I have so much to tell you! With the end of Ramadan comes Eid, which is sometimes translated as the Sugar Feast. People eat sweets, and visit family. Kids go house-to-house trick-or-treating for sweets and money. Everyone dresses up in new colorful clothes. We celebrated Eid with the family of a woman that Sara has been tutoring, who has become a good friend of all of us. Sara and I borrowed Kurdish clothing for the occasion! We got to visit many Kurdish houses which had a markedly different feel from the furnished apartment we inhabit. Far more spare, sometimes entire rooms left nearly empty, with people young and old opting to sit directly on the floor to visit, eat, play dominoes. Children running in and out, grown ups drinking tea, conversing, holding babies, cooking, watching television. We had a grand time. I have a lot to say, but my internet time is limited at the moment....
We have several days off work for Eid, and are visiting the city of Sulaymaniyah with some friends of Bekah's (and now Sara and mine as well). It is a much needed change of pace, and an opportunity to experience Kurdistan outside the limited view we get in our job, apartment and routine in Erbil. I'm loving Sulaymaniyah so far, despite fending off a cold: fantastic people, views, and the feeling of the city over all. Much more lively and hip, more going on, less conservative feeling than Erbil. The two and a half hour drive through desert, mountain and farms was fascinating as well. All very different than my day-to-day, and makes me think of how my specific experience here is just a tiny part of the larger picture of Kurdistan.
My dreadfully slow attempts to learn Kurdish (I can still only say a few words and phrases) have improved a bit over the past few days, with the chance to hear mixed linguistic crowds communicating, and engage in a way I haven't at work. Still shamefully slow, but I'm beginning to recognize a tiny tiny tiny bit, even if I can't re speak. And then again, I've only been here 2 months and 2 month old babies can't talk at all, so...
That's all for now. I must get ready for the day!
From Mount Azmar, looking to the mountains behind it.