My First Biggest Challenge

I flew to Germany on July 31st 2012.  At that time it was also the fasting month or Ramadan for the Muslims.  So I have to spend two-third of my Ramadan in Germany.

I know I had been doing this during my Masters study, but I never done it in summer time.  The fasting time begins from dawn to dusk, and during summer this period is the longest in a day.  My experience in fasting in Europe was during autumn time where the fasting period is more or less the same than in Indonesia (+ 14 hours).  But now I have to do it for around 18 hours!!!  In addition, the weather is drier than in Indonesia, so the level of thirstiness is greater.  Even before I flew, I already worried to face it.  Am I going to survive?  Of course I could also choose not to fast at all.  But hey, I don’t want to quit before it started.  The idea of challenging myself is more interesting than just quitting.  And of course in religious term, I could get more berkah (like good karma) by sticking to my faith.

In my first day of fasting, the weather was very nice.  The sun was full and hot.  So, it was even harder.  First I had to survive the time and second the weather.  The four-hour jump from my regular fasting time was surely difficult.  Suddenly I have to hold my fasting longer.  It would be better if I add my fasting time gradually, like adding 30 minutes each day.  In this case my body will adapt easily.  But I didn’t have this option… 

The hot and dry weather had made it worst.  My mouth and skin became dry but I had to overcome it.  My strategy was to wear normal clothes (shirt, long pants, sneakers and not shirt, short, sandals) to avoid over excess heat loss.  It’s not humid anyway, so I didn’t have to be afraid of getting sweaty. 

Another strategy is picking on the meal.  My sister is practicing food combining, she said that vegetables can hold our hunger longer than rice.  So I took salad for my early meal before start fasting.  Somehow it worked, I didn’t feel so hungry.

My main meal during fasting time

Of course I still had to do my normal activity like going to the course.  But I also kept looking at my watch, like a little kid that can’t wait to have the fasting break.  I didn’t have problem with looking to people’s eating.  In this case, even in Jakarta, people that don’t fast can eat openly in public.  So it wasn’t a big deal for me.  It’s the time that killed me.  In the end I survived my first day.  I kept drinking until I slept because I felt my thirstiness had not over…

Today is my sixth day of fasting.  My body has better adapted.  Beside, the weather had become cloudy and windy, so I am getting better in having fasting during summer.  My sleep time is changing because I have to eat around 9 PM and having early meal around 2 AM, but it’s normal.  I sleep whenever I got a chance.  If I got morning class, I sleep in the afternoon.  And if I have a class in the afternoon, I sleep in the morning.  I think so far, I have survived it J

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