Ramadaning in Canada isn't as much fun as Ramadaning in Bahrain and I won't mince my words here. There are no after-parties, there is no socialising, there is no breaking the Iftar together nor the Shisha orgies! I will be cruel and crude, so if you are fasting, then perhaps this post isn't for you for today I intend to tear my neighbours apart!

For starters, Iftar is really late -- which is a bugger and makes the day longer and the thirst unbearable, especially when you suffer from dehydration all year round like I do. Secondly, the loneliness is surreal. You feel like you live in a vacuum. We actually have FIVE Bahrainis living with us in this building and a colourful array of Arabs, some so anal that they would run to the elevator and close the doors before you can get to them so that you aren't with them in the same elevator! Not a single Bahraini picked up the phone and called to wish me a Ramadan Mubarak. I did the calls last year and waited for them to wish me a happy Eid and when they didn't, I just decided that I will not call any more shots anymore.

When I first arrived here, I was still fresh off the boat, friendly, sociable and wanted to play the role of hostess! How naive was that thought! Very soon, everyone became Canadised and bolted his/her door shut behind them. At first, I was taken back a bit .. then I realised that I can't force people to become friendly and sociable and that I would have to look for something to preoccupy myself with, while hubby focused on his books and work.

I tried to analyse that change and very soon spared myself the headache when I understood that this is the time to be alone. This is the only time they are actually free from the prying eyes of neighbours and free from social commitments and all the headaches they bring. Breaking free from parental control for the first time is a time of instablity for some... and if that is what they want to be .. so be it! I am not saying here that my neighbours have become whoring sodomising reclusives. I am just saying that people do get busy in life and buried in their own hopeless situations.. and need to be alone :)

Being industrious myself, I soon fell into a pattern. I stopped calling, asking, helloing, inviting and being nice! Just like that! Now that I am busy, content with the peace and quiet, I avoid them as much as I can. Playing cat and mouse, when I see any of them in the parking lot, I wait until they are in their cars and out of the garage before venturing out of the elevator! Now I don't want to be stuck with them for the 3 seconds it takes for me to get to my floor, now I don't have time to bother with their chitchat and I am the one who is too busy for their shallowness and empty talk! If coincidence places us in the same corridor at the same time, and I smile and engage in hypocrisy, I punch myself when I am alone .. and ask myself.. why was I even nice?!

It is a sad situation, I agree. I spent my first Eid here in a fastfood outlet on my own. For me, the epitome of a lonely existence is eating on your own. All my life, seeing someone sat alone munching on food meant that that person didn't have a life and might as well go and shoot himself. Today, I do that. I am one of them. And I am content. At least I am not a hypocrite. At least I am not lying. At least I am not with people forced upon me by circumstances. I am alone by choice. I am alone because I want to and need to be so! I have climbed up the scale now though and don't sit in fastfood outlets on my own..

Wow! This didn't sound as bad as I thought it would.. I didn't rip anyone apart! But seriously, sad sods... is a phone call and a Ramadan Kareem too much to expect here??

10 comments:

Rezwan said...

Yes it must be hard getting this treatment from your fellow country persons.

Tell them to get a life.

medea said...

Oooh. I used to have that same feeling whenever I saw someone eating alone: poor fellow. No one wants to share a meal with him/her.

Then I had a period when I thought that whomever ate alone, was the coolest most independent person ever and I admired them for having the guts to be alone and seem to enjoy it.

Now I know it is just something that is done when it needs to be done, and not some sort of political or social statement, and it doesn´t really say much about who that person is either.

ammaro.com said...

I feel your pain Amira; as you grow up appreciating Ramadan as a full blown family affair, everyone on the table, delicious home-cooked food, sitting together watching TV shows, going out and meeting friends, staying out late and being loud, it must be a total difference for you in Canada.

But this does make you stronger.

My first day of Ramadan back in college was horrible; we ended up eating from a chinese place, the food tasted like crap, and we were depressed the rest of the evening. But sooner or later you learn to adjust, you get stronger. It's not about the food infront of you or how many people are around you. You get stronger. You're a fighter in this shamble of a life.

Last year my Ramadan was in the US. I used to go to work at 9am, and stay till 7pm, which was around the time the sun went down. I used to sometimes break my fast on a dry pizza and a coke from the gas station next to my office. Sad? No, not really. Different? Definately. But it never really bothered me; if you have people around you, all well and great, and if you don't, well, that's just life, and you live it.

Where's hubby, btw?

Capt. Arab said...

I've also been through that feeling, where you'd expect your fellow Arabs to at least acknowledge the fact of Ramadan. Funny enough, I have found the Asian Muslims to be more accommodating than our own fellow Brethrens. Never mind, you'll get over it..
رمضان كريم ومبارك عليك ماتبقى من الشهر
Cheer Up... Another 15 odd days to go.

Qatar Cat said...

I always wondered why most Arabs need a crowd of like minded people around them to be in their element ;-) I am yet to see an Arab being comfortable and content living on her own, or even eating on his own.

But it is sad that you should suffer the holidays on your own, even without friends. This is one time of the year when people around you can make all the difference. Nobody wants to be alone blowing the candles or breaking fast. This is just something we have to go through sometimes, and I am sure you will be the stronger for it. And when time comes to share such occasions with a bunch of like minded, loud, obnoxious and sometimes even annoying people as only very close friends and family can be, lol - you'll appreciate them all the more for it!

:-*

Ramadan Kareem!

Nawaf said...

Your always welcome here in Montreal. The Bahrainis here will surely show you a true Ramadan!

fatima said...

I did feel the same when i lived in Canada a few years ago about how my Ramadan was differnt from those in Morocco , the socializing , the atmosphere , my beautiful djellaba (a must ) My husband from India , reminded me that Ramadan was not about eating and socialising about about faith and remember allah etc... He was right , since then i dont give it much thought even if my meal is a one dish and one salad only . i have been a lot content and happy ever since . I now live in a rural village in Britain and it is worse than Canada .

Evil Odd said...

Let's put it this way, the reason why all those Arabs moved to Canada is to probably to avoid other Arabs.

Why should they send semi-fake greetings over the phone when they left their countries to avoid silly rituals like that in the first place?

SillyBahrainiGirl said...

Thanks for sharing and caring. It's almost over :) Phew!!

Ayman said...

I know what you feel. I spent 4 Ramadans in a row totally alone in the US. In the last 3, I did not even see any Muslims. The American's were very nice, but it is hard fasting when everyone else does not even know what fasting is. And then going home alone for Iftar. And nothing special at all for Eid, except a few email greetings and a phone call or two back to Bahrain... And guess what, I'm alone again, but now in Saudi, and i'll go back home This weekend.
It is not as bad... At least for me... really gives you time to think about everything... And makes you appreciate all the things you are missing. You return home a better person.

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