Thursday, July 26, 2012

Let's See, Where Were We?

I took a little blog break, I guess. Sorry about that. It's been super busy around here, and much of what has occupied my interest in the past month has been 100% unbloggable.

It's Ramadan right now, and as Djibouti Jones pointed out, it feels a little strange to be be in a majority-Muslim country during Ramadan. It's a big, important, month-long celebration here, but it has nothing to do with me. The community is fasting, and struggling, and celebrating. Families are gathering every night at sunset to break their fasts - imagine, no food or water AT ALL from sun-up to sun-down, for an entire month. They are gathering prayerfully, and I am sneaking my water when nobody is looking. I am not celebrating. I am not preparing dinners for extended family. It is not my holiday, and yet I am caught up in it each day.

I have, in fact, been invited to an iftar celebration this Friday - the first since I've been here, somehow. So that should be interesting, and fun. Mostly, though, the celebratory aspect of the holiday is lost on me, a non-Muslim.

We did go to the Embassy one night, as a family, to help deliver iftar meals to the guards and police who ring the Embassy compound. They stand post all day, in the July sun, and surely need to break their fasts the moment the call to prayer rings out. Several nights during Ramadan, Embassy volunteers bring food and water to all of them.

By the way, in case it isn't obvious, pretty much everyone in these photos is Muslim except for my immediate family. So I guess Michele Bachmann would be pretty freaked out if she saw these pictures. I'm registered to vote in the state of Virginia, so I can't vote against her, but I am appalled at her bigotry.

Perhaps now would be a good time to mention, for anyone out there who might be wondering, that there is nothing scary about your average Muslim, and the sooner people in the States stop fighting over mosques and arguing about whose religion is superior, the better. The lifeguard who taught my baby to swim is Muslim. The doctor who saw my daughter in the ER last year is Muslim. Our dentist is Muslim. My language teacher is Muslim. The guy who made my lunch yesterday is Muslim - and yes, he is fasting, and no, he didn't care that I am not fasting. Our boab - the man who plays soccer with my kids, and cuts flowers for the girls, and watches over my house when I'm away - yep, he's Muslim, too. If he tried to board a plane with you, you might get nervous. But I trust him with my house and my car and my kids. He is a deeply religious man, and he lives his life in the manner that his God wants for him.  Kind of like your average devout Catholic, I guess. The outward trappings are different (and I am sooo happy that my religion doesn't require a month-long fast from me!) but really, the best religious folk, in any religion, are just trying to do right. Not trying to bend others to their way of worshipping, mind you. Just bending their own selves.

Too bad Michele Bachmann doesn't know any Muslims. She needs to get out more, I guess.

But enough about venomous politicians. Here it is summer, and the kids are spending long hours at the pool and playground. They are baking cookies and brownies from scratch, and fighting over the remote control, and outgrowing every stitch of clothing that they own. My last day on the job was today - I'll start a new one in late August - and we are preparing to take a little vacation soon, so I'm making list-after-list-after-list of Things To Buy in America (New shoes for the kids! Computer equipment! Seaweed crackers! Eyeliner! Birthday supplies! Long-life udon noodles! Chocolate chips! Kids' underwear! Have you ever in your life seen a more random list???).

All in all, life is good here in Amman, if way too busy.

Ramadan Kareem to my Muslim friends.


Sadie said... [Reply]

Ramadan Kareem! Thanks for your much-needed kind words about Muslims - I am similarly outraged about MB's assertions. I love Ramadan here - it's a wonderfully supportive environment because almost everyone is fasting, and iftars are great fun. I have yet to fast a full day, but I am going to try once this week before a work iftar. Have fun at yours!

Dorothy Handelman said... [Reply]

Wonderful, heartfelt post. I am not a fan of organized religion because I see it as dividing peoples against each other instead of embracing the humanity of us all.
Great photos of your kids and the support personnel and glad to hear that your summer (when your kids are mostly underfoot) sounds like your typical summer break. A little bonding, a little boredom, a lot of exercise and a few adventures. Wishing you and yours all the best! (and don't lose those lists!!!)

Becca said... [Reply]

My son;s favorite day camp/after school program counselor is Muslim. IT DOESNT MATTER PEOPLE!!! sigh, wish the whole world thought like me

Heather Dray said... [Reply]

Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing! I am a little bummed we're not in Egypt during Ramadan, but R&R couldn't wait. :-) Love the photos of the delivery meals - those guys work hard at our post, too, and they've always appreciated any time we've shared with them.

Please. Write your own stuff.