Monday, July 30, 2012

Getting into Ramadan

Ramadan is nearly half way over, it seems like it's only begun. Everyday I log on to the Internet and turn on the messenger to chat with my family in Libya and to see what my girls are cooking up for the fast breaking meal and we usually chat again after they've broken their fast. Of course, with the time difference I still have six more hours until the sun sets.

My son Adam had especially requested that I spend Ramadan with him in the United States this year. For the past few years he's been fasting alone. With his work and study schedule it's difficult for him to participate in local activities in the area's mosques. He's got to be at work by 5:30 in the morning, so there are no late nights for him. We've been breaking our fast with my family and friends, who incidentally aren't Muslim, and I think they're enjoying the food.

In the past I'd written an article about Ramadan in Libya and posted it on my blog. This year I've noticed a some well written articles about how Libyans practice this Holy Month. Nihal Zaroug has written an article titled 'Ramadan in Tripoli' that was featured in the Libya Herald. Meanwhile, the Tripoli Post has been publishing a series of articles about Ramadan called 'Tales of a Libyan Ramadan' by writer Gada Mafoud. So far there are three articles; part one: 'First Ramadan as a Free Libya', part two: 'Libyan Customs During Ramadan' and part three: 'Libyan Men and Ramadan'. I'll be watching for more of the series. 

I've noticed a few articles and stories on the net about non-Muslims who are fasting Ramadan for various reasons. One story that caught my eye is about a Dallas, Texas United Methodist pastor named Rev. Wess Magruder. He's decided to observe the month of Ramadan and blog about his experience. I've been enjoying the insights on his blog

There's a photography competition entitled Capture the Spirit of Ramadan that was created in an effort to share with the world the essence of the Holy Month and to help eradicate misconceptions about the Muslim faith through the art of photography while delivering a cross-cultural and inter-faith message that captures the spirit of Ramadan. StudioBasel for Creative Solutions is awarding cash prizes to the best photos and the top 100 will be published in an ebook and posted on their Facebook page. Check out the beautiful photography that's been submitted, or better yet, join the competition.



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Contrasts

It's Ramadan and I'm still here in Florida with my oldest son at my mom's house, while my husband and kids are at home in Libya. We had Libyan soup the first four days of Ramadan for nostalgia's sake - my son was happy as he hadn't had it in so long. But four days of that is enough! Tonight we'll go out to eat... we have coupons for Steak 'n Shake

I'm really getting spoiled here, food is easy to make, restaurants are everywhere, the choices at the supermarket are amazing. But aside from food is the Internet. Yes, the Internet. Lightening speed - click on something and there you are. Yesterday I downloaded a 2G file that took about 10 minutes. And there is free WiFi almost everywhere you go here. 

In contrast, Libya Herald had a recent article that stated that Libyan Internet was the slowest in the world. That is, when you even have Internet! A few weeks ago my kid's wimax account got hacked... someone took over their user name and password. They had to go to the company to sort it out. This past week my wimax account has been hacked twice and today when it wasn't working again my husband was told that LTT had closed my account. Thankfully, the representative gave him a temporary username and password to use while they try to straighten out what is going on with my account. Oh my poor hubby! He's had to spend the first part of Ramadan standing in line at LTT... What I want to know is: How on earth do accounts get hacked? I wonder if it's an inside job... sigh.. and that's STEALING! And in RAMADAN!.... Shame on you whoever is doing this!

The weather here in Florida is hot, and humid. Real feel temperatures are about 100F or more every day. Gatorade is my new best friend this Ramadan... I think I drink nearly a gallon every night!

Gatorade is my new best friend!
Ramadan Kareem!




Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A week's worth

There's been more excitement in Libya (voting and elections) than in my life in Florida. Libya even made the front page of the local newspaper one day ... three exciting paragraphs! This is what I've been up to...

Adam and I went to watch the Tampa Bay Rays play against the New York Yankees. Baseball usually isn't my thing, but going to games is fun because there is more than baseball going on. We had a great time.


My mother and I spent some time shopping for furniture. She wants a new dining room table. We saw one she liked but we're still going to look around some more. The showroom was fabulous. I thought the palm trees were funny. Power recliner chairs... we need those in Libya!


The Fourth of July was quite nice. We had some family and a few friends over for a simple meal.... I found some really nice smoked beef sausages that we threw on the grill with the chicken, three kinds of potato salad, coleslaw, fruit salad, pasta, chips and dip. Unfortunately, someone forgot to bring the corn-on-the-cob. And there were cupcakes, cake and ice-cream for dessert. ... could we move after eating all that? Barely!


We finally roused ourselves and headed to the beach around sunset to watch the fireworks display. We all had a good time. 


While we were out and about one day we noticed a huge nest on a light pole at the corner of a busy intersection. We could see a pair of raptors. I don't know exactly what they are, maybe Birding Rob can identify them?


Here's a close up with the zoom... I need to upgrade to a better camera!


My mom had another doctor appointment so one morning was spent doing that. We had to wait a few minutes in the examining room, but there were plenty of magazines to read. Doesn't she look cute in her paper dress? How come there are no magazines or paper dresses in Libya?


One day, my sister, nephew and I met some friends at Largo Park. Once a month they offer free train rides on their tiny little railway. The train takes you all around the park, through a tunnel and over ponds. It's actually quite fun... we rode the train three times! There are all kinds of interesting things going on at the park...  the high school girls' flag team had practice, a small group was learning fencing and jousting, the playground area was packed, lots of people were out getting exercise and walking their dogs. Everything was very clean, well organized, and a big focus on safety. I'm looking forward to the day Libya will have such places because they sure deserve them... sigh... 


Jeremiah contemplating whether his mother would allow him to jump in the pond or not.

An oak tree as we zoom past on the train going 5 miles per hour.
We went out for dinner. There must have been hundreds of choices on the menu. Everything looked so good it was hard to decide. One thing I love about America is that they make sure you have a drink within seconds of sitting down... and they keep refilling. 


We went to the library where my mother took a beginners course on how to use an iPad... she needs to know how to work her 'machine'. There is lots happening at the library; movies, story telling, book clubs, discussion groups, computers, courses for computers and business, a coffee shop and a book shop, a garden... and there are books too, with lots of places to sit quietly, contemplate life or read. I love the library - it's one of my favourite places to be.


 That was my week....

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Voting was easy for most people

My anal retentive hubby took FOREVER at the polling station.... he had to make sure the ink on his finger was perfect. :-O

Congratulations Libya!!!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Maybe?

Maybe one day there will be drive thru shawarma in Libya.

Double drive thru!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Weathered the storm and had a wedding

Tropical storm Debby kept us sitting inside for a few days. There were fierce winds and it rained and poured and rained and poured some more. There were flood warnings and tornado warnings, but we were safe inside. We watched the weather reports on TV, and sat on the back porch and watched the rain pour down and the trees bend in the wind. I didn't sleep well at night because the rain pelted against the house and the window next to my bed, the winds howled and  I waited for a tornado to sweep the house away with us inside. But in the end the storm blew over, the winds died down and the sun came out. 

One day we braved the storm to go to the doctor for my mother's follow up appointment - it was good news! What a relief! After the storm passed we took a drive around the area. Lots of tree branches had been broken off, a few trees pulled out of the ground, tossed aside as though they were tumbleweeds. There wasn't any flooding in our area, so we headed for the beach and watched the waves, and stayed to watch the sun set. There were others on the beach doing the same.


We were relieved that the storm had passed and the weather had cleared because my sister Holly was getting married... and the wedding was going to be held on the beach. It was a simple wedding, with close friends and family attending, and a druid priestess presiding. 
the vows... at sunset
And the picture I like the best.... the newlyweds kissed while my sister Kristen's son, Jeremiah, made sand angels (completely oblivious to everything). 


Another sunset picture that I took before the ceremony began.


This morning we got up and decided to head back to the beach to visit the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary. It's the largest wild bird hospital in the USA and is a treatment and rehabilitation center for wild birds injured in oil spills, by fish hooks, plastic bags, and accidents. There is always something interesting to see there. 

I took my camera... and my four-year-old nephew... so of course I didn't have much luck with pictures. Here are a few.





I think this one's called the Dodo bird...


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