Monday, 29 August 2011

Oh Crescent....where art thou!

On this last day of Ramadan, I am blogging from my bed, to change from my desk which resulted in my boss discovering the blog, reading it and promptly blocking it! that'll teach me
So I am in bed, horizontal and relaxed albeit a little uninspired.

I am not sure how you're spending the last few hours of Ramadan but I know ALL are hoping to hear the good news that Eid is tomorrow, so that crescent better show it's face!

Third Eid in a row I am going to spend in the office and I am not very happy about it, I should be at home with my family eating Baklawa and hiding in my room when neighbours come to wish us Eid Moubarak, I say they come but in truth they race you to it in an attempt at collecting the hasanat the good deeds first, so they all come at once and invade your space whilst all you want to do is enjoy a coffee with cake quietly with the family. There is plenty of time in the day to go around to see people and wish them a MARVELLOUS Eid Moubark, just let me have my morning first.

Oh well at least I won't have to deal with this in the office tomorrow.
Let's just hope it's Eid, 'cos this chick can't take it anymore.

Eid Moubarak to all

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Ramadan ....over and out T-3

The end is near and despite what other people say about missing Ramadan, well I am sorry to say LIARS, it’s a month of hard work and hard worship and concentration, of deprivation and self sacrifice, none of which come naturally to normal human beings, and if it was that easy and you could do it all year around why all the whinging, the bad moods and clock watching?

If the crescent is sighted over the weekend, more precisely on Monday night then Tuesday is Eid, otherwise we have to fast Tuesday as well and I am planning a major headache aka a sicky!

Just as well we’ve come to the end, I have ran out of things to say this month, a post a day is just not sustainable unless I write a journal (not gonna happen), this long weekend shall reset my batteries and will come back with a kick!

Saha ftourkou, eidkoum and have a lovely bank holiday weekend

Thursday, 25 August 2011

You can’t punish me I am Algerian!

I witnessed someone getting fined on the train this morning for not having a valid ticket (wasn’t me I promise) and that got me thinking about rigour and about the new Algiers Metro that just opened it’s doors/tunnels to the Algérois after over 30 years of waiting.
Wondered if they have put in place measures for fines and penalties and such, I wonder how this will be carried out knowing us Algerians and our lack of respect for the Algerian rules and laws not because we are not disciplined but simply because we can get away with it.

I was sitting with my brother at the airport, waiting for our flight of course, not casually hanging out at the Terminal because it’s such a cool place to be, like the people at the next table,  enjoying a nice cup of coffee, with a large red poster that reads “No smoking, Interdit de fumer" behind my brother who is by all means a well educated, nice, law-abiding citizen (am biased yes) lights up right in front of the sign, a couple of police officers standing nearby completely oblivious, my jaw was the only one that seems to drop in shock, I even took a picture of him with a sign in the background! When I questioned him he said “what are they going to do about it” and I realised he was right, if no fines are enforced, and there are no rigorous penalties in place,  Citizens will not feel obligated to adhere to them, there were “no smoking” signs all over the terminal and equal amount of people casually smoking, I find this complete disregard for the law impertinent and dangerous, what more is that these same smokers seem to regard the law only outside of their country, as when they land in LHR, they will wait until outside the terminal to light up, knowing full well how the law is enforced and punishment is serious.

So is it the Algerian people or is it the Algerian government? But doesn’t one make the other?

Perhaps it’s worth adding that the only laws and regulations Algerians are starting to take seriously are the traffic ones and for the most part it isn’t for their own safety or that of their loved ones but because the authorities became ruthless and rigorous in implementing the law with very strict penalties and fines, if only they were this rigorous when it comes to illegal dumping, littering and the defacing constructions mushrooming around the capital!

The Algerians are no different from the Brits or the Gambians or Brazilians etc…when the law is implemented and upheld, people will fear and respect it, so I will blame it on the Algerian…………..Authorities!, no the people, no the government, no my brother….ok the goverement.

5 days to go...

Dz-Chick…an extremely law abiding citizen….honest govner!!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Looking out of the office window or what we can see thought the boss’s office glass door to his window wall, because we’re not allowed window seats, window seats are for the important people or the ones who kiss their as*es, I see November

I also see a bus, no 101 from what I can make out and I wish I was on it, riding away from here until the last stop, I don’t know why I didn’t look up skyward and wished I was aboard a Boeing 747 flying home or somewhere equally warm, perhaps because I knew with a November sky in August you’d be lucky to see the light let alone an airplane.

24th Day of Ramadan, I speak to my mum who claims she is sad Ramadan is almost over and that she’ll miss it and to remedy that, she’s going to fast 6 more days straight after Eid, my dad doesn’t agree and will not fast a minute beyond what is required because he is not a hypocrite apparently referring to my mum who I can hear in the background telling him to behave.

I am barely fasting properly, constantly fighting urges and thoughts of things not allowed like boys and things!    Every time I have one of these “devilish” thoughts I remember what I was told as a kid about the devil being held prisoner away from earth and humans during the month of Ramadan and cannot whisper in my ear and make me do naughty things, so I can’t blame anything on that right? I want it in writing I say!

Going back to Novemgust which is really what this month should be called, it’s depressing and I need some sunshine, I also need coffee and a bout £100,000 (not very greedy) and a man, yes a boyfriend.

Only 6 more days….be brave now!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Let's blame London!

Katie is depressed today, she tries to blame it on the rain but secretly knows it’s something else, she is depressed about being single and living in London, she wonders why she’s still here five years on despite her initial plans to only stay for a couple before meeting Mr. Right, and moving somewhere cleaner, quieter and possibly family oriented.
She remains in London for reasons she cannot fathom herself, perhaps it’s greed for the generous London salaries, or perhaps the London lifestyle or certainly the laborious wait to meet Mr. Right.

We all love London for what it has to offer but we all know it’s a big trap you cannot escape, we get entangled in its fast life web and forget to get off when the time is right so we get stuck for another ride until we’re too slow or too old and we get pushed off by the next wave of Londoners coming to live the fast and glamorous life.

And the older Londoners sit quietly looking at the new young and vibrant, scarily ambitious new generation, thinking “if only you knew what I know now” and some others would think “if only I had my chance again” whilst others look on happily “I am so glad I am out of that rat race

London is what you make it to be, my London isn’t your London, it can be generous, fun and very fortuitous for some as it can be hard, unforgiving and merciless for others, whichever way London was to you is whichever way you made it.

Katie is pondering her London life today, how many more years does she have to spend here, and will she ever meet her man, will she wait for him to yank her out of the fast current that makes London and make it all better or will she have to forget her childhood fantasies or at least alter them and start considering her own exit-pace and plan.

Katie is you, is me, is 5 million London girls and more …
Let’s wake up and smell the Starbucks ladies!

Monday, 22 August 2011

8 Days to go…

…I don’t usually write on weekends, and I find myself missing it, I find myself always jotting down ideas, thoughts and listing various things I have to remember, do or write about.

The feeling of having a notepad and a pen in my bag fills me with thrill as I sit down for a coffee, as my fountain Pilot pen 0.6V strokes the sheet and makes that faint sound of metal on paper, ideas rush to my head and I cannot write fast enough before they fade back down to where came from until the next surge to inspiration, writing I fear has become a hedonistic pleasure, along with buttered toast and sleeping.

So I started to write a short story, a story of a girl with a seemingly ordinary life, who is made to believe is ordinary but she always knew she wasn’t, as her life unravels and the ideas jotted down in my notepad and ideas buried deep within me flood back, my fingers pound on the keyboard with such speed, making the most exquisite sound, the sound of a story coming together, the story of Safia.

I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it….coming soon

I digress, Ramadan is on it’s last ten days, and I have yet to make the most of it, I have been quite moody and lazy this Ramadan, and so I’ve decided to make up for it in these last days, starting with being less moody, less grumpy, less cynical and overall a more pleasant person and not just when I’m in the mood to talk or laugh, I’ll try to be less vain as well but that’s difficult when you’re as beautiful as I am, did you know the Arabic word for Narcissus (the flower) is Narjiss….maybe digression is also a new hedonistic pleasure of mine.

Dz-Chick….in a strange mood*
* what’s new right? 

Friday, 19 August 2011

11 days…

I hear X factor and Big Brother return…One question springs to mind and only one: Why? And more importantly WHY?

The strings of reality TV that have taken over the world here and in America are quite simply preposterous, X Factor, Big Brother, Britain got talent, Geordie Shore, made in Chelsea, the only way is Essex…and much more!

Without exception, I can safely say they are vacuous, mind-numbing , dull, NOT funny, cynical, vulgar and for the most part staged programmes in pursuit of ratings and seedy entertainment, taking the lime light from more cutting edge, educative and interesting programmes that are being sidelined, resulting in poor television and bored viewers who would turn to other channels.

The youth of Britain and I think all over the world, now aspire to be contestants on these reality shows instead of pursing their studies and landing real jobs, these shows give false hopes of easy gain, riches and fame to people, I for one refuse to watch them and will without a doubt boycott Chanel 4 and ITV during the whole period the shows will be aired.

Thank goodness for books and National Geographic.

Have to get back to work now and pretend to be busy...or sick!

Saha Ftourkoum

Thursday, 18 August 2011

12 days and a few lists

Time is in abundance in this dead quite August, when you’re fasting, apart form the time Muslims are supposed to spend worshiping, the rest remains unutilised, even wasted. I spend my time making lists…

I have a lot more time on my hands, since work is quite and my day isn’t structured around eating or going to the gym, I find myself with more spare time than I can manage, but I have to or I shall go mad with boredom, time to focus and organise my life.

So I make lists, you know, to do all those tasks that …dam it, need to call the DVLA…see that kind of stuff, empty out the last 3 boxes from your last house move 13 months ago, list the things you’re giving away to charity starting with the pairs of jeans that won’t fit into your arm let alone your thunder thighs (my case anyway), recycle xmas cards from 1999, cancel that old MasterCard you maxed out once and vouched not to touch again, dry clean your winter coats (in August???) well generally go through your list of things to do, that long gripping to-do-list.

Everybody has a list, a list of things to do at home, list of outstanding bills, clients list, list of boyfriends or girlfriends, best movie list (used to do that when I was bored during summer holidays, consisted of bollywood legend Jani-tu and Star wars), pre travel list, list of things to do on holiday, shopping list etc…List-making can tell a lot about the personality of the list-maker, to start it shows their obsessive and controlling side, their organised side, forgetful side, their priorities and even what they’re dreading the most as you might find the most challenging task at the bottom of the list, or perhaps that’s just me.

If I have a list then I know I am on track, and ticking things off gives me a sense of achievement, it’s rewarding to hold lists and finish them and start a new one. right now, I have a list and am half way down, finding Mr. semi-Right is at the bottom as it's always carried over to the next list... where are you damn it! am sick of waiting!

What’s on your list?

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

13 days to go…

……but who’s broadcasting…sorry I mean counting?

Yesterday local radio channel Alger Chaine 3 called me (not Dz-Chick but her alter ego) for a little chit chat, to talk about how the Algerian community abroad were spending their Ramadan,

I had to think hard before broadcasting my negative waves and sarky comments, the presenter who was a lovely girl called Soraya seemed to encourage good vibes, so I obliged her and the listeners and told them how our community here is united during the holly month of Ramadan, how we meet in Algerian shops and ignore each other, how nobody invites you to share their chorba at home, but Borris Johnson unites us with Ramadan nights and the Eid Festival, they ate it right up!

She went on to ask if I cooked….awkward pause….yeah I cooked chorba about ten days ago, I think it’s still there and is probably growing new chorba, she seemed to have a good sense of humour

She enquired if I had the adequate kitchen supplies and if they had William and Kate on them!! After another pause..…I said I used an old saucepan to make my soup and anything with William and Kate is for Japanese tourists, I did however try to pick up the positive tone by giving her what she wanted “we organise dinners at weekends in little Algerian restaurants or we hold Ramadan nights between friends until the wee hours of the morning” I think she was satisfied with my version of Ramadan, the version of a single Algerian girl in London, I am sure they phoned other people who would have offered a much better image of a united family Ramadan with a table full of varieties of foods and treats and Ramadan nights full of mint tea and sweets and worship.

I was fasting though so I couldn't make anything up it was all true, I indulged in some Ramadan socialising;
I have discovered a little gem of an Algerian café in Brixton called Khamsa, an authentic little place that does not try to pass for Moroccan to increase covers, that doesn’t sell Mezze because it’s expected to and it doesn’t try too hard, it’s plain simply Algerian and authentic, run by an Algerian couple who are so friendly, young, vibrant and talented, incidentally they also run the first Algerian Radio in London, called Rihet Bladi which literally means “a whiff of my country” they broadcast live every Sunday from 6-9pm and you can request songs online, Djamel who is the owner/presenter broadcasts in English, French, Arabic and Berber a variety of cultural programs and topics

Saha ftourkoum...over and out!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

D16 – the countdown begins

My first thought when I look at myself in the mirror apart from the customary "wow" is “how the hell can I fast 16 days and not appear any lighter” is it gluttony? Naaah can’t be, I am the perfect Ramadanist as far as consumption is concerned at least, and I do my best with the rest

The second thought is: it’s a new day, I’ll try to be a good girl, and not comment on that girl in the office whose CRAZY dress sense makes my jaw drop and my eyes open wide every time she passes, but I always take comfort in the fact that the whole floor feels the same, I see chairs swinging 90 degrees, voices turn to whispers and jaws dropping in unison in shock at this massive VPL (visible panty line if you weren’t familiar) and the shortest skirt since large belts were invented.

But I am fasting, so I won’t comment today…not verbally anyway, maybe tomorrow I will be able to hold myself altogether and be a good girl, but I am only human and helpless against her super human powers of fashion faux pas! Don’t judge me.

Feelings on this 16th Day of fast: a bit hungry, an overwhelming sence of penitence, confused, cold, still a bit sad about the end of my relationship, bored obviously, wishing for sunshine and warmth and willing BA to run an offer for Eid(1) so I can go home for the last weekend of August.

Saha Fourkoum

Monday, 15 August 2011

Half way through

We did it, 15 days of fast, dry throats, headaches, slow clocks and homesickness (for some obviously not me….never me) and we’re on the countdown now…

My blog got inundated over the weekend with hits from facebook, a few facebookers shared my Gluttonous worshipers’ post it seems, I can find that out by typing my blogs title on the search box you see.

Most of the comments were quite harsh, some were indifferent, very few supportive, but the most interesting ones were from the presumably pious facebookers who took offence at my post, because as we all know, they have monopoly over religious subjects, and I am not to tackles any such subjects, subjects that should be left to the pious and the knowledgeable.
I should restrict myself to talking about fashion, I believe Gucci and Prada were mentioned; I should also stick to talking about my coffee breaks at Sidi Yaya whilst getting chatted up by boys. Jealous are we?

Yes, you did have it all wrong, you could have boys (or girls), fun, coffee in Sidi Yaya AND still be able to observe Ramadan and it might even be accepted….take it up with God if you have a problem!

And no I don't know it all, I don't claim to be knowledgeable in all subjects I write about, I am giving my point of view, in a free world, if you don't agree with what I have to say, that's your prerogative, you can say you disagree but you cannot say I am wrong, this is not an exact science.

I would also suggest you get off your judgmental thrones, get an occupation or a hobby, reduce the masturbation (it’s really not good for your eyes they say) and if you have any more criticism, I invite you to write them on here....where they can be answered!

Saha ftourkoum all the same

Saturday, 13 August 2011

D13 - to be re-fasted!

Had some doubt on the subject before, but I now know, my hunch was right, estate agents are scum.

They all have the same voices, wear cheap machine washable suits with stripy shirt and say things like“ yeah absolutely” 5 times in one sentence, they promise you the moon, the house to be repainted and the bed to be replaced.... just sign here please.

Failures and misfits is what they are to me, I am so glad I don’t know any estate agents, I think I would draw the line at not judging people on estate agents and maybe I’ll throw in recruitment consultants now that the only person I know who was an recruitment agent has changed jobs! Now I am practically clean. Phew

I feel bad now, some of those agents were very nice and funny, but I have to remind myself that, it's only until I sign or try to give notice to leave the place, then it’s HELLOOO ASSHOLE!

Time to buy methinks!

Saha ftourkoum for I think with the amount of swearing involved above I already did my iftar

Friday, 12 August 2011

D12 - No magic number!

Discovered yesterday that a friend of mine who has a permanent look of exhaustion about her, doesn’t actually fast, but she always proceeds on making sure I know she is tired from the “fasting” or that she is on her period (permanent one it seems).

A colleague, who seems to be the “serious” type, looks pale and tired, also has one eyebrow higher than the other so he looks permanently puzzled, I often find him smoking at the front of the building, and I assumed he had his period too, but never had the time or the inclination to ponder the biological ramifications.

I guess there are a lot of preachers and judgmental people out there, so people from certain faiths find themselves always trying to lie or hide certain truths like not fasting Ramadan, not believing in God or being a Darwinian for fear of upsetting people or being chased with torches!

I am mostly upset about the fact they would make that effort with me, knowing full well, I couldn’t care less; I am not the one to talk really! But I do believe that Darwin was high on prozak when he came up with his therory, but if Charlie was right, we will probably find out in a few million years.

Saha Ftourkoum*
* To the person who keeps searching: Translate Saha Ftourkoum into English, in Algerian, it means Bonne Appétit to all,
Saha Ftourek = subject is singular (male + female)
Saha Ftourkoum = Plural

Thursday, 11 August 2011

D11 - Blame it on PMS or the weather

Not feeling up for much these days, weather is ghastly for August, not so ghastly for England mind you, feeling disappointed I don’t seem to have shifted any weight despite fasting the best part of 18 hours for 11 days now! What gives!

August is like the second January only with better weather (in an ideal world that is), time slows down to a glacial pace, funds are low or you’d be on holiday already, the only upside to August is the tubes are empty and you manage to get a seat on most days, at least I get to read, reading standing up is a challenge, if you have to hold the bar, your handbag and the book.
I am reading this rip off book with a huge DAN BROWN on the front but it’s actually from Simon Kernick, entitled Deadline, a thriller based in London about a little girl who gets kidnapped etc…it’s an easy read but it’s no conspiracy theory! Shame on you Mr. Kernick advertising on the back of D Brown.

Work is so quite, I found a couple of colleagues applying wax strips to their arms and legs whilst gossiping about another colleague in the ladies toilets, I joined them for a bit before I remembered I wasn’t supposed to gossip during Ramadan! Damn, sounded like hot news too.

More salad on the menu tonight

Saha Ftourkoum

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

D10 ...randomly delirious

I now know sleeping is primordial to an easy fast, lack of it however makes for an excruciating day, which tells you I am sleeping an average of 10 hours a day including after work naps! Loving it!

Still bored of eating alone, but not bothered enough to do anything about it, have yet to share Iftar (1) with someone this Ramadan, I used to be all about the invites and having people around, eating out at the weekend and staying out lates, what happened? Can’t really blame it on age, I am not that old, even though 34 seems like such a big number to some people under the age of 30, I remember when I was 26 I thought 30 was OLD, well it’s NOT.

Work is overwhelmingly quiet, so naturally am blabbing on in here about random things…
Sun sets at 20h34 today which is 23h34 in Yerevan, Armenia, a country selected randomly on the website, they seem to be enjoying better weather than us anyway.

My sister phones me to check that I am safe and that the rioters didn’t get me, apparently my mum is worried sick!! Worried sick? Does she not have a phone of her own? Can she not phone me herself? Sometimes you really wonder about parents and their alleged unconditional love. I think they pretend they worry because the fact that don’t actually feel worried frightens them, after so many years living away from home and not proving a liability, you wonder what they have to worry about or why? And don’t give me the “You’ll know when you’re a parent yourself” ....harsh?

Saha Ftourkoum

(1) Ramadan break-Fast

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

D9 - Ramadan Riots

Day 9 and I am Starting to get tired now and we’re not even half way through, I miss drinking a coffee in daylight hours, I miss eating something without feeling full straight away, I miss sleeping on an empty stomach (I miss home too), at this stage in Ramadan every girl is wishing for her period and I am no different.

In Algeria, during the month of Ramadan, the number of road accidents, fights and disagreements in general increase, lack of caffeine and nicotine make for (even) more volatile moods, another thing to avoid during Ramadan is supposed to be Anger but as long as they’re not eating or drinking then it’s ok.
The London riots would probably have been blamed on Ramadan if they were in Algeria and would have attributed the anger to the lack of food & drink and lack of patience!

More about me as I don't care about these yobs

Daily Calorie intake: 1200 Kcal (Qelballouz is very high in sugar)
Weight lost: NONE or perhaps 2lbs (I removed my jeans)
Days to go: 21
Menu tonight: Nothing delicious that’s for sure + green salad (am thirsty)
Stuff to do: NONE
Work done: NONE
Love life: NONE

Saha Ftourkoum

Monday, 8 August 2011

The Gluttonous worshipers

Ramadan is the holly month of patience, spiritual reflection, humility, purity, generosity and worship when we are supposed to follow the teachings of Islam and avoid temptations and worldly attractions, It seems unfortunate that a lot of people concentrate on the physical aspects more than anything else, they refrain from consuming food and drink, refrain from smoking and sexual activities, yet seem to continue as normal with the rest of their vice filled lives, continue to lie, backbite, gossip, steal, eye up every woman (or man) that passes…etc

Of course I am not the one to judge, I am merely pointing out that I believe God has no need for our hunger and thirst, he asked us to observe a set of commandments during this month (and during all our existence) not just from sun rise to sun set, the fasting is to be observed during daylight hours, yes, but by no mean does the breaking of fast allows us to go on a shop lifting spree, a lying marathon, a porno flick or a feasting frenzy.

In Algeria as I am sure is the case in other countries (correct me if I am wrong), another Ramadan related contradiction is observed almost as avidly as the fast itself; the sharp rise in food prices,  meat, vegetable and staple food prices double, yet the demand remain very high and consumption excessive. What is so Islamic about such practice?  
It is common knowledge that prices will rise by at least 50 -100% during the holly month of Ramadan with no explanation or solutions offered, people still have to eat and so despite the few complaints and the same press articles published every year complaining about the same issue, it remains untackled in any real way.

People will try to blame it on the greediness of the unscrupulous traders and suppliers trying to double profits, taking full advantage of the fact that the consumer has no choice, but in reality, the greediness of retailers emanates from the gluttony of the consumer himself, Consumption of food in Ramadan goes up by at least 50% matching the price increase the retailers inflict on the market prices defying any economic laws of demand and supply.

Ramadan has become a month of feasting, excess consumption, wastage and gluttony, which ironically is a sin; People buy food in excess following their cravings and urges, which defy the whole point of the fast that teaches us self discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate, the hungry and the poor.

Food has become the core idol in Ramadan, people have forgotten the point of fasting, they observe Ramadan the way they do now, based on the way they watched their parents do, I fear it will continue from generation to generation until the true meaning of Ramadan is lost.
These people I fear have lost their way and have far gone into the consumerism and commercialism frenzies, which eclipse the true meaning of this holly month.

Remember, gluttony is the devils favourite sin

Dz-Chick ….8 days in

Friday, 5 August 2011


Indeed, I always thought it was a bit cliché to screech OR grin the old thank god it’s Friday, and that it was soo last year or (5 years ago) but boy do I mean it today!

Tis the holiday season, the office is emptying of its clowns, the market is in turmoil, Dollar, Euro and Sterling have crashed, let’s all take a long beach holiday and celebrate shall we!!

Another crisis means, low activity, quite office, longer days and harder Ramadan, fasting is all about the attitude, the more positive you are the easier it is to do, I am getting hunger pangs as I am writing this whinge, you see, it’s all in the mind, but based on my observations over my last few posts, it seems people respond better to miserable posts than to happy ones, I get more hits and more comments when I whinge, I am miserable or sad, for the same reasons people love to watch Eastenders, makes them feel better about their lives somehow.

Yes you are not the only ones with a shit life, though I couldn’t possibly qualify my life as shitty I am always content with what I have, but we’re humans, we’re greedy, ambitious and mostly ravenous …right now  anyway!

Aya Saha ftourkoum

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Ramadan D4 or D-26

Already Day 4, by the end of the weekend, we’d be at day 7 and break-fast would be at 20h40 which is a huge improvement…considering!

At work, I watch people talking to each other and the first thought that comes into my head is; CRIPES some air please,  people here don’t have a sense of personal space, they stand so close you can smell their mouthwash and spot a tooth filling! Really! Step away I can hear you just the same from over there!

Rachel comes over to my desk, there’s an old glass of water (pre Ramadan - does anybody clean up around here?) she mentions that the glass is half full, I argue it was half empty, Marie who sits behind me buts in and asks who drunk that half anyway?  (She’s more cynical than I am)It must’ve been the cleaners I said, why didn’t you finish your glass Rachel asks me, the usual story I tell her; somebody must have come up to my desk and talked over my glass which I then refused to touch based on the FACT that as he was talking he sprayed it with spit, I spend my whole day moving my glass from corner to corner of the desk depending on where my visitor is standing, when that gets tiring I then end up insolently putting my hand over the glass as they talk to me.

If you were a good women, there won’t be a half empty/full glass and we won’t be having this conversation Rachel says it would be washed and put away in the kitchen cabinet, but I am more like Trinity from the Matrix and tell her the glass does not exist, but if it did, it is already empty, water evaporated and the glass is broken; it is their destiny;
The conversation heats up in the office and a mathematician (very weird guy) colleague gets up from his desk and announces that technically the glass is neither half full nor half empty, it’s simply FULL, 50% water and 50% air ...What a nerd.
The boss comes out of his office and suggests we schedule a meeting to discuss the process of optimisation of the 50% water in the glass and potential growth achieved from the remaining water, allow at least an hour for the glass committee.

What a morning!

For dinner, I decided I am going to give cooking bourek another go, called mum to get the proper recipe and not the made up one I was convinced of but only resulted in a mess, burnt pan and paper taste in my mouth.

Saha ftourkoum

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Ramadan D3

It’s getting easier by the day, feeling energised and light, have not yet experienced a hunger pang or any thirst, although I have this continuous urge to go and wash my hands with cold water, so I guess that is thirst masked as OCD.

I find the psychological effect of Ramadan remarkable though, how it’s really mind over matter, when you know it’s Ramadan you stop thinking about food and hunger and water and your mind is free to focus on keeping at bay the real vices and the everyday little things we do and take for granted that are not necessarily good, like lying unnecessarily or backbiting, gossiping etc

Eating alone in Ramadan is not recommended, try to get together with people you know who are fasting preferably but I don’t mind who I break my fast with as long as I have company and this company acknowledges my fast.

I tried to make bourek last night, it was a disaster, it all come undone in the pan, and didn’t cook properly, maybe to do with the fact I tried to fry them with butter as I didn’t have oil and then they ended up in the oven! Tasted like paper Muuuuummmmm I need help!

So far, I am enjoying the fasting, but I am not enjoying the eating

Here’s a thought:  if you use an inhaler (for Asthma) – do you loose your fast?

Saha ftourkoum

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Ramadan D2

My new desk neighbour is an Algerian Jew (from France - naturally), we compare notes on our fasting, she tells me about Kippur and Shabbat and how she hates observing them, she is supportive of my fasting which is helpful, but I feel I don't need sympathy, it's not like I am being punished or suffering an injustice awww poor you!  If I wasn't fasting I would say something like "***** **£$"^3&;!2"**!" but I am fasting and I cannot go around slurring profanities!

After 20 years of fasting (I started early), I think I can safely say I am somewhat of an expert now and have worked out all the tricks of how to survive it, though the summer Ramadan is a relatively new thing for us children of the 80s and 70s;

A full nights’ sleep is essential, nothing makes fasting worse than fatigue and incessant yawning; I am going to count how many times I yawn a day, oh there I at 6 yawns so far since 7am...and again...yawn....

Drink lots of water/fluids, I manage a couple of pints (water) before I get cramps but you need to be fully hydrated so drink drink drink as much as you can take in;

Eat something sweet I recommend Qualblouz (1) if you're Algerian, but if you are a normal homosapien with normal sugar tolerance then a few dates should suffice.

For break-fast today: Chorba (it wasn't completely foul after all) and Bourek (2) which I will attempt to make to the best of my knowledge and abilities.

Saha Ftourkoum

(1) A semolina and honey based cake with a layer of ground almonds, translates literally to heart of almonds
(2) Algerian version of spring rolls

Monday, 1 August 2011

Ramadan D1

Always thought there was something magical about Ramadan, you dread it and dread it, but as soon as you wake up on that first morning of the 1st Day, you are fasting and that’s that.  You just deal with it, bare it, enjoy it, savour it or whatever your reaction is…

So far for me: Positive attitude, good mood, conservative outfit, must make myself pray later when I get home (still haven't worked out east from north), prepared Chorba (1) last night but it smelt nothing like Chorba, bet it tastes foul as usual but when you’re hungry everything tastes good.

At work, everybody is Ramadan-aware which is nice, I get a lot of Happy Ramadans and Ramadan Kareems, which is very supportive, others who don’t realise…

08:30 – Morning, do you want a drink? No thanks am good.
10:15 – Fancy a cupper? No I am ok thanks, maybe in 3 to 4 weeks, huh?? Never mind
12:30 – Lunch? No can’t am afraid but I will walk with you
15:00 - Brew? No brew for me, it’s Ramadan, I am fasting hon, Ahhhhh Sorry I thought you looked a little subdued …Really? You don’t say!

A few (A LOT) more hours to go till sunset, and I feel surprisingly good, may it might be too early to say now, but I might turn into a zombie later.

Saha Ftourkoum (2)
(1) A tomato based soup cooked traditionally as the main Ramadan meal in N. Africa (names may vary depending on region)
(2) Bonne Appétit

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