Monday, 06 August 2012, 02:14 GMT
The Last Drive

Sazan M. Mandalawi

The Kurdish Globe
By Sazan M. Mandalawi

The heart of my nest

Today was my final day in Erbil. It is time for me to once again fly out of my nest. On this special occasion we take one last drive around in the city I have come to love so much.

As I sit next to the driver's seat and take pictures of almost everything I see, with every picture memories of the past two months return to me. We pass through Shorsh road and the times in Mali Khanda (orphanage) with Ashna and Bewar make me smile.

Turn right and I think of the shopping trip with Rahma as the road leads to the long traffic near Family Mall. Yes, six years ago we had two main supermarkets; today every major road in Erbil has a mall in progress.

Take the left road and after few minutes of driving it is Dal's burger. Here, I have a cheeky grin as I remember those who are supposedly on a diet yet like the Kader family have their midnight snack here.

Yes, Kurdistan has burgers and fast food as well. Driving a little more and the posh areas appear. First is Abu Shahab, this is where the plane brj w shla (rice and stew) tastes best. Here, I listened to Jwan tell stories of Kurdish woman and I took Randan's lawyer perspective on the matters. Three girls, three different specialties, that was one educative get together.

We drive a little more to pass the venue of Sayran's wedding, I smile knowing fairytale endings and love stories are being lived in this beautiful city.

Then there is Costa [Rica], as much as I dread that place I can't help but remember that's where I saw soon-to-be mum Julie and where we had our long discussions of my future duties as an aunty. It was also here that I held Dleen's son and listened to the wise words of Nawa.

Then the sad matri (100 meter road), here with Ruwayda we sat with elderly people, we listened, laughed and cried. Drive a little down and turn to the right is Castello, with Aryan and Khanda we talked and laughed about life and everything from diets to husbands.

The same road then leads to Martyr Sami Abdul Rahman Park. I was almost in tears, how I wished to spend more time that day with Dr. Omar and Dr. Fatima in our picnic in this park.

We drive a little more. And here is the real beauty. The suburbs where the roads are tight and small, the people who live here work hard in order to make a living. Here lives Uncle Eissa, who calls me every now and then to say "Come visit, we miss you. I have brought you the falafel you like"

The drive continues around the citadel, here I think of my dearest Narin and Nama and the time we spent at Maam Khalil's tea house. We take the route back home and pass by Bakhtiary, I see the little grocery store and then Kak Safin's organization where behind the walls lives are being changed.

We sing on our way back home, and I see home. The heart of my nest; I see the cage that baaba has built for his birds, I see the trees we have planted and I smell daya's food.

My dear reader, you see the reason why my heart is in pain every time I fly out of my nest?

It is because of all the names in this piece, it is the people in this city that make every road and every building worthwhile. You can be in the best city in the world, but when there is no one to enjoy it with and no one to share it with then you are blind to see any beauty.