Archive | August 2017

Preparing to sell – DAY 1

We need to sell our Brisbane home so we can buy a new one on the Sunshine Coast… buttt…. it’s a HUGE job.

Thankfully we have some friends who came along and helped us out today!

DAY 1

Having slept here last night, on a barely existent foam mattress thing (next weekend, we are DEFFINITELY bringing a second mattress!), we were able to start nice and early.

First off, it was a trip to the store to buy ice and drinks for the day. Also to buy breakfast pies. How Aussies that!

When Dee and Eck arrived we were ready to get into it!

Dee and I spent the day preparing the rooms, putting the first coat on ceilings and doing the trims.

You see, our renters “painted” the house when they lived here so all the trims are a dark grey colour and very BADLY painted.


So we need to undercoat ALL the trims in the entire house.

Meanwhile, outside, Hubby and Eck were whipper snipping and pulling off all the rotten and broken deck timber.

Later Ay arrived. He pulled down the old/rotten garden bedding and pulled the random timber pieces off the fence.

The backyard is a bit of a mess!


I haven’t had lunch, it’s now 6pm dinner time on a Saturday.

I need to go get food and finishing taping down the drop sheet in the last room ready for tomorrow!

Life Update – August 2017

I thought it was time for an update on where my life is at right now.

I’m not sure if this happens to anyone else, but I make plans, have goals I want to achieve and then when I start putting plans into action and working towards those goals, the universe throws life in the way and that halts or significantly changes all my plans! Surely others experience this?

I hope I’m not the only one.


So what have been my life hopes, plans and aspirations this year so far? Let’s review…


Become a mum.

That’s my aspiration every year. Every year since I was 19 that’s been my goal. Now that I’m 30 and still don’t have a child… well it’s not a nice feeling. IVF has previously been out of our financial scope. You can’t build a business, funnel everything into that dream AND have loads of spare cash floating around. That’s not how life works.

However, I found a Fertility Clinic that, if you were earning a low wage, you could qualify for heavily discounted IVF! WELL!!! How excited was I? Potentially going from $2,ooo per cycle to $300 per cycle! I mean, we were going to go make a baby!

Then they advised me that my husband could not be present for the egg extraction or the implantation… I left the office in tears I can assure you and I cried all afternoon. I realize many women would be happy and comfortable going ahead without someone present, but the extraction means sedation etc. and I refuse to undergo a procedure where I am unable to advocate on my own behalf AND the service won’t allow someone I trust to be present.

That service has refused. So I am still without a baby/child. But life goes on.


Finally become a Foster Carer

I wrote about this in another post titled Road to Caring.
We both went and did the training weekend and it was great. I completed my homework, had all the personal reflections done (it takes HOURS to get through the homework). I was prepared to take in up to 2 children of primary school age, etc.

Unfortunately, my husband didn’t get in and do his homework and reflections. Not because he didn’t want to, he did, but it takes hours upon hours to complete the homework and the personal reflection (about your family, your history, etc) take even longer. With him busily running a company, growing and expanding into a new region… well he just simply didn’t have the time.

In the end I took it as a sign. If he doesn’t have the time/capacity to complete the homework/reflections, will he be able to commit to 2 children in need of therapeutic care? Probably not. I handed back the work we had completed and advised we wouldn’t be able to progress at this time.

Another plan/goal crushed for the year.


Moving house, selling a house, buying a house

So, not that long ago I was so excited to be moving house! If you remember, we had been approved for a great new house to rent, paid the bond and first several weeks of rent, etc. We had packed up the house and were ready to get a truck and move.

WELL! The DAY BEFORE we were due to move, the home owners CHANGED THEIR MINDS! Instead they wanted family members to move in. They refused to provide us keys. Refused to let us move in.

We were nearly homeless. I don’t care if I have to be homeless… but we have the dogs?! For a terrifying 24 hours I 100% thought I was going to have to put my dogs to sleep.

Thankfully the house we were living in had not yet rented to someone else and we were able to stay here another 6 months.

Only now they want to sell it… *sigh* and we can’t afford to buy it. We have to try and sell our other property (at a loss) so we might be able to buy something.


Working in the company

It’s sad, but I am simply not enjoying working in the company. It’s not my passion. Service desk and customer service calls… I’d rather be working with children, in the human services industry or something.

So I have recently made the decision to find a job outside the family business. That’s a bit daunting, but I’m not happy which in turn means I’m not being productive, which is bad for business.


Learning to Do Islam

So many changes and upheavals have had another sad impact. I don’t have Friday’s free.

I just can’t get away from work consistently. It has been WEEKS since I’ve been able to attend Friday prayers.

I know people say you need to make time for the things that are important, but when 100 things are important… something somewhere has to give. And while I really want to learn more, I have to prioritize living, earning and paying the rent over learning more about Islam.


Not all doom and gloom

It’s not all bad though.

I have a lovely home to live in at the moment, with a beautiful outdoor space.

I have a phone interview this afternoon for a potential job and there are several jobs popping up every other day that I can apply for.

Things are tough, but one day they will get better.

 

Learning to Do Islam ~ First day at Prayer

NOTE: This post was drafted WAY back in the beginning of 2017, or end of 2016. I’m finally getting a chance to post it. 🙂


DATE: Early 2017 or late 2016

Today I attended my first prayer gathering with the Muslims of the Sunshine Coast.

Let me set the scene a little.

I really don’t own ‘Muslim appropriate’ clothing. So I wore black work pants and a regular t-shirt. I tied my hair back in a pony, but this was only because the day was incredibly hot and I wanted my hair off my face.

So, I arrived early… like REALLY early. I was a good 25 minutes early. I live about 3o minutes away so I left ridiculously early because what if there was traffic? Or a road incident along the way. I didn’t want to be late. So I waited in the car for about 15 minutes before I went in.

I’ll be honest. I was anxious. I don’t think I’ve every really had that ‘first day at a new school’ experience, but I imagine it felt something like this!

As I walked into the community centre (the Mosque is under renovation), I saw a pile of shoes, so I removed mine. No biggie, lots of cultures have a ‘no shoes’ type policy. The space was like any other community centre. An indoor space, bathrooms off to the left then as you walk through the open space there is a big doorway (like garage door size) and a regular door leading to an outdoor covered area and behind that a children’s play space. I imagine playgroups would use this space too.

I was the first woman there. Awkward.
A man entered the centre and walked past me, greeting me with Assalam. I think I remember vaguely mumbling assalam back, absolutely NO confidence! I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to issue the same greeting back or say something else. Also, what if I pronounce it all wrong?!

I saw the Imam/Sheik Zain, who I recognized as I had googled him before coming (research, very important). I walked over and half-heartedly explained who I was. He gestured to the area inside that looks out via the large doorframe and advised that this is the women’s area.

He moved on. Must be busy!

Now, I admit, I had no idea what to do with this women’s area. Women have an area? Why? Why is it here? Do women do something different here?

While I waited for 1pm, I had a brief wander around the community space, looking at the posters and various signs for the different groups that use the space.

After a few minutes, another gentleman came to let me know about the women’s area. I thanked him. I assumed we must be about to start, and perhaps Zain had sent him. Which means I’m supposed to do something… ok… let’s look at the women’s area..

There were patterned rugs on the floor, clearly for comfort and prayer. I was still the only woman here.
I saw in the men’s area that those who had arrived were either sitting or kneeling on the rugs. Some people were in prayer. Not being sure if there is something I should do first, I simply sat down on a run at the very front of the women’s space and waited.

When things began, one of the men recited something, an opening prayer of some sort (mental note, google what actually happens at these things). Then Sheik Zain began to talk. It was much like a sermon you’d have in church where the priest talks about something, generally related to what’s happening in the real world, and links the religious text to that. This talk was on social justice, how zakah or zakat (essentially Muslim Tax) was used.

During Sheik Zain’s talk, more people kept arriving. Men who were coming in late would briefly do some sort of prayer then sit or kneel and listen.
Women started to arrive! I felt more at ease once the talk began and women arrived. I know how to listen and I can copy what the ladies do if I need to.
And, because I think maybe god knew I needed a baby on my lap to provide me with something I was experienced in, one of the ladies who sat next to me had a beautiful 9 month old girl, who I had the pleasure of holding and sitting with.

Towards the end, the talk ended and the Muslim prayer began.
As I don’t know how to do the prayers, and I certainly don’t know the Arabic, I just sat and watched. The women around me were doing the prayers as well. But it wasn’t awkward for me, I had a baby to hold. 🙂

Then it was finished! People started leaving. The ladies began to talk with me and introduce themselves and I explained briefly how I came to be here.
I was invited out to the shopping centre where they go afterwards and grab coffee and subway etc.
As it was still school holidays, someone’s primary school aged son came up to me and said Assalamu Alaikum (forgive the spelling, it’s spelt differently all over the web!) and I said that I’d love to give him the response to that greeting, but I don’t know it.
And he graciously told me what it was, and helped me out a little. 🙂 I instantly forgot how to say it, but he didn’t mind at all.


So there you have it, my first visit to a Muslim prayer gathering.

I wouldn’t say I learnt how to ‘do Islam’ today. But I learnt who some of the people are, I learnt how to greet someone and I generally just took the opportunity to become accustomed to the flow of things.

Will I return? Absolutely. There is so much I want to learn and understand. Though I will go looking for a hijab and more appropriate clothing. No one said anything negative, however I will feel 100% more comfortable if I can blend in a little.

Reaching Out ~ from Learning About to Learning To Do…

Consider this post a bit of a segue, a gap fill between one series and the next.

If you haven’t yet read how I came to be interested in Islam or my series on Learning About Islam, please remember to take some time and read about it. You can find the list of blogs HERE. (or at least you will when I make a space for it)


At some point, I reached a natural conclusion to what I was going to discover by google and logical consideration. I’m not entirely sure when this was, but a few weeks after that I decided that I wanted to learn more. I wanted to meet Muslim people and learn how to DO Islam. I say Do Islam, because for a non-believer like I am at the time of seeking more in-depth knowledge, I feel it is disrespectful to write Be Muslim. How can someone Be Muslim, or Become Muslim, if you don’t know anything about it or what it actually means to Be Muslim.

But what I can do, is learn to Do Islam and maybe by learning how Muslims live, what they believe and how they prey and live their life, I might discover that I do want to be Muslim and believe as they do.

Until then, I feel I am learning to Do Islam and great deal of respect and honour is given to the Muslims of the Sunshine Coast community who are allowing me into their lives and their space to learn.


So, I reached this conclusion that I wanted to know more.

I reached out to the Muslim community via an email address on their website and was forwarded onto their Imam.

His response was quick, pleasant and positive. Essentially he introduced himself, offered to answer any questions I may have, invited me to their Friday prayer and talk time and recommended several YouTube videos that would be of benefit.

(For those interested, he recommended Islam Unveil and Contemporary Issues. At the time of writing I have only had the time to watch up to episode 21/24 of Islam Unveiled and I recommend it. I have yet to start the 2nd.)

I inturn advised I would attend if I could (the prayer time is near midday and I work), and asked what I should wear. Remember guys, I am entering someone else’s faith. I feel deeply that I should be as respectful as I can and not intentionally or unintentionally offend others who I wish to learn from.
Either way, his response was that it would be ok to wear what I would normally wear as we were not meeting in a mosque.

So that’s it people. It was that simple. I attended on the Friday, but that is another post which will begin my next series Learning to Do Islam.

 

3 fridays

NOTE: I drafted this post back in April? It’s now August, so it’s been sitting here a while. I’m sad that I didn’t get it posted sooner, but I am going to post it as I want to be able to share my thoughts and learnings on Islam.

 

I’ve attended the Friday prayer time 3 times now… and my favorite part is listening to Sheik speak. I’m in aww really. Just listening to him speak, this time about some of the terrible acts occurring around the world and at home, I couldn’t help but feel like I was truly sitting amongst a group of people who were apart of this country but also cast aside by it.

I’m not saying the people don’t want to be part of the country, not at all. I’m simply saying that as Muslims, they feel such a strong connection to the ‘brothers and sisters’ (other Muslims) who are being persecuted and murdered around the world.
It is strikingly similar to how many Christian people feel about their Christian brethren. Afterall, you hear on the news about certain groups of people who feel we shouldn’t take Muslims in from certain countries, but if they are Christians then yes we should help them.

Not for the first time did I feel like I had stepped into a whole new world. As if crossing the threshold to the community centre was actually a crazy dimensional portal to some far-off country. They are all so exactly the same as me, and yet because of their daily routines and rituals, because of the people who their hearts ache for, they are so very different to me.

My least favorite part of the prayer time is when everyone prays. PLEASE note that ‘least favorite’ does not mean I dislike it or hate it. It simply means that it was my least favorite and here is why…

Muslim prayers are done in Arabic. They are never done in English.
Muslim prayers are very ritualistic, certain positions at certain times, etc.

I don’t know Arabic or the ritual prayer motions… so I just sit quietly (usually I get to hold a baby! So that actually should make this my fav part), I listen and try to watch without staring at people.

I need to find (make) time to read about the different prays and begin to learn them… I wonder how long do new people sit around not joining prayer before they join in? Would it be weird if 8 weeks from now I still wasn’t praying? 8 months? What if I never pray? When would it become to awkward to continue to turn up if I were not praying… Also when everyone else prays, should I stand up and move away from the area? Should I remove myself from the rugs? Is it rude to be in the middle of people praying and not pray?

Wow, so many questions I didn’t even realize I had.