I’m experiencing a withdrawal of sorts. My husband says it takes 21 days to break a habit, and some habits are hard to break. I’ve had to break a lot of bad habits in my day, but breaking the habit of watching TV leaves me a little off kilter. It was so much easier when I was child–we didn’t have cable TV. We had an antenna that brought us a Brazilian TV station where I used to watch Xuxa all the time, Star Trek, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Touched by An Angel, and Univision (Spanish-language network). At least, those were the shows my mom would let me watch. And then I would go to bed, at 7:30 pm, when the sun was still out (in the summer). Ah, those were the days…I wasn’t addicted to TV, I was addicted to books.

But! So far, I’ve been holding out and completing a little more than a juz a day, alhamdulillah. But the problem lies in the rest of my time wherein I find myself getting “bored”.  Listening to the same juz ‘amma and juz tabarak audio cds and tapes isn’t quite cutting it. Nor is reading my daughter’s favorite books over and over, and yet over again. (I’m sure she’s happy mami quit TV). I even perused the internet looking for Qur’an TV, since I’m such a visual person, but that wasn’t holding my interest either. I didn’t even watch that much TV during the day before Ramadan (maybe 1-3 shows tops!), but not having altogether is my struggle. Looking at how many tabs are open on my computer, I’m wondering if I should have also given up the internet this Ramadan. It would be good preparation for what I might possibly endure in Jerusalem…

Unfortunately, there’s too much buzz about the security hassles at the airport. And good-minded people want to keep me a little too informed–you see, there’s a reason why I never, ever just turn on the news…but sometimes the news just travels to you whether you have the TV on or not. I might have to give up the Internet next year! Have you heard the story of the American student whose laptop was shot for being a “threat”? Eh, I don’t have money, time, or patience for that. I have some pretty important things on my computer and the possibility of it being shot, or even bugged means I need to back it up. Bringing the laptop also means that I’d possibly have to go through the Red Channel with my 1 year old daughter and have my entire luggage searched. Going through the Red Channel just sounds bad. I was an art teacher–I studied color therapy. Red means stop! anger! fire! passion! rage! Ill already most likely be questioned for being a muhajabat. I don’t know if that would already send me to the Red Channel. If it does, then I bringing my laptop! I hope that all I’m hearing is rumors and some extreme cases. I mean, I’m sure thousands of people bring their laptops to Israel/Palestine everyday, right?! What about all those journalists? What about the people who I bombard with questions daily? Do they really have time to do that to everyone’s laptop? Um, I think not. Besides, what’s life without some adventure?! Boring! And I don’t need any more boring! The trials and tribulations…the risks…the laughs, cries, falls, and stumbles make it worth living. It’s character building. I’m hoping that everyone will be on their best behavior when we arrive insh’Allah…as it is a holy time for both Muslims and Jews. Besides, if I don’t try, what can I say? What human experience would I gain or grow from? What chance would I give the security personnel to show their humanity and trust? I’m not going to Jerusalem to do anything but become closer to My Creator by visiting Al Aqsa and the historical sites of prophets who are praised in all 3 Abrahamic faiths. What’s wrong with that? I think that country needs some good publicity now…and isn’t tourism good?

As for you dear devoted reader, don’t fret! You’re still coming along insh’Allah, whether I have my laptop or not! Not having my laptop will make blogging tough, but not impossible. Alhamdullilah for apps and blogging by email! Those of you who know me, know I can type 85 wpm. It takes me about two hours to do a post on my laptop (cuz I’m verbose and a perfectionist, that’s why!). But I do have a pretty nifty phone and I will be using it inshAllah to thumb type to you. My posts will be a little less picture intensive most likely, but I can still post pictures too insh’Allah. So I will still try to blog daily, and just check back one week after the trip for the editing of inevitable posting-through-texting typos and more pictures in the case that my laptop doesn’t make the trip.

Now to kill the boredom and calm my nerves which aren’t–by the way–made of steel. Maybe I’ll watch Zahir Ahmed’s Dome of the Rock documentary or Danny ‘Hamza’ Thompson’s The Furthest Mosque. The two movies that inspired this trip in the first place. Oh, but is that considered watching TV? I mean those don’t fall into the category of  corrupt TV shows I’m fasting from this Ramadan. Those are movies, and documentaries at that…Islamically-sanctioned and family-friendly! But I feel like I’m cheating if I watch those moving pictures. I guess I’ll just practice my numbers and food vocabulary in Arabic and Hebrew so that I can bargain the heck out of merchants who will try to jack the prices up for tourists!

I’m feeling secure that this is the last message I’ll be publishing before I embark on my trip inshAllah! The first Ramadan message was actually supposed to be…but see…that’s what boredom does to you! But OPERATION: ELATION! is now in order! I have cured the boredom insh’Allah with this post….a little packing…and an OCD list of every single item in all of our luggage for the security personnel’s pleasure and facility. I hope that they’ll appreciate how much detail I’ve put into it, down to the color and type of hijab pin.

As for the laptop, don’t know what I’m going to do yet, but I tell you what, I’m going to make istikhara about it. Why don’t you pray for us, too? As you know, prayers during fasting…

NOTE: This is a post-dated blog entry that was really published on September 7th, after we arrived. It was written on August 17, 2010, with two weeks to go until the flight. Of course, I got paranoid! If I published this and then went, I wouldn’t be able to get any sleep on the flight for fretting over my laptop!

2 thoughts on “Withdrawal

  1. As Salaamu Alaikum Love,

    I’m glad that you and your family made it there safely. I have to say, I think it’s a good thing you’re without television. It gives you more time to reflect and what a better place for reflection than Jerusalem. I personally know you’re a strong willed person and you can do whatever you set your mind to. I’m pretty sure by the end of the week, you’ll become more adjusted and after a while, you won’t even realize you’re without that “boob tube”.

    Salaamat wa Barakat,

    Your Bestie

    • Wa alaikum as-salaam Ola!!!
      Actually, that post was from some time ago in the second week of Ramadan while I was still in the U.S. Here we still have TV and I’m fasting from it too, but it’s a little more enticing as its international in scope. For instance, there were tarawih prayers on Al Quds TV live and there’s those Arabic soap operas from other countries. It’s interesting culturally, and we don’t get to see that in the U.S.! Still working on that reflection and taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells of the city! So I’m holding my ground–thx for the support sis!

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