Nothing brings out being foreign like holidays. As much as I love my work and being in America, there are times when it’s just more clear that I’m still a foreigner here. This past Sunday, more than a billion Muslims celebrated Eid. The holiday, which lasts for three days, is to celebrate the end of Ramadan. Muslims break the month-long fast with lots of food, by wearing their best clothing and, of course, spending time with family.
During Eid in my home country of Senegal, the streets look like a catwalk filled with people modeling their nicest outfits. Family and friends are decked out from head to toe. Everyone cooks and the idea is to share your bounty. People bring their food door to door to share with others. When you get home, there is a ton of food waiting for you. Eid is a time of coming together, reflection, and giving.
Family at Eid
It’s during these times of celebration that I realize how much I miss my family and our traditions. I successfully tried to stay busy and focus on my work during Eid. But in doing that, I realized that I have the best friends.
I had several friends who called or texted to tell me that they were thinking of me and to have a great day. These people, most of them, aren’t even Muslim. They have no reason to think of Ramadan, let alone Eid. But they do. And they made me feel like even though I’m not home, I still have people who care. I might not have much family here, but I have friends who treat me like family. That has got to be the biggest blessing of being foreign. On a day when my heart longs to be with my family most, It is nice to have my friends fill my heart with joy. I am truly blessed!