Sunday, February 7, 2016

My umrah story with a toddler and a baby - Part 2: Handling the girls in Masjid Nabawi, Madinah

Read my part 1 story here.

As soon as we arrived in the hotel, we were too tired to do anything and immediately fell asleep.

We stayed in Dallah Taibah hotel, just opposite of the Masjid Nabawi. With 4 bed for all 6 of us including my parents. Very very comfortable, I must say. Location, food, hospitality as well as the services, I would highly recommend.

View from hotel window, you can even see Masjid Nabawi

Day 2

Since the time difference between Madinah and Malaysia is 5 hours, in shaa Allah it is easier for us to wake up for tahajjud. 3am in Madinah means 8am in Malaysia, so we were wide awake by then. Don't miss the opportunity for tahajjud k, friends.

We were excited to perform Subuh in Masjid Nabawi. We arrived half an hour before azan because we were scared that the gate would be closed. But later, we found out that they do not close the gate at all. You can even enter as masbuk.

In Masjid Nabawi, your bags will be checked first as they do not allow bringing in cameras. And they have special praying areas for mommies with kids. But not for daddies with kids though, you can pray in the normal praying area.

With my 4 y.o; the lion is her harness

Since we have 2 girls, Love decided to take care of our 15 months old Aisha and I decided to take care of 4 years old Khaira because they behave better with us.

I must say that it is easier with Aisha as she was still small and clingy. Love carried her during jemaah and the rest of the time, she just sat still in her carrier or at the prayer mat eating her biscuit happily.

With Khaira, she had the tendency to run around the praying area, make new friends and hence make noises. What I did was I talk to her about the ethics in mosque before each prayer. And put her next to me on a prayer mat with her toys and books. Most of the time it worked and she would have her new friends play, colour and read with her. Other times, she would just run around, but never that far.

Btw, you can bring in any toys in the mosque except dolls and guns.

Husband with my 15m.o

These kids tend to get hungry during prayer time. Because in between azan and iqamat would took approximately 15 minutes. I normally arrived around 15 minutes before azan. Let them settle down, had my Solat tahiyatul masjid, solat taubat, solat hajat, sujud syukur and then normally I still have some time to qada' solat before solat fardhu jemaah begun. After jemaah, I would recite some Quran before I left. So altogether, perhaps around half an hour with the kids in the mosque.

I brought lots and variety of snacks I bought from Malaysia. In the mosque, the Arabs love kids and my girls always got some Arabic or Turks snacks to bring home. And they always gave their snacks to the kids in the mosque as well.

Zam zam water is available everywhere in the mosque, so don't worry much about bringing water bottle for your kids. I do bring an empty one for me to fill in with zam zam water at the mosque to drink in the hotel later.

Zam zam water is provided together with the cup, my girls enjoyed the free flow so much

To help handle the girls, we found our Pognae carrier is really useful for our baby and our harness really useful for the toddler.

After Subuh prayer, we were shocked that all the way from Masjid Nabawi to our hotel has turned into Pasar. Jubah was so so cheap as cheap as 10 riyal (about RM11). It opens after Subuh and Asar, we bought 80% of our souvenirs here.

We promised to meet each other in front of gate 25. But we couldn't find each other due to the chaosness of the pasar. My suggestion, just meet your better half at the hotel to avoid confusion.

Then, we had our yummy breakfast and got ready for our visit to Masjid Nabawi with the tour.

With Rayhar, we visited Raudhah and the Baqi' Cemetery.

We were given the opportunity to pray inside Raudhah; me with Khaira, Love with Aisha, Alhamdulillah. Allah swt eases everything as the Arabs love kids a lot so they just let us in. Raudhah used to be the house of Rasulullah saw and later his tomb. So much love for this messenger of Allah swt, I cried so badly everytime I had to leave Raudhah.

The Baqi' Cemetery contains many of Rasulullah's relatives and companions. It's just a walking distance away from Masjid Nabawi.

My visit in Raudhah brought so much tears and sadness. Within that couple of hours, I fell in love with Madinah so much.. I just want to stay there, so close to the man I love with all my heart and yet I've never met before.

Just by remembering it brings so much sadness already. Guess I'll see you in my next post, in shaa Allah.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

My umrah story with a toddler and a baby - Part 1: the travelling experience.

As salam everyone!! Sorry for the overdue post, been trying to settle down with the girls' jetlag and my everyday routine. And now I'm back.

So, we (my parents, hubs, both my girls and I) left Malaysia on 13th January, our travel agent is Rayhar and using Saudia Airlines. Departed from KLIA where we needed to be there 3 hours before and a short briefing by our agent before we went into the departure hall.

Flight duration was 9 hours, we left Malaysia at 2pm and arrived at 11 pm Malaysia time (7 pm Madinah's time). Transit for less than an hour in Riyadh.

I prepared everything I could because by far this is the longest flight for the girls (Khaira had 8 hours flight from Japan to Malaysia 2 years back, the longest flight Aisha had was only 3 hours).

What I brought in the flight:
1) Colouring books for each girls with colour pencils
2) Lots of videos in my phone
3) Legos
4) Play Doh
5) Jigsaw puzzles
6) Lots and variety of snacks

What I actually used in the flight:
Just snacks.

Haha! It's ok to be over prepared right!

Turned out the kids were already happy with the movies and games provided by Saudia, they couldn't care less about other things. They were too hungry in between meal time (meal was served twice), so the snacks came in handy. The rest of the time, they just slept all the wayyyy and everyone in the flight was complimenting them, Alhamdulillah, I always said to my husband, they were born traveler like us. We have at least two holidays a year, so I guess they are used to it.

Also, I must highly recommend Saudia, the kids were pampered with other toys and gifts in the flight, they were so happy.

Arrived at Madinah with the airport so packed of people checking out. Alhamdulillah, it took us about one hour and a half to clear, very efficient service I must say. We had it longer in Goldcoast Airport last time, with less people. Their immigration took all 10 fingerprints of ours, I have no fingerprints due to eczema, so I came in prepared with letters from JPN and from my specialists. My first miracle in my Umrah journey came in when for the first time in my life, the device managed to scan my fingerprints in only one attempt (Some of my family members had theirs up to three times although they have no fingerprints problem).

Arrived in Madinah with temperature outside around 17 degrees. Took a bus around half an hour to our hotel.

Happy baby in holiday mode!

Will continue my Madinah story in Part 2.

Read my Part 2 here.