ExpatInKurdistan

erbil-citadel1

It’s Election Day for the whole of Iraq today. What does that mean for an expatmumma. Oh WOW! Another bloody day off school. In 3 weeks of being here there have been 7 days off school.ARGHHH.

What do you do when you are in a locked down town,  nothing is open, the “neighbours”  are argumentative and frankly a bit gun crazy ( think Syria, Iraq and  Iran ) the kids are off school and you are in a  temporary house? Well you  get busy writing about it  and share your stories of life in a foreign land.

Our family moved here  to Kurdistan from Mongolia and we are finding our feet and getting on with life in our new posting as best we can.  We reside in Erbil which has numerous spellings ; Arbil, Erbil and Irbil and in Kurdish it is known as Hawler!

 Kurdistan is an automously governed region of Iraq. So technically we live in Iraq. Shit a brick! However this area is safe and beautiful. It has a diverse demographic and ethnographic with people coming from Iraqi Kurdistan , Iranian Kurdistan, Turkish Kurdistan and Syrian Kurdistan.There is a  huge influx of repatriates who have returned  to safe Kurdistan after many years in Sweden, the UK, Australia and the USA. The main languages spoken here are Kurdish, Chaldean, Arabic, Turkish, Persian and English. There are many religious and non religious citizens with a mix of Christians, Muslims, Yazidis, Zoroastrians and Yarsans.

I am really looking forward to settling in. I have booked in for Arabic classes on Monday and am writing my  Birth Preparation Book now in it’s 4th country! (it is taking a long time). There is a rich history here and a country full of welcoming and helpful Kurds. I can’t wait to get exploring and find a beautiful Kurdish kilm, practice my limited Kurdish and make new friends.

 Resources coming soon

 

andy xoxo

 

 

ExpatPuppies

 

EXPATPUPPIES by Andy Mayer

Mom-Dog-With-Puppies

“Holy Shit! Are you kidding me?” was my response to a Russian friends explanation of how much was costing to relocate their ageing mastiff from Mongolia to The DRC.

 “ It costs what For a cat!” I exclaimed when an Aussie relayed the cost  of relocating her pet moggie from Saudi Arabia to Australia.

I am scared! Our children have been begging for a pet dog, well actually a puppy for years now. We have managed to save off the inevitable with statements like:

  • “You are just a bit young, maybe when you are older” – (they are older)
  • “Who would look after him when we go on holidays *#1 expat benefit
  • “You can’t seem to drag yourself away from minecraft so who would walk, clean up after and  feed the dog?” *#2 expat benefit
  • “ok in the next place we live you can have a puppy” (Fingers crossed behind my back)
  • “The only dogs we can get here in Mongolia/ Saudi Arabia/ Kurdistan are mongrels we better wait until you go to Australia and buy from a breeder?” *#3 expat benefit

So with statements like that we have managed to keep the boys happy with Terrapins and Sea monkeys. Ok none of those things worked out and we only have  dead terrapins and empty sea monkey enclosures.  (Don’t mention fucking Sea monkeys around me though I get a bit twitchy and have flashbacks to a nasty incident in Saudi Arabia. but I can talk about that later) 

Now the boys are older and after living in Mongolia we promised them and it is time to accept this challenge. The problem is there are only Mongrel breeds here and they are HUGE they are called Kangols ever heard of them? I hadn’t and google did not please me one bit. The other issue is Dubai has breeds available form “not puppy farms” but they are $1000 to $2000 for little rats on stilts! then you have to cargo them over. We can live with that but by far the most pressing issue at present is Max the 7 year old wants to call the dog, Jesus. He proudly tells us his new best friends is called Jesus with a smile bordering on a smirk like he just got away with swearing.

I have a friend in Abu Dhabi (who shall remain nameless) she is a lovely person and a kind animal lover so kind she is vegan! However when she was in Saudi she named her new pet cat Ahmed.It was a fateful choice of names for my Mexican mate because as she found out when registering him it was deeply offensive. Everyone needs a bit of Wasta* in the kingdom and the receptionist at the compound had a little bit and was particularly helpful if one needed a compound car in a hurry, an extra seat on a bus or some kind of assistance, anyway he also registered  all the compound pets! The mexican had a favourable relationship with this man and when she announced his name tag was to say Ahmed he boomed, “How dare you shame one of the 99 holy names of the prophet( SAWS), Astafrullahazim” and waved her away.He refused to acknowledge her again and there went her little bit of Wasta! Needless to say Ahmed was left behind proving “too difficult” to ship that little pussy out.

What will happen if max gets his way and the new $1000 puppy is called, Jesus or worse his full name ,Jesus Christ? Who knows but blasphemy runs high in our household and there will be shouts down the street on occasions “Jesus Christ come back here you bloody dog”

How much did the dog and the cat at the beginning of the story cost to relocate you ask? The Mastiff, called Walter, cost $14,000 USD and the  mongrel cat called ,Stinky cost $8000AUD. Ahmed didn’t cost a  cent and is  still with a loving family in Jeddah.

*#1 expat life causes families to bail on there place of residence on numerous holidays to tropical beaches

#2 ok it will be the housemaid/helper/nanny who does all that as l don’t lift a finger normally

#3 note to self include pet cargo in the next job contract! expats don”t pay for anything

#4 all  hashtag comments are said with tongue in cheek

andy xoxo