Wow, where did the time go? Without I even realized it, it’s already the last week of Ramadan. This Ramadan marks my first Ramadan after I got married and moved to the US. It means it’s also our first Ramadan together, R and I 🙂 I was inspired by Deny’s blog post about her Ramadan experience in The Netherlands so I decided to share my story too.
This year Ramadan falls in the early days of Summer. We started fasting mid-May, and we’re about to finish it next week. In Southern California, this means that I stop eating at about 4:30 AM, and eat again when the sun sets at about 7:50 – 8:00 PM.
Unlike in Indonesia, fasting in Ramadan is not a privilege. I was actually struggling to find the right word, I had to think for a bit. But I think ‘privilege’ is a suitable word. In Indonesia, the whole country anticipated Ramadan. The government and the society altogether make adjustments to make it easier for Muslims to fast and pray during the month. For example, The government announced a special working hour just for Ramadan month only for all government offices. Of course, a lot of private companies are following this arrangement. Then there’s also the long holiday. I heard that this year the government set 10 working days as a public holiday! How come they didn’t do it when I was still working… jealous now 😛 Oh, and don’t get me started on the society. Restaurants are closed during the day, even if they’re open, they would have blinds or shades to cover any activities of people eating from the eyes of a passer-by. Now that I’m here, I can’t help but think, how privileged I was as a fasting Muslim in Indonesia?
Here in the US, everything is business as usual. Obviously, restaurants are not closed during the day, perhaps maybe the ones operated by Muslims? I’m not sure, but maybe not, because my favorite Indonesian restaurant which I know is Muslim-owned still keeps its normal hours.
There’s no public holiday in the US to celebrate Ramadan or even Eid day. Because this year Eid will fall on a Friday, R had to ask for a leave from his office so that we can pray and spend the day with family. We were anxious that his company will grant him his leave, because he kind of applied last minute (we forgot about that!), but thank God it got approved.
As for being a housewife during Ramadan.. well I have to say that I’m so lucky that R and I shared the same preferences. Instead of having a full meal during suhoor, we prefer to have a breakfast-like meal, which is mostly cereal / oatmeal / toast, a lot of water / smoothies, and some vitamins. That seriously helped me a lot as it doesn’t take a long time to prepare.
I’m also blessed that the weather was nice during the past three weeks, it was rather cloudy with some chilly breeze, so although it’s my first time fasting for more than 12 hours, I didn’t feel a burden at all. We also managed to have daily walks around the neighborhood before sunset and I feel like it keeps me refreshed while waiting for the time to break our fast.
Since we have family and friends here, we still managed to have a couple of gatherings together to break the fast. Although seriously, I miss how we did these gatherings in Indonesia! Back then, gatherings to break the fast, or iftaar, were so festive! Food was abundant, people were merry, and it’s a good time to reconnect with old friends and families you rarely meet. You can really feel that you’re a part of the Muslim community back then, because, well, it seemed like most of people in your surroundings are too!
Here in the US, I am yet to connect with the community. Although we go to the mosque, but it still feels different. But I don’t mind. For me, this Ramadan was about R and I as a family. I enjoy the times we spent connecting with each other and praying together, and I look forward to many more years of Ramadan together, with God’s willing.
Anyway, Ramadan Mubarak to everyone! May we all be blessed to meet many more Ramadans in our lifetime… and to everyone else, have a good summer! 🙂