Khaton Mesto

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We are Yazidis, and it is a very old religion. As we fled from our village, close to Aleppo, Syria, I told my daughters that they should wrap themselves with a scarf, even if it is not something we do otherwise. That way we didn’t stand out from the crowd. Since then, it has pained us to hear what has happened to our fellow believers. And I’ve been thinking: “I’m so glad we got away”. Here in Denmark, I don’t feel like a stranger when I’m with colleagues, and we have a good time together. But when there are discussions about immigrant legislations and rules, you can feel alienated again.

My husband and I work, and our three children go to school. We are happy to be in Denmark, but socially, I think the Danes should distance themselves less from those they do not know. On the other hand, there are rights that do not exist where we come from. We really appreciate that.

It has not been easy all the time. I love to cook, but it was hard to get a job without an education. Then I started studying, and I have just finished my education. I trained as a gastronomist specializing in the Danish open-faced sandwiches, called ‘smørrebrød,’ and catering. I thought: “Smørrebrød is something really Danish. It is exciting and beautiful. ‘’ So I learned how to make them, and I was awarded a silver medal at the final exam, and in fact won the Danish Championship in open-faced sandwiches, at a competition in Herning.

Now I have a gold medal in smørrebrød. A few years ago, I had no idea this existed. I know my family is proud of me. But I am also proud of my husband and my children. Pride is a great feeling, and my family loves my open-faced sandwiches. My husband’s favorite is the one with roast beef.

43 / female / married / children / works in catering / Silkeborg / from Syria / came to Denmark in 2013 / residence permit same year