For me, growing up as an expat, Ramadan has been largely about celebrating my Pakistani heritage. Living in Buenos Aires, in the late 80s when Muslim communities were still a rarity, the act of observing and celebrating such an occasion was often relegated to a handful of Pakistanis who were able to brave sundown in the Argentinian capital. At the time, the country was going through one of its worst economic crises; burglaries and home invasions were rampant and almost everyone had a story to share about pickpockets and lost car stereos.
As Ramadan would approach, our burgeoning community would plan rotating Iftar open houses. Several families would volunteer to host Iftar throughout the month, allowing people to break bread and pray together. Occasionally our tiny community was joined by other Muslims passing through Buenos Aires. In the case of the Davids (English boy falls for Pakistani girl), his job as an engineer took them all the way to Tierra Del Fuego, an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, known for its tourism and massive petroleum reserves. Then there was Bashir, a Tunisian whose wedding I was fortunate enough to attend, where I caught my first and only bouquet of flowers! I was only 10! Finally, there was Sadia (a passionate Kashmiri, presently a lovely doctor and mama), who would go on to become one of my closest friends. (All names in this post have been changed.) [Read more...]