I met a Nate.
Not a Nate.
But a guy with the name Nate.
I've been gone this past week to a New Teacher Orientation for my new job as a first grade teacher.(Insha'Allah)
I stayed in a five start hotel, and was spoiled like crazy. And loved every. single. second. (Alhamdullilah)
George Bush Sr. and Jr. stayed in this hotel and Colin Powell and some other really VIP-ish people.
(If you look closely, you can see me in the reflection. Don't you love my polka dot shawl. And my fake Coach purse :) )
And the chandeliers in the hotel were the size of a house.
There were 200 new teachers hired by our employer. Most from this state and others from other states.
It was a week filled with teacher stuff. Free stuff. And fun stuff.
The girl I was supposed to room with couldn't make it due to a family emergency and I thought the hotel and my employer would overlook that and let me stay in a room by myself.
They assigned me a random roommate. I checked into our hotel room first and decided to relax before our meet and greet.
I took off my hijab and started to unpack and a half our later, my roommate knocks on the door. I looked through the peep hole just in case it was room service or a guy or both.
My roommate turned out to be a really sweet girl that was going to be teaching fourth grade. We clicked right away.
Before we left to the meet and greet, I had to pray one of the five daily prayers that is obligatory on Muslims. Also one of the five pillars of Islam.
When we pray, we don't just bow our heads and clasp our hands. It's a totally different process. We recite surahs (passages) from the Qur'an. We prostrate in front of Allah. We kneel on our knees. And we bow down to our Creator. We go from one movement to the next while reciting Surahs.
Its a bit of a complicated method.
And to people who may not be familiar with it, you might not understand what exactly is going on.
I wanted to explain to my roommate what it was I was doing so she wouldn't judge me and think I was a weirdo kissing the floor.
I will admit that I was wary of explaining it and kind of shy about doing it as well.
I'm not ashamed to talk about being Muslim and explaining my faith. Nor am I embarrassed of it.
I am scared though, that people will judge me.
So I kept hesitating. But I needed to pray. And she wasn't leaving the room without me.
So what to do?
I just told her, "Muslims need to pray five times a day and I need to pray before we go to the meet and greet.Cool?"
And she said Ok and asked if I needed some privacy, and I said it would be ok if she stayed.
And that was that.
As the week went on, she asked more questions which I really,REALLY appreciated. I love it when people ask questions about Islam and Muslims instead of just wondering.
She wasn't the only one.
Remember the Nate I mentioned before? Well we spent an hour just talking about Muslims and Islam. And he even told me at the end of the convo that I explained (and hopefully wiped away) a lot of stereotypes that he had before.
I guess what I really want to say to you all is that, if you have questions for us, we would really appreciate it if you would just ask them, and would be more than happy to answer them.
To the best of our abilities that is. And in due time. (Because if you haven't noticed already, we are a bit of a slow bunch here at Symphonic Discord)