Ya Allah sesungguhnya waktu dhuha itu dhuha-Mu
Kecantikannya kecantikan-Mu…Keindahannya keindahan-Mu
Kekuatannya kekuatan-Mu…Kekuasaannya kekuasaan-Mu
Perlindungannya perlindungan-Mu…

Ya Allah jika rezeki masih di langit, turunkanlah
Jika di bumi keluarkanlah…Jika sukar permudahkanlah
Jika haram sucikanlah…Jika jauh dekatkanlah

Berkat waktu dhuha
Kecantikan-Mu keindahan-Mu kekuatan-Mu kekuasaan-Mu
Limpahkan kepadaku segala yang Engkau telah limpahkan kepada
hamba-hamba-Mu yang soleh




The ‘situation’ at work is surprisingly taking a sharp turn, which looks promising.

But I keep thinking... How do you mend a broken heart?


Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device via Vodafone-Celcom Mobile.

I’ve been trying to persuade Afiq to try puasa ‘penuh’ instead of half day since day 1, but it’s a little difficult when I’m not at home. The first weekend in Ramadhan, we went back to 443 and he managed to fast until about 6pm. He couldn’t ‘tahan’ anymore and I ran out of patience. Isk2…


Now I realize that to train a child to fast needs as much patience from the parents as well as from the child himself.


Ye lah, selang 10 minit je..


1: Mama… lagi berapa minit nak Maghrib ni?

2: Mama… Abang dah tak tahan sangat dah ni, Mama. Abang lapar!

3. Mama… Kenapa Mama tak bagi Abang makan? Mama tak kesian ke kat Abang?

4. Mama… Kenapa Abang je kena puasa? Kenapa Kakak dengan Deena (Adreena) tak kena puasa?

5. Mama… Abang dah tak boleh fikir dah Mama… Abang asyik teringat makanannnnnn je!


Hui… Sampai pening lah kepala saya nak menjawab banyak2 kali.


Alhamdulillah, last weekend we finally did it! (Mama menahan sabar, Afiq menahan lapar! :D). As a reward, Shahril and I took Afiq to the pasar Ramadhan in Kuala Klawang (Jelebu). I told him to choose anything he wants. Before pergi ke pasar Ramadhan tu, I asked him dia nak beli apa… he said, “biar Abang tengok dulu apa yang ada kat pasar Ramadhan, nanti Abg bgtau Mama”. Wahhh.. bunyi macam banyakkkk je hajat dia tu.


AfiqPuasa2 Berjaya!!!


So we brought him to the pasar Ramadhan – just him, Mariessa & Adreena tak ikut to make it extra special for him. :) In the end, he wanted watermelon (for me to make watermelon juice) and ayam goreng.


Afiq: Mama, tapi ayam goreng tu abang nak four boleh tak?

Mama: FOUR? Banyaknya Abang nak makan? Boleh ke habiskan? Tak baik membazir tau?

Afiq: Bukan four untuk Abang la, Mama. One Abang punya, one Kakak, one Sufia (his cousin), lagi one untuk Deena!


Ahhhh… sejukkkk hati Mama dengar. Dalam lapar2 pun, ingat jugak kat adik2 dia. :)


Maghrib tu, dengan penuh bangganya dia berbuka lah dengan jus tembikai & seketul ayam goreng. That was all he ate! Nak suapkan nasik pun tak nak dah, dah kenyang. Lepas makan je terus ajak Ayah pegi surau, solat Terawih. Semangat betul, padahal tak solat Maghrib pun lagi. :)


That was on 13th Ramadhan. Alhamdulillah he did it again on 14th Ramadhan. So, setakat ni, dapat la 2 hari berpuasa penuh. Good enough for a start, I think.



Semoga anak Mama membesar sebagai mukmin yang sentiasaaaaaa bersabar & bertaqwa hendaknya, yang menjadi contoh kepada adik2, InsyaAllah.

Amin Ya- Rabbal Alamin.

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Our boarding passes stated that we’ll be sitting at 38H and 38K. I was anxious about this as I wanted us to sit together (but of course!). Logically H doesn’t sit beside K, but I was hoping that they have a unique (funny?) way of sorting alphabets.


Turns out, they DO! Imagine my relief when the stewardess told me at the door (after inspecting our boarding passes) that Shahril’s seat is next to mine, before showing the way to us. So yey!


I have no idea whether it was Boeing ke Airbus ke. I just don’t digest that kind of information, hehe. The seat arrangement was 2-4-2 and it felt spacious, so no complaints there. Apparently A sits beside C, H sits beside K.. Yang 4 kat tengah tu ada E ada F.. lagi 2 I’m not sure. Hehe



One thing that really stood out for me is that, before the plane took off, after the usual safety video, there was a do’a recital. I thought this was a nice touch. Little thing that differentiate one from another. It would be nice if MAS can do the same, kan?


Just before we took off, the head stewardess announced (announcements were made both in Arabic & English) that the they have among the crew who can speak Arabic, English, Malay, Hungarian and also Chinese. I remember thinking: I didn’t know Hungarian is THAT common. :).  That’s kinda nice too, I think. But this is probably more common than the do’a recital. :)



Eventhough by then I realized that it was really happening, that we were really going for Umrah, I was still as nervous as before, if not more. So nervous, I didn’t even bother to check what movies were available for example. Banyak nasihat2 yang saya baca pun bagitau yang we should utilize the time to do zikir etc, preparing our minds basically. I tried reading the do’a book provided by the TA but I couldn’t seem to focus either. Rasa macam last2 minute before exam, try baca buku tapi tak masuk apa2 kan.. haaa macam tu la lebih kurang. (Nampak sgt biasa buat last2 minute baru nak baca buku untuk exam. Muahaha)



There were a few strong turbulences along the way as warned by the pilot, but other than that it was OK. Dinner was yummy (we chose chicken curry with rice ) and despite rasa kematu ponggong (ni baru 7-hour flight!), we managed to get some sleep. Next thing we knew, we were about to land in Abu Dhabi.




* Pictures are either from Mr Google or Etihad’s website.

*Next: From Abu Dhabi to Jeddah

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This morning while I was applying my makeup, I realized Mariessa & Adreena were both watching me with much interest. (My idea of ‘applying makeup’ is restricted to applying compact powder, lipstick and recently - blusher. Rasa dah advanced sgt la tu ada blusher tu, hehe).


Mariessa: Mama, bila Kakak umur berapa Kakak boleh pakai semua-semua ni?




Turned to my left, Adreena was pretending to apply lipstick on her lips using her finger.


Double Alamak!


These girls really do start early! Macam mana ni? Panic Mama!


* For the record, I was a really late bloomer when it comes to things like this. I bought my first lipstick when I was probably 23 or so, tu pun sebab dah start kerja and as I said earlier, my interest in blusher only started a few months back. Agaknya macam mana la nak melayan anak2 dara saya nanti.



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One week before we were scheduled to leave, we attended a class organized by the travel agent on Umrah. Alhamdulillah, the class really helped in boosting our confidence before going. The HQ of the travel agent (TA) which we were registered with is actually in East Coast, but they do have a branch in KL, therefore we attended the class in KL. (I shall not name the TA, takut nanti2 ada cerita2 yang menjurus ke arah komplen2. Hehe. Kalau dah buat statement macam ni, maksudnya, ada lah kot tak? :D. Not necessarily… takut2 je.. ;) ).

The day I was eagerly waiting for… but at the same time dreading, finally arrived. Our flight was scheduled at 8.30 p.m. that July 11th, but we were told to be at KLIA at least 3 hours prior to the departure time. The Group Leader (GL) whom Shahril has been in contact with, was also travelling from East Coast and he told us that the group from East Coast will be at KLIA as early as 1 p.m.


I woke up that Monday morning feeling excited and nervous. At 11 a.m Shahril and I went to Little Caliphs to collect Afiq’s & Mariessa’s report cards. I was nervous about that too, first time ambik report cards anak2 lah katakan. :). The ‘report card’ day was actually going to be held the coming Friday and Saturday, but since we were not going to be around, the teachers were kind enough to let us come that Monday.


Shahril’s younger brother was going to send us to the airport together with Mak & Wan. Shahril and I decided that we won’t let the kids come to the airport to see us off, as I feared seeing us off might be a little traumatic for the kids (and for me, to be honest). Takut nanti tengok diorg nangis, tak senang hati saya 2 minggu. (Kemungkinan untuk saya berdrama swasta di airport juga sgt tinggi kalau anak2 ikut sekali).


So we performed solat Zuhur, had our lunch and got ready to leave. Dari pagi tu sebenarnya dah berapa kali ntah air mata saya berjurai. Tak pernah tinggalkan anak2 sampai 2 minggu. Tak pernah jugak both of us takde at the same time. Kalau pegi outstation pun setakat 3-4 malam paling lama, and at least one of us is at home. Itu la yang rasa berat hati sangat2 tu.


Bila salam dengan anak2, air mata saya dah tak boleh ditahan dah. Macam empangan pecah la agaknya. Mula2 dengan Afiq dulu. He was upset that we didn’t let him come to the airport together with his cousins (Shahril’s younger brother brought his sons along). Hilang lah kisah sedih sekejap, as he was upset and I had to pujuk him.


I have to say it was Mariessa’s reaction that surprised me. Seeing that I was crying, she struggled to control her own tears. When she hugged me, I could feel that she was trying her best not to cry. She said nothing… but just held on to me. When I let her go, she quickly wiped her tears and went to the sofa and sat there. Only after I went out the door, I saw her putting her face in between her knees and sobbed. :(


Leaving Adreena was the hardest. She’s too young to understand, but I was afraid 2 weeks might just be a little bit too long being apart from us (vice versa).


So we left home at around 3.30p.m. as I wanted us to be at KLIA at 4.30 so that I have one hour (from the agreed 5.30) for the unexpected.


Seeing that I was (still) crying in the car, Mak cakap.. “Jangan risau la Nil… Mak ada tengok budak2 tu. 2 minggu tu kat sana… kejappppp je nanti ko rasa. Orang pegi haji 40 – 45 hari pun… bila nak balik tu ada rasa tak nak balik..”.  :)


We arrived at KLIA at 4.30 Alhamdulillah. We went to look for the GL to introduce ourselves and at 5 after performing our Asar prayers, we began checking in.


We were scheduled to leave via Etihad Airways on EY 411 to Abu Dhabi at 8.40 p.m. and to arrive at 11.45 p.m Abu Dhabi time. As the time difference is 4 hours, that means it was going to be a 7-hour flight.


I have never heard of Etihad Airways before, to be honest. So when we first received our itinerary, I quickly googled to find out. I even made a comparison between Etihad and Emirates upon finding out that Etihad is the National Airline of the United Arab Emirates (I always thought Emirates is). Bila dah baca2 tu, rasa lega la jugak. :). Transit in Abu Dhabi Airport will be for 3 hours before we leave for Jeddah.


Alhamdulillah, checking in was a breeze eventhough the queue was very long! We met the rest of the group there. It’s a small group of 16, with only 4 ladies (myself included) and 2 children. Nak kata budak pun tak.. teenagers pun tak sgt, the girl was probably around 10, and the boy 15. Agaknya lah. :)


After checking in, Mak, Wan and Shahril’s brother left. I was feeling a little hungry (masa lunch kat rumah, takde selera sebab tak senang hati mengenangkan anak2) so we sat down at KFC and shared a burger while contemplating our trip. I called home to check on the kids, Afiq was no longer upset Alhamdulillah, but Mariessa refused to talk me and I could hear her crying on the background. :(.


We then took the aerotrains to Gate C12 for boarding. It was almost Maghrib when we arrived at the gate so we went for our Jama’ prayers at the surau nearby first. Just before boarding, I called home again and this time Mariessa was done with her crying Alhamdulillah and was her normal self again.


Makanya, we boarded the plane dengan rasa senang hatinya, Alhamdulillah.


Next: Our first Etihad experience.

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The first thing we were told to do was to get the mandatory meningococcal vaccination before submitting our passports to the travel agent.


So on Monday night, I called 3 clinics / hospitals in Kajang to ask about the charges. 2 out of the 3 places I called told me the charge is RM155. The third place I called told me I need to make a booking for the vaccination and that it will cost me RM250 not yet including the consultation. I have no idea why this particular hospital is charging so much more than the rest. It could possibly be the validity of the vaccination. I was told that there are 2 variations, one that is valid for 3 years and another one for 5 years. I am not so sure about this. But we decided to have it at the clinic nearest to us: Klinik Kita in Saujana Impian and the charge was RM155 per person.


(It doesn’t hurt, trust me. Hehe – This is more like a note to myself for next time, InsyaAllah. Since yang penakut jarumnya saya lah)

The vaccination is made compulsory by Saudi government in order to obtain our Umrah visas.


Well, that’s basically all we had to do actually.


Fortunately for me a few friends just came back from Umrah as well, so I quickly emailed them asking for tips. Thanks Ghose, Ija, Figette & Azlan! I find their tips very helpful. Lots of reading and googling helped too of course.


For self preparation, the advice I normally received are nicely captured here.


During the 2 weeks before going, I felt extremely nervous and scared. Rasa tak percaya pun ada. People who knew kept congratulating me for being ‘invited’ and I was thinking… “betul ke ni?”, '”layak ke?”, “ilmu & amal sangatlah tak seberapa… boleh ke?”. I am lucky to be going with Shahril ( I won’t have it any other way. :) ). So our nights were usually spent talking about our upcoming trip: about how it was going to be our longest trip so far, about leaving the kids (sapa yang nangis nanti Mama ke anak2?), about the umrah itself etc.


One thing that keeps coming to mind is this: Ever since we got married, I have always persuaded Shahril to go for a holiday abroad. Tak kisah la pegi mana pun.. Perth ke… Gold Coast ke.. London ke, Bandung ke… but every single time, Shahril will give me the same answer: kalau boleh, biarla our first trip nanti pegi ke Mekah dulu.

Honestly, I’ve always thought this was a nice way of Shahril trying to silent me on my persuasions (it worked everytime). Tapi, betul lah Arwah Ummi selalu pesan..”kata kata tu do’a!”.  

A few days before the departure, I was already feeling the ‘heat’ of leaving the kids. Cakap pasal anak2 je, mata dah siap2 berair. Tengok anak2 tido pun, hati dah sayu.


Next: The departure day

Even before we received the confirmation, my MIL has volunteered to come over to Kajang to ‘supervise’ Bibik and my kids while Shahril and I are away. Alhamdulillah, we are lucky that we don’t have to worry about the kids. Bibik is reliable and having my MIL to supervise her is exactly what we needed. I am a little worried my MIL would be bored staying in Kajang – she is afterall a very active lady, ayamlah, kolam ikan lah, berkebun lah, macam2 activity kat kampung. Kat Kajang where got ayam ikan? Tanah sekangkang kera kat belakang rumah tu, tanam pokok pandan & kari je dah penuh. :) But she assures me she will be fine and it’s comforting knowing that she gets along very well with Bibik too.


So among the first things we did after knowing the date was breaking the news to Afiq & Mariessa. Adreena was there too of course, but si kenit ni belum faham apa2 lagi. :)

We told them that we would be going for Umrah, and that Madinah and Mekah is very, very far that we will be gone for fourteen days.

Afiq (mata terbeliak): FOURTEEN days, Mama??? Laaaaamaaanyaaaaaaaaaa…  * menung *

Mariessa: Mama, kenapa Mama dengan Ayah kena pegi Umrah?

Mama: Sebab.. Mama nak pegi solat kat sana.. Mama nak berdoa kat sana. Mama nak doa utk anak2 Mama… Mama nak..

Mariessa: Mama nak doa untuk Opah?

Mama: *tersentak & terdiam*.. pause.. Ye sayang, Mama nak doa untuk Opah

Mariessa: Ohhhhhh….

Afiq: Fourteen days, Mama???  (still in shock, hehe)

Mama: Iye.. Nanti bila Mama Ayah takde, Wan datang sini tolong Bibik jaga Abang, jaga Kakak, jaga Adik ok? Nanti Wan hantar Abang and Kakak pegi sekolah. Kena dengar cakap Wan tau?

Afiq: Ok!

Mariessa: Tapi…. Wan tau ke macam mana nak pegi Little Caliphs?

Afiq: Takpe, nanti Abang tunjukkan jalan kat Wan! Abang tau jalan!


Alhamdulillah, so they took it well. I was actually amazed by how well the took it. Except for Mariessa’s initial question as to why we are performing the Umrah, they never asked why again, after that. It’s amazing how they could ‘understand’. I had anticipated at least one of them to wail ‘nak ikut’ or asking why the both of us have to go at the same time, but Alhamdulillah they didn’t. I think it helped knowing that their Wan will be there to look after them. Of course they also know Wan is not as garang as Mama and Ayah lah kan, and that Wan will layan their requests more! :P


Next: The preparation

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*This was written early July*

At this moment, I’m writing this for my own keepsake. I am still not sure whether or not I’ll publish this. I would really love to share this, but deep down ada sikit rasa takut. Takut dalam keseronokan nak berkongsi tu, terselit unsur2 takbur dan riak. Nauzubillah. When I asked Shahril about this, Shahril kata, tunggu dah balik nanti, baruu tulis pasal ni. So that’s what I’m going to do. Tulis sekarang, since my memory is short termed.. and when we come back, InsyaAllah, will publish this.


Let me just begin by saying this: Allah surely knows best and at times, He works in mysterious ways.


A couple of months ago, I was feeling extremely down. Career-wise that is. After a few years of waiting, I was not among those who were promoted at work. During 8 years of my service with the company, I have only been promoted once and that was  almost 5 years ago. With the change of subsidiary, different job scope altogether from the previous one, the newly obtained professional certification, I honestly thought I was coping excellently and have been doing it right. At least good enough. So when I did not get it for reasons I find hard to accept, I was crushed.


This, coupled with the miscarriage in March brought me to the lowest point in life I’ve ever been.


One day, sometime in May, Shahril came home and told me that his boss (let’s call him En.D) is sending us both for Umrah.


Alhamdulillah. Sayunya perasaan saya masa tu, memang tak boleh nak digambarkan dengan kata2. Rasanya, tak terkumpul segala obstacles in life for us to be rewarded sebesar ni. Truly when He closes one door, He surely opens another.


Maka yang mana satu di antara nikmat-nikmat Tuhan kamu, yang kamu hendak dustakan?  - Ar-Rahman

Finally, on June 27th we were given the confirmed date. Exactly 2 weeks after that date we would be leaving.


I would be lying if I say all I felt was excitement. The truth is, other feelings were so overwhelming that I was beginning to worry about not feeling as excited as I thought I should be. Does this make any sense? Although we knew we were going, it wasn’t until that Monday (when we got the confirmation) that we felt we were really going. That it was for real. (Maybe I should say ‘I’ here, instead of ‘we’ as Shahril was as calm as always. :P)


Next: Kids’ reactions to the news.