I’m starting to prepare for the pilgrimage to Mecca this year. I’ve made my intention to go in November and join the over two million pilgrims from all over the world to perform the sacred rites that Abraham and his wife Hagar first inspired.

It’s based on the Quranic and Biblical story of the sacrifice, where, in a vision, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son Ismail. (In the Biblical story it refers to Isaac.)

This is the big Eid.

When my husband took his mother about five years ago, I felt I couldn’t go because I still had children living at home and for both their parents to be out of the country…didn’t feel right.

When I saw them pass through the security gates, I cried because I wanted to go so bad.

This year I will be going with my brother and his wife, insha Allah.

And one of the requirements is that I have to prove to Saudi authorities that he is my blood brother, my mehrem (a close relative whom I cannot marry).

Hence my mother’s passport.

It’s a bit tattered around the edges, a dark green with a stamped Pakistani crest on the front. Inside there’s a picture of my mom, she must have been twenty, she looks so young and scared. She didn’t even look directly at the camera, she was too shy.

Listed right on the front is my along with my siblings names.

It’s a little piece of my history. Shows we came entered Canada on January 23 1965.

I never used to think of these things when I was younger.

I think it’s after you reach the age of thirty that you start looking at where you came from and your own history.

I’m feeling very humble about it.

It’ll be the trip of a lifetime, only obligatory once, the fifth pillar of Islam. The most important thing on my ‘bucket’ list.

I already did the mini-version, called the umrah, but what makes hajj difficult is the crowds.

I actually hate crowds.

My friend Karen English told me the best commodity you can take with you for hajj is patience.

I was watching Malcolm X the movie yesterday and the hajj scenes had me getting excited.

It’s a kind of mini day of judgment. Like a dress rehearsal, where we gather on the plain of Arafat on the day of Hajj and spend all day praying, asking for forgiveness.

If you do Hajj properly then you emerge with all your previous sins forgiven. Like  you’re newborn.

This is why so many people wait till they’re very old before making the journey.

I think that’s not a good idea, because Hajj takes strength.

Of course I won’t be blogging during it, but I’ll talk all about it afterwards.

But finding that passport was the first step.

The second will be putting down the deposit for our Hajj packages.

I feel ready.

On another lighter note, a lady emailed me and apparently I am NOT the only person addicted to spider solitaire! It’s her guilty little secret too.

Hmm. Maybe we should start a support group. Spiderholics anonymous? That’s got a nice ring to it, although it sounds more like we’re trying to get off spiders than spider solitaire.

My spider solitaire stats got up to 15%. Happened after winning a number of games. And yet, I also got almost the whole novel revised (just a teeny bit left), the upstairs cleaned and vacuumed, and made pizza for supper.

I must be one of them there ‘functional addicts.’