21 going on 22

To my favourite readers in the world…. 

Earlier this week… by the university lake before one of my classes

It’s one of those nights where you can hear the wind whistle, and the rain hit against your window. Looking outside, the rain drops look like shiny dots, glittering with the light of the lamp inside. If it weren’t for the smoke alarm a small scented candle right now would complete the atmosphere. I can never sleep after a strong rain at night, I feel it’s too precious of an atmosphere to leave behind and go to bed.*
December 1. I just realized as I looked at the time at the bottom of the laptop screen. In five days I turn 22. I remember when I was a child and even in my teenage years, I always looked forward to be 21. Always wondered how it would be, where I would be. Something inside me said to me it’s going to be a big year in my life, I often wished my life would pause at 21.  As a little girl and a teenager living in my own imagination, 21 just seemed like that perfect age. Now… 21 is almost over.
Well. The first thing is that to end 21 years of my life I must mention this year will be the first time ever that my mother won’t wake me up on the morning of December 6 and have me on her lap as she retells my story – that is, my story through her eyes – this year will also be the first time that dad won’t kiss my forehead. Year after year, he’d do the same, but every time he would wish me something new for that year. And every time it came true. This year, for the first time, Mivan won’t stand next to me comparing his height compared to mine, “So who is older again?” he would tease.
21 was one of the toughest years of my life, the year that I learned the most in, the year that I learned about myself, the year that I discovered myself. 21 was me in transition stage. At points I wondered if my dreams were shattered, at other times I witnessed as my dreams in front of my eyes became reality. At some points I lived my worst nightmares and at other moments I reached my goals and lived my dreams.
At 21, the book “My Nest in Kurdistan” was published at a time where everything else seemed to be going like a rollercoaster. My postgraduate studies initially didn’t go according to plan (lots of tears then) at some points I worked two different shifts- one at the university and another at the NGO, and I did the newspaper work once a week. A handful for a 21-year-old.
During the past year I actually learned to cook a proper meal, I discovered what it is that I like and what I want for myself out of this life, and I learned more about myself.

In every place I go I find somewhere to connect to, in the UK, this place happens to be my favourite


At 21, For the first time I waved to my mother good bye at the airport and we walked in opposite directions, at 21 I held dad’s shaky hands and assured him his little girl had grown up, at 21 Mivan (my one and only brother) and I parted for the first time. And it was at 21 that the bedtime stories dad would say to me since I was young became reality. “And the little girl flew out of her Nest” this is literally what happened to me at 21. I flew out of the Nest… alone!
The story continues… the little girl grew up, she finally learned how to fly (considering she fell so many times) and realized life moves on and won’t freeze at 21.
Ever since I can remember, I have been the short (excuse me! It’s: petit) little girl. I am sometimes still mistaken for a 14 year-old and get asked what year I am in at school. Age my dear reader is just a number. Or is it?
I still find my ultimate inner happiness either at Mali Xanda, with Pla Gulizard or walking outside after the rain has just stopped (and if mum didn’t mind walk under it). I still want to do a million things at the same time; I still have so many plans in mind, still the pen and notepad are my closest friends, still I enjoy long walks in nature where my imagination flows beyond the depth of the sky above. Finally, I still love this place more than anything else in this world:

Erbil from above: picture taken from here
Someone earlier this week asked me what I wanted for my birthday. “Nothing” I replied. 21 made me realize that the things that I like, the things that make me entirely happy from inside out are felt it can’t be seen, touched or purchased.
21 is over.

What does it mean to be 21 and a Kurdish girl. No, it doesn’t always mean we are victims of honor killing and self burns, it doesn’t mean we are in the kitchen all the time cooking meals, nor does it mean that we suffer from domestic violence. These issues all exist, and we are all working to the best of out ability to fight this. But Kurdish girls today are growing, developing and are more ambitious than ever before.
Right now, as I write this, in the accommodation I am in there are over 12 Kurdish girls here alone, all studying, wishing to finish their degrees to go back and follow their dreams. Each one of them has a unique personality, a different way of thinking, and each has within her the capability to do what is otherwise the impossible.  
p.s. I was actually going to blog properly and even set aside pictures… but I got too carried away with something entirely out of context. Will make sure to post what I had in mind in the days to come.
*did you guess? Of course such an atmosphere wouldn’t be complete without the voice of Karim Kaban.

5 thoughts on “21 going on 22

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  1. First of all – Rozhi la dayik buunt piroz bet! And i must agree with a lot of things you wrote: that you really look like 14 :), that age is only a number in ID (i am still 18, how many years till now?… a lot) and that the last pic is the place which i love as well and i miss very much.
    Two days ago i was in Nottingham, but i had no chance to visit anyone, as we were on our way from Leeds to London- me and 5 kurdish activists, we decided to walk from Leeds to London in our “Long March For Freedom” to commemorate kurdish freedom fighters, who was killed by turkya with chemical weapon on 22nd October. It was more than freezing to sleep in a summer tent at nights, but i was happy to take part in such a great thing. You can take a look at some pics and videos on my fb: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002933318060&ref=tn_tnmn.
    I am not going to give up, i already ask activists in London to make a meeting, i need to discuss some ideas with them – i will not give up untill i will see free Kurdistan.
    Once again – Happy birthday!


  2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to tomorrow's Kurdish PM. here's to hoping once you have full schedules and meetings you will still drop by to your blog and write your “LOYAL READERS” who have joined the journey with you in everystep.


  3. Happy belated birthday Sazan! Hope you're having a great time in the UK.

    I was pretty sad too when my mother decided to go back to Kurdistan. I miss her “nowsagie”(Kurdish pancakes I call them). Times change, for better of for worse. Although in your case I'm pretty sure its for the best.

    BTW I'm still 21 which means you're older than I am ;).


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