HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mandalawi.blogspot.com 5 YEARS!!!

Hellloooo Helllooo Loyal Blog Reader!!!Choni? Bashi?** Or as we say cheooni Khaasi???? :)I AM SO SORRY for all those who emailed me and were promised that the next entry, meaning this blog post, will answer their questions about Erbil. It is on it’s way. I promise. Give me two more days. Pleeeeeeease!

Baby B. in Erbil


Two HUGE and VERY IMPORTANT things are happening this month. First of all, my blog is now officially FIVE years old (Thanks to you Loyal Blog Readers)*. Coincidently, September 20th is also the birthday of the most precious little girl, Baby B., daughter of J.A. who turned one. Hang in there I will tell you who J.A. is, but first…

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy birthday dear B.
Happy Birthday to you

I want to take this opportunity to blab on a little bit about how this blog has changed my life. I can’t make reference to every single incident that I have come across in the past five years, however two will have to be mentioned.

J.A.  From Beirut to Erbil

In the early stages of my blog J.A. wrote an email to me –just like many of you Loyal Blog Readers out there– She bombarded me with so many questions about her visit to Kurdistan. I still have J.A.’s email and it makes me smile every time I read it. The first line of my reply to her was exactly this: “Take a deep breath, be excited and know that Erbil is waiting for you with open arms.” 

Fast forward a few years, today J.A., her lovely partner and their Baby B. are living in Kurdistan. J.A. and I managed to form a special friendship, I was a little nervous meeting her for the first time after long email communications but finally we met in the garden at the ‘Costa’ cafe in Erbil. Sometimes it sounds too awkward to express your emotions towards someone (specially on a blog) but to give you an idea, soon J.A. became a mother and today I am the Kurdish aunt to her daughter, Baby B.

J.A. and I shared (and continue to share) stories, experiences and our views intersected on many things. Where we differ, it is a matter of learning from each other and informing the other. I am truly blessed, and I owe this blog for introducing J.A. into my life! She calls me her little Sis and her little Sis I am. Our gathering always includes a coffee and lots and lots of chit-chat on everything from politics to… well…arguments about what she should be feeding my little niece.

S.D. From Mumbai to Kurdistan 

Baby A. 1 month

Unlike J.A., S.D. and I have never met. Though I feel like I know her way too well. She is my Indian sister and for many years now we have been in touch — almost on a daily bases. S.D. found my blog while searching for Kurdistan online, she emailed and since then the years have passed and our ‘sisterhood’ has only become stronger.

I was always interested in Indian culture, and so S.D. and I began long email exchanges. I would eagerly wait for her weekly emails to see what she would tell me. We became pen pals, or email pals? During that time she was preparing for her Big Indian Wedding and I got to see pictures of the dress, and even the ring, before her own relatives.

Time passed, and we  began Skyping. More time passed, I travelled and every step of the way S.D. was with me, later she too got pregnant and made me a Kurdish aunty to a beautiful Baby A. and today she sends me voice notes of Baby A’s attempt of saying my name.

Everyone in my family knows S.D. sometimes they ask “how’s your Indian friend?” Numerous times I tried to plan a trip to India just to meet S.D. it has not worked out so far, but I know very soon I will.

How lucky I am to have made lifetime friends. Even oceans and continents away.


Mandalawi.blogstpot.com has also introduced me to the most amazing young Kurds in all corners of the world. Some lost of whether they should come back to Kurdistan or not; and others have made their decision but questions are keeping them awake all night. There were others who shared with me their stories, we had similar experiences and so I became someone who understood them. Sometimes young Kurds would email me under unknown names — at times to show their frustration, other times confusion and sometimes satisfaction.

I admit I have not been the most Loyal of Bloggers, and I know there are some emails that I forgot to answer, please forgive me. But as much as I can, I have tried to reply to Loyal Blog Readers and give them the few words that they need. Soon, without me realizing this blog became a help service for many who were thinking of living/ coming to Kurdistan (Erbil in particular).

As for me, this blog has become part of my life. I have been approached to do many things with mandalawi.blogspot. But I choose not to. I want to keep it humble as it is. I know it is messy sometimes and there is no consistency in its content. I know, I can make it a DOT COM rather than DOT BLOGSPOT DOT COM and I know I can do advertisements and earn some good cash. But I prefer it stays like this. Five years, we have managed, and inshAllah we will for the next five years too.

Happy Birthday!
And thank you to all of you my Loyal Blog Readers out there.


*I need to give some credit to myself here as well. Right? 
^ Yup. I progressed a little. By the way for those who don’t know this is the Black Berry Messages thingy 🙂 
** Kind of  gives the meaning of “how are you doing” in Kurdish

The only two pictures in this entry reflect a lot of values in my blog. Two new borns, who are the daughters of two of the closest people in my life, who I got to know through this blog. 

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