Two years on, and the story continues…

Back to my land- Kurdistan
Sazan Mandalawi

It seems like yesterday when I first landed in the Erbil International Airport, the mixed emotions and feelings of those moments are still with me today. The many times when I had doubted the decision of my permanent return and it took time to adjust back ‘home’. Two years and a half later and I do not regret one second of that decision, it has been a time of my life that can not be compared to any past experiences.

Growing up as a teenager in Perth, Western Australia, was a life resembling a dream for many people, including myself. It was a trouble and carefree lifestyle. Teenage years are always a tricky and a delicate time to individuals, however feeling like you can not fit into the society and group really affected me.

I was always bubbly and made friends easily, but I can recall there was always something inside me that had not settled, I could not fit in. I grew up in a small family that always taught me what it was to be a Kurd- the culture, religion and traditions played a major role in my life even abroad.

These aspects of my life inside the house influenced my life in the outside world. For a young child this became an internal struggle in my younger years.

After our decision of permanent return to Kurdistan, I recollect times of tears, sleepless nights and sadness that my future had been shattered. I look back today and laugh, despite the fact that I have left behind all the luxuries of a developed country, inside I am more content then I ever was in the many years I spent abroad. Why? I ask myself the same question. It maybe because I feel I am one of these people, everything I do I feel it is for the ‘greater good’ I study and I feel I am doing something for this nation, this is a feeling that I never had or thought about before.

I have learned to realize the many things one takes for granted and have come to appreciate the many things life offers. I have left behind the idea of comparing ‘here’ and ‘there’ instead, I put side by side the idea of ‘here today’ and ‘here yesterday’. Everyday there is progress in the region, a new park, a new organization, a new project, a new building and the of course the endless new malls in Erbil. This is all development and progress that we do not realize as it is gradually happening in front of our eyes everyday.

I can sit with a group of friends and debate or argue certain issues recognizing the fact they understand the background I am coming from. I have learned how it feels to say something that you truly believe in and for people to understand and relate to you. For me, it is the small things that have dramatically triggered a happier lifestyle. I can go out with the girls and know we have to return early and the place needs to be appropriate because there is something that we all share in common and agree that they are ‘morally right’.

No matter how long I lived abroad and the large extent to which my family was open minded and understanding, at the end of the day I was a Kurdish girl. To be back in Kurdistan has made me proud of this, true, one can not deny the many issues and dilemmas our society is confronted with, nonetheless, from experience nothing is comparable to living in your own society within your own people.

It is a little peculiar and comical for me to write this, but at times with the many Kurdish people I meet I sense a feeling of belonging, a strange perception that they are relatives or part of an extended family for me. This I could never have experienced abroad. The lonely feeling of walking in the local bizarre and hearing people speak Kurdish still evokes an ecstatic sensation.

When I sit and think, I myself, find it remarkable that I find so much contentment in the simple aspects of life here in Kurdistan to the indulgence of a western developed country. At the same time I feel privileged to have lived a life far from Kurdistan, as it makes me find and realize this happiness.

(A recent article of mine.. By Sazan M. Mandalawi)

4 thoughts on “Two years on, and the story continues…

Add yours

  1. hi mandalawi,im peshro from kirkuk,teacher,your blog is good,but i like if you like to write in arabic,kurdis, im very happy to contact with you ypur english is very good and thank happy day.peshro/kirkuk


  2. My 65 yr old friend is your direct opposite.. She was born and raised in Erbil, goes back to visit every 2 years, spent 25 years teaching in Erbil and the fraudulent bureaurocy will not give her her retirement pension. She hates to go back for visit but has to visit her blind mother. What a difference between your generation and the one who had to escape Saddam.


  3. A f0llow-up from Senior Sage: My aforementioned friend leavestomorrow to return to Erbil. She is veryunhappy-says it is like returning to the dark ages. I do agree with you on your Citadel. What discoveries are to be made if they ever do deep excavations. And, I will forever be enchanted with the sumerians!


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