1) My first ramadan is coming as a revert. At home there is music playing constantly and in weekends they drink alcohol. I don’t feel the environment is ramadan-friendly (especially since it’s my first). My mother would be sad though that I don’t visit her for one whole month and I don’t want to make her sad. What comes first and what should I do?

2) I don’t think the period of fasting will be too difficult this year. But what are the rules as to when you can follow Mekka time?

1- You should visit her and tell her that Ramadhan teaches you to visit her. However, keep your visit brief and avoid such gatherings. When they drink excuse yourself and go do something else. Respectfully ask them to turn off the music when you are in the room or at least lower the volume. If that’s not possible then just ignore the music.

2- According to Sistani, you cannot follow Makkah if you have a night. You have to fast the entire day unless it becomes unbearable. Yes, a number of other scholars have ruler that you can fast according to the fasting duration in Makkah or other cities that don’t have an exceptionally long day.