Wake up to the pitter-patter of rain drops on the window. Walk out and look out over our balcony at our little street. Power clicks on and off as we shower and get ready for the day. With raincoats, backpacks and appropriate rain foot-gear on, we leave our comfy apartment. Walk down the stairs and greet our landlords who are in their courtyard beneath our stairs.
“Baani Bash!” (Good Morning)
“Chony!” (How are you?)
Thus ends our Kurdish language skills.
Leave our front gate and step out onto the sidewalks. We share them with vendors who are opening their fruit and vegetable stands. Heat hits our faces as we pass the bread smith who lays his warm flat-bread out on the sidewalk stand. Fresh bread fills the air for a moment and we drink it in.
Streets are filled with morning traffic. My favorite vehicles are the school buses. Each bus that passes is filled with singing, dancing and clapping students, who appear to be trying to out-do the others.
Come to a large road with cars whizzing by. We watch the traffic with other foot travelers. One confident person makes his or her move, traffic slows and we all make our move. Jump over the puddles and jog across the street, backpacks flopping against our backs.
On the other side of the busy street, we are in front of the office.
Warm greetings from our colleagues in the cold office. Tea and instant coffee flows almost as consistently as the flow of literature before us. Resources, history, studies and statistics, overwhelming needs and questions of how to answer them. Coordinating projects, meetings and discussions and it’s lunch time.
This rainy day calls for soup… and even if it wasn’t rainy, soup would be on the menu. The best soup vendor in town is nearby – a tiny street vendor that serves the best chickpea soup we have ever had. When the soup runs out, the vendor closes shop and enjoys his afternoon.
More information, discussion, coffee and tea flow through the afternoon and it is evening. With backpacks on again over the crowded street and past the bread smith and vendors we go, back to our little apartment.
Laundry and cooking is planned according to the power. Clothes sit in water for hours, waiting for city power to come back on to finish its process of semi-cleaning our clothes. The gas stove top works regardless but few cookies will be baked in the electric oven lest the power goes off, leaving the cookies to wilt.
Reading on the balcony listening to children laugh and play until dark, eating dinner on our red stools, a piece of chocolate from a thoughtful friend back home and into bed.
By the way, never take for granted your fitted sheets. Never. Electricity comes and goes, but fitted sheets stay put forever.
Sleeping deeply and waking up to experience more new things here in this new place.