It's funny that while we were having a light dinner at Heathrow, and I was looking around while chewing on the warm toasted cheesy panini Mr S bought for me with my left hand around the tall cup of hot latte I had ordered, the people I noticed , from the many, many people walking about, eating and drinking, all waiting for their flight there were the people who were also going on the same flight with me. One in particular was the teenage girl who was sitting on the tables and chairs reserved for the opposite cafe, eating a foot long sandwich. Her hair was ample, long, dark and curly, her face fair and beautiful and she had an air of well..."I AM RICH" about her. She was sitting opposite a similarly haired figure in front of her whom later I realised was her brother. She was tall and thin and was wearing a skimpy Burberry miniskirt and she was socialising with the other teenagers on the plane right next to Mr S's seat across the aisle. There were quite a few of them all looking bored and clad in designer clothes and bags. At first I thought they were children of British expats going to visit their parents in Saudi Arabia for the half term holidays. But then, I heard them talking together in English - with a foreign accent...
Oh..they were actually sons and daughters of rich Arabs who send their children to boarding schools in England..
Well, at least at the airport in Jeddah they would know how to speak Arabic and won't feel a bit lost..like I did the moment we stepped onto the hot and arid desert land...
It's not easy when you wanna go to a non English speaking country all by yourself. You feel a bit lost at times - especially at the airports where the workers there just shut you out when foreign words come out of your mouth and when other local travellers take advantage of you just because you look different.
I did feel a bit lost at the airport in Jeddah because of the differences in language, culture and system although I have to say, the workers there do understand a bit of English and we managed to check in our luggage for the domestic flight without any problem. But still, when you're travelling with kids, you feel a little bit more anxious than normal although Allah knows the kids themselves don't feel anything at all - only excitement.
We, as the parents are the ones who worry.
That is the reason why I had in the beginning wanted to treat our trip to Mekah and Madinah as a 'holiday' for the children.
It was because of my worries.
I worried that they wouldn't feel comfortable in the heat, they wouldn't like the crowd in Masjidil Haram, that they would be too tired to go to the mosque all the time and I worried that they wouldn't be able to benefit from the trip.
But most of all, I worried that because we had to look after them, Mr S and myself wouldn't be able to benefit as well.
And that would be the ultimate disappointment.
But even more than anything, I wanted so very much for Mr S to benefit from the trip.
So that left me. I decided I will have to be the one who will have to let go and sacrifice my time and extra ibadat there - for the children.
Crazy, I know. But that's just my demented way of thinking.
In order to quit myself from worrying, I made myself think this; "No...this will be just a holiday for the children..and I will not expect too much of them and I myself will not expect to get a lot from this trip."
There! Easy! So, it will be a sort of holiday for the children and I, no more.
But that was when my mother told me in a telephone conversation, "Jangan....perbetulkan niat kau tu...pergi ni nak beribadat bukan holiday. Niat mesti betulkan."
And then Allah gave me some 'time' to think. It wasn't easy...but somehow, I just learnt to let go of my worries.
I corrected my niat: no matter what happens, I want this trip to benefit all of us. We will all prepare for it and doa for the best.
And then I left it to Allah.