I’ve been fasting during the month of Ramadan. Our local intern, Marjeta also fasts. On hotter days, Anton lets the fasters leave early so we can rest before we break our fasts in the evening. I admit it was difficult the first week of Ramadan, but after a while I don’t feel hungry or thirsty at all during the day. I feel blessed to not have be hungry year around like many people are around the world.

We break our fast around 8:30 pm here in Kosovo and must stop eating and drinking by 3 a.m. I usually take a nap after work and wake up in time to prepare Iftar, the breaking of fast meal. Usually, I stay awake after Iftar watching Turkish shows while I eat and then go to sleep at around 2 am. But sometimes I set my alarm to 2 a.m. to wake up for Suhoor. Ashley and I went out for an Iftar once or twice in the first half of Ramadan. Marjeta invited me to an Iftar at her flat, and her sister prepared one of the most wonderful meals I've had in Kosovo. I may be gaining weight instead of losing it this Ramadan. 

I’m going to ISTANBUL for the celebration of the end of Ramadan. I studied there two years ago as an undergrad and can’t wait to see the family and friends I met there. I’m especially excited because this is the first Ramadan I’ll be celebrating in a place where the majority of people publicly celebrate Ramadan. It’s going to be a great Eid.

I should also note that as an Uyghur, I feel extra blessed to be able to even observe Ramadan. In the recent years, many Uyghurs in Eastern Turkistan have been banned from observing the fast, attending prayers and celebrating the month of Ramadan. This year, the media in Turkey and the West provide more coverage on the issue than it had in previous years, and communities around the world protested China for its oppression of the Uyghurs.