Tonight we went to the Coral Springs masjid with our Bosnian friends--a family of seven, with children ranging from age 2 to 12. It was enjoyable and educational. I got all dressed for the occasion: long sleeves, long, loose fitting jumper, and a traditional hijab. I don't really like the way I look in hijab, but in the past when I wore a headscarf I had trouble keeping it from slipping out of place, and especially if I am joining in the prayers I'm already self-conscious enough without worrying about that.
We arrived at our friends' house at 7:00, chatted a bit and then went with two vans to the mosque. Everyone was breaking fast with a light snack of chick peas and figs and water before the sunset prayers. We separated by gender when we arrived, which meant the oldest child, a boy, went with the two men, leaving us two women with the four girls, age 2 - 11. All the women and girls went upstairs for prayers and then came back down for dinner. I don't know what the men did; they were behind a curtain.
The food was good: chicken curry and rice, some vegetables, and a kind of fruit pudding for dessert. Conversation was enlightening. Our friends are very strict Muslims and are always glad to share their beliefs and practices and the rationale behind them. They feel alienated in American culture but think their way of life is better. I'm sure they are right, as far as they are concerned. But I was ready to ditch the head covering as soon as we were in the car coming home.
Earlier in the day I had felt out of sorts and really not in the mood to attend someone else's worship service. But in the actual event, it was very nice to spend time with our friends and see their beautiful children. It was also fun to surprise a couple of other Muslims whom I know from my interfaith group--they were impressed by the hijab and got a good laugh because they have never seen me wear it before.