Alaska 101: Ramadhan in foreign land.
UNTUK VERSI BAHASA, KLIK SINI-
It has been a long time since the last update. Like I am very busy doing something else. Well, since it is a Ramadhan month, so I assume that my blog need to go on fast as well. (Fake) Pious blog I must say. However, I know that some of you wonder how I go through Ramadhan here in Alaska. Since Ramadhan is almost over, I guess this post as a wrap for my Ramadhan month.
First, a lot of people been asking me regarding the time range for fasting in Alaska. As everybody knows, Summer in Alaska meaning longer hours in daylight and short night hours. The skies here stay bright about 18-19 hours. I do installed apps called “Muslim Pro” on my mobile phone and imsak here is at 3am and iftar is at 11pm. Fancy huh?
This year would be my first time performing fasting during Ramadhan abroad and second for Mike. You guys might think that both of us are so strong to go through 20 hours without food and water everyday. But you must remember, Islam is simple and never torture those who practice it. God is just and full or mercy, so here we are allowed to fast according to Makkah time. A lot of people said we were wrong to opt Makkah for our fasting hours. And I am not 100 percent sure about it as well. But Mike keep on stressing that I shouldn’t listen to other people. He always said to me that what is the purpose of Quran if you refuse to follow what’s written in it but depending on other people to guide you how to perform your religion. As usual, he read out to me the paragraph in Quran regarding fasting hours and backed it up with situation in order for me to understand. He asked me if I follow logic fact provided by my friends in Malaysia, so what about astronaut? Outer space is so dark with no sun, so, does it mean fasting do not apply to that astronaut? And what about when the astronaut orbiting the sun? Does that mean they only can eat once they come back to earth?
Others advice me to find Islamic community in Alaska to get confirmation on the fasting hours. I unable to since I am depending on Mike when it comes to commute around here. And you think Mike is willing to drive me to find Islamic community department after he read me the word from the Quran? So I went to Alaska Masjid website.
Mike is right. We here follow Makkah hours. Deep inside I was quite embarrassed towards Mike because I always argue with him when it comes to religion matters.
Back to my experience, fasting abroad, in foreign land. According to Malay cult, Ramadhan is about food menus, bazaar Ramadhan, new clothes for Aidilfitri, new furniture and how much money / token allocated for parent, nephew and nieces this year. Right?
Since I am Malay, I still having a hard time to remove my Malay habit. My worries towards food preparation came first into my mind just like what I mentioned in my previous post until I got my friends and blog readers sympathy. Few of them send me message on Instagram and Facebook, offering to send some ‘care package’ from Malaysia to Alaska. I am so touched by their kindness and nothing I can do in this world to return their warm kind thoughts towards me.
First package came from my pet sister. Actually she is my ex office mate. We were quite close although we work in different branch. Anyway, I am the last child in my family so it makes me easily love having another younger sister for me to hang out with.
This care package came a week before Ramadhan. She really concerned about my Hari Raya celebration so she sent my Ketupat Nona, Chicken and Beef Floss and infamous fish cracker from Kuala Terengganu. That fish cracker is very delicious indeed I ate up that 2 packet of fish cracker less than a week. Fried it with Olive oil since my parent in law only use that type for cooking. Lucky I ddn’t turn into Italian for using too much olive oil during my 6 months stay here.
The sad thing is that, my chicken and beef floss was CONFISCATED by American Custom! I don’t know how they run the test for the food that came trough, but it says that the serunding contains swine and it came from Thailand! Finally I came to know that, in order for the food to pass across into United States, it must have the list of ingredients and nutritional facts. So, I won’t be having serunding and ketupat for this hari raya. I opened the ketupat Nona pack and treat it like a normal rice that I ate for iftar. I got sympathy from Mike so he promised me that he will buy me King Crab for Hari Raya celebration. Hehehe.
Second care package came in the middle of Ramadhan month from my old time friend. We have known each other since we were 18 during ITM registration in Manjung, Perak. We remain as a good friend until now even we hardly meet each other face to face. We meet maybe once a year, mostly regarding work and stuff, phone calls and texted each other sometimes. But I always believe that true friends doesn’t require your presence and hang out together all the time. I am very lucky to have old school type of true friend. Far from eyes but close to the heart. I think she is one of many friends that I never had bad things to bad mouth about.
The stuff that she sent me is like a life extension cable. My Ramadhan became more meaningful with this second care packages. I woke up in the middle of the night to cook for Mike even. Of course! what is more easier than opening the pre mix paste, toss it into hot pan and followed by chicken or fish? Once lazy, always lazy.
Third care package is yet to arrive. This is utterly special. This came for my blog reader in Singapore. She tried to send it earlier but Singapore Post rejected it. They worries that the packets will pop out on plane or something like that. So she had to use courier service for that. Oh well, in other hand, we never had this kind of situation with POS Malaysia. Everything also can regardless your packaging reach the other end or the chance of it will get confiscate, as long as you pay them at the counter, off your package go.
No words can describe for the efforts taken by her to send me the package. Once again, I am very lucky to have an opportunity to know a kind hearted stranger which hope nothing in return. I thank God for His never ending blessings. and Ivy 🙂
Talk about food menu for iftar, I have nothing to boast about or to show it off on Facebook. I always prefer to cook one type of dish to pair with white rice, or pasta with the sauce. It has been like that long before I married to Mike. Call me lazy ass donkey, but I believed that simple is pleasure. So I salute to the wives out there that able to cook few dishes at one time for iftar, lunch or dinner. But I’m not that kind of wife. Fortunately, Mike don’t mind about simple, singular meal like that as long as I cook it in large amount because he eat a lot. The proportion between us is like – one third is mine, the rest goes into his stomach. Our iftar menu is crazy simple like Fried chili sauce eggs, grilled marinated salmon (with pre mix paste) or tom yum and pair it with white rice.
I unable to find YusooF Taiyoob dates or any kind of dates from Middle East here. So I replaced it with mixed nuts and raisins for snacking and sahur.
Sometimes, I lost appetite in the morning (sahur), so I drink miso soup instead of rice. My favorite meals is soup. I can drink soup every day.
I love snacking after Iftar. But we don’t have onde onde or kuih talam like you can get from Bazar Ramadhan. No, please don’t teach me how to do it. So, besides fruits, I replaced it with tomato stuffed olive for snacking. I love this very much.
As you know, it is summer in Alaska. So every streets corner is adorned with colorful flowers. This is the time when Alaskan sprucing up their house with flowers too. Summer is short in Alaska, it seems like the Alaskan really appreciate it and enjoy it to the fullest by planting all kind of flowers although it is only few months. Once you stepped out to downtown, you will be surprised with color explosions. I bet there is not one single color on color wheel has been left out. Since flowers in Malaysia has very limited color just like its cars n the road, all I do is keep taking pictures of every flower that I see. Just like an old auntie pay a visit to Cameron Highland. They took pictures with giant cactus, mini cactus and roses. You can imagine what how does Mike feel in situation like this. I’ve heard he took a deep breath every time I handed out my camera to him and shouted “head to toe, head to toe” while pointing out that the whole city, has to be in the background. THE WHOLE CITY.
I have 50 more pictures of my foot with the various colors of flowers. But I won’t post it up here since the post title is about Ramadhan in Alaska. Not flowers in Alaska.
So, that’s about it. We went through our Ramadhan here just like any other day, with super low key and can never be compared with Ramadhan in Malaysia especially the one in Low Yat Plaza.
Nanti aku try la cerita sambutan Raya kat sini pulak.
I WILL TRY to post up on Hari Raya Celebration in Alaska next.