With Love, From Iraq

Excerpt from With Love, From Iraq: A True Story of Hope, Perseverance, and Becoming Canadian

Maysoon Has the Best Day of Her Life (Chapter 10)

One day, in late summer, Wajid and Maysoon made a plan to attend the carnival that had, temporarily, sprung up in Maysoon's neighbourhood. Following cultural expectations, they arranged for their siblings to act as chaperones. Maysoon planned to leave the house on Sunday morning, with her younger brother, saying that they were going to church. Waiting until Sunday was harder than either Maysoon or Wajid could have imagined. 

That morning, instead of going to church, Maysoon and her brother set out to meet Wajid and his sisters. From a distance, Maysoon could see Wajid. Everything around him seemed blurred. She walked toward him, trying to appear calm, but feeling completely imbalanced. Her heartbeat felt uneven; she thought she might faint.

Making a Home in Istanbul (Chapter 28)

While they were still in the tiny hotel room, Wajid sprayed their new space for bugs and gave it time to air. The hallway leading to their room had a doorway onto the street, as well as one to the backyard. The door to the street didn't lock and was rarely closed. Passersby had continually tossed litter into the dark passageway. Maysoon carried thirteen large bags of garbage from the hall and stairs before they could begin cleaning. Rats and scorpions were common visitors. One day, Maysoon saw a large cat. She was horrified to discover, upon closer investigation, that it was an enormous rat. After that, she barely noticed the smaller things like mice and centipedes. Maysoon and Wajid worked diligently to rid their room of all these disease-carrying creatures. Wajid painted over the mouldy walls, but within hours the white began to darken in places. He knew it would be an ongoing battle to keep the mould at bay.