Went to sleep at around 4 am and woke up at 1pm. I was in the best mood this "morning." I'm not sure if it was the novelty of eating off of the back of a car in the middle of the street in the early Egyptian morning, or just being able to hang out with friends that late, or feeling some sort of peace from completing something challenging, I had a smile on my face.
I had planned to drink enough water before I went to sleep to be able to make it through the day without feeling faint, however, I don't think that happened. After cleaning the house and reading, I was bored enough to attempt a 40 minute walk to the grocery store. It was too hot and I was too dehydrated; by the time I got home, I was feeling kind of shaky. However, my stubbornness and my desire to take this month seriously won out and instead of drinking water I relaxed under the fan and recovered just fine. I also managed to not drink too much water at iftar and get sick like last night.
So to the question I get the most: "why?"
There are a multitude of reasons that I've decided to fast this Ramadan. The first reason is a mixture of curiosity and empathy. As an anthropologist, I would like to understand how challenging this month is for the majority of the people around me by participating in an aspect of their lives. Talk is nice but it's one thing for someone to tell you about being thirsty, and another to ask for help (from some higher power, beit God or not) in not drinking water when you're very thirsty. I also hope participating will foster a sense of solidarity with those around me as I am trying to understand their religion and their lives.
Another big reason I feel compelled to fast is that for the formative years of my life I was governed by a strict religious moral code. Yes, eventually I decided it wasn't for me and I left that lifestyle behind, but there is a part of me that feels like I'm flying through life without any comforting restrictions. So I feel that living by "others'" rules for a month will be a good exercise in self-discipline and remind me of the focus I used to experience in my earlier years.
I really hope I don't offend anyone, as this is meant to be an exercise in communion and I would hope that any offenses are brought to my attention so I can rectify them. I also ask for support as this is going to be a trying month, but I'm very determined and believe I can do it. Ramadan kareem.