I've been feeling really lonely and sad and asking myself, after this, what, what is it that I am looking for by being here. I still have no answer. Many tears of loneliness, of helplessness, but I guess is the price to be paid to follow my heart, and I hope with each of those tears I grow stronger. Many thoughts and feelings, sometimes I feel that I want to stay here, make my life here.....in this area of the world, but sometimes when I see the inequality, the injustice, the corruption, my own helplessness, I just want to run away. But there is a sense of responsibility on me, something that says, I am here to be the eyes and the ears of people that will never get to see what really this part of the world is. Sometimes I just want to sit and cry, and sometimes I want to just be present. Sometimes I care, sometimes I don't.......
|The Entrance of St. Joseph's Church|
Yesterday was Christmas Eve in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. A mix of development and modernity trapped in a very traditional society. A society that is evolving but that still displays very conservative norms. Where woman is still positioned in very traditional roles and with low representation in society and politics. Today, I went to the beauty salon to try to be pretty on Christmas and to take away my sadness, caused by being away from home. From there we had dinner and I started to prepare to go to church here in Ankawa, a Christian suburb next to Erbil the place I now live and work.
St. Josephs Cathedral is the oldest church in town. The church was full and we had to struggle to get inside. I've never been in such a full mass. People were pushing to get in, but after some time we managed to stay at the back of the church. There was a lot of noise, and people still wanted to get in, but there was really no place. People on the back where chatting and making a lot of noise, people were in and out of the church and I was very upset that the solemnity of the night was not respected, in the end this is "the most ancient Christian community in the world". We were standing for more than 1 1/2 hours as the priest sang the mass in ancient Assyrian. I couldn't even guess that part of the mass we were in, except the alleluia. The homily and other parts of the mass were in Arabic. They gave the sign of peace to each other and then the priest came to the back giving the Holy Communion. There were like two songs I knew that are also sang in PR., the Loria In Excelsis Deo and the Adestes Fideles, so I was happy following the mass in the best way I like: singing.
|Christmas Chaldean mass...|
|A beautiful Tree outside the Church|
|At the Christmas festival, on Christmas Eve, with my Kurdish host brothers|
|Mr. and Mrs. Smith|
Christmas had a special touch after all, its own Iraqi flavor, and I had the opportunity to discover a different way to celebrate, and to give a meaning other than party and shopping. I didn't give any presents or receive any material things, but I gained a lot and strengthened my spirit, reminding myself that saying that home is where your heart is, and so is Christmas, and my heart is now here in Iraq!
|Me and Pooh|
|A balloon next to the festival area|
|Merry Christmas.....in Assyrian (Arameic)|