Today I had a chance to go to our local Middle Eastern market (Yasmeen’s on Bay Rd. in Saginaw) with only one child, so I took the opportunity! As I walked in, I saw the sign on the door that it is Ramadan right now. I’d forgotten about that, I know it comes at different times of the year but I can never remember when exactly. There were a few other people shopping there, picking up food for the end of today’s fast at sunset. There was a lady there wearing Hijab, she was with her husband and they were both speaking Arabic with the owner. It was delightful to hear, I grew up hearing Finnish spoken everywhere but I’ve been away from that now for so many years, I forgot how nice it is to hear people conversing in a language other than my own. The Hijab-wearing lady and I started talking, I didn’t ask her where she was from as her accent was heavy, but she was admiring Sophie and I told Sophie about the pretty flowers on her shirt and the pretty scarf on her head. We talked about Ramadan a bit and her kids and grand kids, then I found out she lives in Midland. Actually just about 10 minutes from me!
Then, earlier in the week, I met another lady who has been at Saginaw’s LLL meetings, she is Muslim too, married to a Tunisian man. She was very sweet and we enjoyed visiting, she is having her first baby in November and I hope to be able to spend more time with her, maybe she can teach me how to cook!
I had blogged a while back that I need some Arab friends, I am hoping that by continuing to focus on that, (and maybe shopping at Yasmeens when I can) that I will make some… I know not all Muslims are Arab but all the Muslim women I’ve met have just been very sweet and it would be wonderful to meet more and continue learning about this very misunderstood faith. I’m not really sure why, but I feel so very happy when I am around Muslims and Arabs… I just am! To me, the language is beautiful and the food is SO good, the music is great too, I can’t think of anything about it I don’t like!
I tried some new foods today – Lebneh (yogurt cheese, it’s like eating cream… YUM!) and this pickled thyme called zaatar. I was warned that the zaatar was very strong and a little goes a long way, but that it is really good on a pita with lebneh, tomatoes and olives. Well I opened the jar and took a pinch, popped it in my mouth and WHEW!!!!! He was NOT kidding!!! I don’t think it was meant to be eaten alone… I’m sure when it’s with other foods it’s really good but it was VERY overwhelming to eat by itself! WOW! I also bought this baked pudding stuff, not sure what it is exactly but it looked good… the translation of the directions on the back was interesting too! 🙂
So if you are Muslim and happen to come across this blog, may you have a very blessed Ramadan… and if you live in the Tri Cities area and have small children like mine, get ahold of me because I’d love to get together!