Monthly Archives: July 2013

Lost?

Since the first night of ramadhan Miss Grey is missing. As she made it her habit since the summer nights became so balmy and starfilled she left about midnight – but did not return at dawn as usual. For weeks she would wait outside the door until one of our boys leaves for work about 4.50 am, so he could let her in to wake us up and make us feed her. Though, unlike her mother she is not so avid for food, often it seems it was her main aim to kiss us and be cuddled and loved. Food came later, she would only start eating after running around for a while and then see us busy.

But on Wednesday morning I waited for her in vain. Neither at 3 am, for our morning meal, neither at 4.50, when the boy left, neither when one of us left the house she was anywhere to be seen. Coming home about 2 pm I hoped she would be waiting in the garden and complaining for being left out in the heat – no sound, no movement.

Whenever I am home, the door is left open, unless Miss Grey’s boyfriend, Romeo, hangs around and tries to sneak inside the house. He has been circling the house for months, we hold him responsible for the state Miss Grey is in – but I am not quite sure he had been able to fight off the other contenders. Now, he looks as forlorn as I am feeling. My husband feeds him the leftovers of Miss Grey’s food from the fridge, no use to let it rot. But the three of us look rather sad.

Wherever I walk in the house or garden, I tread carefully, as if there was still a small grey paw or tail I should not step on. I expect to see her on one of her usual places – but only the empty spot looks at me, coldly. I wake up in the night, turn in bed carefully, not to disturb my kitty when I move the blanket with me on which she might be sleeping, then remember, she is not here.

What might have happened? Where could she be? We have no idea. No one saw her, my husband asked around, the boys playing on the street, the shopkeeper across the street, they all know the little grey cat with the funny walk. Our boys pretended she could work as a belly-dancer, just missing the dress, the way she shakes her narrow hips while walking. Rude, because the poor thing fell very sick when she was just for months old, a virus, we believe, and since then her hind legs sometimes seem to give way under her – although she can jump well enough if she wants to reach the cheese on the breakfast table.

Now, a new morning. Our parrot, Aziza, and I sit at the open door until it will be time for me to leave for my school. Aziza has been nagging a lot this last week, as if she also asks us what became of her friend. She has been knowing Miss Grey since she was born and see her grow up, play around, have her first babys, become the joy and amusement of the house.

I see a shadow behind the curtain that shields us from being seen from the street – but it was just a dove flying by low. No cat. No “mau”. No soft furry feeling at my naked ankles. No small scratches on my legs from her idea to climb up my dress.

Will she be back? I do not want to lose hope – yet.

Countdown till Ramadhan

Jordan is a mostly muslim country, as you would know. So, every year, Ramadhan, the month of fasting,  is a major event. This year it will inshaAllah start on 9th July – or maybe one day later, if on that evening the new moon is not visible yet. The muslim year is counted after the moon-calender, so the month starts when the new moon is first visible. As this can differ, it will only be known on the last minute.

But that is not so very important, as the first day of Ramadhan does not need so much preparation. Only one should set the alarm for the right time: fasting starts at dawn, i.e., before the first light is really visible. Easy to know here, because at that time anyway all mosques announce the arrival of dawn, time for the first prayer of the day.

In these days before Ramdhan, most people already do some of their shopping; supermarkets are fully stocked and every year the government tries to prevent sellers from raising their prices due to the expected consumption. Sounds funny, people buying more food because they are fasting, doesn’t it? Fact is, in most families that can afford it, the meal after sunset which breaks the fast every day (iftar), is the opportunity to enjoy it with the family and often with guests. Depending on the financial possibilities this can be very rich food – but in Jordan, I think, this is only for a minority. Plus, many people also make sure that leftovers are either kept for the next day or distributed to poorer families. Ramadhan is also the time for charity – rich donating more than any other time of the year.

A custom that seems to me having been copied more from the west is the inflation of lights and blinking ornaments in windows and on balconies. Sometimes a little too much – but seeing all this stuff in the shops now gives a better understanding that Ramadhan is expected with much more joy than with apprehension – although fasting can be hard, the time itself brings togetherness, love and care, so many love it.

Probably you will find more than this post to the topic here during the next month – the whole lifestyle changes and revolves around the schedule of sahur (last meal in the early morning), fasting and iftar. I hope you will keep on looking in and share our life in this month.

Once a summer

This post is part of the July 2013 Blog Chain at Absolute Write. This month’s prompt is “Dog Days of Summer.”

„Dog days“ of summer are literally translated into „Hundstage“ in German. We do not see them there every year, often as not summer in Germany is more a wish than a reality. But still, sometimes they happen.

Like in that summer when I had turned nine and we had moved into a new bought house. This came with a room for each of us two sisters and enough space to accomodate our cousins during the summer holidays. I loved it – having my two big cousins around who would treat me nicely and include me in everything made my day, no matter, what my elder sister and the youngest of the cousins were up to.

We would play crocket in the garden, although we had to fight the balls tendency to roll downhills, as the house is built into a hillside. Or we would search for the badminton set. Evenings would find us on the terrace with two sets of cards, for interminable rounds of canasta, under the sweet smell of the yasmine bushes and roses at the wall.

The weather grew warmer and warmer and saw us searching for a pool. The five of us would hardly fit into the family car, a beetle, because none was old enough to drive and my mother would not risk being caught with all of us on board. So the heat and lack of alternative forced us to use the local swimming pool. The entry fee was minimal, but so was the pool. Much too small, hardly a decent shower, raw stones on the edges. The lack of heating did not count in those hot days, we were happy enough with the temperature the sun had made raise to incredible 18° C. Then, the use of balls and other playthings were not yet forbidden, the water teemed with children, the heavily chlorinated water permeated the air with its acrid smell that we would take home in our wet bathing suits and towels.

Until one day, when in the morning we saw the sky covered with clouds and a cool wind greeted us as soon as we opened the door. But we had decided the evening before that we would go swimming again and I counted on another swimming lesson from my patient cousin. So, I would not hear of not going and the others also agreed that the clouds should not be a reason to deter us from enjoying another swim.

The water felt actually warmer under the leaden sky, as long as I did not leave a limb out to the wind. After one hour though we tried to dry up, my long hair still dripping with water I followed the others on the way home. I shivered, but tried not to show it for fear they would tell me it was my own mistake as I had been the one to insist on going.

I paid for this next morning when I woke up with a terrible headache, fever and a sore throat. The next week I had to spend confined in bed, while the others now could go everywhere as the four of them would fit into the car. To comfort me at least a little my cousins would buy sweets for me and, better, give me their own new books – that they had brought to read during the holidays – to read. They knew I would enjoy them.

The youngest had brought the „Winnetou“-Triology. Very famous in Germany I doubt my englishspeaking reades will ever had heard of their author, Karl May, who wrote a big number of storys from his fictous travels, a part of them set into the Wild West, another in the Middle East and Africa. Three big volumes kept my interest for a while and I cared less about being left alone after the fever abated sufficiently so I could concentrate on reading.

But it was the elder cousins book that I still remember best and that still helds a special place in my heart for the lasting effect it had on me: a German version of Lousia May Alcott’s „Little Women“. Never before I had thought about people who wrote the books I read, and I had started reading with four years of age and found my way through a number of books already. But Jo March did not only read them, she started writing stories and had them published, for others to enjoy them.

It needed years until I wrote my first story and still my first book waits to get published. But I always think of those dog days of summer that not only taught me to swim but also how to use my storytelling.

 

Check out this month’s other bloggers, all of whom have posted or will post their own responses:
Ralph Pines
articshark
Sunwords
Diem_Allen
U2Girl
robynmackenzie
Lady Cat
MsLaylaCakes
pyrosama
Angyl78
SuzanneSeese
Diana_Rajchel
HistorySleuth
AshleyEpidemic
SRHowen