I was very lucky in last Ramadhan (the year 1433 Hijr). I got the chance to experience fasting in three different countries. Indonesia (for sure!), Australia, and Korea. Alhamdulillah.
In Australia, I was spending holiday for less than a week. Australia was having winter season, the temperature was about 15 degrees. Yep, it was freakingly cold! Thank God I didn’t get sick at all during the vacation. Well, as Australia was having winter season, the sun rise later than usual and set quicker than usual. It means our fasting started at around 5 am to 5 pm. Quite enjoyable.
During our time in Sydney, we travel mostly by walking and by using the subway. The weather was so cold that we barely sweat. Our legs were stiff, but it didn’t stop us from traveling. For me, the weather, the traveling, and the fasting season was a perfect fit. It was not very hard either to find a masjid, there are many websites providing the info. Too bad we didn’t get the chance to join the Tarawih Prayer in one of the masjid around.
Indonesia was in the middle of dry season during this Ramadhan. The weather was hot and a bit humid, yet the fasting time still goes as usual: from 4.30 am to 6 pm, approximately 13,5 hours. Therefore, the routine was still like years before. I still went to campus several times to take care of some things, therefore I mostly do Tarawih Prayer alone, because I arrived home too late to catch the jamaah.
At last, in Korea! We stayed in Seoul, specifically in the Duksung Women University. My team and I attended a women conference there for a week, and most of our day was already scheduled, while at night they gave us free time to stay in the dorm and wander nearby the uni. We managed to pray on time, fortunately, and also to fasting as well. Seoul was having its summer when we were there, so we experienced many sunny days, and two days raining, because the season was about to change to fall. The sunny days were hotter than Jakarta! By all means, the sun was more fierce than it was in Indonesia. We were really lucky the season was changing, because they told us that several days before we got there, it was more hotter than we experienced.
Since it was summer, the fasting starts around 4 am and finished approximately at 8 pm. Man, it’s like, 16 hours! However, most of the moslem participants carried on fasting during the event. We were glad that the committee even provided different meals for moslem diets, every night! Oh, and speaking of the foods, we used to eat rice with kimchi, and probably seafood. That was the safest combination, to avoid eating forbidden food.
Having experienced fasting in those three cities, I still love fasting in Jakarta most. The weather was perfect -all year- and you honestly cannot replace the atmosphere of fasting in Jakarta to fasting anywhere abroad. As a matter of fact, I did not quite feel the Ramadhan ambiance and did not capture the purpose of fasting this year, by going there and there. The atmosphere, the intention to pray and reading the Quran is much less than in Jakarta. This is a challenge itself if anyone wants to live in countries where Islam is not the dominating religion 🙂