Jul 252012

It’s a Wednesday summer afternoon in my home. We’re in the first week of Ramadan. I’m sitting at the dining room table where I have my computer equipment set up, doing my work (I am a writer and web developer and I work from home).

Umm Kulthum

Umm Kulthum

My daughter Salma is in the kitchen with my mother. They are making cheese rolls with za’tar, for iftaar.

Afterwards I will have Salma sit beside me and work on her lessons. Even though it’s summer, I like for her to spend a few hours each day practicing reading and writing. She just turned six, so she’ll be going to first grade in a few months.

My father is in his office, watching the classic Umm Kulthum video below. The sound of Arabic music echoes through the house. It’s a video of Umm Kulthum in Rabat, Morocco in 1968, singing and improvising. The song itself is called “Howa Saheeh” – “He is right.”

These are the sounds I grew up with.

Sometimes this house is chaotic. Sometimes we argue, or we’re grumpy. But on a day like today, with the smell of food cooking, my daughter enjoying herself, and the classic sounds of Umm Kulthum in the air, it feels like home.