Yesterday I flew from Sulaimani to Frankfurt, Germany, then hopped on 3 trains and ended up in the small village of Bammental, where my daughter, Janelle, and her husband, Laurens, live.
Here is Janelle doing her duty at shovelling snow that started this morning, just in time to start acclimatizing me to winter in Canada.
Today we went shopping for some white beans and tomato paste (to make fasouli-white beans in tomato sauce) at a nearby Turkish shop. I want to make a Kurdish meal on Monday for some of their friends. As we went to pay I asked him where he had used to live before immigrating to Germany. He said, Ankarra. So, then I took the plunge and told him that I had just come from Istanbul the day before. He made a face and commented that Istanbul was not a wonderful city. So, then I said that I had been in Iraq before Istanbul. He told me that was a very "gefahrlich/ dangerous" place. He said that the Americans had destroyed it.
Now, I am aware that speaking to a Turkish man about Kurds does present a bit of risk (Janelle told me later that I was pretty "ballsy"!). But I was watching his responses and took the chance of telling him that I had been in the northern part of Iraq where it is not as dangerous as the south. And then our conversation took an interesting turn. He told me about Syria where maybe the Kurds will have a situation like the Kurds in Iraq (autonomous region) and that he was very much in favour of the Kurds having this. He did not say it, but I felt that he would agree for the same situation in Turkey.
Then he began to speak of how America wanted to put their fingers into everything and how they supported Israel. He then went on to tell us how he thought that Israel was grabbing land from the Palestinians. He said that all conflicts were about wanting more things then we needed.
All this conversation happened in German and I was quite thrilled that I understood most of what he was saying!! After we paid for our groceries (he thought that we should buy the cans of beans, but we convinced him that we wanted the dry ones) he asked us to wait a minute. He went over to the shelves of pickles and picked up a very large bottle of pickled peppers, tomatoes, carrots and cauliflower. He told my daughter that he wanted to give 'madam (me)" a gift and gave me the large bottle. I felt like I was back in Kurdistan- gifted by a Turkish man.
I placed the mug next to the jar so you could see how big it is!!