An Iraqi citizen, who wrote about his experience after he settled in Norway, said the following:
Two days ago, I felt like I belonged to Norway, and I wanted to stay there and watch my daughter grow on its snow and under its rain.
The feeling of belonging is strange to me. I have not felt that for so many years. I cannot even remember the last time I felt it, or what it tasted like—but this time, I tasted it, and it was sweet.
I invited our new neighbour and his wife for lunch, but he said his wife was away to see her father. I told him we still hope to spend time with him and entertain him while she was away. He arrived on time, and we prepared the food together on the fire in the yard. We then went inside to eat standing up because we had not yet moved in our furniture.
After an interesting conversation about the trees that surround the house and how squirrels climb to the top of the tree to sit and enjoy the sunlight, our neighbour said that the street is considered one of the oldest ones in the city, and the house we bought was one of the newer homes even though it was built in 1964.
My wife asked him about the oldest house in the street, and he suggested that we stand in its yard. There, he told us about the history of the houses and its residents, and he pointed at a white house and said that it was the oldest house, inhabited by a 100-year-old man who worked at the railway and retired at 60. He said the last time he saw him the old man told him that he had set a record in terms of retirement years because he had been retired for 40 years.
The house opposite of ours was owned by a fire fighter and his son, who is in the same profession, but they moved out, and the house was bought by a music professor and his wife.
My neighbour kept talking about the history of all the houses and who used to live in them, and who lives in them now, as well as how well he knew each family. He even expressed objection towards the attitude of one of the families that used to party until past midnight, causing noise, but after they had a baby, they stopped their wild parties.
The story about one street, and our neighbour’s sincere care made me feel like I belonged. It opened my eyes to the fact that when we belong, we really belong to small parts of the society and country we live in. We belong to good neighbours, a friend to talk to, a spouse that loves us, and a baby we give our lives to.
Yesterday, I was talking to a friend in Baghdad. She said not one of her friends remained in the city. They all emigrated. She said she had no neighbours to visit, even her kids had left her. The streets of the city are closed, and moving from one area to another is a risk.
She said this. Just like that.