging up all the restaurants. So that celebration was postponed for one week. My Friday “Eid date” abruptly cancelled – the individual was not a Muslim, but was going to dine with me (at my expense) out of kindness. It was not awfully kind to receive the rejection notice – but in the end everything turned out perfectly. It seemed that Allah (SWT) planned in all – the hardship of the rejection, coupled with the joy of a rather spectacular ‘substitute’ celebration. 

An expression came to mind: The grass is always greener on the other side. That expression will be explored before my New and Improved Eid will be described. 

Grass is always greener on the other side is an idiom used to say that the things a person does not have always seem more appealing than the things he or she does have. Another way of saying this: People are never satisfied with their own situation; they always think others have it better. The philosophy was explained:The hallmark of the “grass is greener syndrome” is the idea that there is always something better that we are missing. So rather than experiencing stability, security, and satisfaction in the present environment, the feeling is there is more and better elsewhere, and anything less than ideal won’t do.” 

I am humbled, (having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance). I was wrong, grass is always greener was not the apt idiom. I shall be forced  to eat humble pie which make a humble apology and accept humiliation. Sorry I was wrong and am humiliated. Usually, almost always, I think of a word or an idiom and it is spot on (as they say in Britain). Not this time. Oh well, Nobody is perfect. 

My Eid celebration at the Muttart Conservatory was everything any one could want. This the shining moment. Sitting in Cafe Bloom, near the exit, saw a young woman beautifully arrived in a stunning dress. She was accompanied by her husband and two young daughters. 

Me: What a lovely dress. You look beautiful 

She: It is Pakistani – I come from Pakistan. 

Me: Are you Muslim? 

She: Yes! 

Me: I am too. I fasted for Ramadan. Eid Mubarak 

She: I am so happy for you and proud of you. 

Me: Thank you. 

Her hands were painted with henna, a lovely design with her husband’s initials in a tiny heart. The baby began to cry so it was a short visit but SO meaningful. 

If dining at a restaurant with my “Eid date” I never would have encountered this beautiful and observant Muslim family. 

At the moment I am finding myself exhausted, not recovered from the effects of Ramadan fasting. Rather than explaining and exploring the totality of events at the Muttart Conservatory, shall instead quote from two emails. 

Having made delayed reservations for this coming Wednesday, emailed my ‘date”

He: Awe haha well looking forward to it, proud of you too for pulling through Ramada! 

Eid Mubarak!

Me: What a beautiful message!!! Thank you! Woke up this morning to coffee. Such a treat! Unable to during last days of Ramadan.

This another email from a young woman living in Saudi Arabia. Met her in the restaurant at the Riyadh Hilton. She visiting with her husband and utterly charming young daughter. 

She: So proud of you  and all love and Respect to you ❤️❤️❤️

Me: I knew your husband’s hotel was not in Riyadh. Is it a Hilton??? Does not matter to me.Thinking I will use it as my ‘home’ travelling ???? throughout Saudi Arabia.need to go to Riyadh Hilton to pick up my clothes I left there. Hahaha  

I SO love your good wishes about my successful Ramadan. I am most proud of myself. Went to see my Doctor today and the whole office was cheering for me. Doctor is a woman from Pakistan and a Muslim. 

She: Nice so it will be a nice opportunity for you to remember old days and tell me about yourself adventures ❤️❤️  My husband hotel located in Al Jubail city in Al Sharqiyah not in Riyadh  and I’m really happy for you that you fast the whole month we have to celebrate for you too I’m really enjoying and get super happy when I lessening to people who became Muslim and fast for Ramadan and pray or do whatever Muslims do I can’t explain my feelings about that ❤️❤️❤️❤️ . 

She is graduating from college. Her mother cared for her daughter while she attended school. I am going to celebrate her accomplishment, probably in June. Saudi Muslim women are accorded great respect, their educations funded by the government. For example, if a woman shows promise, gets excellent grades, the government funds tuition for medical school. When in Saudi Arabia met women doctors, one became my friend and tour guide showing me the wonders of Riyadh. The Muslim women in Edmonton that I have observed over this past year are not liberated in either their dress or demeanor. Their education, by in large, takes second place to their male siblings. Of course this is not always the case, but is the norm. The norm is something that is usual, typical, or standard. Synonyms are: usual, typical, average, the rule, predictable, unexceptional, par for the course, what one would expect. An antonym is the exception. 

I am an exception, educating myself with my own funds. My two brothers are not educated, one did not complete high school, the other got his GED after serving in Canadian Armed Forces. I am so proud of myself and my accomplishments and my fasting for Ramadan at this ripe old age. May 2023 will hold the celebration of my 80th birthday, very low key. No family, no kids, no grandkids nor great grandkids hosting a grand celebration in my honor. Thank goodness for that.