Took a day off from writing yesterday since it was fairly uneventful, but Day 11 is now finished. Most of today was also uneventful, except for my uncooperative 4 year old, who made me feel like I wanted to rip my own hair out for most of the day. We were planning on having friends over for dinner, but their one year old twins ended up having fevers, so they had to cancel. I had no idea what we were going to do since my kids were looking forward to them coming over, and I did NOT want to be stuck in the house with them for the rest of the day 🙂 However I got a nice surprise when my friend Nermeen messaged me on Facebook and invited me to “movie night” at the local Islamic school. Perfect! It started at 5:30pm, which worked great with bedtime for the kids, and they were showing Finding Nemo.
When we arrived Nermeen was there to welcome us in. The movie was being shown in the gym, and there were kids running everywhere having a great time while waiting for the movie to start. Nermeen informed me that they were waiting for the evening prayer to take place before they started the movie. We got some concessions and sat down at the only table set up in the room. A very friendly woman came up to me and introduced herself and welcomed me. She was very sweet. She asked me if I wanted to bring the kids down to the floor where all the rugs were set up closer to where the movie was playing. I told her we were probably better off at the table for now with the food, but that we would soon. A few minutes later Nermeen came over and she talked to the kids and got them to go sit on a rug up front. Then she came over to me, slightly laughing and said, “Do you remember that we separate men and women?”, and all of a sudden I realized I was sitting at the men’s table! AHHHHH! I was so embarrassed! So I whisked up all of our things and hurried to join me children.
Around 5:45 prayer had still not begun, so I asked Nermeen if it would be possible to see the newly built mosque that was attached to the school. She told me yes and we hurried over there before the prayer was to begin. It was so beautiful. I asked if I could take a picture and she said sure. As soon as I put my foot on the carpet she said, “Remember we don’t wear our shoes on the prayer area”, there I go again embarrassing myself! I immediately jumped back and took my shoes off. By my actions tonight, one would think I knew nothing about Islam, but I assure you that is not the case! After I snapped a couple pictures we went back down to the gym, where my children happened to be frantically searching for me.
I was able to see many of my students from when I taught there for a brief period a couple of years ago, and mingled with many of the mothers as well. It was great. We ended up sitting with a woman I only know as “Mohamed’s mom”, but she is one of the sweetest women I have ever met.
Prayer finally took place and the movie started around 6pm. I knew that we were going to have to leave early because my kids were getting super tired and non-compliant with yours truly. At about 6:45 my son Obi was pretty much done for the night. I looked over to Mohamed’s mom and crossed my eyes signalling that my son was driving me crazy, and she asked if I wanted a pillow for him to lay down on. Yes I did! We only lasted a little while longer before we had to go home. My husband graciously came over to the school to help get the kids ready to go. Before we left, Nermeen was sure to get a couple of pics with us. I truly love the Muslim community here in Peoria. They really are great people, whom I am blessed to know.