Iftar

Although it hasn’t even been a week, so far it’s been really interesting to experience living with a family during Ramadan. Only the women are fasting. Through pantomime and small words, I believe Fatima (my host mother, pictured above) was trying to tell me that her husband (Xhemail, on the left) and their son Elham are not fasting because they work in Lili Market, the family’s shop which is attached to the front of the house, all day. But iftar, or the post-sunset meal, is still a big deal. Some nights it’s been something really big like it was in this picture; rice, chicken, bread, spinach pie, salad, dates, roasted peppers, soup, etc.! One night it was spaghetti and hot dogs. (I don’t know why.)

I decided from the get-go to wait and not eat dinner earlier without my host family. I really like eating with them (despite the pressure to take second and third helpings whether I want them or not!). Although I can’t participate a lot in the conversation, I like listening and trying to pick up on phrases that I know, plus dinnertime is a pretty feel-good affair. Everyone’s pretty jazzed about eating, especially the ladies since they’ve been fasting since 2 AM, when they eat suhur. I do not participate in suhur. Also, afterwards we drink çaj and there are more snacks/dessert. It’s good times.

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P.S. Notice how the salad set immediately to the left of the head of the table is like twice as big as all the other salads? That is my designated place at the table, and that is the size of the salad I get because I say yes every time they ask if I want more salad. I think maybe they like me…

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2 thoughts on “Iftar

  1. Of course they like you! How could they not? Send my greetings to Fatima and Xhemail and Elham. Is Elham the new father? Dinner looks delicious, and very healthy, especially that lovely salad.
    You said “ladies”. Who else is living in the house? Are they helping you with your Albanian studies?

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    1. Yes Elham is Norela’s father. The ladies refers to Fatima, Elham’s wife Merjme, and her sister who was visiting. They have been a lot of help with studying/practicing Albanian!

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