Friday, August 26, 2011

Quick, I Gotta Fast

So it's almost the end of Ramadan and while the Muslim world has endured almost 30 days of fasting, I've not even attempted one. I've never fasted a whole day in my life. I tried once when I was a teenager because my older sister decided one year on Ash Wednesday that we should fast like good Catholics. (She's always been a much better person than I am.) I don't know how she convinced me to do it. She's the rule following, organized "we should do this" one and I was always the slacker "okay, sure I'll do that", rule bending breaking opposite. And true to my slacker nature, I broke fast at about 1:30pm that day. The Catholic guilt has consumed me for years and now here it is Ramadan. I must redeem myself. Quick, I gotta fast!

Can you imagine not one, but 30 consecutive days of denying yourself not only food, but water, tobacco, sex and alcohol. Actually, Muslims are never allowed to drink alcohol, but I thought I'd throw it in there to emphasize how dismal Ramadan sounds. All this denial and self-discipline is supposed to teach patience, spirituality and humility. But have you been in afternoon traffic during Ramadan? There is very little empathy, charity, generosity or purity of thought when famished people are driving. In fact, Ramadan is the only time of year I have ever witnessed fist fights in the streets. So does appetence effect spiritual awareness?

Today is the day I'll find out.

7:00am I get up after trying to force myself to sleep in, but I'm old with kids, so I can't.
7:01am Smelling wafts of coffee Craig has brewed. Damn it, I really wish I could sleep in.
7:20am Morning coughing fit which are the remnants of pneumonia. A drink of water would wash these phlegm balls down nicely, but I don't.
7:30am Morning dootie happens right on schedule without the caffiene stimulus. (I'm sorry that you know my morning poo time and now so are you.)
9:00am I make bbq sauce and caesar dressing for a party later on.
9:10am I realize the great thing about cooking is tasting, but I can't so I recruit taste-testers.
10:00am Head to the grocery store to get a few things I need. Luckily I'm not hungry and the grocery store here doesn't have anything tempting anyhow.
10:40am Return home and make watermelon salad for a party in the evening.

10:42am Again, realize how hard it is to prepare food and NOT sample. What cook doesn't eat as they cook? It's just wrong.
11:30am The kids and Craig eat lunch and strangely I'm not even hungry. Did I mention I LOVE food and I cook/shop for/prepare and talk about food a lot during the day?
12:00pm I thought I would be starving by now. Not even a grumble.
12:30pm We head to the pool for an afternoon of swimming.
2:00pm The kids chomp down the snacks I packed because they're "starving". This is ironic since they've eaten a shit load of food already and I've had nothing all day.
3:00pm We return home from the pool.
3:05pm I'm shocked I haven't caved. This whole post was going to be about how I caved and was a raving bitch.
3:10pm Craig says the fast has made me calmer than usual. Which gets me thinking, am I usually a high strung raving bitch? Is that what he meant?
4:00pm I finish the Caesar salad for the party and I got the recipe for the dressing off the internet and hope it's not gross since I can't try it myself before the party where I will serve it to real live people.
5:00pm We arrive at our friends house. I induldge in a glass of water.
5:30pm Ok, I'm at a party. I'm not going to wait until 7:04pm to officially break my fast cause that would be unparty-esque of me.
5:31pm Muslims traditionally break fast with water and dates. Me? I break fast with cumin gouda on a cracker and red wine. Cheers!
7:05 The official call to prayer and cannon boom is heard throughout the city breaking the fast.

It sounds a little something like this..

(Oh and this is me accurately translating every word of what is being said during the call to prayer.)

(And yes, I'm positive the word "please" was said so many times because apparently Moroccans are second in politeness only to Canadians.)

So while Moroccans are feasting on sweets and tagines at their Iftar. We're going American style. BBQ chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, watermelon, potato salad, pasta salad, mac and cheese.

So what what have I learned today? I would make a great anorexic. (Please note: I do not condone eating disorders nor do I or have I ever had one.) I've also learned the word fasting is completely misleading. Fasting is in fact a slow process. It should be called lethargic-ing or somnolent-ing or sloth-ing. It would be far more accurate. And finally I can absolve myself of my Catholic guilt I have carried with me since I was a teenager. But I did break fast with a glass of red wine and a cracker. Oh my god! That's just like communion. And I haven't been to communion since I don't know when. Damn it, this guilt isn't going away any time soon. I guess that's my epiphany.


Roy A. said...

Loved your post, Marie.
And, I see you have made your return safely (surprised there was no travelogue!)
And, I loved the translation!

The Loerzels said...

There will be a travelougue because I haven't even gotten to Colorado yet. I had to interupt the vacation series to do this post before Ramadan is over.

Jaime Brown said...

First I want to say that I absolutely love your blog. I'm a fairly new addict and since I'm also an American chick living in Morocco, I can totally relate. I especially love "The Other Man" (nothing says 'sex appeal' like a neon yellow vest) and the "Cofee, Donuts, and Camels."

Your sense of humor is definitely very much like mine and your tell-it-like-it-is attitude cracks me up. I've loved all of your posts that I've read but I have to say this one is kind of disappointing. I'm a recovering Catholic and I converted to Islam about a year ago. I totally get that Ramadan is everywhere around you because of your location, but it's kind of hurtful that you made such a mockery of it. The people who are really dedicated to self-purification, discipline, and self-improvement deserve respect. I understand that not all Muslims are good examples (especially during rush hour) but it's like that with any group of people.

I'm not going to say that I'm all offended and poo-pooey over here, but I'm just a little surprised. Your intelligence shows through your writing and I'm surprised that you stooped to such a level to make a mockery of God and the dedication people have to their faith.

Don't get me wrong--I'm still a fan and I'm still going to keep you on my reading list.

In the meantime, I'll be anxiously awaiting your posts about what it's like to be back in the States after being here so long. I have a feeling you'll post it soon...inshallah :)

PS--I'm not trying to "advertise" or whatever on here, but if you want to see what it's like from a Muslim's perspective, you can see here:

You can also delete my PS part if you don't want it on there.

PPS--how do you make watermelon salad?

The Loerzels said...

I'm sorry that you see this post as a mockery of Ramadan. I peronally thought I spread my humor around fairly evenly between America, Morocco, Catholicism, Islam, my kids and especially me in my posts.

I do not delete comments (except spam...which I delete the crap out of). I appreciate your view even if I disagree.

The Watermelon salad totally rocks:
3 cups cubed watermelon
1/2 cup feta
7 oz. arugula
1/4 cup small red onion sliced thin.
2 tbsp balsalmic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
black olives (optional)


cath said...

Religious humor is never an easy thing to do, and I think you did rather well. The reason I understand it is because I have been carrying around a load of Catholic guilt for 40 years or more. Should I be offended that you mentioned Catholics in your post? No, because I have been Baptist for about 38 years.

Good post...I don't make it over as often as I'd like, but always enjoy it when I do.
~cath xo

The Loerzels said...

It's funny, cause I thought the most controversial part of this post was going to be anorexia.

Jaime Brown said...

Good point.

I suppose I never bat a lash when someone makes a Catholic joke--so I totally get why you don't think twice about a Muslim joke.

Either way, I LOVE the blog! Keep 'em comin! :)

Shasta said...

Oh man, you've revived my dream of living abroad with kids. ...what I didn't know was that those kids would be twins and one would have a disability, but I'm feeling like I can dream the dream again. I'll take your advice to heart though and not wait until they are tweens! ;)

Heidi said...

Hi there, visiting from FTLOB and totally laughed at this post. I too am recovering from a ton of Catholic guilt and appreciated the fact that you haven't taken religion (any religion) too seriously, even while in the midst of a whole new culture. Also, your family is amazing for traveling abroad with kids; I barely survived a weekend in the San Juan Islands with my three daughters without my husband in tow. :)

Ross said...

Found your site through FTLOB and you had me in stitches with your translation of the call to prayer. I like your site and look forward to reading more.


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