Skip to main content

Before and After

"One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life." - Chinese Proverb

For the past week, my colleagues and I have referred only to two points in time as of any importance. Before Ramadan and After Ramadan.

Ramadan is the month of the lunar calendar in which the Qu'ran was said to be revealed. For this reason, Muslims fast for the 29.5 days in order to practice patience and humility. Ramadan begins tomorrow at sunset here and began in the Americas this evening.

We arrived here in Dubai the first week of August. There is much ado about everything when one is settling into a new country and here is no different. Thankfully, the school cuts through much of the red tape for us, otherwise I imagine it could be much worse.

Because life changes here during Ramadan, our goal was to complete logistical tasks related to residency, transportation and communication before Ramadan. I just made it. I have my residency visa, my driver's license and my mobile phone. I have my Salik tag, my wireless Internet and my bank account. And now, I finally have my automobile. After Ramadan, I will consider acquiring my M card, a license one must have to purchase spirits. It is not a primary concern.

This weekend, people made sure to go out, for it was the last party before Ramadan. Folks made their runs to buy alcohol, for it was the last chance before Ramadan. I made a bigger trip to the grocery store, as hours will change and some food etiquette will too in the days between before Ramadan and after Ramadan.

We are supposed to have a gym in our building, along with the pool. The pool was finished about one week ago, but the gym remains unfinished. I ran into Binu in the parking lot Friday. "When will the gym be finished?" I asked him as he began to simultaneously tilt his head and grin. "Before Ramadan or after Ramadan?" He did the Indian head bob. I made a face. "After Ramadan?" He did the move again. I nodded my head. "After Ramadan." He nodded as well.

During Ramadan, many people here will work for six hours a day. Most schools, except ours, will have a shortened school day for the month. From what I have heard, people will work during the morning through the early afternoon, and then again in the late evening.

I was speaking to a woman at school about the hopes of getting my car before Ramadan. "InshAllah," she said. "Don't get your hopes up." She let me know that if I didn't get it before Ramadan, I probably wouldn't get it until after Ramadan. "People work during Ramadan, but they're not really working," she stated. I bit my tongue. My hopes were still up.

Also per rumour, is that driving is particularly dangerous in the evenings, when people are trying to get home to break the fast or Iftar. This is all second hand. My colleagues said it's a good idea to be home by 5:30 in the evening, so I will aim to do so. After all, I don't mind being home. Sometimes I jump up and down when I get here anyway.

Right now I am sitting here with the door open to the balcony. The music I often associate with the call to prayer has been playing throughout the city for over thirty minutes now. I can only assume it is because Ramadan begins tomorrow evening. I am faintly looking forward to this time. There will be no pressure to go out to smokey bars where ex-pats wear too few clothes. We will take our meals in private and sitting down, as opposed to on the go and in public. I will come home from work at a decent hour and grade more and write more and reflect more. And I too, perhaps will practice a little patience and humility.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Marching in Gaza - Partying in Beirut

"The mere possession of a vision is not the same as living it, nor can we encourage others with it if we do not, ourselves, understand and follow its truths. The pattern of the Great Spirit is over us all, but if we follow our own spirits from within, our pattern becomes clearer. For centuries, others have sought their visions. They prepare themselves, so that if the Creator desires them to know their life's purpose, then a vision would be revealed. To be blessed with visions is not enough...we must live them!" - High Eagle

I received three important emails today. The first was from a former colleague—a teacher, an organizer—asking for support on an upcoming trip; the second was from a close family friend introducing me to someone who will occasionally be in the area; and the third was from a close friend asking me to review his latest creative endeavor. All three emails managed to elicit in me some measure of guilt.

None precipitated as much guilt as the first. My form…

The Dubai Dream

"Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living." - Anais Nin

I was chatting with YG online one morning when I first arrived (actually it was about two weeks ago, but it feels like much longer...).

How is dubai U like? 7:15 PM me: i do...but it's a little too western...i'll probably only stay 3 years too much air conditioning YG: Word 7:16 PM me: but i like. it's like living in new york 120 years ago YG: Lol me: you know, while they were buildin[g] everything and people just kept coming and coming and there was probably always construction
Dubai does remind me of a growing New York, and the reason people come reminds me of the former American Dream. I say former because the American Dream does not seem as likely as it once did. Coining the term first in 1931 (according to the Library of Congress), James Truslow Adams in his book The Epic of America states:

"The American D…

Yes, We Can; Yes, We Did; Yes, We Can

"And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments to palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand." - President-Elect Barack Obama

I left the high school around 7:45 this morning to run an errand at the elementary school. It was 10:45 pm eastern time in the States. On my way back to the high school, I passed a group of middle-school students.

"We got Florida!" a boy yelled while pumping his fist into the air.

"And we got New York too!" replied his comrade, a little blond boy.

I smiled to myself, but I did not yet know if it was because they clearly understood the electoral process, or because they were so enthused so early in the morning that Black is the new president.

As I walked, I was lost in my own thoughts regarding an earlier event in the morning. I awoke at 4:45 and checked the …