Monday, April 2, 2012

Returning to Kurdistan? Here are ten 911 tips

The view when you land in Erbil International Airport (EIA)
Today, looking like a proper monster sitting on my bed with papers, books, pens and highlighters everywhere*. Hair looking like an un-groomed lion's mane - no in fact that looks much better - dark circles, it's past 7pm and been in my pajamas all day... it has been productive, kind of... well I have started one of the three final papers I have due after the Easter Holiday. ANY WAY. The point is, I get a Twitter notification from one of the #TwitterKurds (by the way us, #TwitterKurds have become like a family, you know close brothers and sisters, Kurdistan is our parent!) the simple sentence read: "Finally I will be back to the nest! :) I have resigned from XXXX in YYYYY and decided to go home for good!! I am very excited!!" I swear this made my day. Kurdistan is going to have one of its kids back, one more expert, one more role model, one more person to serve and make a change, one more person to help in the building blocks of our nation.

So... here are some 911 tips I have put together for my friend and anyone else whose going to make me proud and decide to return to Kurdistan for good:

1. Try to blend in, because everything you do and say counts differently because you are "awropi" (your actions will be closely observed, and admired, because somehow everyone in your family sees you as a role model) try to be 'xomani' more, meaning: Don't eat shooti (watermelon) with a fork and certainly do not complain about having too many calories in the food.

2. Rehearse the answers to these two questions as if you were sitting in your PhD viva: Firstly, Why did you come back?  and secondly, "So where do you like more, here or there!" I gave you the question that will be in the examination , so  I will leave you to formulate your own analalytical response.

3. Remember this is not the UK, so if you send an email to your new boss or a colleague do call them and say that you have sent them an email. Otherwise don't expect a reply. (By the way, for your information Korek has this service where you can take phone balance from your siblings.)

4. Have many chill pills with you, because there are always people who expect great results but are not willing to put in the effort (you will bump into few of them) ... but don't be frustrated, this is why you are there, so that you can change this and contribute to developing this society.

5. If you're a girl, and not interested in any unwanted attention then wear decent clothing. Best if long pants for work, short sleeve is fine but not too open a the front. Dresses or skirts above the knees is sometimes fine, but it will only make you feel like you are Miss Universe on the catwalk. :)

Sometimes you need to cross your legs, sit on the ground and eat with your hands.
6. If you like to keep fit my advice is the second day after you land go and become a member at the local gym (many options available including huge fitness center just outside Ainkawa, Harveen, and Blue Center are alternatives too) otherwise all your life's achievements at the gym will go to waste in two weeks. Everyone is going to invite you for dinner. Even if they don't invite you, my dear friend you will eat like there is no tomorrow, because poor you who has lived on toast and canned beans for as long as you remember will not be able to resist sitting in front of a big sini of yaprax (dolma) with lots of nana tiri next to it. Oh how can I forget and lots of oily paqla at the base.

7. If you're single, then before your plane lands your mum and sisters will have found you many brides, and will probably want you to start seeing them one by one starting from tomorrow. Or even better they will take you to every single wedding and point at every single beautiful girl. I'm sorry, can't offer any advice here. My role is only to prepare you!

8. You will go back, and land with a job that will probably be half of what you are paid here but you will have to work much harder to prove yourself and 'fix' the situation. But there will always be times where you will feel like no one appreciates you.  This is normal. My advice? Prove you are stronger than all the forces that will be blowing like strong wind against you- you can always keep a blog!

9. There will be times when you are going to miss watching a movie online or dread waiting for 15 minutes for a 10 minute video to load on Youtube. You will miss the fast internet connection and the wireless where ever you go. At times like this there is always Divan hotel (oh so posh!) and Costa [Ricca].

10. Finally be ready to listen, eat, sleep, think and talk politics. Every single person from the taxi driver, your hair dresser to the dinner gatherings at your place everyone has a political opinion.

As for my dear, loyal Twitter friend who is going back to Kurdistan and leaving the life of the west, all I can say is: Fly to the nest, fly with your wings wide... fly my friend, for the nest is waiting for you.

sar sarw sar chaw!!
You are going to love Kurdish hospitality

*And Lots and Lots and Lots of Ferrero Rochers, but don't tell mum, she will simply call and say: "You can't live on chocolate, kchm xwardn bxo, xwardn!!