Sunday, October 23, 2005

It is the weirdest calendar keeps insisting that it is October. Naturally I do not beleive it for one second. Afterall, I wake up to 90 degree days and spend weekends at the beach. There are approximately, um..... let me think about it, ZERO high school football games to watch. And there appears to be a less than lack-luster feeling towards dressing up like a bunny (or ninja or pirate...) on the 31st. is fall but I don't recognize it. "My" fall has been marked, not by the of changing leaves and seasons, but by a change in lifestyle......a.k.a. Ramadan.

What is it?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. It is during this month that Muslims observe the Fast of Ramadan. Lasting for the entire month, Muslims fast during the daylight hours and in the evening eat small meals and visit with friends and family. By fasting one can relate to those less fortunate than them who are often hungry. Ramadan is a time of charity, worship, and contemplation. Most importantly, it is viewed as a time to strengthen family and community ties. It is a beautiful tradition, really.

That said, I would make a piss poor Muslim….round about 11:00 a.m. my stomach gives in to temptation and all good intentions of fasting are out the window. I have, however, mastered the “visiting with friends” part of the tradition. One out of two ain’t bad, if you ask me.

So….what does Ramadan mean for me?
I can’t (or shouldn’t) eat, drink, chew gum, smoke (which I don’t anyway), hold hands, or curse in public. It isn’t so much that you can’t but is considered disrespectful and strongly discouraged.

I start school at 8:20 am as opposed to 7:45 a.m. School is out @1:45 instead of 2:45. So basically all of our classes are shorter during Ramadan. This is semi-sweet. For instance, we get to sleep in, but there is no lunch. You would think this would be a blessing if you were trying to shed a few pounds (which you would be if you lived in the UAE because you never have to lift a finger). However, I think you end up eating more. Anytime you are left alone in a room you feel the compulsion to stuff something in your face just because you can and you never know when your next chance will be. Or perhaps I just have a dysfunctional relationship with food….either way, I think Ramadan also means I will have to up my workouts to 4 times a week.

Starbucks does not open until 6 p.m. thus I’m making joe at home. Unsatisfying coffee + early hours + crazy kids = angry ditty.

I get to travel to Istanbul, Turkey for 5 days during Eid. Eid is a celebration/holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. We have 3 school days off and a few of us are taking off to wander around Turkey, drink strong coffee, and inevitably cause a bit of a ruckus. It is super cheap to fly there from here (all in all for flight and hotel I am paying around 350 US dollars!!!)

When I went on a desert safari last weekend, there were no belly dancers. But there was dune-bashing (a.k.a. hop in a Land Cruiser with a crazy ‘no-fear’ driver, strap on your seatbelt, and go flying over enormous sand dunes, almost tipping over every 2-3 seconds…..Fun in a sort of ‘wow-my-life-as-i-know-it-may-very-well-be-over’ kind of way), henna tattoos, shisha smoking, camel trekking, and dinner under the desert stars. SO MUCH FUN!!! If you come visit….this little excursion is a must!!!

Bars don’t have live music….no booty shaking for a month. Darn.

I actually have a little time to catch up on emails and blogs. Too bad, like my kiddos, I often fail to use my time wisely and now I must rush off to plan yet again.

Anyway I hope everybody is well!!! I miss you all and welcome any updates from the states!!! Watch out for them there hurricanes!!!


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