Umrah in Ramadan

First of all Ramadan Mubarak !

I always end up missing Gergion but it’s ok, there’s always next year…. or is there?

My husband and I flew to Makkah last week to make Umrah. Alhamdu lillah I hope all Muslims on this earth are able to make Umrah or Hajj once in their lifetime. We landed in Jeddah and drove to Makkah.

By the way, I highly suggest that you take a taxi, careem or Uber to Makkah because if you rent a car you will be stuck at the checkpoint as they don’t allow rentals in Makkah. We took Careem, it was fast, friendly and efficient.

Once we got into Makkah, we checked into our hotel room. We stayed in Al Kiswah Towers, it doesn’t have direct access to the Masjid Al Haram but they do provide loads of busses that can take you any time of the day. The hotel was really nice inside and the service was great. We had a view of the city of Makkah.

The hotels right by the masjid are very expensive but the again you have foot access to the masjid. Our cost was about 700 riyals.

We decided to make Umrah after Asr. Luckily we were Inside most of the time because me, fasting, and heat don’t do well together.

As soon as I entered the masjid, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. The view was beyond spectacular. It is actually indescribable.

It’s amazing how so many people from different countries can come together in peace under one roof. This is the Ummah that we all strive for.

We walked around the Kabba 7 times and then back and forth from Staffa and Marwa 7 times.

Alhamdu lillah

By the end of the day, my calves and feet were killing me. Thai goes to show that I am very unfit.

We went back to the hotel after Maghreb and had amazing Indian takeout that was plentiful for only 50 riyals.

The next day, which was Thursday, we slept in, rested, and went to the masjid around asr to pray and then did some shopping at the clock tower mall.

We broke our fast at the masjid and I was crazy as to say that I wanted to go back to the mall and get Starbucks. There were SOOOO many people on the grounds that that time, shoulder to shoulder. We finally got to Starbucks and thank God that I did because that coffee was soo good it helped me stay up all night so that we could catch our plane the next morning.

It was an unforgettable experience but there is one thing that bothered me a bit. People would bring their small children, even babies and make Umrah. Ma Shaa allah they will be rewarded for that but for me, I could never do that, it was hard enough to even walk through the crowds of people and I could see those children having to suffer holding on tightly so they wouldn’t get lost. I would wait until my kids are at least double digits to make Umrah with them. That’s just me and my opinion. Everyone is different.

I would like to know your Umrah story, comment below and share your experience.

This is Makkah many years ago…

Makkah now….

Ramadan Mubarak to you and your family.

Ma Salama

In between

Good afternoon,

I am sorry that I have been away for some time.

So far, We have moved to Dammam. I work at an Aviation Academy, where I teach English to females and males for two years before they move onto flight training. My thyroid levels are back down, I am losing weight and I have just bought a new car.

We moved to a good neighborhood in Dammam. it’s close to the mall and it’s in a very convenient location. I am part of a big group of women married to Saudis and some of them are even half Saudi/ half American or another nationality. We get together from time to time. My older son has finally made a few friends. He will be going to school in September. I’m still trying to convince him to go to school here because it is much safer.

I started working for CAE Oxford Saudia last year. It has been a great experience and I actually love it there. We are all a big family so it is more like my second home. I started teaching males a couple of months ago which, at first I was hesitant to do so, but I find it easier than teaching females, They are much more relaxed, respectful and grateful. We are on break right now for Ramadan, thank God for that because  I told myself I would never work during Ramadan again.

As for my thyroid, my levels were at 40 and I found an amazing Tunisian Dr. who actually knew what she was doing. My levels are back down to .65 which is great to hear, Thanks be to God. She recommended that I start taking insulin to start losing weight since it is so hard to lose weight with hypothyroidism. It is supposedly a very popular weight loss scheme here in the middle east. So far, I have lost 2.5 kg’s in 4 days. I am happy because I desperately need to feel like myself again. I have gained so much weight in this country.

Finally, my car. I am a proud owner of a 2019 Dodge Durango RT.

It has some spunk to it and I am ok with that. I actually love it. For a woman in Saudi Arabia, you need to be seen in a nice vehicle and I don’t want to sound picky or self centered, but I don’t want to be seen in a car that I don’t like. Queens need to make statements and I have noticed that I am making statements.

I have yet to decide what comes next in my life, there is so much that I want to do but everything involves money.

If only money could grow on trees.

ma salama!

Carmen

 

 

 

Free Courses for You!

Yes YOU!

Did you know that you can take college/ university courses for free?

Many of us can’t even think about going to college/university due to high tuition rates. Fortunately I have my Bachelors degree but I have no idea how I’m going to afford my Masters and PhD without accumulating lots of debt. The downside of it is, I’m not sure that I will even find a job in today’s job market.

Well, I found a temporary solution to your problem and it will benefit you and your Resume/CV which is really nice because employers always look out for extracurricular activities and courses.

Here’s a list with small descriptions for you.

1) Harvard University

Yes, Harvard along with some other Ivy League universities are now opening up their doors to FREE or extended courses at a reasonable price.

There are several FREE courses to choose from, however, if you want a certificate, you will have pay a reasonable fee to receive your certificate.

They also offer extension courses for a few which differs from residential and non-residential students…. yes, it is a bit expensive but it’s better than dishing out thousands and thousands each semester.

2) EdX

EdX is a website which offers FREE courses from many colleges and universities from different countries.

Their mission to extend high quality education to everyone anywhere in the world.

The courses are FREE, however, like Harvard, you will have to pay a small fee if you want a certificate.

3) Open University

Open University provides hundreds and hundreds of courses for FREE and even better, their certificates are free as well.

You can find a course in any subject and enter into the course by signing up.

4) Alison

Alison is much like Open University but it’s not a university, it’s an independent educational website that offers thousands of FREE courses in any subject as well.

You have to pass your course with 80% or higher and you have to pay a small fee for a certificate from that course.

keep in mind, there are many other websites that you may know of and I may not, so please feel free to comment below if you are using a different website and it’s working for you.

I hope that these options will help you in your present and future career goals.

As a matter of fact, I plan on starting a course or two on the Harvard University site soon, In Shaa Allah.

As a Muslim, it should be our personal goal to always acquire knowledge when it is available to us whether it is Islamic knowledge or general knowledge.

In a hadith, narrated by Anas Ibn Malik, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “ Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim”

Source: Sunan ibn Majah 224 (Authentic)

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ طَلَبُ الْعِلْمِ فَرِيضَةٌ عَلَى كُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ

224 سنن ابن ماجه كتاب المقدمة باب فضل العلماء والحث على طلب العلم

3914 المحدث الألباني خلاصة حكم المحدث صحيح في صحيح الجامع

If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, feel free to send me a message anytime of the day. I am here for you.

Ma Salama,

Carmen