I have had some major life changes, including dh moving to the states to work, and me and kids staying here in Egypt. And that is not all! Anyway, I went a little out of my head, and took a trip to the states without the kids. They stayed with their Quran teacher.
I traveled Egypt Air. To be honest, I have always looked down a bit on airlines from third world countries, preferring the European Airlines for international travel. But Arab carriers tend to be cheaper, and since we’re not rich, I have tried a few, including Air Morocco, and Tunisian Airlines. Egypt Air was pleasantly surprising. Unlike Moroccan and Tunisian Airlines, there was no alcohol being served. Mashallah, the dua for travel was made by the pilot, and flashed on a screen for passengers. That felt really good, to travel with people who believe that success in anything, including travel, lies with the Lord of the world.
I’ve spoken with people who won’t travel with European carriers, cause they don’t want to travel with ‘kaafirs’, but for me it’s always been a safety issue. And as far as I’m concerned, you can’t tell any outward difference between the Europeans lines and the ‘muslim’ ones (except Egypt Air). Well, mashallah, Egypt Air has been around for 75 years, they were the seventh carrier in the world and the first in Africa. I don’t know how they rate for safety, but that is noteworthy experience. The only down side was that my luggage was lost. I shopped til I dropped for clothes/toys for the kids (partly to make up for leaving them in Egypt). and they were really disappointed. Alhamdulillah, I got a call at 4am two days after my arrival, and they had my stuff! All of it! And they delivered it to my door.
America was a bit of a shock. All that stuff, and for cheap! Walmart! Dollar Stores! Dunkin Donuts! There was too much to choose from and I couldn’t possible get a taste of everything I’ve been missing. Seeing my dh was the best part. He had everything waiting for me, red roses, chocolates, even TWIZZLERS, LOL! 12 days just was not enough time, especially when I had to meet with friends and family. Also had a very interesting experience taking my drivers test (to renew) with an Indian named ‘George’.
No problem going through US Customs, alhamdulillah. Was waved right through. This was my first time traveling alone internationally so I was confused switching over to my connecting flight, but alhamdulillah made it. For the first time I was asked to remove my niqab in America! I’m used to it in Egypt, but usually they’ll get you a woman. I did have one male officer who insisted I lift up my niqab, but he was probably curious (or miffed) because I insisted I am originally from America. I always get that, going in or out of a muslim country. First, where are you originally from. Me: America. No, originally, originally. Me: America. Where is your father from? Me: He’s American too. They finally give up and hand the passport back, after insisting on seeing my face (they want to make sure I am a REAL American?).
The trip back was ok, except I left on yawm al-Arafat and arrived on Eid. So no fasting and no Eid prayer for me! The person who checked me in at Delta was a muslim, who gave salaams, then mentioned that the ssss symbol on the lower right part of my ticket meant I’d been picked out for ‘additional scrutiny’. Then he moved me to the front of the line, to the puzzlement of the white businessmen behind me. The Ohare screeners were pretty nice (much better than New York, where I was told to spread ’em and patted down). Once back in Egypt the crew wished us kulli am wa antum tayyabeen. Not really a substitute for missing Eid with family, but it’ll have to do. I’d looked forward to getting some pics of all the slaughter that goes on in the streets, but most of it was finished by the time I got here. Looking forward to my next visit with my dh!