In November 2006 I made a day trip to Aachen in Germany. The city is beautiful and quiet but I was not impressed like when I was in Cologne and Düsseldorf. The city has a peculiar geographic location. It shares borders with both Belgium and the Netherlands. One of the things I remember from Aachen was the sign of an Iranian restaurant: Restaurant Omar Khayyam. But I didn’t eat there.
In the Altstadt, the oldest part of the city, I had lunch at a Döner Kebab fast-food. First I spoke to the waiter in German but while I was eating kebab and drinking Kölsch beer, I heard him talking in Arabic with his colleague. I asked him in Arabic:
- Where do you come from ?
- I am from Kurdistan, Iraq. And what about you ?
- I came from The Hague.
- But how come you speak fluently German ?
- I had lived in Germany for two years.
- So you are from the Netherlands ?
- No. I just moved from Montreal to The Hague and I will live there for 4 months. Maybe more.
- So you are Canadian ?
- Of course, I am.
- But you speak Arabic !
- I wasn’t born in Canada. Actually I come from Tunisia.
- So how is life in Canada ? Is it easy to become legal resident there ?
- Nothing is easy, my friend. Why are you asking ?
- I’m dreaming of a better life.
- Das Paradies liegt immer auf der anderen Seite ! ( Heaven is always on the other side )