Help Us Help the Christians in Iraq!

This is a different type of post than I usually write: a plea for help! As some of you already know, my husband and I both work at Mar Qardakh School, the first Catholic school to operate in Northern Iraq in decades. The school is in the process of obtaining international accreditation through the IB…

Paris, Rome, Turin, Home!

Wow – that was a whirlwind of a week! 27 students, a quick 8 hour tour of Istanbul, 2 days in Paris, 2 in Rome, 2 in Turin. Thanking God for a very successful trip – lots of laughs, lots of fun, lots of lessons learned, few tears and only 2 missing phones – one…

You Can’t “Fake” Fall

Autumn starts in just a few days, and it’s still averaging 95-100 F midday here in Iraq… considerably cooler than the midsummer average, but not exactly “fall” weather. Every time this month comes along, I feel a twinge of nostalgia for a real autumn. I can recreate some fall atmosphere in the house… apple cider,…

An Apt Reminder for the World…

I just finished embroidering this today, and thought it is a good message to share with the world on this day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria… God is love. He is not death, war or bombing. We don’t need more violence. As my parents always told me when I was growing up,…

The Perks of Living Overseas

Maybe the title would be more accurate if it said “perks of living in Northern Iraq”, but many of these things have been true of other countries we’ve lived in too (probably wouldn’t be the same in Europe, though). You can get a Snickers for 40 cents. You can find these lovely little strollers that…

Easter Fun and Festivities!

After a Lent of waiting, preparing, praying and sacrificing, the Mady family Easter season is off to a joyful start! My mother kindly offered to stay at our place with the sleeping kids so Eddy and I could go to the Easter vigil Mass.  We decided to go to the English Mass – there is…

Palm Sunday: “Koinonia” – Then and Now…

We began Holy Week with a procession the evening before Palm Sunday. Like in biblical times, the day here is seen as starting the evening beforehand. All important feast days, not just Christmas and New Years, have a vigil. While palms continue to be blessed before Masses on Palm Sunday, the main Palm Sunday procession…

Exploring Iraq: Shaklawa

We were all participating in a professional development workshop on my mom’s birthday last Monday, so we decided to celebrate it with a family trip, followed by a homemade mint-chocolate-chip ice cream cake today. Shaklawa is a small, rural city about an hour away from Erbil. It has one main street, made of stone. The…

Benedict XVI through our Camera Lens

Yes – he was that close… We were in the perfect spot, right along the rail, as Benedict XVI slowly rolled by in his pope mobile, lifting his hands in greeting to the people as he made his way to the center platform that had been set up and decorated in preparation for his coming.…

Exploring Iraq: Dukan

We spend most of our time either at home or at work (school), so we really enjoy having time once in a while to get out of the city and explore the country. Last weekend we took a day trip to a region called Dukan. We got in the car believing that Dukan was a…

Mar Qardakh Mini-Olympics

In honor of the real Olympics, we decided to have Mar Qardakh School mini-Olympics for a day of family fun during the school’s six-week summer program. Although living, working and going to school in Iraq is very different from being in the U.S., some things are common to human experience: kids are kids no matter…

Our First Family Trip: St. Hermizd Monastery

We were up at 7:45 in the morning, getting ready, changing two diapers, making two bottles, packing two crib/playpens into the trunk, and getting all of us into the car. We were on our way to an overnight faculty retreat with a one year old and a five-week old – bound to be an interesting…

Lebanese Traditions: Meghle

A sprinkle of dried coconut, raisins and crushed nuts (walnuts and almonds), and voila! The meghle is ready to be served. Meghle is a Lebanese form of rice pudding, made of boiled rice flour, sweetened with cane sugar and flavored with anise, cinnamon and caraway. This dessert carries with it a special meaning: honor for…

108 – Marina

108-Marina. Marina refers to the specific residential area we live in (so called after a popular restaurant located close by), within the broader 108 (Mia Wa Thmanyia) district of Ankawa, a region within the city of Erbil. While there are Christians and Churches in the broader area of Erbil, the majority of the Christians and…

Chocolate Creations

When my sister-in-law first told me that the Nativity Scene in the middle of the Beirut City Mall was made of chocolate, I imagined dark brown, drab, and somewhat featureless hunks of chocolate, molded into figurines loosely resembling Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and perhaps some of the other characters and animals present at the manger…

Charbel’s First Christmas

Ever since we first got engaged, Eddy and I began looking forward with delightful anticipation, to the first time we would celebrate Christmas together with our first son or daughter. Christmas this year, with our little Charbel, fulfilled and surpassed our expectations. It wasn’t quite as we had planned it… after a busy year and…

Fact or Fiction: The Garden of Eden

Having established in the previous “Fact or Fiction” post that Adam and Eve, whether or not they were so called in their lifetime, were the first two human beings created by God and are the common ancestors of all other people, let’s now take a look at Eden, the place where Adam and Eve were…

Mar Qardakh School

Mar Qardakh School, the private, Catholic day school where my husband – Eddy, and I both work opened its doors to its first students in September of this year, and held it’s official inauguration ceremony on November 11, 2011.   It currently has grades 1-4 operating. Next year, God-willing, grades 5-8 will be added to…

Mar Mattai

In addition to being the cradle of civilization, Iraq is home to one of the earliest native Christian communities, believed to have been started by the Apostle Thomas when he passed through the land during the first decades after the death of Jesus. We recently visited Mar Mattai, one of the most ancient, still-standing Christian…

Dust Storm!

In a span of 15 seconds, the horizon changes from clear blue to hazy hues of brown and gray, as billowy clouds of dust and sand descend upon the city. They look a little like rain clouds, but there’s no moisture – just swirling sand and dust. The roads clear, as everyone hurries inside to…

Iraq and the Bible

Although Iraq, as a modern country, did not begin until 1932, when it gained full independence from Britain, the people, culture and historical significance of the region date back to antiquity. This land, referred to at times as Babylon, Mesopotamia, or the Land of Shinar, is the region most often referred to in the Bible,…

The Erbil Citadel

The Erbil citadel, in the middle of the city where we now live, is the oldest known uninterrupted human settlement. It was continuously inhabited from the Neolithic time period, around 5000 BC, until 2007, when the occupants were moved out of the citadel and given modern homes in other areas of the city, so the citadel…