Saturday, September 19, 2009

Jezhn is here!!

Jezhntan Pirozbet!!
Happy Jezhn/ Eid

We broke our last fast today and it was officially announced on national television that tomorrow is Eid-el-ftr or Jezhn—in Kurdish!

Had a chance to drive around Erbil with mum late this evening, the atmosphere and spirit of the Jezhn festivity is evident around Erbil. People all appear very excited, music in the cars, people dressed in fancy clothing, people running around for last minute shopping, mothers planning the food for early morning, little kids excited for the Jezhnana and most importantly the spirit of giving and sharing is what I most appreciate about the Kurds during this special time.

Last night it rained in Erbil and the weather is SUPERB—a great welcome to the Jezhn celebrations, so happy to be living here and experiencing this wonderful occasion. Living years away from home, we never really noticed what Jezhn was or even felt the occasion—it was no different to any regular day.

Finally, happy Jezhn to all—for all those living abroad, I wish that next Jezhn you can celebrate back home in Kurdistan(weather you like it or not—hhhh)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

09/09/09 at 09:09 PM

09/09/09 at 09:09 PM

I had to blog today, for only two reasons, because it is a very special day- this day will only happen once in a life time and I was so glad to be living it..!!
I made sure it was special and unforgettable, as I went for a blood test—needed some check ups and I had been horrified for weeks until finally I made the decision to go, I could not dare have a test in Erbil’s Medical Road (share3 atuba) so instead I went to the new MDC (Mediya Diagnostic Center) opposite New City in Hawler. And boy am I glad I made that decision..

I admit I am a baby when it comes to needles but I made it through without a scream—(but some tears) the important point is that I am so glad that there is such clean medical center in Erbil, that you feel confident going into, knowing you will get what you want and you will be looked after very well.
I felt I was in Australia or any other developed country in the world. The place was very clean and tidy, the people were very nice (most of the staff were females) and the medicine and materials needed for the tests have all been imported from overseas.

Guess what?? I even got my favorite caramel chocolate once I was done giving the blood samples.
Once again, there is no place like home, no place like Kurdistan!!!
P.S I am getting my pet squirrel from Mandaly later this week, so follow up for pictures and a blog entry on that. Already excited, even though I have never had a pet squirrel before!!

(hope I can make another entry on the 10/10/010 at 10:10 PM) we shall wait and see..)

First Birthday

First Birthday

I do not really know how many regular readers I have; hundreds or just a few, but during the last year I have had just over 1000 visitors to my profile page, and I am over the moon about that; if 10 of that 1000 read one of my pieces it gives me the encouragement to continue writing for another 10 years!
This month I celebrate exactly ONE YEAR of blogging— exactly one year ago I decided to start a blog about life in Kurdistan- through the eyes of a Kurdish girl. I focused on the beauties of home.

I must admit I did not blog often, and there is no excuse as to why, for me this was a big year, I began a weekly column with the Kurdish Globe, started volunteering at the START Social Development Organization, and was active with youth activities in the community, above all that I have this blog that I update with something new whenever I have the chance. I sit and think how lucky am I to do all these things which I enjoy so much, here in Kurdistan. I have come to realize and be persuaded from my heart that despite all the difficulties we face here; we still lead lives that is filled with color, enjoyment everyday there is something new and interesting that is happening.

My wish for my blog this year is to write more- one entry a week (at least) and add more pictures with each entry (must start carrying a camera with me where ever I go). Other than that I hope all you readers ([MUM]!!) keep reading.
So Happy Birthday to my blog—that is, my ‘ONE-YEAR-OLD’ blog; as we say here in Kurdistan inshAllah sad sal

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kurdish man's best friend...!!

So the old saying goes: “Dogs are a man’s best friend”, that, my dear reader can be applied anywhere in the world, but one would only be foolish to acquaint a Kurdish man’s best friend with a dog. From much thinking and analyzing and with living experience with Kurdish men, I have finally completed my list. So what would be the best friend of a Kurdish man? Surely not a dog, nor is it gold-- like their female counterparts.

Being the eldest and the only girl in the family, the love I earn from my father is boundless, yet I must admit, at times there are two, as a matter of fact, now three others in the house who I am disgracefully jealous of—the attention and love they receive from him is as if they were born years before I was.
This morning, like all other mornings he’s awake at least forty-five minutes earlier than the time he needs to wake up for work. It takes my father a quarter of an hour to make breakfast for Shalan, Dalan and baby Xapan (or Xapo). They are on a healthy diet; orange, apple, cucumber, tomatoes and only red capsicum and ripe dates.
They are also picky and do not drink tea, so instead they prefer cool water; and how can I forget that the bread must be minced thoroughly of equal sizes, if measured, the dimensions would probably be exact; this should first be soaked in a little bit of water and a pinch of sugar to sweeten it up. All this fuss and these three eat like birds. Amusingly, that is because they are birds!!

If he is not at work, or writing then his time is spent with these three small birds; he cares for them, feeds them, lets them fly around the house freely (pooping wherever pleases them) and he is a doctor when they break their legs or wings. The cages are cleaned every day, with fresh food. They sing to him, they sit on his shoulders; they nip on his hands and flatter their wings. When he is feeling angry they calm him down, when his joyful they complete his happiness, and when he is tired they are his remedy to unwind. After all, they are his best friends!
Prior to taking any family trip that will last few days, there is always a warning “do not bring too many things—there is no room” as soon as a I enter the car I see the guests are there before me, the back seats are put down to make room for two cages- and I realize one again I will be deadened the entire journey with the endless tweeting sounds coming from the back. It would not be as bad if we had two sets of 2 year-old twins at the back.

A story that runs in our family is of a man from Mandaly, and lived in Baghdad; he was deported to Iran in the 1980s with the many other Kurds, under the Hussein regime. His house, belongings, money, documents and even clothes were confiscated as he was forced to leave his house and dropped on the border of Iran. He refused to leave his house if he could not take his bird with him. He insisted, the bird, too, had to be deported with his family making the point he was part of the family. Having no other option the authorities allowed him to take the bird along, two decades later the old man died and so did the bird, but the message is that the love and connection is plainly as strong as iron.
Any person can reflect on their father or grandfather polishing a cherished gun or a small sword reminding them of ‘those days’, but fortunately today weaponry is not the best friend of the Kurd, but it remains a hobby or a favorite past time. Many Kurdish men have also a hobby of collecting rosary—in all their shapes, sizes, colors and textures. Some of them have very specific stories behind them, others made of simple beads but some men cannot leave the house without the rosary in one of their hands.

Posing the question to some friends about the best friend of a Kurdish man, one reply was ‘eeer… his AK-74’ another one said ‘dancing’ and a few others suggested nature. All proposals seem to be appropriate associations!
I would not be naive to believe a young Kurdish infant performs his first dancing steps from the time he is still in his mother’s womb-- that is, the traditional Halparke dance. As much of a professional dancer you maybe, it is incomparable to the way a Kurdish man dances; the way the feet, shoulders and the rest of the body liaise in the traditional dancing is remarkable. But to disseminate a Kurdish man with only dancing you will be underrating his many other talents.
The guys working in the Globe prefer driving over 25 minutes to outside Erbil to literally be in the middle of nowhere to work on the paper instead of the local office around the corner to many of us—this is because the other is surrounded by green scenery and oversees some trees and bushes.

Finally a Kurdish man’s best friend all comes back to nature. In nature he uses his AK-74, in nature he observes the birds, in nature he enjoys to read and work, in nature he plays music and begins to dance on mountain tops and it is in nature that he finds his inner happiness. Nature is their medicine!

Sazan M. Mandalawi published issue 223