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!!

11 thoughts on “Returning to Kurdistan? Here are ten 911 tips

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  1. Thank you Sazan for all the advice which are very true and funny too !

    I probablly need to modify my answer to the question : why did you come back ?!! as they did look at me funny as I replied: I want to give something back to Kurdistan and make a difference !!:-) but when I said I got bored of Europe they seemed to be nodding in admiration 🙂

    For all those who think to make the same move as myself and many others before me like Sazan dont wait untill Kurdistan is perfect in every aspects that you want to !! Kurdistan is waiting for us to make it perfeect !!

    Ironically some of the imperfection that I have noted in my field of experience made my decision easier to make ! I hope alot of #TwitterKurds make the same assessment and fly back to the nest !


  2. loved the humours side of you Miss Mandalawi, you need to try this sort of writing more often! We missed your entries. Long time no see


  3. This is very true: “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.” Can you offer advice on this one?
    By the way write more often


  4. Last year i have a luck to land in Hewler on midnight and i can say that no pic is able to show the night lights beauty of that place.
    Since i am kurdish i almost dont use fork – i love kurdish way of eating, its something definately for me!
    Costa Ricca… yeah – i dont know how it happend but i didnt go there when i was in Hewler this time. But its a kind of symbol for me – Sazan knows why 🙂
    Well, what i can say – i am jealous of everybody who have family in Kurdistan and can go back there. Its only few days when i left Bashur and i dont know how would i live till next spring, when i am going to pay a loooonger visite to my lovely land.


  5. Sazan you made me want to i dont know how you do it but but you touch my heart and make me guilty for the hours and hours of work i do here. i must fly as well


  6. I feek same as D. A. want to fly to the nest NOW thankyou for this amazing blog. I am one of your biggest loyal readers and I wish to meet you one day


  7. I will fly to the nest in summer, so you really helped me 😀

    Keep the good job of writing, we are very proud of having a (shera kchi Kurd) like you 🙂


  8. @Kurdish Observer – Many thanks…

    @Kurdistan is my home – They are not serious advice, but exaggerated point of view of what to expect. As for your answer to the two critical questions, if you say: I want to serve my nation, sometimes people will just raise their eye brows, so you just have to play with the words so it comes out just right. 🙂

    @Anonymous – Been a little busy, you might find me at tasbeeh-chay.blogspot sometimes, but promise to keep blogging always! Since I have such loyal followers 🙂

    @Lana – Don't worry not all politics, often new jokes are being shared, and you can always change the subject I guess… but due to the history and culture, from a very young age Kurds begin to have political opinions, sometimes this is very healthy!

    Kulka – You're the biggest sympathizer with Kurdish issues that I have ever met…. we're grateful and hope you can visit Kurdistan once again soon.

    @Berivan – Fly to the nest and don't fear anything. By the way I love your name!!

    Saz Hassan – Thank you so much!!! Sweet of you! Let me know if there is anything you are worried about or want to know during your visit. I am always here!! Enjoy it.

    Thanks dearest loyal readers…. 😀


  9. HAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHHAHAHAHA I'm reading your words out loud to my brother who affirms every single point is very true! YOU'RE A LEGEND. aaaaah cant stop laughing


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