Dear world, I request a leave.

Dearest, most loyal blog reader.

The doctor instructed I rest.

photo: Pennlive
photo: Pennlive

And for a good five weeks I spent my days half asleep on the sofa, sitting in the garden and in between having needles drain out the slight bit of blood I have in my little body.

I was on sick leave. This, my dear reader, made me realize we all need a leave, not from work, but from the world.

I was on leave not just at work, but leave from Twitter tweets, from Instagram pictures, Facebook feeds, leave from shopping, and ladies and gentleman, sick leave from the world’s news.

Hibernating has taught me quite a bit.

So many of our illness come from stress, and something us Kurds call ‘kham’ (the definition I can think of here is grief). My people happen to know Mr. Kham a little too well as life hasn’t always been rosy for our people.

I learned ignorance is bliss. Before this sick leave for nights on end I had nightmares of pictures I saw, families I witnessed mourning the loss of their loved ones and children crying. The harsh reality of our world haunted me in my sleep. Then again, in real life we can’t live in blindness, nor can we stay silent against the atrocities we see. Mentally I felt so much at peace not knowing much.

I remember at one point a dear one switched off the Wifi at home when the owner of my favourite teashop in Erbil died. Just so I could sleep that night without finding out. I spent hours on end sitting, observing the birds in my father’s garden. He would tell me about their different personalities while I watched how they ate, how they interact with one another and heard their tweeting. My friend, I heard the tweeting of real birds that flap their wings and fly, not the twitter feed tweeting on my phone.

Enjoying pomegranate with none other than my baaba
Enjoying pomegranate with none other than my baaba

As much as I was pushing people away- literally! There were individuals who would drop off a plate of dolma, or come by and sit with me in the garden when I couldn’t move a single muscle. I would find surprises behind our entrance door, letters and lots of miss calls (let’s just ignore the fact that more than half were work related!).

I was reminded once again the close people in our life matter. It doesn’t make a difference how many Twitter followers you have, how many Facebook likes you get, or how many people double tap your Instagram picture. You can have four hundred Facebook friends, but when you have no one to ask how you’re doing when you are down and unwell then what’s the use?! I am back now. No longer on leave. But I carry the lessons with me.

  • When with people, the phone should be not seen, not heard.
  • When at home put the Wifi on, use the internet when needed then turn it back off. The continuous notifications give a sense that it’s the end of the world if one doesn’t see the new comment made.
  • Stock up on new books and board games to enjoy. Once there is less internet in your life you realize that 24 hours is actually a lot of time (that is, if you don’t have an 8-5 job).
  •  Follow the news. But not every minute of every day. You could, and you would love to, but a morning and an evening read suffices.
  • Make a solid effort to appreciate and notice the little things- like the new plant in the garden or the flower that has just flourished.
  • Finally, our body is the most precious machine. The mind and soul above all; look after them well. Don’t take your good health for granted.
During my 'sick' days a friend, J.J. on holiday, who was thinking of me. Little things make a huge difference.
During my ‘sick’ days a friend, J.J. on holiday, who was thinking of me. Little things make a huge difference.

Writing all this makes me wonder: Wouldn’t it be great if we were all able to take a leave from the world every now and then? I feel so many people in Kurdistan need a leave. They need to live stress free days without Kham, days without fearing their or their children’s future, days without hearing news that shatters their heart. The people of my land deserve to be happy. My heart goes out to all the families suffering in Kurdistan right now, in particular those who have lost their loved ones on the front lines to keep our land safe. I feel your pain.

I don’t know how long I will last, but for the time being, I feel much lighter, happier and above all, healthier.

Meanwhile, blogging is back on my ‘to do’ list, and I have some amazing people, places and things to tell you about, so please drop by (with your cup of chai) when you can.

Lots of love

From my nest in Kurdistan


10 thoughts on “Dear world, I request a leave.

Add yours

  1. reading this i thought about what happened today , it was heavily raining and outside my window a cat was trying her best to save her little baby , she was failing but never giving up , i watched it and actually recorded some of it but had a very quick photo session and had to go , while shooting a graduation ceremony all my thoughts was with that cat and what could’ve happened to her , i came back home and heared from mom that she lost the baby ! now this is hurting me for alot of reasons first of all im a veterinary student i was the first who has the responsibilty to help animals ! but i didnt , why? because non of us are doing what we want to do , non of us wants to sit behind a screen tweeting and posting and blogging , non of us wants to hear ISIS news every moment but we do it , why? because we just do it ! see? no real reason , why people left books behind? because the majority did ! we dont have our life ! we dont live our life , we are not our selves and as you mention we need a leave !


    1. Dear Miran,
      I re-read your comment more than once. I can tell it comes from the heart.

      I hope next time, you are reminded of this moment, and if anything like this happens you react differently. This is life, and we learn from experiences, and mistakes. The fact that you thought about it, and even took the effort to write about it means that for you it is lesson learned. I learned very early on in life mistakes are okay, but repeating them isn’t.

      If we sit still in the waves of life they will take us where they want to, but it is us who must swim, and make conscious efforts everyday to go against some of these waves.

      Thank you for sharing this with me, I will probably use it as an example in future.

      Have a wonderful day.



    1. Nuna gyan,
      You’re one of those who always asked, will never forget dlw gyan!
      Take a leave. Don’t make excuses.
      Pack your bags and go on a mini trip the three of you, even if its to Shaqlawa for few days.

      loved akam,



  2. Welcome back and salamat!
    indeed a time to time leave is necessary to get away from work, news and even social networking to be able to return to yourself. I tend to take 3 days a month (sometimes every 2 weeks) with all mobiles and wifi switched off.


    1. Dear Ahmed, thank you!

      It feels so great to know I am not the only one who went through this experience. Detoxification!!! 🙂
      Wallahi social media is eating us away.



  3. Hello Sazan Khan, I have read your lovely blog. You are absolutely right. All of us need to take a leave, to switch ourself off for a while. My wife and I discussed your idea last night. We cannot agree more. Taking holiday is not part of our culture. I can understand the reason. We have not enjoyed political, social and economic stability yet. Our people work days and night to make some money for living. There is no insurane an social support in our country. People have always been afraid of something uncertain that one day might come and put everything up-side down. They have a point. Look what Daesh has done. Look what a political relationship between Hawler and Baghdad has done to our people. My dad has always kept telling me not to be optimistic about this country too much. Things get changed far quickly.
    This does not justify not taking a break, I am just trying to find reasons why people in Kurdistan are so stressed. I do admire your points, being online too much is just a huge stress. I have committed myself to quite Facebook for a while and I have deleted Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram apps on my phone. It is a good way to be away for good. I have been working on myself not to read news every single minute. Let me tell you what I did, it may sound weird but I really did it. I vowed not to read news for five days, then I added some more days. It worked, yeah it did. Taking too much news in is just a nightmare. We all need to work hard on ourselves. We need to leave this stressful world for a while. Thanks for your lovely blog.


    1. Dear Kaka Hemn,

      Sadly, and unfortunately, since our grand parents and to some extent even us today, we always fear tomorrow, we are unsure of what can take place, and in any given moment our lives can change. This uncertainty that seems to have come back among Kurdish people creates these feelings from within us. Having said this, there are some things that we can control and we need to make an effort to make our lives better (mental thoughts).

      Our wounds are very deep, and till today the continuous suffering, which may not affect us directly, but when we see it, hear it and see our loves ones go through it affects us more than we can imagine.

      Let’s hope this summer, just like we used to in the past three or four years, pack the food, gather the family and go enjoy Fridays by waterfalls, by the shade of mountains in rivers without even saying a sentence with the name ‘daesh’… that way it’s the kurdish way of taking a leave..

      Thanks for taking the time and sharing your thoughts, always feels great to hear other people’s thoughts and feelings.



  4. Sazan xanim, I am happy to hear you’ve recovered from whatever it was that besieged you. More greatful that you find courage to share with us and remind us to slow down and enjoy life.

    Thank you.

    P.S. Be xêr bêytewe bu xakî xwot!


    1. Thank you Ibrahim, yes, indeed, lesson learned. Slowing down on every level and enjoying everything along the way. We all go through something in life that reminds us of an important lesson, glad I learned mine now.

      Zoooor supas



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