Sunday, May 28, 2017

DAY 2 Ramadan 2017

Ramadan Kareem,



2:20 AM

I had an extra ten minutes of sleep coming to me, but my hub woke me up before my alarm went off and told me to get ready.

Thanks, Honey.

Alhumdulillah.  We are blessed in Egypt with foul medamnes because fava beans are a perfect suhour.  I had made very watery mashed potatoes (think potato soup) the night before for us to eat in the morning.  We had Domty cheese and aish baladi or pita bread.


I couldn't keep my eyes open, and didn't read any Quran this morning.  So far, as of writing this, I haven't read any at all today.  It doesn't feel good.


3:12 AM

6:00 AM

After praying fajr, I was able to go back to sleep until 6:00, when I had to wake for work.  This was what I'd been dreading for a year.  How was I going to be able to teach while fasting to children who may or may not be fasting?

I only had a half an hour to get ready---if I would EVER be ready to teach middle school while fasting.  On the bright side, not having to get breakfast or lunch boxes ready was a blessing.  We were able to get out the door on time.  We also didn't have to stop at the store to pick up chips or juices---which was good because every snack shop was shuttered.

7:30 AM

In front of the doctor's office, on the way to line up, I encounter the first student trying to get out of fasting.  I had him line up.  Immediately after line up, he was back at the doctor's office.  He broke his fast.

My son has two good friends at school---one is Muslim and one is Christian.  The Muslim boy broke his fast at duhr.  The answer to instilling good values in your kid isn't necessarily surrounding him or her with Muslim friends.  Goodness comes in many forms and the faith from someone outside of Islam might very well be stronger than someone in Islam.  I'd rather my son also experiences Christian goodness than only having a Muslim friend who is so non-committal.  This has become more important in Egypt, where sectarian violence against Copts has become frequent and deadly.

A group of Muslim boys in 6th grade broke their fast and began taunting the others with the idea of drinking water like them.  When an older boy began laying into them, I told him to stop.

"It's between them and God.  Fasting is a benefit for them, but if they don't want it, you can't make them.  Leave them alone."

I myself reminded students that if you say that you'll stop playing your game on your tablet during class, and I find you playing it again, your fast might not be valid.  They were shocked.  It really, really, really isn't all about the food.

At 1:45, the school day ended two hours early, alhumdulillah.  I have been a teacher during a full 8-hour school day in the States, and I'll tell you that this schedule beats it for sure.  When I got home, I was still mobile.


I had bought veggies from my favorite seller:  lettuce, green beans and GRAPE LEAVES!  I made a pot of them before I prayed asr and took a much needed two hour nap.

This is the actual photo of the aforementioned stuffed grape leaves.  They are easier than you'd imagine to make; they're  just time consuming.

Yosra's Stuffed Grape Leaves

If using fresh leaves (probably not in the States where jarred leaves are more prevalent), then put a little water in the pot and boil, moving them around once or twice.  They should lose their bright color, but not their form.

While those are cooking, wash a pan of rice, and add to it three diced tomatoes, a bunch of chopped parsley, and a diced onion.  Add salt, even if it's bad for you, it tastes good.  Add mint if that's your thing.  Stir it up.

Have a large bowl soup or bullion ready and add the juice of a small lemon, OR if you're in the West where fruits are radiation-level scary, use the juice from a fourth of a lemon.

Take the leaves out and cool them on a plate.  Have the stem close to you.  No need to remove them.  Have a spoonful of the mixture to the center of a leaf.  Fold the bottoms of the leaf up, then right side over, top down and left side over.  It doesn't really matter if it's not super tight because the cooking of the rice will tighten it up.  The important thing is to arrange the leafy bundles into a pot in a circular fashion, layer after layer.  Cover with the soup at the end.

Important:  place a metal plate inside the pot to hold the stuffed grape leaves down during cooking.  Let them cook on medium-high heat for twenty minutes, then reduce to lowest for another ten or fifteen.  Resist checking on them time and again since you'll lose moisture.  These can be served cold or hot.

I served mine with a yogurt dip made from the contents of two yogurt containers, two diced cucumbers and two minced cloves of garlic.  This was chilled before serving.

By the way, my husband refused to eat any.  It's a good thing I like him, but I did give him a hard time the rest of the night.

El Kid, on the other hand, enjoyed them thoroughly with me.


During iftar we watched a very boyish TV show, but since I'm in a home with two male, I get out voted.  It's not exactly love, peace, and happiness.  It is, however, good TV.  Fifi Abou, God bless her, went first.  It was two soccer players tonight.  I can't wait to see Shah Rukh Khan!

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