Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When the cannon goes off!

Nights become days and days become nights in the holy month of Ramadan. It has been years since I have been in Qatar (or the middle east) for a Ramadan but things have not really changed. Yes, the grocery store might be open for longer hours during the day but the attitude of "inshallah tomorrow"increases immensely and the shorter work days are still around.

My Dad has already bought home 3 boxes of dates this Ramadan. In the evening dates are eaten first during Iftar (the time/meal in which they are breaking fast). These dates are from the date palms at the farm. My Dad keeps on going on and on about how good they are but personally I hate them. It is horrible when I am given one and it would be rude to refuse because acting like I like something is not a talent I am good at. 
When we were younger we lived within walking distance of the post office on the corniche. At the post office there was a cannon located there. I don't know why but at least once during the month, and by suggestion of my father, we would go and watch the cannon go off. It is the way to signal that the day is over and it is time to break their fast. 

When I was 15 (maybe even when I was still 14;), and mad I wasn't learning to drive like a normal kid in America, my Dad decided that I would be able to driving from the farm to the round about on the edge of Doha. When the cannon first goes off the roads are so peaceful. Everyone is praying and eating. There might be one speedy person who flies past you because they are late but other than that it was a perfect time to learn how to drive in the Ford Expedition my Dad used to drive. The other day I was driving home on the peaceful roads remembering how funny those times driving with my Dad were. He isn't exactly the best teacher in the world because he gets too nervous and is a horrible "back seat driver." Since I have moved back he still is a horrible passenger. I get a lot of "they are breaking" or "slow down" and sometimes even "there is someone on your left" - not like I have been driving for 7 years or anything?

Ramadan is an interesting month. Not a lot happens but at the same time there is a lot happening just not for none muslims. My students tell me that it is such a busy time for them. They have duties to attend to, meals to eat with certain people, and it is a time for reflection as well as prayer. It is a very spiritual month. Sometimes I don't understand it but after a conversation with someone the other day I see that everyone celebrates it differently and it is all about personal belief. Some have huge meals at the end of the day while others are more traditional and break their fast with soup and have a light meal.  Some pray more than others do but in the end I don't think that anyone should judge this month from the outside unless they have done it (and believe it).

After Ramadan there are two Eid celebrations. One that follows immediately, Eid al-Fitr, and then another one about a month later, Eid al-Adha. From what I know, the first one is more celebrating personally and is called by some as "The Feast Breaking the Fast." A lot of presents, food, and money is given during this Eid. Eid al-Adha or "The Feast of the Sacfice" is a time for charity. Money is given to the poor as well as food (mainly lamb) and people often give to their neighbors. Of course durning both Eids there are different prayers (or more) as well as the celebrations they do not forget that it is still a very holy time.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A written life update for the month of JUNE!

I don't know where June went. Honestly. It was a fast month. I don't even know where to start.

Well... I dropped my Dad off at the start of the month and I was officially in Qatar alone. Instead of throwing house parties, and staying alone in our kind of run down villa I moved in with a friend in West Bay. She lives on the 29th floor of Alfardan Tower and boy was life better up there then in Ameera Gardens. I felt like I was living in a hotel. It was honestly great to be a roomie again with someone my age. After over two weeks there I picked up my best friend since I was 2 from the airport and we hung out for about 4 days before I moved back into my casa and cleaned up the dust before Daddy Duncan arrived. She was here for her birthday so these four days included: TCBY, Hyatt for massages, Intercon for tanning, the boat, The W for dinner, and lots of laughter!

Work officially finished on the 21st of June and all I can say is that it feels really weird not having a class anymore! I get two months off before I have to be back in the office and I haven't' made any plans to travel this summer yet. All I know is that I will be teaching the high school class in the fall and I am looking forward to it! A nice surprise happened at our QAPCO dinner that made before we broke u for the summer. ALL OF THEM WILL BE ATTENDING TAMUQ in the FALL :) Was a serious surprise and a great way to end my first semester of work at TAMUQ. I can honestly say I know I will never have another class like them but I am excited to see who I get after the summer! New students, new lessons, and new memories!

June was a month of pool days, beach days, good news, good times at work, and fun weekends. I kind of wish I could honestly have the month back to do all over again!

My little brother is due to come out to visit for a month soon. This should be fun, however, a tad boring since we have officially hit 50 degrees Celsius and Ramadan is just around the corner. Never the less I can't wait to have him here and to see him :)

Where did June go - picture post update!

View from the flat I stayed in for most of June while my Daddy was away. No one likes to live alone! 

Crazy jetpack thing at the island one weekend.

June consisted of a lot of tanning... 

Yes. That is a lion on a boat! 

Daddy and I saved a parrot before he left. This is the little guy finally free and healthy again! 

No sir, your lion does not want to go swimming at the island! 

June was a bunch of fun weekends, last days of teaching for the semester, and lots of time spent on a boat at the island! 

A detailed written update to follow...