Ramadan Mubarak 🙂
Today marks the 4th day of Ramadan. Every year, I try to tell you a little more about Ramadan, fasting, the traditions and memories associated with this special time of the year.
Many think that Ramadan is only about abstaining from food and drinks from sunrise till sunset. In reality that is only the entry level of the fast. The basic requirements that you must fulfil. But as I told you before, Ramadan is actually a spiritual, moral and mental boot camp that is supposed to teach you that you are in control. You can control your hunger, thirst but more importantly you have to control your anger, desires and everything that you are.
Every year I go into Ramadan with a set of goals that I want to work towards in this 30 day boot camp.I see it as a chance to grow, personally and spiritually.
This Ramadan it is all about counting my blessings. Today actually marks one year of expat life in the UAE. It is so easy to get caught up in longing for your homeland or your loved ones. It is equally easy to focus on the negatives to the point of only seeing the empty half of the glass especially at milestones like this. And though I did complain about the sand storms, and I went on and on about the heat, the humidity and the desert I have decided that my goal this ramadan on a personal level is to count my blessing and be thankful for each and every one.
From the basics that we so easily take for granted: eyes that see all the beauty and magnificence that God put into this world. A body that is healthy and whole.A mind that is free to soar, think, question and ponder. A home that is safe. A country where I don’t have to worry about bombs , wars and destruction. A family I love and care about, whether it is my small family here or back home. The technology that helped ease this expat life. I still get to see my mother and father and talk to them everyday despite being thousands of miles apart.
To the chance to take a hobby into the next level. Working on the #30DaysofHomemade challenge and on an e-cookbook for Ramadan was beyond exciting! Because it is one thing to take my photography and food blogging as a hobby and a completely different thing when a brand recognises that you are actually good enough to represent them on a project!
Being a dentist, means that there is so much that you have to give up during your university years due to the study load: hobbies, interests and small things that you no longer have the time to follow. When you finish the university and start working, things are not any easier. The long demanding hours leave little time for anything else.
After moving to the UAE, I had to go through a very long process to get a licence to practice Dentistry here. The laws in the UAE are extremely strict. Even my driver’s licence (I have a Jordanian and an international driver’s licence) were useless here and I had to apply for a new licence. That meant going through theoretical lessons and exams and going back to driving school! After having a driving licence for 18 years and practicing Dentistry for 14 years that was beyond frustrating. But what I saw first as a restrain turned out to be a time to slow down. A time to enjoy with the kids without being rushed and running all the time. A time to reconnect with old hobbies and work on my photography and blog. A time to explore the road not taken.
I guess the most important lesson that I have learnt this past year is that hardship can be a blessing in disguise if you are patient enough to make it through
Red lentil soup
This was one of my recipes for Darna magazine.
1 cup brown lentils
2 cups water
2 cups tomato juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 onion cut into strips
Wash your lentils then soak them for an hour (you can skip the soaking step but then you have to boil the lentils longer)
Drain the lentils, discard the soaking water
Place 2 cups of water in a pan, add the lentils and bring to a boil
Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, add the onions
Continue cooking for 5-10 more minutes, stirring occasionally
Add the tomato juice and simmer for 10 more minutes
Add the tomato paste and cook while stirring for 5 more minutes.
Take off the heat add lemon juice and salt to taste