Hey all! Things have been a little busy, so I apologize for the delay in getting this post out. With Jonathan’s recent hospitalization(s), Ramadan, Eid, and final exams, I’ve been one busy mamacita. So, allow me to recap the last month or so. Disclaimer: long post. 😏
May 17th began the holy month for Muslims: Ramadan. Ramadan is a 30-day period of fasting for Muslims to commemorate when the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. It is a very sacred period for Muslims, and consists of them fasting from sunrise to sunset. Additionally, they are to abstain from impure thoughts and behaviors including sex, smoking, and spirits. Everyone (including non-Muslims) are not permitted to eat or drink in public (including chewing gum), and the country pretty much shuts down until Iftar (breaking of fast) at sunset. Most businesses work on a modified schedule during this time, and school hours are also shortened, as most students usually stay home with their families to fast.
Note: special accommodations are made for those who are pregnant, ill, or elderly. As someone who frequently fasts, I thought fasting during Ramadan would be no problem. Lies I told myself! It’s all fun and games until it’s 115 degrees (not a hyperbole) outside, and you can’t drink water in public. Talking about Le Struggle! Fortunately for me, most restaurants and most schools provide a space for non-Muslims to eat and drink out of sight of others. Y’all should’ve seen my coworkers and I in that room eating and drinking. 🤣However, on many days, Jonathan and I decided (or at least attempted) to fast most of the day, and broke fast with the rest of the country at sunset. Iftar meals are literally like Thanksgiving for 30 days straight. I had the opportunity to enjoy Iftar with my UAE Framily, and it was an amazing experience.
As Ramadan was coming to a close, Jonathan and I celebrated 7 years of marriage. He and my desert sisters planned an amazing boat ride and dinner in Dubai. It was beautiful, and the food was to die for.
After Ramadan ends, the party really begins. Eid-Al-Fitr is a three-day (although Saudi Arabia extended theirs 🙂) celebration to mark the ending of the holy month. Think of Christmas meets New Years Eve meets Fourth of July. Gifts are given, new clothes and perfumes are worn, and school and most businesses are closed. 2018 in the UAE has been declared the Year of Zayed, which marks what would have been the 100th birthday of UAE’s founder, His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. His son, the acting president, Sheikh Khalifa, decided that ALL government employees needed a little extra something to celebrate Eid. So, he decided to give us a hefty salary bonus, just in time for Eid!
Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to partake in any of the festivities, as Jonathan was hospitalized again. But we’re still enjoying that bonus. 😏
Things are pretty much back to normal around here. We can eat and drink in public again, school is back in session (though the girls are finished, and only have to come sporadically for exams), and Jonathan is out of the hospital. Alhamdullah (Praise God). Now the countdown to the longest school year in history officially ending and our trek to the US of A is on.
Until next time ✌🏽