I’m a huge fan of the immersion process. It makes more sense to me to learn the language/culture out of absolute necessity than from a book written and published on the other side of the ocean. Immersion means you learn faster and remember more, because you need to to survive.
August 1st was the beginning of Ramadan. We were familiar with Ramadan, but I held off on learning more about it on purpose until I got here and could learn it through experience rather than Wikipedia.
Ramadan has unexpectedly complicated things. Muslims fast all day (until 7 pm) and this includes drinking water which blows my mind. Islam is a relatively old religion and commonly found in desert areas, but they cannot drink anything to keep them hydrated. To compensate, people cut their work day from eight hours down to five, or even three. They spend most of their day in their homes or at the mosque. This means that most street vendors/ shops/ supermarkets are closed during the day and open around dinner time when people come out onto the streets to celebrate Ramadan.
What this means to us: food is becoming hard to find during the day, unless you go to western food chains like McDonalds which stay open, but are usually empty.
Also: getting anything done (finding an apartment, filing paperwork at AUC, etc.) must be done in the morning hours when people are working. And that leaves us with an empty afternoon and evening to just chill.
We are adapting out of necessity. And that’s the way I like it.