Days of My Life

Talk about daily life of a teenage girl in Iraq, and days of suffering and success. My nick name will be Sunshine..

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Magnificent visit to Baghdad..

Hello friends, it has been awhile since I wrote my last post, I had the best midyear holiday ever in Baghdad, the weather was fantastic and Baghdad became much safer than before, but what broke my heart was that I didn't see old Baghdad it was different!!!
We spent the time with our relatives and neighbors, we also did a lot of shopping, and in the mornings we cleaned the house, washed the curtains, cleaned the walls and organized the storage rooms .we did many things that my grandparents couldn't do ..
Anyway I'll tell you now about my diary..
Thursday (22/1)
We arrived Baghdad after 7 hours, the delay was about 2 hours near Baghdad gate, but the road was really safe, no more armed men, dead bodies and mines in the street, my dad's cousin joined us and spent 2 days with us.. at noon we went to uncle( S)'s house, uncle had to leave Iraq, it was very painful to see the house empty, uncle S is my grandpa's best friend, who left Iraq suddenly, he brought the house's keys and asked my grandparents to sell the house and all of his possessions, it was so hard for my grandparents to sell their best friend's house..
I kept walking in the house, in each corner of the rooms they had beautiful memories, I remembered the times I visited them and how much fun I had, and prayed uncle S will come with his big family because I miss them so much..

At about 9 pm my neighbor visited us (she's Shiite) she said they're going to cook ( Zain al Abdeen's soup),it's a traditions, they cook this soup every year and allocate it to all the neighbors in the neighborhood and for everyone who asks, I was eager to know more about their traditions , so she invited me to join them on Friday..

Friday (23/1)
At 7 am in the morning I heard the sound of flaming I knew my neighbors started cooking, at 10 am I went to my neighbor's house with my little brother, and also took my camera, they welcomed us and quickly my brother started to play with their kids...
There was a huge pot, I think it's diameter is one meter or more, under it a big burner, they told me that the soup contain meat , different kind of beans, rice , chards, and they can also add spinach, it needs about 10 hours to be done, with continuous scrolling . the eldest woman aunt F said "each year we either cook Zain al Abdeen soup, or Hareesa, or Zardaa, it depends on the vow we make, sometimes we cook more than one kind, these ceremonies last for 50 days" I asked her about the time they go walking to karbala city and why they do it she said " after 40 days from the anniversary of Hussein's death, we go walking to karbala, to visit his shrine, and the story behind that is when the people in Syria came to visit the shrine ,Muawyia didn't allow them, so he cut their arms and legs, since that day people started to visit the shrine each year no matter how hard the circumstances can be", then I asked them about Qraya or as some people call it Latmeya, she said "it is also a tradition we have, each year we make Qraya, we invite all of the women we know, all the neighbors, even Christians, Sunnis, Subba etc, first we bring a girl dressing a white dress ,it represents Zain al abdeen's bride, and another wearing black represent the groom, and they sit on chairs around them candles and ace, with chocolates and desserts, that represents the wedding of zain al abdeen, then someone take the groom out that means (he was killed), then they blow of the candles and the solace starts".
I asked them about other traditions and they explained them to me, then their daughter M said "come on won't you participate in cooking?" I said "why not, I'd love to actually" It was fun to share them what they believe in , even my little brother helped.. it doesn't mean that people must agree to participate, I didn’t share them their traditions because I believe in what they are doing, no, but because I believe people must start to accept and respect each other's traditions. .. In this way people will realize that even if they have their own different traditions the society won't consider them different, love and respect will be among all the casts, just like what the Iraqi people do..
When I came back , my other neighbor visited us and we had coffee together.. then for lunch we ate delicious Tukka. In the afternoon we did some shopping in my favorite place Al Roubaee street, I had lots of fun, the buildings were awesome, and that gave me hope because months ago this street was burnt and destroyed but now it looks great, the owners fixed their shops and people started to go out ..

Saturday 24/1
We visited my mom's aunt, we had a good time there, she kept talking about her sons who left Baghdad, and her grandsons whom she misses a lot... it is so painful to see the Iraqi families dispersed, but I pray our loving ones will come back one day..

Sunday 25/1
We did some shopping, while we were in the market we met Baghdad dentist who was walking with his sister, we invited them to have coffee so we went home together, we had a nice time although he left quickly!
In the afternoon my mom's uncle and aunt visited us, each Sunday the family gathers and uncle who lives in USA calls us..
Monday 16/1
In the morning our friends visited us.. we had a good time..

Tuesday 27/1
In the morning another neighbor visited us with her 2 years old son, we had a great time, and in the afternoon we did some shopping!
At noon we went to our neighbor's house and had coffee with them, at noon we visited our relatives and I taught my mom's uncle how to use the internet, I kept repeating over and over and wrote all of the steps on a copybook so that uncle never forget them ..

Wednesday 28/1
We had a delicious lunch, we ate a famous Iraqi dish called Simach Mazkoof, it’s the Iraqi way to prepare fish..
In the afternoon we went to a playing yard, my brother and sister had a great time, the plays were really nice and the yard was crowded , it was great to see that people started to feel safe, go out and come home at 10 pm or so, because few months ago the situation wasn't good, people used to hide in their houses and don't go out except for necessary things ..
Thursday 29/1
We went to a nearby store to buy juice, and then we celebrated my 17th birthday I feel awesome, I hope I'll achieve many things this year, my biggest dream is to have a high par and go to the collage I like, and also publish a book, and I hope My country will be safe again and that god will continue to protect us ..
Now I am almost adult, but still I can't vote :D
Friday 30/1
We had lunch in a restaurant called Hassan, in al Jadreya street, it was really nice restaurant.
I must say even that Baghdad is safe, I was shocked from the flags that carry weird phrases , many women were wearing the Iranian mantle( abaya), some were Iranians as I think , they were white and tall!!. The Baghdadis in general have darker skin.
(The Iraqis who live in the north have a white skin, unlike the people who live in the east, middle, south, and west of Iraq who have a darker skin, however for me all Iraqis are handsome)

As you can see part of the restaurant was damaged because of the explosions..

Saturday 31/1
The election day, my grandparents went with the neighbors to vote, and in the evenings we invited our neighbors to have supper with us, we had a nice time..
What makes the Iraqi society great is that we share each other the good and hard times, educated people never pay attention to the casts or religions, because we are all Iraqis ,the neighbors who visited us were Shiites, Kurds, Christians and Armenians, and we are like one big family ..
My Armenian neighbor said " did you know that al Hakeem's yes-men arrested 350 guys so that they don't participate in the election neither their families?! My friend who's Sunni is hiding in our house , we thought it will be safer for him to stay with us, Badir's army took his laptop as well as 2000$ , thank god they didn’t kidnap him, his brother was killed a year ago, and his mother is in Syria now" In hard and good times, the Iraqi unite, you see when the situation become dangerous for a Sunnis for example the Shiites protect them, when the Christians were threatened the Muslims protected them and asked them to hide in their houses..

Many politicians forced people to choose them; some gave people blankets and other stuff if they swear to choose them!! Or they just threat people "if you participate in the elections we'll kill your sons"
Many people didn’t find their names in the elective centers, or their names were in distant centers!.
My grandparents and dad in Mosul had to go to 3 elective centers till they found their names, my grandparents insisted to walk no matter how far they have to walk, the people in Mosul were really afraid that the Kurds will take over Mosul, it would be a disaster , and I mean by that the Kurdish politicians who threatened the Christians..
Sunday 1/2
We visited our friends, we talked about the elections, and then their daughter in low came with her son who has autism syndrome, god be with her, he keep running and destroying everything he sees, the mother who has MSc in dentistry couldn’t tolerate anymore and started to cry a lot, my heart broke, in Iraq there isn't any experts that may help or even provide consultation.
at noon my mom's uncle and aunt visited us..
Monday 2/2
We did some shopping and I bought a really nice purse, then we had ice-cream in my favorite ice-cream shop called "Laymoona"
Also at that day my mom aunt's husband passed away because of the bad medical care in the Iraqi hospitals. he died after an angina attack, his family took him to three hospitals but their emergency units could not provide any aids because of the shortage in every thing, one oh the hospitals had no cable for certain apparatus!!!!!!!! …
Tuesday 3/2
We visited my dad's aunt in the morning to have coffee with them, and her 3 neighbors joined us, one of them will immigrate, she was talking about how hard it is to leave their house, but they must do so, all the neighbors felt extremely sad to know that she'll leave...
One of the things I love about neighbors in Iraq is, we are very close, in the mornings the neighbors have coffee together, without any formalities or affectations. if a neighbor is sick, everyday a neighbor cook for her or even do housework for her, neighbors go shopping together, my grandma says that she couldn't tolerate and get through the hard times without her neighbors, and my neighbor said to me" without your grandma I'd be dead now from sadness, I wouldn't tolerate living without my daughters and son without your grandma's support"..
In the evening we had dinner in our neighbor's house, we had a great time, and their son and I worked on computer..

Wednesday 4/2
In our last day in Baghdad, we didn't go out, but my mom's aunt visited us to say good bye, as well as our neighbors, we received guests till 10 pm!

On Thursday, we arrived mosul after 6 hours, the road was good ..

I didn't write about good events for long time, I am so glad I had good news to tell, yesterday I visited my friend, she is studying medicine, I didn't see her for 2 years! I had a great time..
I hope Mosul will be as safe as Baghdad, and I hope next time I visit Baghdad I'll find it as good as the past and even better, I want to see Baghdad not Tahran !!!
Sunshine ..


At 4:36 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

Hi Sweetheart,

I'm so glad you had such a happy time.

With love,

At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad you can post some good news even though it was not from Mosul. Hang in there Sunshine.

Kenny in OC CA.

At 11:19 PM, Blogger Average American said...

Sunshine, what a great post! I am so happy you found Baghdad so calm. Mosul will follow their successful return to peace. The worst is over and I think it will stay that way. Everything I hear from the media, but mostly from you and other Iraqi bloggers tells me that things are good and will only get better. I'm sure more incedents will happen, but they will become less and less frequent. I just read that 4 Americans and an Iraqi translater were killed by a suicide bomber. What a dreadful shame. It just shows that there is still some to do.

I'm looking forward to your pictures. I'm sure they will be wonderful as usual.

May God bless you and your family and all good Iraqis.


At 5:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! I can't believe you are 17. You have really grown up. It was good to see that you had a good time in Bagdad with your family. It was a good birthday present.

At 10:29 PM, Blogger Ripama said...

Well I see you had a great trip to Baghdad...But you didn't tell us about your meeting with Maliki. I thought you were the prime minister.

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Well, a belated Happy Birthday. 17 what a wonderful age. You seem very positive about it in spite of having lived through a war for so much of your maturing. I am sure the close feelings among your family and friends have made you strong. I hope your wishes for the year all come true.

I read that the Kurds did not win the most votes in Mosul. The voters hopefully elected politicians that will serve the people, all the people whatever ethnic or religious background.

I hope peace returns to Mosul soon.

It is very interesting to read about Baghdad and the improvements in security there. Now if only they can get the utilities working 24 hours of the day.

At 6:45 AM, Blogger Jhondie said...

Well I do like to hear that you are safe :) I'll pray for your safety as always

At 12:12 AM, Blogger Noah Unsworth said...

Thanks for your post about your great trip to Baghdad. I liked the pictures. The food looked very good.

I hope to be able to visit Baghdad someday as a tourist. Maybe in 5 years.

At 7:05 AM, Blogger David said...

Hi Sunshine,

I really enjoyed reading your post about visiting Baghdad. I'm very happy that things are going better there. :)

I have never seen such a huge pot of soup!

The kabobs look delicious.

I would like to try the fish. Their color is very appetizing. :)

We have playgrounds here with very similar equipment. It looks like a lot of fun for the kids! When I was a kid, the equipment was very simple by comparison.

The cake with white frosting looks really delicious. I wish I could taste it!

I hope the situation will continue to improve in Baghdad and also in Mosul.

Take care.

At 6:09 AM, Blogger Jhondie said...

I love the pictures

At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey sunshine
glad to know that you had a great time.baghdad welcomes you anytime. me too,i dont like to see tahran,that really upsets me.
wish you luck in your school,i'd like to hear good news about your scores too.
a friend from baghdad.


Post a Comment

<< Home