A Slice of Life – Kurdistan: Volume 3

I woke up this morning to bright sunshine creating shadows on the walls. It is almost spring in Kurdistan. While indoors it is still brutally cold because of concrete buildings and lack of insulation, all of nature is breathing signs of spring. From goslings to buds on trees, life is bursting forth. We have heard … Continue reading A Slice of Life – Kurdistan: Volume 3

Sometimes You Choose to Feed the Kittens

Sometimes all you can do is feed the kittens.... Just before we head to bed, we hear the echoing mew of a kitten. It is pitiful and anxious, a mournful sound on a cold night. The sound reverberates through the hallway, as if to voice all the sadness and loss of the world. My husband … Continue reading Sometimes You Choose to Feed the Kittens

The Rain Came

The rain came. One minute it was the hot, dry sun of a high desert and rays of light spread across my living room and peeked into the darkened hallway. I took a quick walk to our plant store nearby – we call it our arboretum – and walked back with a green treasure, its … Continue reading The Rain Came

Speak Out Loud

Keep in mind to speak out loud the works of God! As you transition with your soul mate it will be good to hear your voices remembering what God has done...* One month ago we left the United States with 8 suitcases, two carry on bags, and two hearts that were open to whatever awaited … Continue reading Speak Out Loud

On Picnics in Kurdistan

Yesterday was Friday - the day of worship, rest, and picnics in Kurdistan. Yes - picnics. About a 10 minute drive from our apartment is beautiful Lake Dukan and an area called Darband. Come Friday and Saturday, Darband is full of people from all over the area enjoying the cool breezes and beauty of Lake … Continue reading On Picnics in Kurdistan

On Waiting…

We are sitting in a government office in Suleimaniyah (commonly called Suli) and we are waiting. We left Rania at seven in the morning. The sun had already welcomed the day and a beautiful breeze accompanied us on our walk to the university. The road between Rania and Suli begins as a one lane, heavily … Continue reading On Waiting…

Rania – Reflections on Place, Work, and Travel

I walk up the three flights of stairs to our apartment and unlock the door. I step inside and breathe a sigh of gratitude. No matter where you live, you need a home base. This is why the displacement and refugee crisis of our time is so important to care about. We are created for … Continue reading Rania – Reflections on Place, Work, and Travel

Peeling Pomegranates in Rania

I wake to a sun-filled room in Kurdistan. It is Friday and we have slept late, still catching up from hours of lost sleep in the last couple weeks of packing and moving. Friday begins our weekend in this part of the world, and the mosque behind our apartment reminds us that it is a … Continue reading Peeling Pomegranates in Rania

Enlarging our hearts in Ranya ڕانیه

It's difficult to believe that we have only been in Kurdistan for 48 hours. Our flight from Qatar was uneventful. We connected with another new faculty member just before boarding the plane. The fact that she spotted us so easily was a reminder that we are westerners and everything from the way we talk to … Continue reading Enlarging our hearts in Ranya ڕانیه

Waving Olive Branches

Olives are ubiquitous in the Middle East. Served with almost every meal, they vary in color and size, offering a pungent, salty taste. Eat them with bread and white cheese and you have a meal fit for royalty. The trees are everywhere – in gardens, along the sides of roads, and in churchyards. You cannot … Continue reading Waving Olive Branches

Hope in Exile: Rooftop Prayer

   "Every evening at sundown we go on the roof and we pray." When I heard this, I was sitting with Anees and Shatha in their tiny room. They had told me about leaving their city, about losing two factories, about how their two daughters had immigrated to Canada. Yet every evening at sundown, they paused. … Continue reading Hope in Exile: Rooftop Prayer

“Who Among You can Put Christina Back in the Arms of Her Mother?”

   Sometimes a story emerges that captures all other stories. It becomes the iconic story, the one that explains everything. And everyone knows the story. Everyone from Qaraqosh knows the story of Christina. Christina was three and a half years old when she was literally snatched from her mother's arms as they were fleeing ISIS. … Continue reading “Who Among You can Put Christina Back in the Arms of Her Mother?”

Hope in Exile: A Broken Ankle

This is the first of a few stories from my time in Iraq. Thank you for reading.  I met Anees in the management office of Al Amal, an unfinished building that houses internally displaced people from the Nineveh Plain in Iraq. Al Amal literally means "The Hope," and indeed, the people here embody hope. All … Continue reading Hope in Exile: A Broken Ankle