It is late at night here, and I am currently sitting with my laptop, looking up a few things and jumping from one link to another. I am in Northern-Norway, and tonight it will not get completely dark outside. When I look out the window, I can still see the dark blue in the sky. Sunset was at 10 pm this evening, and in a few short weeks, the sun will not set at all. Though I am tired, I am waiting for the next prayer time to begin, so that I can pray and then go to sleep. Now that the late-night prayer (isha) and the dawn prayer (fajr) are so close to each other, I find it easier to just stay awake between the two prayers.
It has been a strange few months, and I have not been able to blog consistently like I hoped for. I finished my bachelor’s degree in the United States last May, and at the beginning of this year, I decided to move home until I start my master’s degree. I was nervous about coming home, and I dreaded it a little as I knew that it would be different. I moved to the US three and a half years ago, and I only visited home once since then. My family and my friends here has gotten used to living a life without me while I had gotten used to my own routines and separate life in the US.
I also converted to Islam since the last time I saw my family. May 28, 2016, to be exact. Though it came as a shock to my family, it had been a gradual development for me.
When I left Norway, I had never met anyone who was Muslim. My only exposure to the religion had been through media and a couple of classes that talked briefly about all the main religions of the world. In other words, I knew nothing about Islam. I met a Muslim woman in one of my classes, and I got really curious. I had heard they could not make any independent decisions and that they could easily get offended, so I figured I had to be very careful in my approach to this woman. We ended up in the same group, and upon getting her phone number I realized I had no idea how to talk to her. I was more nervous about sending her a simple text than I had been to talk to my crush in middle school! When I eventually managed to find the courage to talk to her and meet her for coffee, I was pleasantly surprised. She was the nicest woman, and we even had many things in common. We shared a love for our families. We spent much time together going shopping, going to the movies, or getting lunch together. I felt brave when I finally asked her about the way she dressed (hijab) and why she did not eat certain meats such as pepperoni on the pizza. I was intrigued and my friend was not offended by my questions at all.
I continued to ask a few questions now and then, but most of the time I did not think much about Islam or Muslims. After leaving Christianity a few years earlier, I had sworn not to have anything to do with religion ever again and though I was a little curious about how Muslims could live the way they do, I left it at that for a while.