I was raised in London and until recently had never observed Ramadan in a Muslim country.
My first experience came in 2005 when I moved to Dubai. It was all very exciting for me. I expected big things but soon found that in such a mixed society nothing too big can happen.
Though the majority of the British population in the UK do not fast during Ramadan, I felt the month's presence because I was surrounded by family and friends who observed it.
In addition to this, I was lucky enough to encounter truly kind Muslim bus conductors, and other members of society, who would share their break fast meal with me if I was stuck in traffic at iftar time (no matter how much you resist, they insist you take what they give you). It was wonderful.
Unfortunately in this society everyone sits in their cars and even when you reach your destination it's rare to hear people you don't know greeting you with the simple “Ramadan kareem''.
More and more I feel I have to go out of my way to feel Ramadan in the Middle East whereas, ironically, in the West people make a bigger deal out of it to ensure they make up for their not being in a Muslim country.
Do I miss Ramadan in the UK? Yes.
But then, I'd be stuck with regular working hours and no one would really take account of the fact that I'd be fasting.