This is a continuation of the journal I kept while on Hajj. I’ve tried to transcribe the thoughts I wrote eactly as written. Any current interjections are in parantheses.  (The reason why I’m such a stickler in this regard is because I heard that L.M. Montgomery altered her journals after she wrote them, taking out names and changing them, and that ticked me off so I try not to do that myself.)

Nov. 13th 2010

They’ve lost my luggages. Both of them. Somewhere in transit from our Medina hotel to our hotel in Aziziah and yet I feel everything’s going to be okay.

I’m writing this in the prayer hall of our Aziziah hotel, waiting for Asr and thinking alhamdu lillah for the instinct that made me stick an extra abaya (long dress) and shalwar (pants) in my carry on.

So I have: 3 abayas (long dresses), 2 shalwars (pants to go under), 3 underwear, 3 pairs of socks and some laundry detergent.

A similar thing happened when I went to Denmark. They lost my luggage and luckily I’d listened to the advice of seasoned travellers and stuck a change of clothes in my presentation case which was my carry on.

Even now, I have all my vitamins and medications, I can easily survive the rest of Hajj. (Actually it wasn’t that easy! At the time of writing this I assumed that the loss of luggage would be temporary and I’d get it in a few days. I’m writing this on Dec. 2nd and I still haven’t received the luggages yet, although I did hear from my brother that the Hajj group we went with finally located them–in Jeddah!)

I emailed my hubby and told him they were gone and his reply was that if the luggage is all I lose, then that’s fine.

I think now he was referring to my temper and impatience. (As it turns out, I would lose my temper too, in a disastrous moment that may in fact have jeopardized the legitimacy of my Hajj! But that happens in a later post at Muzdalifa.)

It’s true too.

And it got me to thinking that yes, I’ll miss all the gifts I bought for family and such and yet I know if it comes down to that it’s still lost when I get back, my family’s reaction will be simply ‘Alhamdu lillah’. Those things weren’t in their qadr/provision. (Actually their reaction was even better than that! My family was just happy to have me home safe!)

And it also occurs to me that I’ll really miss those suitcases. They’re the fancy kind with the garment bag built right in and we paid good money for them.

But alhamdu lillah even if they’re gone for good, it’s not the end of the world. I can buy new ones. God is so merciful to us, it’s not a huge inconvenience.

If this is the worst test of my patience, I hope I passed.

Besides, they’re still diligently looking for them.

Nov. 14th

I feel like Hagar. At the mercy of God because all my luggages have vanished.

Like I said before, I’m not too badly off. And I’ve washed all 3 abayas, 2 salwars, pyjamas, 3 prs socks and 3 underwear in the hotel sink.

(I hung them on hangers all over our tiny room. I wasn’t the only one who lost their luggage. My brother and sister in law lost theirs too and my sister in law was sharing a room with us and doing laundry in the washroom sink too. In order for it to dry, we shut off the air conditioner and turned on the ceiling fan on high so it sounded like an airplane! It was loud in the room, but it worked. Those clothes fluttered with the wind and got dry quickly!)

It should last me 5 days but I brought my little bit of laundry detergent to wash in Mina if I have to. (The clean clothes only lasted one day for each set because it was so hot, I sweated a lot! So I ended up having to do laundry every other day!)

But all the things I so carefully packed: the sleeping bag for Muzdalifa, the flashlights and such that were part of my hajj kit are gone. I hope it’s not cold in Muzdalifa. If it is I’m in trouble.

I had a very strange dream last night.

One of my worst nightmares is that this writing thing won’t work out and I’ll have to go back to babysitting. I know, I know, it’s silly. With eleven books published I should feel ‘established’ but the fact is I don’t.

Every now and then I get the dream that I’m babysitting. But this dream was different. I was changing the diaper of this cute little white baby and the lady of the house came to me and offered me her house for sale.

It was a large spacious even luxurious house with one of those groomed backyards with a great patio/outdoor living space. I told her I lived in a tiny townhouse but she kept insisting on giving me a tour and telling me that I could indeed afford the house.

The I woke up. (Since then I’ve been having other weird ‘house’ dreams. The other night I dreamt that I broke into Glenn Beck’s house and slept in a bed there–like some kind of Goldilocks! And all the time I could hear him snoring in the other room. The room I was in was decorated in white! And I kept getting up and listening at the door thinking I’d better get out of there before he woke up! Weird!)

I think it was Jung who said that seeing a new room  in a house or a bigger house had to with personal growth (or any other type of house dream).  According to him a house represents your subconcious or mind, I think, and discovering a new room or a new house means opening up a new aspect of your personality or a new way of thinking.

Appropriate perhaps for such a life changing journey as the Hajj.

I feel so light of baggage and kind of ‘poor’ like Hagar must have felt.

Now I’ve boarded the bus for Mina, tears stream down my face and in my heart I’m repeating “Labaik allahuma labaik” Here I am, O Lord, Here I am, at your service.

The Hajj has begun!

Nov. 14th cont’d

We arrived in Mena after only about 20 minutes. I had been told that it was just on the other side of the mountain across from our hotel.

Seeing all the pilgrims on the road. So many of them walking made me feel quite privileged to be riding in an air conditioned bus.

When we got here, to this gated compound, trudging with my backpack through a maze of tents and finally getting to our own tent it felt almost anti-climactic.

It was all so organized. I was in group 1B, bus 7, and they even had my bed/chair ready with a pillow, blanket and a tag with my i.d. pinned on it.

It’s actually about 1/2 a tent that I’m sharing with 21 other sisters. Once we pull our beds out there’ll be very little space for our luggage. all the other ladies started reading Quran but somehow I felt too tired, so I just sat there staring around me for a moment or two, like an idiot.

Then fatigue came over me and I pulled out my bed and I took a nap.

I’ve been crying for ten years to get here to this moment in my life and I guess it was all too much for me.

Nov. 14th cont’d

Well the day is almost over. My first day of Mina and so far I’ve survived, alhamdu lillah.

Our group seems to be composed of some very nice ladies masha Allah. It’s nice that we all get along despite our different points of view regarding some Islamic matters like praying in jamaat (together).

One of the sheikhs had asked me to tell some stories during our stay in Mina.

It felt awkward to put myself forward like that.

I consulted with one of the sisters and she urged to do it so I did. I told  3 stories. The first was the story of Joseph (peace be upon him), which I messed up in the middle–argh!

Then I told the story of Moses (peace be upon him) and Khidr. Then I told the story of Aisha’s necklace. Of all the stories Moses (peace be upon him) and Khidr from Surah Kahf in the Quran was probably the most polished, but I’m surprised how much of Aisha’s story I remembered.

The washroom facilities–always a concern–were pretty good but they have the shower right above the toilet and I don’t know how I’m going to shower without getting my clothes wet. And since my crocs, which I’d been planning to use as bathroom slippers, are in the missing luggages, I’m going to have to borrow some slippers for the purpose.

I may have broken my ihram.

I noticed a stray hair on my face and when I instinctively grabbed it and pulled, it tugged at my facial skin and seemed to be attached. I swear it wasn’t there this morning! Did Satan put it there to mess me up?

Because in the state of ihram we’re not allowed to literally harm a hair on our or anybody else’s head.

Lunch ended up arriving at around 4 pm. We were all pretty hungry, standing in line, then one of the doors to a tent opened and a lady came out and dumped a plateful of rice in the garbage!

I couldn’t help myself!

I exclaimed, “Subhanallah! How could you throw out so much food?! Next time don’t take so much.” She just made a face and went back inside.

The lineup for the food was extremely long! There are thousands of people in this hajj group!

Oh well. Hope I wasn’t too harsh. I’m going to pray Isha in a  few moments.

Already flossed and brushed my teeth and washed my face. Tomorrow’s the big day! Arafat!

I hope I retain my patience.

So far, so good. Alhamdu lillah!

to be cont’d…