Sep 26, 2011

The City of My Childhood

A few days ago I went to Sulymania (Suly), to the city where I spent my childhood and made my first friendships.Sulaymania is a city located in the North of Iraq, Kurdistan region.

Originally, I am from Hawler, it's the place where I feel I belong to, but in my early years, I used to live in Suly.
It was in 2003 when my parents decided to leave Suly and return to Erbil, where we can settle among relatives. Since then I often go to Suly as a sightseer.

Suly has always been the same to me, the city where it brings back to me love, joy and laughter of the early years. Except this time the feelings and expectations were different.

It has been almost a year since I have visited Suly; hence. a few days ago I decided to visit it again. I had really missed it.

While I was on the road heading to Suly, something was telling me that this time, Suly is going to be different. In a good way or a bad way, I couldn’t actually tell.

All the way, I kept looking at the mountains, and the green valleys remembering my childhood in the City, and missing the little friends I had made years ago that I didn’t have a clue what happened to now. Along with my heart, wishing to see them, but like all other times, the wish did not come true.

I arrived to Suly with a great deal of pleasure seeing my little nephews and niece, straight their arms wide open ready to hold me. A beautiful feeling I had. Yet, something was still incomplete.
Suly wasn’t the same.
Why? I still couldn’t tell.

The next day, we went to Sytak, near Iranian border. It was a perfect place in this time of the year. The views were magic, the eminent mountains, beautiful flowers aside, and the sloppy roads. Though it was filled with people, and I was surrounded by family and relatives, but I took time to go aside and sit on the hill alone.

While sitting there, I was looking around, the cars passing beside me and people walking down the valley miles away.

I thought about Suly . In this city, I shed my innocent tears, the tears of a child, in this city I laughed about silly things with friends. In this city I had played my first childish games.

I thought about my early days in school that I crossed by just the morning before I go to Sytak. I thought about uncle Majid, that old man who used to lean on the walls of my school and make us Kurdish Sandwiches of Nokaw and Qawrma. About the fights we had made with other kids in front of the school over uncle Majid’s sandwiches. I thought about the days I used to borrow money form friends to buy an extra Sandwich and when I would go home, Mom would warn me, she would say, " if you do this again, I will punish you real bad," and of course  I would do it over.

I used to hold my little brother’s hand every day and race back home with friends. Yes, it was in this city, it was all in Suly.

I remembered the times when I used to open my arms wide open in the middle of the road in the neighborhood and tell friends how big the road seemed. I thought about Zana, Aso, & Snoor, my early day’s friends.

Suly is still beautiful as it used to be, but the memories aren’t the same anymore. I can’t find my friends and I can’t play the same childish games with them no more.

They are no longer here, and I can no longer find them. Now I look at the city and I think of it as a movie player and I’m sitting on the hill watching as the memories go by.

The streets seem smaller. I pass by the old school and I see children wore in white and black crossing streets. But I no longer see uncle Majid in front of the gate, and I no longer see the kids lined in front of my school for his sandwiches.

Suly has grown; it’s bigger now, it looks more beautiful like a bride in a white dress looking up to her future. But to me Suly will always remain, the city of my childhood.