Wherever you are in the world here is a hello as warm and sweet as this pyala of chai..If you have been a Loyal Reader you would know by now my favourite place to unwind during those times when I am mentally worn out.
|Mam Khalil’s teahouse in Erbil’s qaysari bazaar|
A walk on the beach while my feet sink in warm sand between my toes? Watching the sunset from the shores? Going for a walk in a forest? Doing Yoga in the outdoors? Having a coffee while listening to the sound of rain pitter-patter on the window? hmmm, yes, yes, yes, but let’s be realistic it’s 50 degrees outside and I am in Erbil where there is no sea, or a beach in sight (but I can keep dreaming).
But. Yes, there is always that lovely ‘but’ word. I find my visits to Mam (uncle) Khalil’s teahouse are very refreshing, relaxing and perfect for unwinding. It is located in Erbil’s qaysari bazaar (click on the link. pweeeeez!!!) The atmosphere there — the times when I’m lucky enough to go when it is not over crowded and no one is smoking — makes me reflect on the simple life, the life that is often more painful but less stressful, not sure if that makes any sense to you.
There, I get to meet my friend Mam Khalil, who probably till now still doesn’t remember my name. But that’s okay because when he sees me he feels as though he has just been reunited with his daughter who lives oversees. I know for a fact he likes my visits, sometimes when less people are there we have a chitchat, other times it’s a hello, a photo, and how is your family. He tells me about his children, grandchildren, his health and of course his wife. I feel like a grand daughter visiting her grandfather, a feeling that I have never had a chance to experience in my lifetime.
|The best Kurdish chai|
I admire this 76 year-old who wakes up 3 am everyday, goes to the mosque, then buys local yoghurt, tea and bread to serve in his little teahouse, chai-khana, until 8 pm he works. His rests are only during prayer times in the mosque close by.
Over the years I have come to see Mam Khalil grow old. My last visit, mid-day Friday, upset me as I saw him feeling unwell. His health seemed deteriorating, his eyes a little swollen, if it was anyone else they had to spend a few days in bed to recover, but this man doesn’t know rest. Seven days a week, 17 hours a day. Although I know very well for him this is not just a job, not just a living, but an enjoyment.
|Signs of aging and tiredness in on his shaky hands…|
When I was first introduced to Mam Khalil by my friend N. Q., he used to serve tea for us, years later, and he comes sit by my side giving instructions to someone he has hired to bring the tea. For a second I imagine a day of me coming here, what would I do if I don’t find him? No. No. I don’t even want to think of that.
|Let’s socialize with some peeeerfectttt tea in a perrrrfect place!|
The atmosphere in this teahouse is probably not the most comfortable when it is filled with men. But when a little quieter, I enjoy the company. I forget all my pains. I look at photographs, listen to classical Kurdish music, have tea, and have a brief, simple conversation. Sometimes I take my notepad and there I get the crazies and best ideas or writing pieces. Life doesn’t need to be this complicated? In this teahouse life can be simple. Life is simple. I am glad somewhere in this city I can go back to that simplicity every now and then.
Until next time
Love from My Nest in..