“‘Meaningful’ doesn’t quite capture it – but it will do.”

Rejoice, internet! I mean – I have a slew of backlogged posts and unstructured, scattered thoughts to share; I’m writing this from Miri, Sarawak, by the way, which probably explains my disappearance. And yes – this means I’ve started (and survived) my first week at my first job! As you can guess – so much to write about, I barely know where to begin.

I’ll start… with part two of my umrah reflection trip, before moving on to life-at-present. This particular piece was written  -and was first published in my personal Facebook, like most short reflective pieces – towards the end of my stay in the holy land of Mecca. I also took this photo during a rare, beautiful moment there.

umrah trip_2015
The Kaaba in Masjidil Haram, Mecca (December 2015)

My first umrah trip was actually about 7-8 years ago when I was 16/17, though honestly I don’t remember much about it – I just remember being extremely nervous so I followed whatever Mum and Dad taught and showed us. Looking back now, I’m not sure what I prayed and made dua for either… (Straight As for high school year-end examinations? Life seemed so simple then…) But I do have a mental image from that trip that has since stayed with me: Eldest Sis, who was about my age at the time, looking longingly at the Kaaba as all around us, the sky slowly turned purple. Though I didn’t understand and remember much about this first trip – unlike her, who found it “meaningful” – this particular sight was an undeniably beautiful one.

Two years ago, when I started at Stanford to realize a dream within a dream, because it was so difficult to make it happen, I told myself that when I’m done there, I’d thank God – literally – personally. Now I’m at the age Eldest Sis was then and here I am – again, and as promised – at just the right timing: in-between chapters, soon to close a significant life phase and start anew. It still feels strange sometimes, realizing just how much Life has taken place in the seven years between my two trips here. Faith is an extremely personal journey it’s true; through this trip in particular I feel like I’m understanding this statement for the first time.

“Meaningful” doesn’t quite capture it – but it will do.

Now I’ve a different mental image when umrah comes to mind: myself in supplication directly in front of the Kaaba’s multazam (door) canopied by the bluest mid-morning sky with just the right amount of light. Closing my 6-month/multiple trips ‘honeymoon period’ break with this trip is definitely icing on an already beautiful cake.

I’m glad I made it here just before 25 and new-new everything, Alhamdulillah ♡


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