Growing up in the Middle East, I always had mixed feelings about Ramadan. I hated the fact that restaurants were closed for lunch, but I loved that they were open late into the night. I loved going to iftar (the meal that breaks the fast) dinners. I hated not being able to drink or eat outdoors. I loved how the entire city came alive at night. I felt guilty for eating in school in front of my fasting friends.
After moving to the States, Ramadan became an optional experience and I found myself missing it.
The part I missed the most was Eid. The meals cooked during Eid al Fitr surpassed every meal cooked for every iftar. It was always a difficult choice for my family deciding which friend’s dinner invitation we would accept. Often it would happen that my parents went to one of their friend’s house, my sister to her friend’s and I to my friend’s house.
I experienced my first Americanized iftar on Wednesday evening, the first of 2013.
Knowing that Ramadan was coming up, I pitched the topic to my editor and was told to find a story. The day of Ramadan, I found a story.
Mohamed Gumati, the owner of International Café, invited me (and a photographer) to his house for iftar so I could get my story. And I got one.
I know I did a good job on writing the story, but hearing it from others made me feel even better about it.
The perk? In addition to the Missourian website, my story was also published on ColumbiaFAVS, an online religion news source.