4th January, 2012.
I am writing on the kitchen floor back in my aunt’s place, B.M is opposite me reading her book in preparation for her exam tomorrow.
|I took this picture in Terika Bazaar (in Kermanshah) , which dad took me too, he said I’d like it, and I did. I just can’t remember which day it was that we went, and I don’t know how I haven’t written about it
We left to one of the houses here, he is basically the “eldest” which means he is basically the “big man” we visited his place, which was already packed with people (and of course we all get our 10 sloppy kisses on each cheek. Their women kiss the men as well, on the bases of family [wink wink—dad!] and the hospitality is very warm they insist that you stay overnight, and when you make a good argument why you can’t stay over at night they then insist you sit another ten minutes, half an hour later once again they insist you don’t leave, and when you finally do, the kisses begin once again.
They are very interested in what you do, where you study and how you lead your life. One of the elderly woman sitting next to me asked me to speak English to her, she wanted to know if she can understand it or not. Having said this, most of her children are studying their masters in places like Tehran and Kermanshah, including her daughter. I am over the moon, studying here is something people are very proud of, even though “they are jobless afterwards!”
As I type, B.M stands us to serve more tea to the guests at her place tonight. It didn’t take five minutes before her son asked her for something, back to her book then she had to go and pick up the empty cups… how proud I am of her. I know I could never do this; this is the peak of dedication and motivation. (We—B.M and I—are both very busy, me on the laptop and she is sitting facing her book—both on the kitchen floor—every now and then we smile or laugh together as we hear the conversations taking place on the other side of the kitchen counter.) I don’t dare to stand up to pick up the mid-night desert plates, because she will realize and leave her studies to do it herself. “You’re a guest, you aren’t allowed to do anything” she would tell me.
|On the left is where all the guests are sitting, one the right, behind the counter, is my cousin (B.M.) studying, and me in the middle of both sides. I took this picture while typing this entry
As I watch B.M I can’t help but think of what the Kurdish nation have had to go through. Here is the only child of two elder parents with severe health conditions whose house was taken by the Saddam regime, who were forced out and put into prison where they were mistreated and abused in ways you can never imagine. She began to study in a different language, managed to get into university and look after the house and her parents on her own, she then worked, graduated, worked again, got married, had children, worked, and now studying again while looking after her two elderly parents and managing the entire house next to her husband.
For two and half weeks since I have left the UK on my Christmas holiday I have complained that I couldn’t work on my research papers and study for my narcoterrorism exam because of the funeral, family commitments and the unplanned travel to Iran. As I see this Kurdish cousin in front of me, with all the responsibilities on her shoulders she is studying her second college degree despite all the difficulties. My excuses are lame! I feel guilty.
[Aunty keeps looking at me and says “darded la gyanm” I have no idea how to interpret this into English, it’s something along the lines of: May I bare all your pain and suffering. (I don’t know if that makes sense in English)
*please excuse all typos, miss-spellings etc… these entries were all written on the go and I haven’t read through them again before posting on the blog Thank you for your understanding!