Sunday, November 29, 2009


Buying Pork is not something I do a lot of. I was never a huge fan of it while in the US - although the bacon at the now non-existent Buffalo Grill in Houston was always pretty amazing. Never really ate it in Turkey as it was only available at one butcher shop, and I could do without the Oscar Mayer fatty bacon. So, I never missed it at all, and only tested it when visiting countries where it was everywhere in the menu and you couldn't escape it.

Well, tonight I decided to cook chicken wrapped in bacon. Chicken is always very easy to cook, but bacon might make it more interesting. So, I pop out to the local market to get my two important ingredients. Buying pork here, or the thought of it always makes me laugh a little inside. Every market here that sells pork has to have a special section, and I mean not just an aisle, but a pork room that has a huge advertisement across the top "Pork Section for Non-Muslims Only". Its as if you are walking into the gates of Hell, really. And if there is a local nearby, if I ever have to slip in then I do for some reason feel a bit uncomfortable doing it. I mean it is their country and why am I desecrating it by buying pork?

Even though permissible, it seems disrespectful to me in some way. If they see me go in, is it like I am spitting in their face? Eating pork in their country. I mean its nice they've developed this way to categorize it. And what would happen if someone in local dress walked in there? Alarms, lights? What might happen?

And why do Muslims not eat pork? I am told that it is because it is believed to be a dirty animal. The quotes I see on the Internet from the Koran are: " Forbidden to you for (food) are: dead meat, blood and the flesh of the swine and that which hath been invoked the name other than Allah. " To me dead meat could be interpreted in various ways, but I guess that means road kill. Blood, ok, no vampires. I assume this has a lot to do with how animals are slaughtered differently than in the West. All the blood is drained from the body as I understand it. And the flesh of swine, that's pretty explanatory. So that is kind of categorized as dirty in that statement, and I get it.

Jews don't eat pork either. I think that's because its not Kosher. I don't know what that means as I'm not Jewish, so I went to Wiki, and it says because it doesn't ruminate (chew cud), but has cloven hoofs - a religious doctrine is cited. However, if an animal has both, then that's ok. Something I came across on someone's blog or Q&A took it to the next level and stated that this represents some kind of hypocrisy. It was deeper than I wanted to dive tonight, so I clicked back to my search page.

Christians eat pork, and lots of it. However, through this search I learned that in the Old Testament of the Bible it states that Christians were instructed not to eat pork. But, continue reading and another blog said some Christians think that God was only speaking to the Jews and not isn't this the problem with religion? - So many people think God is talking to them only, or not talking to them and giving directives to others that don't apply to them?! Would we not have world peace if people didn't think God had a selective audience??!!!

And as I continue to research this subject on the internet it just becomes comical! - On Answers Yahoo: "I know Jews don't eat pork...What about bacon?" I'm not kidding. Its out there for the world to see.

One final thing I learned. In 2008, it was decided that giraffe is kosher.


Happy Thanksgiving, Eid Mubarak, Ramadan Kutlu Olsun

My life is chaos...or at least it feels that I sit here at a table covered in paperwork and a slew of other things to do, I wonder how is this ever going to get done? "This"..what is "this"? Everything?!! Its absolutely nutts. So much has happened in the last year its been unreal. Just when I think I have things under control, I am thrown another curve ball that rocks my world. And not just for me, but I feel like a lot of people have had a lot of stress, sickness and accidents in their life this year that they would otherwise take a big PASS on.

At the end of October, my son was diagnosed with juvenile, or Type 1, Diabetes. He was only 20 months old. This really wasn't expected and we do not have this running in our family, so it was quite a shock for us and has completely changed my life more than his or anyone else's.

Why does it happen..there are all kinds of theories, but everyone is more looking for a cure. I have tons to say about that..finding the cause to prevent it I think would also be a great idea. Too many kids have this as well as too many other diseases that we just didn't see in the past. Are we as a species getting worse as we multiply, or are we just killing ourselves through development, vaccines and the environment?

Erin is handling it very well, as kids often do better than their parents with these things - which makes it almost more heartbreaking. He is on an insulin pump, which we are informed is the best way to manage diabetes. I believe it, but it is very difficult to get to a manageable state for a toddler in the beginning. He doesn't mind having it at all. However, I think I can compare my emotional roller coaster to the highs and lows of his blood sugars. I should have been vomiting on a daily basis from motion sickness some time ago! I am currently on a leave of absence from work, and happy to be able to do that to support him and get some kind of normalcy in life again, but it has not been easy to say the least, and I do not know what to anticipate when I do return to work. I really do not know how parents who have children with more severe diseases handle it, I really really don't and my heart really goes out to them.

So, here we are at the brink of December and I feel like there is just so much to be done, so much that hasn't been done. We just finished the Eid holiday as they are called in the Arab world, or Ramadan in Turkey. The Festival of Sacrifice. It happened to fall on Thanksgiving this year - it changes every year like a lot of Muslim holidays as it still follows the Muslim calendar, based on the moon. It is called the Festival of Sacrifice to remember the sacrificing of Abraham's, or Ibrahim's (yes, the Biblical and Koran players are the same - oh as well as Judaism) son for God. Although from what I have read, in Islam, there is some grey as to which son he is to sacrifice...regardless, Ibrahim was up for it, even couldn't be distracted by Satan. Fortunately, in the end God stopped and said "sacrifice a sheep instead". ..I'm sure not in those exact words as God is much more formal, but you get the idea. To this day, there are still sheep sacrificed throughout Islamic countries.

This is also the same time that Islamic Pilgrims take a Haj and make their once in a lifetime journey to Mecca, the Islamic holy city located in Saudi Arabia. Thousands upon thousands of people go every year. Its quite an interesting site from what I've seen in pictures and media. I would love to go observe, but this will never happen. You have to be a Muslim to enter Mecca for any reason - even business. And that's ok and keeps it special. I respect that. I still think it would be such an interesting thing to observe. However, I agree, if that can of worms was ever opened, they'd end up with a McD's and a Starbucks in one of the most sacred places on earth and I wouldn't approve of that either.

I was unfortunately sick the entire holiday, so it was good that we decided not to go anywhere for the holiday. We also didn't want to expose Erin to more potential to pick up a flu for just a few days of travel, so we decided to wait. We are not the panicking parents, but we have now learned that a child with diabetes is in a high risk group for flu and other illnesses. When they get it, it is critical. Kind of scary. It even scared me enough to get Erin a flu shot (the regular one, not H1N1) while we were in the US for his pump and treatment, which is something I am fundamentally against as someone who tries to go it more natural. It was a difficult decision for me. So, having not gone through any sick days with him yet, and blood sugars not yet under control, we opted to hang out in the warm weather of Dubai.

I cooked my Thanksgiving dinner early since I knew people would travel for the Eid days off. Did it a week early. Had our "Christmas Group" of close friends over - those that were in town - and did the Turkey, home made pies, all that stuff home made. Honestly, I don't know where I got the energy at all. I don't know where the motivation came from; what was I thinking? I had been so incredibly down the last two months, but despite the diabetes, despite my husband loosing his father this year, my friend loosing her father, another lost her grandmother, and many other tragedies for a not so great year, I knew we still had a lot to be thankful for. I managed to pull it off and we had a nice dinner. I was exhausted, but so glad I did it to be with close friends again and laugh.

Despite the chaos and stress of it all, the mountain of things to do staring at me, and the uncertainty, I am thankful. I have had the most difficult two months of my life, and I hope that is the most difficult I will ever have to endure. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I have never felt so shocked, alone or afraid. So, I didn't have a choice, couldn't have prevented it, but somehow my son ended up with this disease. I HATE it. However, a very manageable one. The important thing is I still have a very happy and healthy son. And for this, I am thankful.