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Journal Yaztromo's Journal: An Atheists guide to Ramadan: Day 1 5

As those of you who have followed my Journal probably already know, I'm an atheist, and Gigi is Muslim. Beyond the whole God issue, however, Gigi and I perceive the world in much the same way -- she isn't so much religious as she is spiritual. She doesn't pray five times a day (or even once a day) or anything -- she just feels that there is a Supreme Being, it initialized the Universe a long time ago, sent a prophet, sends bad people to hell after they die (and good people to heaven), but otherwise stays out of the affairs of humanity. Some sort of cosmic voyeur I suppose. We've agreed to disagree on the subject, and get along fantastic.

Yesterday was the beginning of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic lunar calendar. Gigi's family back in Turkey has always observed Ramadan (just as my parents have always observed Christmas in a secular way), so she has a cultural attachment to it that I can honour and appreciate.

Now for those of you who don't know, one of the central practises of Ramadan is the fast. From dawn through to the end of dusk, you're not allowed to eat anything (unless you're too young, too old, or your health simply doesn't permit it), you're not allowed to have sexual contact, and you're not allowed to swear or have bad thoughts (at least in the manner in which Gigi and her family practise the holiday). As Gigi practises things, she can't even hug, kiss, or brush her teeth during these times. Of course, once the sun is down the feast begins, and we can stuff ourselves until the sun rises again.

"She" isn't exactly the right word -- what I really mean is "we". I didn't think it was particularly decent of me to be doing any of the things she can't (read: won't) do during the daylight hours: it wouldn't be particularly understanding of me to be eating in front of her 80% of the way through a long day of fasting. So I'm observing Ramadan as well.

We're just finished day one, and here's the basic schedule:

  1. Wake up at 0400: Last chance to eat before the sun comes up. I was up earliest, so I made us a big breakfast. We had to be finished by 0448, and once we were (and after a quick tidy), it was time to...
  2. Go back to bed at ~0500: we were tired. I pretty much didn't sleep at all the night leading up to breakfast, so it was my chance to get some sleep.
  3. Avoid eating, drinking (even water), swearing (something I never do anyway), having sexual contact (difficult when our workplaces are ~10km apart anyhow :P), or having evil thoughts for about 14 hours, until:
  4. Dinner at 1939: Let me tell you, after 14 hours of nothing to eat or drink (with at least a dozen instances of me walking to the 'fridge to pour a cool drink, only to remember I can't do that and head back to my laptop thirsty and dejected), I was ready to pig out. We had a pretty good sized meal (although just prior to working on this post I had to have a bowl of late night cereal because I'm hungry again), but if I'm going to fast all day every day for the next month, I'm going to need dessert of some sort. We didn't have the time (or too many ingredients) to make anything tonight. We are however trying a number of Turkish dishes I've never had before (Gigi found this brilliant website of traditional Turkish dishes, written by a fellow Canadian (and Turk) here, so we're giving them a go. Tonight was "Kadinbudu Kofte", but as we didn't have egg noodles, we did the very, very Canadian thing and substituted Kraft Dinner instead).

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Now the good bit of news: fortunately, as it is September, the days are getting shorter. In fact, every day we start breakfast two minutes later, and dinner two minutes earlier. By the end, we'll be fasting for approximately two hours less than we had to on day one. Whew!

I know I'm a really lucky guy to have Gigi in my life -- she's the sweetest, gentlest, silliest, and most loving entity I've ever encountered, and I'm more than happy to support her during this special time. I know that participating with her means to world to her, so I'm going to keep it up, and refuse to let her down. Still, if I did believe in $SUPREME_DEITY, and if we were also doing the traditional prayers, I can imagine that by the third round of prayers, I'd be praying for $SUPREME_DEITY to send down a truckload of tacos, or maybe some cedar planked salmon or some-such.

So day one is finished. It's just after 0100 local time, Gigi is sleeping soundly, and I'm going to have yet another bite to eat before I join her. The next 28 days are basically going to be repeats of today, but I'll post up any interesting tidbits as we continue.

(And I haven't forgotten about my promised review of the Weird Al Yankovic concert we attended on Tuesday -- I'm still amazed and happy that we got to meet him, shake his hand, and thank him for the amazing show).


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An Atheists guide to Ramadan: Day 1

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  • That one I find tricky. I'm not sure I have an non-evil thoughts. Are you free to define evil so that this possible?

  • As a (sometimes very vocal) atheist myself, I still go by the "house rules" when I visit friends, etc., and I expect others to do the same; (unless, of course, they're into something like that weird scientology junk - there's NO JUMPING ON THE COUCH!!! That's for people and dogs* to SIT ON!)

    Good luck on making it through the next month. You might want to try pigging out less - you'll actually be less hungry later on than if you gorge yourself.

    *(because dogs are people too, sort of. They may not be hum

    • Good luck on making it through the next month. You might want to try pigging out less - you'll actually be less hungry later on than if you gorge yourself.

      Thanks -- I might need it.

      I'm finding that I'm feeling a bit light headed at this point in the day. I'm slightly concerned that this might not entirely be a good idea on my part, as I'm already a skinny guy with low body fat -- I don't have a lot of energy reserves to count upon. Fortunately I doubt if Gigi would want me to go so far as to risk my o

  • And if you work at home (sounds like you do) I'd seriously consider doing what teenagers in the middle east do- and switch to a schedule based on a graveyard shift.
    • And if you work at home (sounds like you do) I'd seriously consider doing what teenagers in the middle east do- and switch to a schedule based on a graveyard shift.

      I'm not working full time these days, but I am working -- I'm teaching a course at the University right now, so I do have to be in for lectures (two days a week), and should start showing up for office hours (a different 2 days a week). I also have a research group meeting (on the remaining day of the week). However, these are all fortunatel

You are always doing something marginal when the boss drops by your desk.