I’m writing this 17 stories up, with a view over miles and miles of Northern Iraq. It’s safe to say I am probably very far away from anyone who is likely to read this (language barriers are a huge part of my new life!). In fact, I am probably very far away from you. Why are you reading this and why am I writing it? Lets dive straight in, who am I and why am I here?
To say I never expected to be living here is putting it mildly. I most certainly never ever ever expected to be living here. I don't think I ever even thought I would visit- despite having dated a man who is half Iraqi for almost 3 years. I’ve not been here very long. I first set foot on Iraqi soil on the 24th of June 2018, and like women since time began, I’m here because of a man! My husband to be exact.
We got married on the 16th of June in what was without a doubt my dream wedding, in one of my all time favourite cities, London. That too some stunning venues, including a reception at a classic centuries old English ballroom (posts on that coming soon!). I know, I know. I was really, really lucky. You cant have all that much luck though! Which is why I ended up here, in this relatively tiny outpost, just 8 days later!
Here, Erbil (or Irbil, or Hawler in the native Kurdish language, or Arabella as it was known centuries ago) is a rather dusty city near the Iraqi-Turkish border, where no one speaks a language I understand, where the only soul I know is my husband, and where the temperate is currently hovering around 45 degrees. Hey, I had a honeymoon in Paris so its not all bad right?
If I sound bleak, its only because I want to set the scene first. In fairness, I’ve always prided myself (hopefully truthfully) on being a very positive person! It’s just that Northern Iraq is not my home. In any sense. Not yet anyway. The only (and I stress only) person I know here is my husband. I don't speak the language, either of them (Arabic, or the local Kurdish), and despite a load of Google searches, I know very little about the city I’m living in and its surroundings (information in English is thin on the ground here).
I don't know my way around more than a square mile around our apartment block, and I’d be hard pressed to come up with more than 3 or 4 cafes I could recommend to a friend. If I had a friend here. This is far cry to the life I lived in Dubai, a mere few months ago, where I was pretty much a walking Time Out and Google Maps rolled into on (probably annoying my friends no end!).
I’m not going to lie and say living here is easy, or ideal. Or that I wouldn't jump on the first one way out ticket and relocate pretty much anywhere else at the moment. Because I totally totally would. In a heartbeat. Or maybe not all that fast, because there are only, oh only seven flights or so out of here a day.
But despite whatever people say, you don't always have a choice. I guess part of this blog is about making the best of it when you find yourself not really having a choice. I can stay here in Kurdistan (a place, without any offence intended, almost no one I know has ever heard of) and be miserable, or I can stay here in Kurdistan and try and make the years we’re here count. I’m not yet sure how I’m going to do that, but if you stick around, we can find out together!
But this blog isn't all and only about moving, changing, being a new and expatriate wife (although it’s definitely about those things), its also about the stuff I’ve always loved and been obsessed with. Like dresses (floral or otherwise), pink anything, every new item that pops up on the Ted Baker website, coffee shops and beautiful beautiful hotels, making friendships work, dancing and moving your body (I used to choreograph a lot), reading a ton of fluffy books and throwing in the occasional thought provoking one.
It’s also about my growing love for healthy baking, my obsession with YouTube and the blogging world, my just total and complete overwhelming need to mull over the million and one things I want to talk to you about!
I know there are so, so many countless blogs out there. And I know because I read them! But the itch was getting too strong not to scratch. I love the blogging world, the vast community of girls and women out there who share so much and give so much to me, that I can’t stop myself any longer- Instagram I’m coming for you!
I hope you’ll stick around and I hope we can learn and laugh with each other, and that this space brings you a little of the happiness I know its going to bring me. Thank you for being here.