[i] Today is March 2, 2018. I’m just at home at [name] in Bochum Riemke. Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to do an interview with you.

[r] You’re welcome.

[i] I want you to introduce yourself briefly. Who is [name]? Where do you come from? Just short.

My first name is [name]. My last name is [name]. I come from Mardin, Nusaybin. I am 18 years old and now live in Bochum.

[i] Exactly, I have already seen that you just turned eighteen years old? [name]  At the beginning of the year you turned eighteen. As a young man, how was your life at home? Can you tell us something about your childhood?

[r] My childhood … I was born in Nusaybin. Um. I was born in 1999. But the year 2000 is written on my passport. Um. Until I was six years old … If I mention the name of the district, is that a problem? I lived in the district of Kishla. Then I went to school. The name of my school was Misaki Milli. I was there until fifth grade. After finishing fifth grade, I changed schools and went to Oguzhan. I was there until the eighth grade. Then I went to secondary school. I finished ninth grade and just started tenth grade. After the first half of the year I went to school for a few months, then the curfew started.

[i] Curfew, can you explain what that was like?

[r] Prohibitions, that means curfew Um … in Kurdistan, which is also called Mesopotamia or the southeast. Um It’s an intimidation movement. Because they wanted to keep the people under control, but it didn’t work. They acted as they wanted.

The state of emergency and the curfew lasted a long time in your city, Nusaybin. Was it possible to go to school in this case? How did you live during the state of emergency?

We spent a lot of time at home. There were supposed to have been classes, but there were no more teachers. Because they were informed by text message. Some Kurdish teachers from Nusaybin and the surrounding area sometimes came to school. But the teachers from the other Turkish cities returned home. So basically nobody was in Nusaybin.

[i] How was your life there? Let’s put teachers aside. How did that affect your life or the life of your family?

[r] Personally, I wanted to go to school. Unfortunately, I had to drop out of school. Well.

[i] What about your family? How many siblings do you have? Can you tell me something about your family?

[r] We are five brothers. I am the oldest. After the curfew, my family was without a house. Now my family lives in my grandmother’s house. This is very unpleasant for all of us. I know that because it was also unpleasant for me.

[i] You were even younger than you left Kurdistan and your family, you had to leave, you were under eighteen.

[r] Exactly.

[i] You were still a child, what kind of difficulties did you encounter? How did you decide to leave your families there and why?

[r] I didn’t make that decision myself. If I could have made my own decision, I wouldn’t have left. But that was my family’s decision. I should go so as not to be arrested or killed. This decision was made by my family. But I came …

[i] What was the farewell like for you when the family made such a decision?

[r] They said I should go instead of being arrested. They said they would miss me.

[i] Living in exile or leaving the country, what does that mean for you? Was it easy or hard for you?

[r] In the beginning I didn’t understand. It was all easier because I was still a child. I wasn’t thinking. In the beginning it was easy. But then I went to Istanbul and was not allowed to go back to Nusaybin. From then on it became more difficult for me. Now I had understood. And after I had left Istanbul, everything became clear to me. And I was confronted with a completely new life. When I arrived in Istanbul, it was very difficult for me.

[i] In Istanbul, were you alone or did you have someone from the family with you?

[r] No, I wasn’t alone in Istanbul. I have uncles there. There were also some acquaintances there. I was with my uncle. Um I went to his house. Sometimes. It would not be appropriate to stay with you forever. I went to Zeytinburnu [Istanbul district], where my uncle has a car dealership. Sometimes I spent the night there with him. We sat together. Sometimes I was there, sometimes I stayed with my uncle at home. That’s how it was.

[i] Did you work in Istanbul? Or …

[r] No. I didn’t have a job. I never worked in Istanbul.

[i] Didn’t you want to stay in Istanbul?

[r] It doesn’t matter whether Istanbul or other Turkish cities. So … we say: Nusaybin and Istanbul are the same. Your identity is your identity For me it wasn’t Nusaybin. That’s why I wanted to go abroad. Outside Kurdistan. Namely … Until I came to Istanbul I never worked. I went to school. My father had a shop. Sometimes I helped my father after school. I worked in the shop.

[i] What kind of shop was it?

[r] It’s a hardware store. We say building materials, we say housewares. From a pair of pliers to … a door handle. That’s what we sold. The financial situation of my family was good. The escape motive goods not the money.

[i] Probably more for political reasons.

[r] Yes, politically, anyway. Not somehow economic, because of the family or because of money. It wasn’t nice that I came here.

[i] How did you get from Istanbul to Germany? Was it easy how you got here as a minor under eighteen? Were there any difficulties? You needed a power of attorney. How did you manage that?

[r] After I arrived in Istanbul, it wasn’t easy. I came to Istanbul and stayed there for about three months. After three months we had a tugboat, one that arranged that for the … To get me to Germany we had to find one. My uncle took care of it. Um. My arrival. It was easy to leave Istanbul. Because … I stayed there for about three to four months until I came here. I didn’t experience any problems. If others have experienced any …

[i] As I know you didn’t go alone. You came together with a tugboat.

[r] No, I came alone. Because I … I came together with a driver.

[i] But you’re not legal, with a visa and a Turkish passport …

[r] No, I hadn’t come alone.

[i] But tugboat organized everything for you, got it ready and then you came.

[r] Yes, I came in an illegal form.

[i] Because you were still a minor.

[r] Yes.

[i] When you came to Germany, which city came first? Where were you?

[r] When I came to Germany, I came directly to Bochum. Um

[i] Why did you come to Bochum?

[r] I have relatives here, my uncle and my aunt. In other cities I would actually have no one. Because I have family here. That’s why I came here.

[i] The first day you were here, in Bochum, what was it like for you? Bochum or Germany, what kind of picture did you have?

[r] When I was new here, it was night. I ate and slept. After the second day it was, as they say, really another world. The language was new to me. On the first day we went to a shop. The language was not Kurdish and also not Turkish. It was a completely different language. At the beginning I didn’t understand anything. People were strange in my eyes. And if I differences, then the differences are very big. The weather is also not nice.

[i] Can you explain the differences? What picture did you have before? What expectations did you have? What did you see? Can you explain it? The positive or negative sides?

[r] The good things are: Germany is really very beautiful. From the side of thinking and from all sides. You say where you grew up, it’s very beautiful for you there. That’s a difference for me. It was very cold there and it is very cold here. I can say that. The difference, the difference is great. I do not know how to say that.

[i] You are a young person who is still very young and who grew up in one place for eighteen years with his own culture and mother tongue. Your friends and your childhood And then you became eighteen in another country. What does friendship mean to you if you compare your homeland with here earlier? What can you say? When you arrived, did you encounter any difficulties? When you arrived in Germany, you were not yet of age.

[r] When I stepped on German soil, I was not eighteen yet.

My first difficulty was language, I couldn’t speak language I couldn’t talk to anybody. In the beginning it was very difficult for me. After that, friendships …

In Nusaybin, in the homeland itself, no matter where you go, everyone knows everyone. They greet each other and talk to each other, go for walks together and have a drink. They gather. I have rarely seen anything like it here. The people here are rather strange to each other. You don’t get to know each other so quickly. There are such differences when it comes to friendship. Also on the part of the school … Even if the language was Turkish, our teachers were rather Kurds. We could speak Kurdish there, even if it happened in secret. Here you have to speak German, regardless of where you come from, whether you are a Kurd or a Turk. Because … As I said, my first problem was the language.

[i] When you first arrived here, where did you live?

[r] When I first arrived here, I lived with my aunt. For about a month. Until my uncle … Um made me an appointment with the lawyer. Um I stayed with my aunt. That was the first place to live in Germany.

[i] Where did you go then?

[r] Then I applied for asylum. They took me to Bodenschwingplatz 1 in Bochum. I lived there for about two weeks. Two weeks later I moved.

[i] What was it like there, can you describe it a little? What was that place like?

[r] The place I lived in was a three-story building. Namely … Three people, three children lived in one room. In some of them there were four or only one single person. I lived with someone else. There were two of us. On the part of the dormitory … there was a garden. There were very nice corners where you could spend your free time. But …

[i] The place where you were at the beginning, with whom did you share a room? What nationality? What was your relationship like? There were three or two people in one room. I suppose you also ate and played together? You and others, did you play together outside? Can you tell us that?

[r] In the beginning I felt strange. I didn’t play with anyone. And communication was rather rare. The person who lived with me was from Guinea, from Africa. I couldn’t speak German yet and so could he himself. We could talk in English. Our games … If I call him an African, won’t that be wrong? They have completely different friendships, they go out together. I didn’t leave the house for about one or two weeks. My life wasn’t so good there because I was new there. It works. Maybe because I could not speak the language yet. That is why it could be.

[i] How did it affect you at first glance when you arrived and saw that you were in a home and the people who lived there were also children and minors without a family? From one country at a time. What did that mean for you?

[r] The meaning … I’ve never seen anything like it before. The meaning … I have understood that I am not alone here. Here are many like me alone, have also experienced something like this. It’s other than me, too, I thought so in the beginning.

[i] Where were you assigned from there?

[r] Afterwards … Um In our home there was a woman from Afrin [town in northern Syria]. Her name was Mona. She told me that I would be assigned to a new home. At first I thought maybe it was a bad place. I got used to it already. I asked about the new home, where it is. She told me it was at Lohring [street name in Bochum]. “When am I going?” “They’ll go next week.” Even before I left, I went there [Lohring] and looked around to get to know the place. But I couldn’t find the place. The next day, a woman and a young man came from the new camp to go to. The boy was German and the girl from Kosovo. They took me to the camp Globus to Lohring. Yes.

[i] How long were you in this camp and how was it for you? Can you tell us a bit about life in the new home?

[r] I stayed in this camp for about six months, until October. Life in the camp was nice because it wasn’t like the other camp in terms of possibilities. Like the program, well, interests, how shall I say. They were more interested in the children there. I never got bored there. Because those who were employed there were also foreigners themselves. They came from other countries. Well … The relationship with the children was very good. They loved me and I loved them too. This camp was very nice in comparison to the other one. It was better.

[i] Can you say something about life there? You said that there were many programs for children? How did you spend your day at camp?

[r] Discipline prevailed in the home. The discipline was, first, you have to go to sleep at 10:30 pm. Um … we slept at 22:30 o’clock. At 6:00 o’clock we woke up. I stayed at home for about a week. Then they asked me if I wanted to go to the German course. “Yes, I want to go.” In the city of Essen they found a German course for me. I went to the German course for about three weeks. My everyday life went like this: Five times a week I went to the city of Essen, until 12 o’clock, 14 o’clock at noon I returned. I occasionally went out with friends. I went to my aunt or to friends. Was at home in between. That’s how it went.

[i] The young people in the home came from which country?

[r] There were mostly black people, Africans. When I came there were also many Kurds. Um, there were five Kurds. There were two Yazidi from Shingal and two from Rojava and one from Iraq, from the city of Suleimaniye. Together with me there were six people. And there were two or three Afghan boys. They all came from Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa.

[i] How were your relationships?

[r] Our relations were very good. There were no problems between the young people who lived there. Of course everyone is friends with their friends. We Kurds were among us. We occasionally went out together, ate together. It wasn’t just with us, the other kids were the same. Let’s say culture, the children among us got along well. I never saw any problems between them. They lived among themselves.

[i] You mentioned culture. What difference did you see between the cultures? Between your culture and people from other countries?

[r] Culture is first and foremost singing. The songs I’ve heard and the songs they’ve heard can be said to be very different. The food. The food we ate and the food they ate are different. As they say, … They can only eat rice. A day without travel is unimaginable. And we eat lightly, like at breakfast. Besides dinner, it was special. Their culture was otherwise a bit different … but when I go into the subject, it’s too long …

[i] No problem, you can explain it further.

[i] What is the difference for you and so on … between your culture and the culture of people from other countries? Was it a problem or an enrichment for you? How did you see it? You encountered a foreign culture for the first time.

[r] When I saw everything for the first time, I was actually a bit angry. Maybe because I had never seen it before. In the beginning it was harder for me. Then we understood that there was a difference between us.

[i] You told me about the food, how did you cook? Did you cook yourselves or was it prepared for you?

[r] No, there were two cooks in our home. There were two women from Poland. They cooked for us. The food was ready every day at 1 pm. Um There were no problems with the food. If you didn’t like the food, you could tell the staff. They are also called carers. I told them that I would cook something else for myself. They would open the door for you and ask you what you want to eat. If you don’t like the food, you take the food you like. So you could get another meal. Well, because there was a list. There was a certain program. There was one particular meal for Africans, another for Afghan children, there was some for … Kurdish people, for Kurdish children. Sometimes there were some meals we couldn’t eat. Then we made ourselves something else, that was no problem.

[i] You said your relatives, your aunt, your uncle live here in Bochum.

[r] Yes.

[i] What is the relationship between you? What was that like? Did you visit them or did they visit you? Do they have children? Can you tell us anything?

[r] My aunt and uncle live here. My aunt is quite old. You can call her old. My uncle is also here and he has children. If I’m not mistaken, he has five children. My aunt has children, too. We visited each other without any difficulties. We still have contact with each other, there was no separation.

[i] All right … Your family, your mother and your brothers and sisters, your father, how is your relationship with you? You live in a foreign country. Now you can understand it better. How was it for you, the time without family?

[r] That’s right, I’m far away from the family. In the beginning [the first three months] I had no way to contact the family. After getting to know my environment better, I was able to talk to my family over the internet and telephone. Sometimes we could see each other via video telephony. We talked weekly, every ten days.

[i] Your family is probably wondering what your new home is like. What do you answer?

[r] The answer I give them … To tell you the truth, I tell them that this place is not beautiful. Here it is not as beautiful for me as in my country, I tell them. I say this place is not beautiful, but the people are very good. As far as my social life is concerned, I have no difficulties. Maybe because I still feel like a stranger, this place doesn’t seem beautiful to me. I answer when they have asked me. In the beginning I answered like this. Now, when I talk to you now, I say that it is beautiful here, because now I know the people and the city better. As soon as you have settled in here, everything seems better.

[i] Do you already have contacts to Germans? As far as I know, most Germans are very helpful. They help people, especially young people, who have come here without a family. Do you have people here who help you or with whom you have contact?

[r] I only have contact with the staff in the home. There were Germans in my camp with whom I had contact. They worked there. I still see them. Occasionally I visit them. Otherwise I have no German friends in normal life. My friends were born here, but they are not German. I can say that they are also foreigners.

[i] How are your contacts?

[r] I have good contact. For example, there is a young man from Italy who was born here. Occasionally we go out together. We are in the same class. We go to the same school.

[i] Which school do you go to?

[r] The school I attend is called Alice Salomon Vocational College. I attend the 11th grade. This is an education class. The current school is my first school. From the beginning I go to this school. I have already attended another class at the same school. The 9th grade to get the degree. After I finished this class, I went to the 11th class. Namely because I started a job with the education. At the moment I am attending the 11th grade. And I have good contacts to my friends.

[i] What would you like to do in the future? What do you want to study?

[r] I’m currently training as a cook, I’m cooking. I would like to continue. As soon as I finish my vocational training, I want to improve my language skills. As soon as I have a good command of the language, I would like to study at university. I would like to continue. That’s how it is at the moment.

[i] What subject would you like to study?

[r] How?

[i] Which subject would you like to study? I would like to study something in gastronomy. System gastronomy. Good.

[i] You say that you have better contact with foreign young people who were born here. Is it easier for you to make contact with foreign young people? Or are there no Germans in your school? Why is it so difficult for you to make contact? Is the language an obstacle or are there other problems?

[r] Even if it is still poor, I have already learned the language at least a little. The language problem is already fixed, as they say. Foreign children who were born here are considered Germans on their identity cards. But they originally come from other countries. How do people already know that they are from somewhere else? I think that’s why I have good contact with them. There are very few Germans in my school. Not many. I visit them twice a week, every Thursday and Friday. I don’t see any Germans there, I only see foreigners. 80% of the pupils have a migration background, perhaps because of that.

[i] You go to school twice a week. What else do you do three days a week? Why do you only have education two days a week? You attend school two days a week and have three days of practice, don’t you ?

[r] What I do now, I go to school twice a week. And four days I go to work. I have one day off. Otherwise I go back to work four days a week. My vocational training doesn’t just take place at school. There are different … they change. Some only learn at school, some learn at school and go to work. It’s the same with me, too. According to the plan I received from the school, I go to school every Thursday and Friday. I have to work the other days. I have to work 35 to 40 hours a week, practical work.

[i] Where do you work here?

[r] I work at the Bochum-Extrablatt in Kortumstraße. This is my third month. I am finished after the fourth month. And where I work, it’s good.

[i] Do you work in the kitchen in the extra or do you work as a waiter?

[r] No, because it’s vocational training, I have to do it for three years. The first year I work in the kitchen. Next year I’ll work at the counter. And the third year I will work as a waiter.

[i] Well, I asked the relationships, I know that the extra is a place for young students. It is easier to establish contact with young people. It’s good to improve the language, so I ask. I come to your memories that you experienced here in Germany, what do you think? Are you saying that I came here fortunately? Or you get bored here and you still say that I would not have left my country …

[r] To say it now, Germany is beautiful, as I said before. You can express your opinion freely, you are free. Which is not good? If you want to go somewhere, if you want to do something, you always have to make an appointment. That’s why it’s not so good.

[i] You said that the bureaucracy is a little exaggerated [name] .

[r] The bureaucracy is a bit exaggerated.

[i] Can you say what kind of bureaucratic difficulties you’ve encountered? Why isn’t that good for you with an appointment? If you have an appointment, you don’t have to wait.

[r] It’s true, but if you’re in Nusaybin or another city in the country, in Mesopotamia, if you’re sick, you can go to the doctor immediately (without an appointment). After five to ten minutes of waiting, you’ll come in. But here you have to inform them by phone that you want to go to the doctor. For example, one day I couldn’t go to school. I was sick. I had to take an apology for school with me because I was sick. I went straight to the doctor without calling. “Why did they come? I said that I was sick. “Why didn’t they call and make an appointment?” I said that I had no time and that my battery was empty. That’s what I said. They said that I had to wait a bit until I got a paper [certificate], I had to wait two hours for the doctor. That wasn’t nice. But I haven’t had any other trouble in Germany so far.

Sometimes social life is a bit harder for me. Or even small things, otherwise it’s ok.

[i] Like what?

[r  Like traffic lights. Like traffic lights, for example. Man … There was no car coming from this side and from the other side. But if you go at the red light and someone sees that, you get a penalty. As the Germans say, so you get a fine. No car came from this side and this side, why do I have to wait?

[i] We can simply say that foreigners are very impatient towards the Germans, that’s why …

[r] In any case. We are impatient. That doesn’t just apply to me. For my family and for many Kurds too. Very few of them are patient, they are also a bit hot-blooded. That’s why such simple things are … I often crossed a red traffic light.

[i] There must be a system, otherwise it becomes more difficult when cars go red and pedestrians go yellow. There are also children. If cars don’t stop when red, children have a problem. It is an alien but good system.

[r] Such a system is already set. One can say that they have a complete set of rules. Maybe, how can I say it, it is strange for us. Well.

[i] The house you live in looks beautiful. How did you find it? Since when do you live here?

[r] I didn’t rent the house I live in myself. I shouldn’t rent it myself either, because I don’t have a residence permit. The house I live in belongs to the Youth Welfare Office. Before I came of age to learn to take care of myself, you found this house for me three months before. Until I turn eighteen, I stay here. After that I either find a new apartment or have to go to camp. It is still unclear whether I will go to the home or rent something new. I live here to learn to live alone. I have been living in this house for five months. I would normally have to leave the house a month before my 18th birthday. Right now, because I didn’t have my court date yet and I didn’t have a residence permit yet. I still live in this house because I have already started my education. They told me: “Because you’re in training, you’ll have to leave soon, because it’s not for you alone.” New young people are constantly coming into this house. So the decision will be made because this house is currently rented by the Youth Welfare Office. Next month I will move out. I have found an apartment for myself in the centre. The house is beautiful, has two rooms, a bedroom and a living room. The house is private and more beautiful.

[i] How is the new house?

[r] I am moving into a dorm, the new house is for students only. Such a, a one-room apartment. At the Imbuschplatz. I haven’t seen it yet, but the person who found it said the apartment was good and within budget. I will move there next month.

[i] I guess this is the first time you’ve lived alone in a house!

[r] Right.

[i] Before that, you lived with the family. In Germany you live in the home of the Youth Welfare Office. For five months you have been living alone in a house. If you want to compare your life with your family, in a youth institution or living alone? How would you prefer it? What is good? And what is bad?

[r] If I am honest, if you live with your family, you will never notice how time passes. Time flows like water. It was beautiful. “When do you want to eat? You could have it immediately. The house is nicer than home. In the house you live freely, in your own house you can live as you like. You can watch television. You can listen to whatever music you want. Nobody says anything. The only problem is that there is no one who can cook at home. Sometimes you feel lonely. You are in a big house and alone. That’s not good. Otherwise the life with the family is always better than here.

[i] Which television station are you watching?

[r] I don’t watch television that much. I never watch. From time to time I watch RTC … a television station. It’s called RTC.

[i] What’s the name? What is the program called?

[r] RTC Er-Tee-Ce, this is a TV channel. German. There is a series called Game of Thrones. Otherwise I don’t watch television. Or very rarely, when I go to my uncle, I sometimes watch Kurdish TV channels. For news. Otherwise I have no interest in television.

[i] How do you spend your free time?

[r] My free time … Sometimes I listen to music. I do sports, I spend my time doing sports. Sometimes I spend time with my friends. We go for walks. We go somewhere and sit together. I don’t know.

[i] What kind of sport do you do?

[r] I’m kickboxing right now. I’ve been doing this for five months. Sport is good for the head, it drives away thoughts. You forget loneliness, in the beginning. It’s beautiful.

[i] Do you go alone or do you have friends?

[r] Now I occasionally go with a boy from Afghanistan. Sometimes I go alone … we talk on the phone. Sometimes I wait for him, sometimes he waits for me, then we go together.

[i] Do you know that there are many Kurds in Bochum? Do you have contact with them? Most of them are young.

[r] I have a Kurdish friend. He is like a brother to me. He also comes from Mardin-Nusaybin. He is also new here. I came before him. That was about seven to eight months ago. Otherwise there are two Jezidis from Schingal. And two to three from Kameshli Rojava. Otherwise I have no other Kurdish friend.

[i] What is your contact with the Kurds who have been here for a long time and were born here?

[r] My contact to them … I have another one in my class, the hot Dewran. We also have good contact. We don’t go out together, but occasionally we meet at school. Otherwise I also have cousins here. They are also like Germans. I have no relationship with them. Sometimes we greet each other, nothing more.

[i] You have a wristwatch that is very valuable to you. You brought it from home. Can you tell us something about the watch? What does it mean to you?

[r] My uncle and my mother brought me this watch. They went to Idil. Shall I point them up? It was a gift for me. When I got this gift, I was very happy, so I brought them here. To this day I wear them. For me it is a good memory. At least when I look at her, I remember her [the family]. It’s a beautiful thing, I like that.

[r] But I’m sure you don’t wear it too often.

[r] No, I hide it. Only if I go somewhere. Otherwise I rarely wear them. I still have one or two that I wear more often. I rarely wear them and leave them at home.

[i] Yes, I say them. That’s why it was interesting for me to ask.

[r] The other clock there is also a gift from home. My uncle brought it with him. He was at home. But I don’t meet them like this one either. I rarely wear them on my wrist.

[i] What are you doing to improve the German language?

[r] When I came new, I attended a German course to learn the language. I occasionally read books. I write. By the way … But after a while it became clear to me that it’s nothing you can solve with books and tests alone. It’s better to have a mutual dialogue. If man is a Kurd or a Turk, with reference to language. So if you speak the same mother tongue and then have to speak German with others. It is easier than reading a book or taking a test. At the moment I have put them aside and speak more with people. And I learn faster when I talk to friends. By the way, because I am currently studying and going to school, I don’t have time for the course. I only talk to people at the moment.

[i] Do you already know that there is a youth club in every part of town? The hot youth centers. Do you have contact? Do you go there? There are more young people, foreign and German youths. It’s a great opportunity to improve the language.

[r] No, I don’t know such a place. Occasionally I go to my old home. One or two [friends] I like. Sometimes I go to them. We talk. Otherwise, I didn’t go anywhere. I’ve never seen this place [Youth Center] before.

If I’m not mistaken, this house here is five stories high.

[r] Um, yes.

[i] There are five floors here. Are there young people like you and families? How is contact with your neighbours?

[r] The neighbourhood… In fact, there is no neighbourhood here. Like I said, we talked a little bit about it just before the shoot … A month ago I came home from work. It was about 22 o’clock in the night. I climbed the stairs. A German lives on the first floor. A woman about fifty to fifty-five years old. She lives with her husband. I heard her, she called me: “Hello, hello!” “To whom are you going? I said that I live here. And as you sit here, while her face changed a little, I said that I live here after all. She asked me, since when? “For three months,” I said. She stopped and asked me if I was joking. I said, no. “What, you’ve been living here for three months and nobody has seen you? I said that I’ve been living here for three months, nobody’s seen me and I’ve seen nobody. I only saw her. Nobody knows if I am here. I also don’t know who still lives here. Opposite lives a young man, if I am not mistaken he is an Arab. He knows that I live here. Otherwise I have no neighbourly relations.

[i] Neighbourhood in comparison. The present and old neighbourhood, before and now.

[r] As I mentioned, the neighbourhood here is very superficial. In the home country the cohesion of the neighbourhood is stronger. The children played together outside. I don’t know. The men gathered. The women met among themselves. I don’t know if everyone understands Mevlid. Perhaps they do not understand. When you invite them to Mevlid, all the neighbours come together and eat together. They cooked together, eat together and clean up together. The neighbourhood, as I said, the children in our district went to school together and came together from school. We played football together. That means the neighbourhood there and here … There is no neighbourhood here. There are big differences. The neighbourhood is not in people’s hands, now if you cook something or if you make tea or coffee and invite your neighbour, he won’t come.

[i] If a few people come together on Saturday or Sunday to build a relationship, what are the obstacles?

[r] That’s a real thing, but when people look around, the whole world isn’t beautiful. Now when I have a meal or coffee and I go to him, you think, why did he come? That’s the truth. He thinks, why did he come here? Surely that is a good idea. I have done it so far and they have not done it either. That is true and it is not a lie. But the neighbourhood is in the hands of the people …

[i] You’ve been in Bochum for about a year now.

[r] Yes. What can you say to Bochum? Or do you know other cities besides Bochum?

[r] I was once in Hamburg, once in Wedemark and once in Cologne. Otherwise I was also in Aachen. Among the cities Hamburg and Wedemark: No [?]That’s what I mean about the weather. The weather is very cold. Between these three cities where I was there are Aachen and Cologne, they are both beautiful. The city of Aachen is more beautiful than Bochum. I visited the city centre. Aachen was more beautiful than here. Among the other cities Bochum is more beautiful.

[i] What do you like in Bochum? Or which part of the city is very beautiful for you?

[r] There is the Hustadt in Bochum. Maybe for my family. There are Kurds and many other people from our community. When you go there, you feel like you’re at home. How am I supposed to say, a scent comes up to your nose. Sometimes, when I go there, I see children playing and screaming, just like in my home country. I see a resemblance. Sometimes I see the same thing. That’s why I like Hustadt. In Hustadt there are the people you know best and most of them come from the same place as you.

[i] How do you see the contact with Germans there? What does that mean for society?

[r] I have rarely observed the relationship with Germans there. That only means foreigners, the Turks, Kurds and other countries who live there, they talk to each other. But I haven’t yet seen a relationship between Germans and foreigners.

[i] Anyway, there are hardly any Germans in Husadt. [name]

[r] That’s funny.

[i] I don’t know if it’s a good thing or not?  What is it like to be with people who speak the same language and have the same culture? Is that positive or negative for you?

[r] There are good and bad sides.

[r] Good …, Özlemek in Kurdish?

[i] Missing.

[r] Yes, if you miss someone. Or if you miss your home and go there. As I said before, then you remember your home. From this side it’s beautiful. For the people who came before, I say. They have lived here for ten, twenty years. But for a newcomer like me … But the bad side is, if you go there, you speak your mother tongue with them. You make no progress. That’s it. You can’t improve your language. The others improve and you will be left behind. Um. This is the case

[i] What do you mean by culture? Culture, what is culture like?

[r] My culture or German culture.

[i] Your culture with the Germans, yours alone. How was it before? And what is it like now? You mentioned music. You mentioned music, that you went to your uncle to listen to music. You went to your uncle to watch Kurdish television. The culture is not only that!

[r] The culture exists. When I hear my music, there is a difference. So to name another difference, what should I say, holidays … Um. For example Christmas holidays. So with those … umm … the birthday of Jesus is celebrated. Um.

[r] What do you say?

[i] Celebrate.

[r] Celebrate.

We have a feast in March. We call it Newroz, on March 21st. For example, they have a very different story. That’s different. In our story, when we say, what do we say? The leader Öcalan. We celebrate the day Öcalan was delivered to Turkey and his birthday differently. We celebrate it, for example: those who once fought for Germany, they remember. Among these cultures there are … only the name is different. The personalities vary. Um. Otherwise … What should I say? But there are churches here in our country, yes ok, in Mardin there are also churches. The Christians and the Assyrians have a place. If you go elsewhere, you hardly see churches, but mosques. I haven’t seen a mosque here yet. Religion also plays a role among people. There is a mixed people there. For example, among the Kurds there are Muslims and Christians, Assyrians, Circassians and Yazidi or Arameans. Here it is culture or religion, I have confused that. But there is a difference when we talk about clothing. We Kurds have a scarf and shapik [traditional Kurdish clothing]. There are suits here.

[i] You mentioned Newroz, can you say something about Newroz? What is Newroz? How is it celebrated?

[r] Newroz, um, the story is, it changes from person to person.

[i] In your opinion.

[r] In my opinion … Once upon a time there was, um, a king. There was a ruler. He grew a snake from each shoulder. Two snakes grew. These snakes fed daily on the blood of a young man. If not, they would kill the king. So they kidnapped a boy daily from the people and sacrificed him to the snakes. Um. They sacrificed a boy of the people. Like a meal. Later someone came, he was called Schmidt Kawa. He did iron work. The blacksmith Kawa learned that it was his son’s turn next. The blacksmith Kawa prepared his sword and said to the people, if I kill the king Dehak umm … I will kindle a great fire. Then blacksmith Kawa went to him and, I’ll make it short, he killed the king and then he kindled a big fire. These fires are called the Newroz fire. And on March 21st we celebrate Newroz.

[i] About a year ago you were in Germany. Where do you see yourself in twenty years? How do you want to live? What plans do you have for the future?

[r] How can I say? Just let it go on … I wish I could be with my family in twenty years. But I want to spend my youth here. I want to live here for the next twenty years. But I would like to be able to visit my family in the next twenty years. So I want to finish my school, learn a profession. Um. Well, if someone would help me, if I could do it, it would be good for me.

[i] Should your children grow up here later or in your country of birth?

[r] It’s still too early for that, but what can I say? When I have children, I do everything I can to make sure they don’t experience what I experienced. I don’t know yet, but if I should have children, I want them to go to school here and live here. They should grow up with two cultures and speak both languages.

[i] You have lived with many strangers. You were first in a camp for two months, then you lived elsewhere for five months. Are there friendships and contacts? Do these people come to you? Do you go to them?

[r] We see each other, but not all children. I don’t see any children I knew in the first home. I sometimes see them in the city. They say hello. The second home was the globe. There are two or three friends I’m talking to right now. From time to time they come to me. Or I visit them. There is a friend from Schingal and one from Afghanistan, who lives next door, who was also in the old camp. We both go to sports together. So there are four, five such friends.

[i] Do you have contacts to your childhood friends?

[r] My childhood friends, what can I say? I couldn’t find any friends or the friends couldn’t find me. I had only a few friends. My childhood friend is my uncle’s son. We are the same age and he grew up with my brother. I have his phone number, occasionally we talk on the phone.

[i] Where does he live?

[r] He currently lives in Idil. And I have a cousin in Istanbul. These two are my childhood friends, cousins.

[i] Are you asking yourself now whether it’s nice here or not?

[r] My cousin says, “I will come to you.” And my cousin tells me to come to them. They ask me what it’s like, I say this is a strange place and you don’t know the language either. They don’t know what that feels like because they’ve never been here. When we talk to each other, we talk about our childhood, that’s nice.

[i] When you came to the city of Bochum in Germany, you didn’t speak German at the time. And you didn’t leave the house for three days. Everything was strange, language, culture and people, everything was foreign. Now you’ve been here for over a year. If you compare then with today. You can also speak a little German now. What do you say about the first day in Bochum?

[r] When I arrived, I couldn’t speak any German, just a little English, so we communicated in English. When we meet with Germans, some Germans can’t communicate with others. Imagine you can only say hello and goodbye in the shop. I remember paying a product for two euros with a twenty-euro bill just because I couldn’t speak the language. It was difficult then. Learning the language made a lot of things easier

[i] Do you think life is easier if you know the language

[r]  If you can speak the language and follow the rules, you can enjoy life here, get support and be free. That’s a beautiful thing. If you want to go to school, you have many possibilities. It is a good thing. There are no difficulties here if you know the language.

[i] Right.

[i] Thank you …

[r] You’re welcome.

[i] … for the open conversation and the interview. It took about an hour and a half. This interview was a bit difficult, it was not easy, certainly because you are still young.