Today I realized how soon I will be leaving Kurdistan, which-- considering I have only posted a few blog entries--- seems ludicrous. I'll be gone in a short month. It was hard when first I got here; the job, and culture shock and general life transitions all on top of each other nearly paralyzed me. Constantly walking directly into what you are most afraid of is, in a word, exhausting. I was taking it a day at a time, a moment at a time, and sometimes even that seemed too much.
Now that the end is closer than the beginning, I'm feeling how Kurdistan has seeped into my favor, quietly. Things and people and moments I'll miss. The job. Teaching the beginners: when I think about how they couldn't say anything at first, and gave me weird looks when I tried to get them to gesture along with me, or make funny sounds with their mouths to warm their lips to make new sounds. Now they joke and laugh, and ask questions about which prepositions are appropriate, prompting an un-prepared lesson mid-class. That's one of my favorite things (even if I'm less knowledgeable on the rules surrounding prepositions than I'd like to be; those buggers are difficult!): when the class leads the lesson, and my plan is pushed to the back-burner, and their curiosity, their piecing together of language takes precedence.
With the advanced students, I'm being educated as much as any of them. I know that's cliche, but I mean literally, they are better than I college course analyzing Kurdish culture, history and the future of Kurdistan. Two students gave presentations today (as they often do), on topics of their choosing. This ended up being about traditional marriage and the Citadel at the center of Erbil city. The Citadel is the oldest continually inhabited structure in the world, having housed residents for over 8,000 years. And marriage-- as with everything in Kurdistan--is rapidly changing, but dragging the past along with it.