This is a pic from the 48th birthday. That's funny! I should have written MY 48th birthday. I guess I'm still not fully claiming it.
What you're seeing is the dessert tray I brought out after iftar. I didn't feel like a birthday cake. There was a time when I actually believed that blowing out birthday candles on a birthday cake was mandatory. Now? It can be homemade strawberry ice cream (well, homemade from a powder packet), Rice Krispie bars, along with vanilla nougat and candy berries. Honestly? That's so me---on an IKEA platter no less!
What I realized, after writing about my birthday, is that this year has been a confluence of many milestones at once.
The birthday---whichever one it was (I can't remember)
The end of another school year
My eldest son graduating from university (alhumdulillah big time)
The start of Ramadan which is a super-duper reflective time for everyone
The anniversary of us making hijrah
Even though, we came in August of 2009, it was indeed Ramadan. To enter into another Ramadan means to remember coming here when the decorations were up and so were everyone's hopes for a better life.
In some ways, I came to Egypt when Egypt is at its best. Going out at night and feeling the energy in the streets is different at Ramadan. There is such a relief; a collective sigh of a burden lifted. Subhanallah, that I saw Egypt that way almost seven years ago. Of course, I also saw my husband at his best since we first met during that Ramadan as well. You can read "Making Hijrah" if you wish.
This year, I am working. It is the first Ramadan since I was pregnant with El Kid to be teaching. We have shorten days, alhumdulillah. If I don't have duties, I can leave as early as 1:00. That's a blessing! Of course, in the States, there are no shorter hours and no understanding of the limitations a person feels while fasting.
Unfortunately, some days I couldn't leave until the later bus, which brought me to my neighborhood, but not to my street. In the heat of the day, I had to make my way home. Micro bus? Tuk-tuk? Both fine options. If either had been there when I was dropped off, I might have taken one. However, I stepped off the bus onto a quiet street (an oddity in Egypt) and I walked peacefully home making tasbeeh all the way.
Keeping track on my finger joints of every praise for Allah, as I went step-by-step home, I noticed the world around me which I normally I might take for granted.
I am forever loving the artwork on vehicles.
Mashahallah, this family builds a mini-mosque every year and places it on this cement corner. You cannot tell from this angle, but there's a speaker in there. Sure enough, that mosque plays Quran!
This other family doesn't have enough money to buy a brand new fanoos, so they make one from that year's discarded text book. I hope it was math and not English!
The streets are decorated with these plastic streamers. They blow in the wind and sound like rustling leaves. It may seem silly to you, but to a Midwestern gal who was used to TREES, the desert is a better place for having this soft swooshing sound.
Here's a combo of streamers AND homemade fanoos.
Later, a vegetable cart set up shop in the shade.
Then, just because Egypt is weird, there was a camel rib cage. It is the only time I've ever seen the butcher have it on display. Usually, there is meat hanging, but not bones.
Sure, the sun had been hot and the walk was a little longer than I would have liked. On the other hand, I wouldn't have missed this opportunity to see the world with appreciative eyes and remember how blessed I am to be a part of it.