Semi-serious journal of a Ramadan (and coffee) lover


Sunday, 6th May 2018

This year my “good resolutions” of Ramadan have doubled, I make a long list and I stop to think. I read my list again, I delete lines and I mark them. Then, as usual, I tell myself I cannot leave things to chance, but, behaving like a good Milanese, I have to plan everything in detail, or at least have a good and sincere intention.

Without being able to withold every little desire I write down 52 good resolutions, which are even too much, to be honest, but given the fact I don’t which ones to remove, I decide I will be back on it later. Meanwhile, a nice coffee is in order; since I am still able to drink one at 4pm, why not?

I put my coffee pot on the fire, I watch my smartphone, and I ask myself: “so what’s the situation? How much until it begins? I cannot be unprepared, and my list contains several things I have to do before the holiest month of the year begins, when I’ll still get the chance to drink my coffees, there’s not much time left, but I don’t panic, the keyword is: organisation. And don’t tell me I am too superficial, let’s just say I am honest with myself and consistent.

As a matter of fact we will be fasting from 4am until 20.30 or something, so it’s useless to play ‘wonder women’, because it is inevitable that we will all be dumbed down, sleepy and very much less performant. All it takes is to expect the unexpected and do not leave anything to chance. So a methodology is required, organisation and determination. No complaints and a lot of honesty.

I write some sort of backwards calendar. It seems like the month ends on the 14th or 15th of June. As you may be aware, the islamic calendar follows the lunar cycle, and the month starts as soon as the crescent moon is sighted. So I go to search all the projections. There are those who wait for the sighting following the traditional islamic observatory, who say the moon will likely be sighted on the evening of June 16th, so the fasting will start on the dawn of 17th May. Then there are those who follow astronomic calculations and claim it will be visible on the night of May 15th, and will start to fast on Wednesday the 16th. So out of curiosity I check out Muslim Pro (the app on my smartphone) that tells me it will be on Monday evening, so the first day of Ramadan would be May 15th.

Whatever the case, I still have eight good days before Ramadan. Without further ado, what’s the first thing I should do? Meanwhile I taste my delicious afternoon coffee munching some peanuts and repeating the praises to God who created my favourite drink, and the phone rings.

Hamza: “Assalamu alaykum, how are you? How are Ishem and the kids?”

Cinzia: “Al hamdulillah, all well and healthy… how are you guys holding up?” and I notice my voice is cheerfully smiling…

Hamza: “AL HAM DU LI LLAH (slowly speaking the syllables) we are too all well and healthy, which is something, to be sure… You seem very well, cheerful… I am glad.”

Cinzia: “Of course you feel well, Ramadan is coming, in sha Allah we will soon have another chance for beautiful gifts, forgiveness, special emotions, of course I am hyped and hopeful, are you not?

Hamza: “Of course, you are right, in sha Allah indeed we will have another great chance… I was looking for your husband, but he doesn’t pick up the phone…”

And soon after I closed the call, I suddenly realize I cannot spare one minute and I must live these few days productively. I check back my list and I put as first thing to do a full cleaning of the house, which I have never done before. A challenge that seems trivial, but it’s actually a stroke of genius because it will allow me to relax at least during the first days of fasting, and I will be able to focus on something else.

This item on the list demands the cleaning of every square centimeter of the house, including the inside of the furniture, and while I’m at it, I will change the closets, but first of all I must clean the garage, so I decide to throw away tons of stuff I don’t need anymore, so I can fit all of the winter clothing, previously cleaned. Because Ramadan must come with cleanliness and order, like a very important guest, it should not see confusion or garbage. This order will be useful to feel better and be more at peace.

I decide to plan on room by room, four cleaning machine rounds a day and the help of Amal, because four hands are a lot better than two, and the laundromat for blankets and jackets. I hastily send a message to Amal and summon her for Tuesday morning.

I also have to wash my car, like every year, it has become a personal ritual to gift my loved car with a nice wash right before Ramadan, because she too deserves to make a good impression on the special guest.

I call Wilma Mumina to ask her the name of some formidable vitamines, given I will need extra energy, and I find out the algae she reccomends are the same I have on the supplements drawer. I fill a glass of water and I put two together. It’s better to put more given what awaits me.

Last thing to do on this first phase is to bring the family up to speed on my schedule: “Please note that the house will be torn upside down for a whole week, do not get scared and them, God help me, you will notice a beautiful change, so do not stand in my way. In fact, if you want to help, you are welcome to do so.” Unfortunately, after my last words, a deafening silence fills the house and the three of them leave, their heads low, pretending they did not hear me. Luckily my husband decide to give a discrete amount of money to pay Amal and the laundromat, he tells me to not hesitate in getting help, and this in itself is an insteresting and welcome contribution. Good husband.

Tomorrow morning is Monday, and I will attend the Tajwid (Qur’an reciting lesson) and then I will go and buy plenty of detergents and to wash my car; in the afternoon I will finish all administrative and bureaucratic errands, I will try to pay all my bills, a must in order to not be uneased by bills scaringly staring at me during Ramadan.

Last among the things that seem most trivial, but are essential for the start of my super schedule, is to plan my fasting day of fasting/sleeping, daily errands for the house, family and everything else. I need a bicycle, I browse the used item market on facebook, I find it, I contact the seller and book it.

Now for the most important part, the planning/expectation of the few nights hours when the fasting is over, which I do not plan spending asleep, I need to optimize them and make them

important. I will need several coffees to in order to stay awake and do all the things that normally, during the rest of the year, I don’t do, because I am sleeping.

So I can consider about 4 hours, between the end of tarawih (congregational prayer), which is around midnight, and the beginning of the fasting around 4am. In those few hours I have to read a fixed amount of Qur’an every night, write and do everything I need a reactive brain for, nourished by my essential coffee.

On the other hand, I also have to plan my light hours. I need to come to terms with the minimum amount of sleep needed, decide how to spend the rest of the day doing important daily stuff, what to postpone, and most importantly avoid any loss of time. Who to visit, places to avoid except in situations that would force me to interrupt my fasting. Decide what actions will be beneficial and what will be an obstacle. My list helps me to make a real selection.

In a few days I will tell you how it goes, just know it’s not as difficult as it seems, the secret is… but meanwhile let me know how you are getting ready to welcome the most honoured guest that will allow you to receive any ‘divine bounty’…

Post in the comments below, on in our facebook page, but most importantly stay tuned, because your support is essential and we feel it.

See you soon… I will shortly reveal to you my secret and many sincere advices… Fi amani Allah.

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