Did we learn something new?
Our hosts for the evening were a Turkish family, viz, Nail Umur – a mathematics teacher in an Auckland school, his wife Emine Umur, who also works part-time in education, son Murad and father Zafar.
The evening began with our warm welcome by Nail and his family and few close friends from the PIF, who were present on the occasion, right at the time of breaking fast time.
After the initial exchange of pleasantries, the family and their guests opened their fasts followed by an evening prayer, and everyone was shoved immediately towards the dining table to do the most anticipated thing of the evening – having a sumptuous meal.
After breaking fast with customary dates and water, a warm and delicious Turkish soup was served as a starter, and the feast began, with slow and steady servings of different cuisines of Turkish food.
An acknowledgement of the richness of the food served, and warmth of our hosts and their guests will not be excessive at all.
However, what is more, important is a glimpse inside a Muslim household from a distant cultural-region.
Unsurprisingly, there was nothing new.
Everything in their day to day lives, as simple as the motivation behind migration to NZ, struggles of building a life in the new country, pursuing a career, shaping kid’s life and including practising their faith, did not seem altogether alien.
In fact, things inside their household sound very similar to any other normal Kiwi household.
Highlighting commonalities in our culture
Our dinner table conversations meandered from initial inquisitiveness about each other’s countries of origin and culture, and interestingly agreed to one commonality, although not much in public attention – that in our cultures, and by some generalised extension, in most cultures around the world – over-feeding our guests was the only barometer of excellent hospitality.