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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