I’ve decided that I need to make the most of this time or otherwise I am going to sleep my life away. And….. I’ve been slacking on writing. I did as much research before relocating here so that I could understand my new life. I remember the school informing us last spring that during Ramadan we probably wouldn’t hear a lot from them because the working hours would be shortened. Per the government we can only work five hours per day. That means that most days I work 8:30-1:30. I went to a session provided by the school to get better understand of Ramadan from an expat perspective. How to handle the students and what life looks like during this time. Now, as much as I felt prepared for this…. I don’t think I really was and I don’t know if I will survive.
Photo Credit – @pngtree
The students are fasting and due to this we have changed what they do in physical education. We have completed all of our units and grades for the year. It’s May 5th. The last day of school is June 4th. So for the next four weeks they will come to PE with the following options: table tennis, badminton, football (dependent on energy levels, work on other assignments or “rest” on the mat. So the kids have been very low key the last two days. I am bored out of my mind.
So what is Ramadan?
There are about 1.8 billion Muslims that will be observing Ramadan. The Crescent Sighting Committee at the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in Doha are responsible for monitoring and announcing the start and finish. During Ramadan, Muslims fast, which is one of the pillars of Islam ( I know this because I teach Qatar history). The fasting period is for the duration and begins at sunrise through sunset. Not only are Muslims fasting, but they reflect, pray, do good deeds and get gather with friends and family.
If you would like more information on Ramadan take a look at this QTip from Mr. Q.
At sunset, after prayers, they break the fast and participate in in Iftar. Additionally, right before dawn there is Suhoor. So you can imagine there is a lot of eating that takes place between sunset and sunrise. Also, that means there is not a lot sleep happening. Hence, the shortened day.
So here’s what’s been going on with me:
Monday May 6th: My Ramadan schedule began today. I arrived at work around 8:10. The kids were still not feeling the effects of fasting. Some played while other sat around. The day was pretty smooth. I left work at 1:30. I came home and watched Netflix for a while and then I went to bed. I woke up around 7:30 and had dinner.
Tuesday May 7th: Today I heard a few kids talking about being thirsty. But overall, they seem to be holding up pretty well. On the other hand, the Coffee Bean on campus is closed so I have not had a iced coffee in a few days, but I’m surviving. I came home and took a nap, waking up around 7:00 pm to cook dinner. I also needed to find some coffee, so a trip to Caribou Coffee was needed. Headache solved. Today is also the day that I decided to journal my Ramadan experience. Hopefully, this will give me something to do, allow future expats of Muslim countries to understand ways to cope during this time and Americans to understand the Muslim way of life.
Wednesday May 8th: Just another day in Ramadan paradise. The day goes by really fast. I am in the middle of trying to get all of my grades done. It’s seems to be a little bit of task, but I will survive. I was able to leave today at 1 PM. I met Leslie at Santa Monica Breakfast Club for lunch. That was a real treat since we don’t typically get to do things of that nature during the our regular schedules. We have been to SMBC for dinner before and I wasn’t very happy with food. I have to say that this time around the food was good. Maybe we will have a weekly lunch if our schedules work out. In other news, I have been binging on Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court via Youtube. I am not even sure why I watch other than I am shocked at the cases. The episode I am watching right now features a young woman who has had relations with her mother’s boyfriend. She gets pregnant and he might be the baby daddy. Like why? I probably need to find something of substance to watch. I digress at times. The verdict just came. He is not the father, but the damage has been done. The mother suggests that they all get counseling. The mother’s boyfriend said we can help her. The judge asked with the most outrageous thing I’ve ever heard. It was followed by, “Can you help her and keep your hands off of her at the same time?” Weird. Next episode started…. girl has been there previously and tested two men that were determined not to be the fathers. She brings back more. I’ll stop now.
Thursday May 9th: I survived the first week and I pray that my students are doing well with the fasting. I dressed casual today, which felt amazing. A romper, birkenstock and a cardigan. This is non Ramadan related, but I got a maid today. I just didn’t want to clean myself. Also at 35 QR ($9) per hour for 2 hours of cleaning is well spent money in my book. Anyway, school went well but I can tell the kids are just worn out after four days of fasting. They are quiet and just roaming around. I am not fasting, but I find myself hungry and thirsty because I don’t have easy access to eating during the day. I decided to go to IKEA while my villa was being cleaned. This was the best trip ever. IKEA is typically busy with families all over the place. You can barely move through the store. I mean I strolled through the store for a good two hours. I even sat down in the clearance area and read an article, played a game and checked my email. But guess what… I couldn’t get a cone of ice cream so I had to run over to Monoprix and get a drink. The drink had to stay in my bag until I got in the car. I made it home safely, but do know Ramadan driving is a little insane. I guess everyone is trying to get somewhere to rest.
This has been my first journaling and reflection of Ramadan. I will continue to jot down my thoughts during this time and share them weekly. I stepped away for a while, but I’m back and it feels good to be writing again.