I'm finally home. Despite the rubble, the intimidating soldiers, and the ever present sense of a foreboding atmosphere, there is no place on this God - given green earth that feels more home than Iraq and Baghdad. I feel like I belong, and everything seems so familiar. My heart stings for every Iraqi who has had to leave, or indeed chose to leave.
Walking up to my grandparents house in the cover of darkness was slighlty reassuring. The first shock was seeing that the house next door was now a rubbish tip, filled with feral dogs.
A few seconds later, the gate opened and I rushed in straight away, failing to notice that I had jumped in the garden in my eagerness. Many flowers lie trampled in my agitated wake.
I saw my nana first, and after kissing me she immediatley commented on the length of my hair to my mother. " You are nearly in university and it just reaches your shoulder toutaaa! You haven't been eating properly either! Come eat!".
To myself I thought, yup, that's what is important right now. Iraq has a probably corrupt government, and Baghdad feels like a ghost town whose spirit has been chained up, there are nightly bombings, none of you here are safe, but, the important thing is the length of my hair.
But to tell you the truth, I immediatley scolded myself. I love them so much, that I promised them and myself that I would grow my hair so long that I can use it as an abbaya, (I can even cut a box into my fringe where my eyes can peek out of, or I can go for the cousin Itt look-google cousin itt on images- Addams family).
They looked at me for a while like I had lost my mind (perhaps I have?) then told me "laaa" (no) they just wanted it as long as all girls my age..(i.e veryyy long).
Dolma and Chillifry and Bamya, Biryani, Tepsi, Maqlooba, Durshana (yay finally!) , and a host of other dishes greeted us. All made by my nana, whose cooking is perfection. :)
Nine plates later, everyone is talking. My grandparents have bought a pc for my 26 year old uncle, but he has been too busy 'socialising' to set it up. For all you unlucky non-iraqis out there, when the word 'socialising' is used to describe an iraqis guy activity, it basically means scowling the streets with friends to find a suitable girl/job/cafe.
Have you ever been so drowning in emotion and nostalgia that you just stare blankly? That is the best way I can describe my current situation. My older brother is busy drinking a 2 litre bottle of sugary pepsi, and my little sister (14 isn't thaat little, but her behaviour is... ouch, that was mean touta.) is sleepy, so naturally I have volunteered to set it up.
Half an hour later, and I have joined onto the nearest wireless network, and am busy blogging, while family continue talking. My grandfather has appeared, and soon he will tell the tales of his life. Too exciting to miss, so I bid the internet adieu.
P.s. Forgot to mention, that although I love Iraq unconditionally, the weather is schizophrenic.