I love to celebrate. I’m mad for birthdays, holidays, the ends and beginnings of things.

But it doesn’t have to be a big occasion. I love celebrating the little things, like the end of the work week. Which here is on THURSDAY. All the staff at the school have been frustrated and put through the ringer these first few weeks, and we’re going to continue being overworked for the rest of the year.

SO. I made cookies.

Whatcha gonna do when there’s no oven in your flat? MAKE COOKIES IN A PAN.

My flatmate brought chocolate chips over from the states (you can’t get chocolate chips here) and she was kind enough to let me use some for the cookies. Because you cannot get a chocolate chip cookie here. Uh-uh. And definitely no tollhouse cookies. UNTIL NOW.

The pan-cookies turned out really well. Try it at home, kids. And they made some stressed teachers happier. I attached a note that said “Happy Thursday!” and left the cookies in the staff room.

After school I went and explored the soap-makers district – sabun karan – with Karzan, a maths teacher. We just wandered around different neighborhoods, snacking on some popcorn we bought on the street. Sabun karan is an old district, built in the early 1900s. Lots of small, sunken doors and brick homes.

I love doors.

To get to the district, we passed through a mosque. Well, the courtyard of a mosque. It was beautiful and very peaceful, albeit quite low-key. A few pomegranate trees, some wrought-iron fences and window panes, and a clean cobblestone walkway.

Pomegranates in the wrought-iron window of a mosque.

The sabun karan was originally a small village which was swallowed up by the growing metropolis of Sulaymaniyah. It’s surrounded by more typical Suli neighborhoods like this one:

Smooth walls, and alley with a drainage groove down the middle, kids playing in the streets. Lots of football being played in the alleys as well.

We passed a two kids arguing over football in the middle of an alley. One was crying/screaming at the other disgruntled-looking kid while other kids ran to join the ruckus. As we passed them, Karzan chuckled. He told me the disgruntled-looking kid had upset the other kid by telling him in the midst of a football match, “Fuck your mom and your sister’s cunt.”

I guess insults are basically the same in any language.

A little later we saw this tag on a wall:

It was probably an artist in the neighborhood, because there were a bunch more of these tags on the surrounding buildings.

I love cursing, especially cursing in new languages. Swearing is so diverse and expressive, and it’s absolutely hilarious. There are so many ways to express the exact same sentiment, I love it.

Later, we met up with the Gundi Almani gang at an outdoor restaurant in a park on the outskirts of town. We had a few birakan and then ordered dinner:

2 kilos of fish!

Mazgouf – 2 kilos of fish! It came covered with 2 large pieces of naan. The guys squeezed lemon over the fish, and then dug in with the naan. Sooo delicious.

Welcome to the weekend!

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3 thoughts on “Little Celebrations

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