Happy Eid!

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“We’ll check the moon tonight”, a  funny remark by my Muslim friend when I asked when is Eid.

Some things still I don’t even try to understand but as part of living in an Arab country it doesn’t hurt to educate oneself.

Some will be happy, some will be sad. Happy, for the time of fasting is over and a breath of new beginning for all our Muslim brothers. As for us, non-Muslims, we’ll be missing the slow and short working hours of Ramadan.

Before starting our regular working schedules, it’s time to reboot. Pack your bags and go on a holiday. It’s Eid! Or maybe not, like me, I don’t want to join the raging swarm of holiday buzzers going to Dubai or out of the country. I will stay put and find things to do in this quiet suburban place- watch movies, go shopping at the local malls, order take-outs, go fishing or swimming. So much to do and alas, so little time.

Whatever you had planned this Eid, just enjoy and have fun!

Eid Mubarak to all!

Ready for Ramadan?

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It’s that time of the year again. Ramadan! Am I ready for Ramadan?

7 years ago, I experienced “Ramadan” during the hot summer in the UAE. Being a non-Muslim, it was an really an interesting experience. First thing I learned was the “NOT TO DO” during this holy month- no eating in public not even a candy nor a bubblegum. The Muslims usually eat before sunrise and refrain from eating during the day and then break their fasting at sunset after praying.

This Ramadan their fasting period is around 14 hours. Its an amazing feat of faith. I cannot stay even more than 2 hours not eating.  The Muslims have my full respect on this one. Its really a great sacrifice to deprive yourself with the means to live- food!

So here’s my Ramadan routine. I start work at 9 AM. When it’s not Ramadan, I can arrange myself for work at 8:30 AM and then eat breakfast at the office. During Ramadan, I wake up before 8 AM and eat a heavy breakfast that can last me 3 days if you know what I mean and drink lots of water. Stuffing myself, like a camel does, ensures 4 1/2 hours of non-stop work without food and water.  The hardest part of our Ramadan timing is coming back in the evening. We usually come back for a 1 1/2 night shift.  It’s not a very productive time. Usually, we spend this time drinking tea or coffee while chatting only. I am just happy to get a half-day during Ramadan since we work regularly 48 hours from Saturday-Thursday. During Ramadan, the 8-hour work schedule is 2 hours less.

Am I ready for Ramadan? Definitely!