Saturday, 04 February 2012, 09:11 GMT
A confession

Sazan M. Mandalawi

The Kurdish Globe
By Sazan M. Mandalawi

Then what is happiness?

Baaba (dad): Remember all the times you would ask if we would agree to go on a family trip for the weekend? We'd be excited until the second we discussed options. You would list every single village name you knew, and with a little back and forth and friendly debate, I used to say: "I have a lot to do this weekend," then walk up to my room. Do you recall all the times when I put off weekend trips for poor excuses only because I abhorred visiting the village? I don't need to remind you of all the times I whined that I couldn't sleep in the village because the "FLIES HAVE BITTEN ME ALL OVER!!" You smiled and said, "They like sweet people!" I always got mad, saying it wasn't funny.

Your daughter was na´ve; she didn't understand you and she didn't understand the world.

Here I am, so far from you, an hour and a half past midnight. My tears that have fallen on the keyboard have formed a river and every time I press a letter it forms a little splash. With the tears I have a confession to make. One of the best days of my life was when you and I woke up when it was still dark in the village of Haladen, and you took me on a morning walk that lasted more than three hours.

Dad, everything you had taught me in my life I learned on that walk.

Dad, do you remember the breakfast of maast, chay, and naan in the company of someone we bumped into during our walk that later turned out to be one of your previous students?

Do you remember the sheep that walked all around me, and you laughed as you told me "stay here for two months and you will make a great village girl"?

Did you realize I did not scream when the donkeys walked past me? And I didn't walk away when the chickens and roosters came closer?

Remember the very old woman in jli Kurdi hitting the cows? You admired her.

Baaba: Remember how I took off my jumper, untied my hair and walked in the rain, feeling every sprinkle on my face with my hands wide open to welcome it on me' You are the only person in the world who refuses to tell me off when I walk under the rain. In fact, you are the only person I remember who has agreed to walk under the rain with me so many times. Kurdish fathers know walking under the rain is medicinal to all of life's illnesses.

How I miss those times. Now that I am far from home, I wish for those moments to be re-lived once again. I treasure every moment of life in a Kurdistani village.

It takes awhile for one to realize how calming it is to live a day in nature itself and everywhere you look, you are surrounded by Kurdistan's mountains. There are no meetings one after the other, no iPhone to answer calls and no Twitter every five minutes. There is no stress of whether you will miss the bus, can make the deadline or how many calories of fat your sandwich for lunch contains. It doesn't matter if Real Madrid is losing, and the last concern you would have is to afford the designer shirt or a trip around the world.

Then what is happiness? In a Kurdish village, happiness is when you have a good rain in winter and breathing in the air in summer nights while eating fresh fruit under the night sky, rather than sitting in a coffee shop and posting it on Facebook.

Baaba gyan, your dream has become my dream.

You always said: "I wouldn't change an hour in the village for a lifetime abroad."

Dad, me too. I wouldn't either. And that's my confession to you.

This week's Memoirs was taken from the blog entry