Tale of two Ramadans

I keep thinking about it, trying to analyze my feelings and figure out why this past Ramadan was literally the best I’ve experienced in 4 years (ie, since we left America).  The only thing I can figure is, the sense of not having any ‘place’ in Egyptian society really effected me more than I realized.  Despite being a minority, in religion as well as race in America, I can’t help but feel that I  belong here.  As much ease as I felt in regard to my kids and their Islamic upbringing, in Egypt thoughts of the future stretched out into a really bleak, lonely horizon.  We did make friends, but for the most part, they kept their ties with their countries, and would travel back and forth. 

Usually in Egypt, dh would go out to the masjid alone.  The closer neighborhood ones were usually small, with no space for women.  The larger masajid did have a space for women, and many Egyptian women do attend the prayers, especially in Ramadan.  But, if we all wanted to go, that usually meant a taxi, or a hike.  Not something I was interested in after fasting all day.  So the kids and I usually stayed home. 

This Ramadan, the masjid is right around the corner, literally walking distance.  I went to tarawih probably about 18-20 nights out of the month.  We didn’t socialize much, probably 3 iftars total (not counting the ones at the masjid), but that was more than in Egypt.  Almost every night I saw someone I knew at the masjid.  At a masjid not far from my house one of the Qaris during taraweeh was a boy man I knew as a preteen, all grown-up, married  and leading the prayer (btw, I’m not that old, I was about 19 when I used to know him).  At the same masjid, there is iftar dinner every night, I remember attending half of the month when I was pregnant with my first kid.  I have a history here.  It’s hard to completely leave that behind. 

Of course it is also a heck of a lot easier shopping, cleaning, even cooking here.  I still remember walking up those 5 flights of stairs, carrying my grocery bags (which I had walked home with).  Contrast that with walking right outside my door, stepping into my car and driving to the store.

We’ve discussed ways in which we might move again overseas, and for the most part I’ve rejected the idea of going back to Egypt.  To tell the truth, I’m not sure if I’d feel at home in any other country, but the life *might* be easier.  Dh did receive a job offer (for not much money) in another country, but he’s not excited about it.  We’ll just have to wait and see what Allah has planned for us.


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