Please ignore the date and signature stamp on this blog as it seems to be tied to some time zone in North America. The date I type is actually the day of the post - time right now is 8:20 am.
Today is the first day of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. Ramadan is a time for fasting and refraining from "all other physical pleasures" during daylight hours. This translates into a different, and sometimes trying, way of life for 30 days. During this time, it is illegal to eat or drink in public (not even a sip of water), and we're told that there are "serious consequences" if you are caught. It still isn't clear to me if those consequences apply to non-Muslims, but at the very least is considered rude and inappropriate to consume anything in front of someone who is fasting. This means that Dan will either have lunch with his office door closed, or come home instead. At the kids' school, fasting students will go to the library at lunch time, and all others, including teachers, will eat in the lunch room. In the city, restaurants and coffee shops are closed during the day (oh, my beloved Starbucks!), and open again after sunset (who wants a frapuccino at 6:00 pm?). I've been told that driving becomes a little dicier in the early afternoon, as drivers have low blood sugar and are somewhat crankier. After sunset each day, the fast is broken with Iftar, which as I understand it, usually starts with dates, and is ultimately quite a feast.
I am really looking forward to experiencing Ramadan first-hand...everyone has told us how much fun it ISN'T, but I think it could be a great learning experience for us and the kids.
School starts on Sunday, Aug. 15 for our kids. Ben and Jacob will go for their pre-admission tests this afternoon. They have spots reserved, but everyone gets a test to make sure there are no special needs. Nicholas was accepted to middle school a couple of months ago and has already chosen his electives, and he has a new student orientation tomorrow. Apparently, they don't need Dan at work that badly yet as he is able to join us for (and drive us to) these events!
That's it for today...when things slow down in the next couple of days, I'll go back and fill you in on our arrival in Doha and our first few days here.