Ramadhan is always a special month for muslims. In my country, Indonesia, every time Ramadhan comes we can feel the changes of people’s mood and behavior, changes in business hours, and adjustments in daily activities. Children and adults await for it anticipatingly, for Ramadhan means a month of bounty rewards from Allah and a month of spiritual, physical, and solidarity training. We learn to control our desires by refraining from eating, drinking, and sexual pursuit from dawn til dusk. From medical point of view, fasting helps control our blood glucose and give our digestive system a time to ‘rest’ and detoxify.
Anyway, since now I live in Japan, where muslims are minority, it is understandable that the atmosphere of Ramadhan is nearly non-existent. What we really miss is the moment of ending our fasting day with our family. We share the joy of that day achievement in holding our desires, the joy of having special Ramadhan only foods, and most importantly, the family bond. Therefore, when we were invited today to have dinner by my husband’s Professor and his wife (we call them by Matsuoka Sensei and Noriko-san), we were very happy..no, extremely happy. They are a very nice Japanese couple in their fifties. We’ve known the Professor for about two years, but for a reason we’ve become closer since three months ago. Our relationship has evolved from acquaintance, formal students-Professor relation, into more informal, caring and warm friendship, and in such a short time we could not help but to love them like our own parents. That’s how kind and sincere they are toward us.
So, even though they didn’t know that the dinner would be on the first Ramadhan day, this nice co-incidence meant a lot to us, because it felt like having the first Ramadhan with our family back home. The dinner was supposed to start at 7 pm, but we came earlier so I could learn how to make cheese cake a la Noriko (destined to be our dessert) and to materialize a yummy atsuyaki tamago (Japanese style omelet).
There is nothing better than talking over foods, right? We had nice exchange of what was going on lately, our works, Ramadhan, Noriko-san’s new iPad and how to find and download classic books like Jane Austen’s for free, their 2006’s family trip to England, well..practically about anything that crossed our minds.
By the time we were about to leave, we’ve shared our worries and hopes, and we’ve already planned to have dinner again next month (when my husband will leave me for Indonesia for one month, hence I won’t be so lonely), to spend a vacation together next year (perhaps driving cross country in England?, who knows God permit), and of course, visiting Indonesia in the yet to be decided future. For now, we are so grateful to have them as our parents in Japan. We went back home with full stomach, warmed heart, and….cheese cake left-over plus a book (written by Noriko-san herself on her experience living in London), and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in DVDs. It was a lovely ending of the first Ramadhan fasting day.