I've been busy, busy, busy with the new job, and even when I have free time I'm not near a computer so my urges to write have been frustrated lately. Today I thought I'd have hours to work on my lessons plans and do some writing, but when I came downstairs and stopped in Musa's atelier to say hello one of the weavers handed me a note that today is his birthday so there is a suprise party at noon.
Since lately my social opportunities are few and far between and because Musa is such a good guy, I will cut my planning short to be back in time for the party. It should be interesting because he is one of the many people who are fasting for Ramazan. For 30 days those who are fasting can let nothing pass their lips from around 5:30 in the morning until 7:30 at night-- no food, nothing to drink, no smoking, not even gum. I'm surprised at the number of people who do fast here. Life goes on pretty much as normal except that at 7:30 at night anyone who is fasting drops everything for Iftar, the meal that breaks the fast. This means I head downstairs with my class of four and we sit in the canteen to continue our lesson because one of the students is fasting.
You see people gathered in shops and hotels and every business place eating their evening meal. It's nice because everyone is understanding and it's not really a big deal (except I guess for the people who haven't eaten for 14 hours!) No one complains about the break, and the fasters will jump up and down to do whatever needs to be done during their meal if necessary. For example last night I headed into the laundry during Iftar and the proprieter came running from across the alley, chatted with me, gave me some tea, and popped in and out between the laundry and his meal across the street.
I find it interesting because I think in the US something like this would cause an uproar. Those not fasting would be annoyed by the interruption, those who were fasting would be defensive, companies would make policies about who could go eat when and for how long... Even though the lack of rules here can be confusing at times it can also be liberating.