Eva Karyo

Soura

I’ve never felt like a stranger in Denmark. Well, maybe when we just came here from Iraq, after four years in Jordan. A month later I was about to start school in a small Zealand town. We were the only immigrants. There I could see that I was different. But otherwise no, I don’t feel like a stranger. Denmark is my home country, and has been so for 20 years.

We are Assyrians and thus Christians in a Catholic direction. We are one of the very first people to choose Christianity, so our religion goes a long way back. Every Christmas, the whole family meet up at my grandmothers in Norway, to celebrate Christmas according to our traditions. Then we are up to 30 people from many countries, and it is fantastic. In Grandma’s home, there are plenty of pictures of Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

I have a Danish boyfriend, and I am a Danish citizen, and I have studied marketing in Denmark and the US. My life is here in Denmark, but the culture of my home country also means a lot to me. Once we have children, they must learn Arabic though. They must be proud of the ancient culture that is part of their background. At the same time, I break the mould. I live with my boyfriend, even though we are not married. It is not normal in our culture. No one else in my family has taken that step. For me it is natural, because that’s what you do in Denmark, after all. Still, I had a good talk with my mom and grandma about it, before we moved in together. I didn’t just do it, and I don’t want children out of wedlock. That would be too big a step to take, in relation to my culture. We need to get married first.

29 / female / in a cohabitant relationship / no children / staff consultant / from Iraq / came to Denmark in 1999 / residence permit in 2002