A few weekends ago, Nathalie and I spent some time with a few Chaldean Iraqi friends down in El Cajon, San Diego. Almost every Sunday over the summer months, literally thousands of Chaldean Iraqis get together in a few different parks in San Diego to celebrate their patron saints as they would in Iraq. Such gatherings also allow for families and young people to come together as a community in a new land. Young and old gather together, kebab’s are grilled, hookah is smoked, and traditional dancing is the highlight of these gatherings.
The more stories I hear about Iraqi refugees and what they have been through, the more my heart breaks for them. These refugees have been through so much in leaving Iraq and getting here. I am currently reading the book, “Waiting for an Ordinary Day” which is written by a Wall Street Journal reporter who lived in Iraq before and during the occupation. It chronicles the life of different Iraqis she has met, and gives a very personal picture of what has happened in Iraq during the last few years.
During my time with our Iraqi friends, I couldn’t help think about the difficulties and horrors they have seen and experienced. I also couldn’t be more surprised by how they are simply able to enjoy life: it is the simple things in life that they hold on to and enjoy. It was a beautiful (and fun) experience to share with them all.