Recently, I was privileged to enjoy two events presented by our local Amity Turkish Cultural Center. We, our son, and his wife joined with a church group in a Ramadan style evening meal, a treat given by the Cultural Center. Since Ramadan falls during our calendar's August this year, daylight is long. Observant Muslims eat something before sunrise and then do not eat or drink until after sunset each day of the month of Ramadan. So, rather than their usual practice of sharing an actual Ramadan meal with others in the community during their celebration, they took pity on us non-Muslims by bringing us a typical meal last week when we all could eat at 6 p.m.
After a brief introduction to the meaning and purpose of Ramadan, they invited us to a buffet with Turkish style macaroni and cheese, rice with vegetables, meatballs and potatoes in sauce, a huge salad, and Turkish baklava--all very delicious. But the best part of the evening was that some of the local Turkish Cultural Center members joined us at each of our round tables and freely answered any questions we had about Ramadan, their faith, or their lives in the U.S. It is hard to describe just how friendly, gentle, and gracious they all were and how open both to sharing and to listening. They truly embodied the mission of the Amity Turkish Cultural Center, which is "building bridges for peace."
In a future post, I'll tell you more about the second of their events that I enjoyed. Telling you about our experiences on that amazing journey to Turkey will also come later (otherwise this post would be verrrrry loooooong :>). This photo from our time in Turkey shows one of the minarets of the magnificent 16th century Sulaymaniyah Mosque in Istanbul, associated with the great Sultan Sulayman.
Question of the day: What cross-cultural experiences have been meaningful for you?