Monday, September 26, 2005

Where I left off...

When last I posted about my trip I had left off here...

So I was not able to cross the Syrian border into Kurdistan the first day I arrived so we stayed overnight in a hotel. Early the next morning I was awoke to a phone call saying that I had not been approved to cross the water to the Kurdish side. I would have to wait or find another way. Oddly Syria had said my children being half-Iraqi could cross, but that since they were children they couldn't without their mother, me, who couldn't!!!

My traveling companions, Meran's cousin, Abdullah, and two other Kurdish women didn't feel right to continue on with the large group that was heading down to the water so they instead went with me to the KDP office to try and work things out. Try as they might, and I was skeptical of how hard they were really trying, they could not get approval for me. They even changed my mothers name from Patricia to Piroz, and my fathers to some other Kurdish name. But nothing worked.

Finally I was able to get in touch with Meran who was waiting with his uncle Issa, who were wondering what was holding us up..."Others have crossed, where are you guys...?"

I firmly asked the men at the KDP office what my options were, they were trying to convince me to stay and wait...I was tired and cranky, 4 days of traveling with 3 small boys, and two "aunties" who were more of a hinderance than a help. They finally told me that crossing the Syrian/Turkish border was an option and that I could take a Taxi from there to the Turkish/Kurdish border only 2 hours away.

"Turks won't bother you cause your American and the Syrians won't care just as long as you don't mention your intentions of traveling to Kurdistan. They don't want Americans to go help the Kurds."

They told me they would help me take care of EVERYTHING, little did I know that this part of my journey to Kurdistan would prove to be the most grueling of the whole trip...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Here are some of the photos I took over in Kurdistan...sooner or later I will get around to uploading the rest and also some that my husband took while he was working in Iraq as a Kurdish linguist.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Where to begin...

At first I was just going to start where I left off almost a year ago in telling my tale of my journey to Kurdistan in 2003, shortly after we started the war that we are still in now...who knows I might actually finish my story, albeit the snails pace I am going at, but I just might finish before this war does.

But I have decided that i will do my best to finish how I arrived and how I left and everything in between...but now and again I might vear off chronolgically telling it to retell an interesting day that comes to mind or a person I had met there. So bear with me, and I will eventually get all of this out.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Another Turning Point

Another turning point has come in my daugher's life. I will let her tell it to you, but for those that wonder what's going on, you can read a bit of it on the 'sister' blog to this on, The Waiting Place...

Eva wants to write more, but is very busy with living the story. I will put a bit here and there from my point of view, but will leave her story, for her to write...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

It's been almost a year...

It's been almost a year since I published anything about my journey to Kurdistan...

This was not intentional. Life happened...and stopped me dead in my tracks. I have gone through a year of so much emotional drama. I told my mother I felt like I had so much responsibility (raising my 3 boys 2,6,7 on my own while their father is working overseas) and barely the sanity to do it.

If not for anyone else, this is important to me, to finish my story...

So please look for new entries soon...and this time, God Willing I will live up to that promise.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Note to Readers:
Eva intends to return to this blog as soon as possible to document her time in Iraqi Kurdistan in 2003, but she is busy preparing to return there later this summer as her husband Meran starts another year-long tour as a civilian contractor (interpreter/translator). He goes back next week, she and their three sons go later.

Please be patient, and check back in the fall to find out more, or subscribe to the newsfeed for this blog to be automatically updated when new content is posted.

In the meantime, you can find out more about Eva and Meran from another perspective, at the Waiting Place...

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Qamishlu is a little town in Syria that borders both Turkey and Iraq. For most Kurds traveling back home it is a major stop. Both because it has a large Kurdish population and also because this is where you stop at the local KDP office and make sure your documents are in order before usually taking a boat across the Syrian border to the Kurdish/Iraqi side and officially entering into Kurdistan.

When we arrived in Qamishlu it was still before noon. Since it was early, usually you have to get your name approved and listed before noon or you will have to wait for the next day, we assumed we would be able to keep going and cross that day. Yet when we arrived at the KDP office we were told that it was too late, too many people, Tomorrow...We were exhausted, with three small children, Tomorrow was not what we wanted to hear. We tried to ask why, but they ignored us and kept making our paperwork ready for tomorrow...In the end I guess they were really busy or just didn't feel like making the effort that day. When they got to me they asked the name of my parents and I told them they said that won't work. I said why not. They told me that Syria would question my parents names because they sounded foreign, and I would have a better chance if I changed them to Kurdish ones. So my mom, Patricia, became Piroz. When that was done they told us to make ourselves comfortable at one of the local hotels. They had a taxi guy on call and he drove us over there. We got two rooms. One for the two ladies accompanying us and one for me, the kids and Meran's cousin. Each room had an enclosed shower and two twin sized beds. Down the hall there was a community bathroom, with about 4 stalls and two sinks. The toilets were Mideast style, porcelain like ours, but sunk in the ground with no base, making one to have to squat to use the toilet. They also had the water hoses, no paper, due to the Muslim tradition of cleaning oneself after using the toilet.

After we bargained a price for the room and got ourselves situated I layed down with the boys. Eventually all three fell asleep with me, all of us on one twin size bed. I took this opportunity to go buy some dinner and honestly, to go explore. Since I was a child I have always wanted to see the world. I was envious of Indiana Jones. Now here I was, in a foreign country and I was eating it up. Everything I saw, the stores, the people was new, and it was exciting. Because that area of town was populated with a lot of Kurds I was able to ask around where to get food. Yet the place I went to they ended up only speaking Arabic. Lucky for me, I took two years of Arabic in college, and while I am not fluent, I know enough to ask a price, know the price, pay, and say thanks. I ended up buying a whole chicken, yogurt, bread, and three drinks for around $3. In Syria, most things are dirt cheap, you almost feel wrong paying that little.

I went back up to the room, but the boys were still napping so I decided to go back and go shopping at the bazaar. I asked Meran's cousin, Abdullah to watch the boys, Mu'min had woke up, so I took him with me. We went around the bazaar, looking at watches, clothing, perfume, and many other trinkets. In the end I bought a soccer ball and three sweaters, for the little cousins whom we were going to be staying with. In Kurdish culture, when you come from a far away place, or when you come back for that matter, bringing gifts is a big deal. It really isn't so much the gift, but bringing it that counts. It isn't such a bad tradition, especially when you are on the receiving end!!

The only really annoying thing about the bazaar and what I encountered in a lot of places is the children that beg in the market place. They come up to you and say "Aunt", a term of respect there, "Do you have some money?" Prior to leaving for overseas, I was warned that not all of these poor-looking children are as poor as they make out to be and to be careful. One girl I ran into I kept politely turning her down, but she kept asking me over and over. Finally she grabbed my shirt, I asked her to let go but for about a half block she wouldn't release her grip, I guess in the hopes I would finally give her something. I was fed up and I turned to her, grabbed her by the shoulders and said "Do you want me to hit you?" in Kurdish. I think I shocked her because she was silent and walked away. Later me and one of the ladies traveling with me ran across the same girl, as she approached that lady to ask her for something she saw me and suddenly changed directions. I just smiled!