Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My First Iftar

My sweet Turkish conversation partner emailed me today to ask if I wanted to go with her and a visiting cousin to watch the sunset on Mt. Bonnell. I hadn't been up there (this is really sad, being an Austin-ite and all) since 1996, so I jumped at the chance to spend time with the two of them! Her cousin is visiting for the summer (doing an ESL program at Rice) before starting university this fall back in Germany. She is a Turk living in Germany (I learned tonight that there are 1.7 million Turks living in Germany-- 500,000 of which are citizens! Who knew?!?!). So, my friend wanted to show her some Austin sights.
We walked Mt. Bonnell, took pictures with the river backdrop, then pictures with the city skyline backdrop,
then pictures with the steep stairs you climb in the backdrop. Next stop, we drove to UT to show her the Tower and the stadium.

Finally, the sun was down and it was time for them to "break the fast". The Muslim holy month of Ramadan started yesterday. For the next 30 days (28 now), Muslims around the world will be fasting from food and drink (even water, which I also learned tonight) from sun-up to sun-down. At the close of each day, they have an "Iftar dinner" where they break the fast together with family and friends. As we drove back to her apartment, my friend asked if I would join them for Iftar! What an honor!

The three of us and my friend's husband all shared a feast of traditional Turkish foods. We started the fast-breaking with a date and an olive (both of which my friend said had holy significance). Then we had soup (The World's BEST Soup, I might add) to ease their tummies into eating. After that, we had a loaded plate of dolmas, an Antioch specialty meat (my friend is from Antioch-- yes, the one from the Bible), vegetables, homemade yogurt, salad, borek... TONS of food! And we polished off the meal with tea and sweets. As if that wasn't enough, in her generosity, my friend sent me home with TWO plates, fully loaded with food for Andy (who was out of town tonight at Breakaway but who she thought might return very hungry late tonight) and a tupperware full of Turkish cookies!

I've said it before, but I'll say it again... Turks are the most hospitable people in the world! I am so glad to have experienced my first Iftar with such a sweet, precious friend!

1 comment:

Andrea said...

You are such a great writer, Anna. I really enjoy reading your posts!