When I was first approached about going to Iraq by my friend Nahren and my mum I was thinking “they surely must be out of their minds to think I would ever go to Iraq” but never the less my friend assured me that she went the previous year and had an absolute blast and is a great way to connect with the mother land, and our fellow Assyrian brothers and sisters who live there.
At the time I was in Sydney my life had become a bore doing the same old routine day in and day out, I simply lost my spark about life, so I thought to myself, “why not!” I needed to find something to be passionate about again, and so that’s when this great journey to Atra began.
I cannot explain in words what a wonderful time I had. I had met many of my cousins, seen the villages of where my parents grew up before they fled the country, which I must say was very emotional, made many new friends with Assyrians from all over the world, seen the ancient sites and artifacts from our history that go back to thousands of years, and actually met someone there who now has become my fiancé!
I am going back next year to not only relive those days again and to see everyone once more but I have actually decided to have my wedding there, as I cannot think of a better place to celebrate with the people I have come to love and cherish.
As an Assyrian who was born and raised in Australia I know how you can come think that going to see your homeland is a bit daunting, but trust me when I say it was the best decision I have ever made in my life, and I plan to go back to Atra each year & I would highly recommend to all for those looking for a life changing experience.
Hope to see you all there next year!
Natalie Shinko, 2012