Across the street from my house is an Islamic community center. These days, after dark, I see people moving, seated at a long table, through the wide illuminated window on the second floor. Presumably breaking fast, I can only imagine how good the food must taste, and how animated and joyous their speech must be, being nourished and in familiar company.
In Lund, in 2010, I remember buying a falafel from a shop just after the sun had set at around ten in the evening. Northern summer days are long, the sun hardly setting at all. Upon leaving, falafel in hand, I catch sight of two Middle-Eastern looking men sitting around a table outside the shop. They sit leaning back in their chairs with hands resting above heads in the glowing twilight; falafel wrappers lay empty before them. Their two visages could have been the same face, their looks of supreme satisfaction matched perfectly. Aha, I thought. Ramadan.
My friend offered me her old set of Arabic books when she moved away. Curious, I accepted them with, as it turns out, naive glee. So far, I’ve opened one of them and discovered that not only does the book read from right to left, but that Arabic appears to be by no means an easy or even moderately-difficult language. There is an entire book dedicated to solely the sounds of the letters. It’s not necessarily high on the list of “languages I’m supposed to be learning,” but I sense an adventure between those covers. Indeed, it’s high time to de-Euro-centrize linguistic interests!
Unrelated to Ramadan, but on the topic of satisfied facial expressions:
Is it OK if I love Christophe Roblin, if only for the Alpe D’Huez win and this look of pure and utter Praise-be, Holy-shit, exhaustion, disbelief-joy?