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Monday, December 12, 2016

Spiritual Journey in Toronto

When I was planning my visit to Toronto, I wanted to get in touch with my spiritual side. I won't get too much into my story, but I knew I wanted to visit a mosque. I found one on Danforth Avenue in Toronto. When I arrived in Toronto, I wanted to plan my trip to see how far I'd have to travel. It wasn't a far travel and I even met with the Imam of the mosque on Danforth Avenue. He was nice and gave me a time I should arrive. After our meeting, I went for tea. But, I had to write about the meeting for my book:

Ah, this is probably awkward; what was I thinking
walking into this store asking for a cup of tea?
I was hoping it’d open the door for conversation
about the mosque next door. I’m too nervous
to just walk in and no one would be there.
Maybe this shop owner knows.
And now he’s walking me up the street,
the people busily walking along Danforth Avenue,
he wants to help me find tea to warm me up.
I decide to ask him; it’s now or never.
I slowly open my mouth and tell him the real reason.
He’s happy to help! I’m grateful for his help!
And how grateful I am to have overcome my fears
of asking and meeting others! My cheeks turn pink and warm.

However, I didn't end up at the mosque. After I got dressed up for the occasion, I needed help putting on my head scarf. I met a Muslim young woman waiting for the TTC. I took a deep breath, walked over to her, introduced myself, told her I was going to a service, and I needed help. She was extremely happy to help me and said I should join her. I ended up going to her mosque and I made a new friend. I met many nice women that day and had lunch with them afterward. I loved having lunch with the women and children.

Here are some poems I wrote about the experience:

We peer through the fencing down below,
the imam stands in front of men, his words flow
with might that rocks the center of my heart,
not peering away, his words don’t slow.

Behind me I feel restless children, they don’t want to part
from their mothers; quiet laughter starts.
As the sermon continues, I turn away
and watch the children and the mothers; sun darts

through stained glass windows, on the rug swaying
East. We get ready to face it and pray;
his words are loving and kind, the welcome they show;
as I cup their hands and kiss their cheeks, tears display.

After the hugs and the kissing on my cheeks,
“welcome!” they all sing, “nice to meet you!”
After the tour and watching children sneak
behind doors for hide and seek, or playing too.
In the kitchen next to the classroom
for Saturday’s weekly instruction; turn on the lights,
quickly open the cabinet doors and zoom
for the perfect spices that give the tea bite:

Cardamom on bottom first,
then pepper for kick:
tarragon for health and thirst;
cinnamon hint, slick—
dash of sugar’s sweet,
a clove treat?

She quickly stirs the contents and water boils,
in five minutes we have a spice tea—thirst unspoiled.

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