Saturday 11 March
Of all the children in Dunkirk refugee camp, one of the biggest smiles, huggiest hugs and most infectious laughs belongs to a young boy who arrived in the UK a few months ago. He is now in the slow but sure process of becoming Glaswegian.
On Saturday, my two flatmates (who were both also volunteering in the refugee camp) and I met him for the first time on this side of the channel.
We heard his voice on the other side of his heavy wooden front door as his mother was fumbling with the keys. 'Nannie? Nannie?! Mamosta?!' Mamosta – teacher – because we had all been his teachers in the camp.
We were in their flat for several hours, catching up on where in the UK they had been since they left the camp, what Glasgow was like, and how our Kurdish was progressing. Our 10-year-old friend informed us that he was starting school soon. He doesn't know many people in Glasgow yet, but hopefully things will change once he has classmates.
He turns to me and my flatmates and tells us that he misses Dunkirk.
We don't know what to say.
He tells us that he misses there being so many children. He says that he misses everyone speaking Kurdish. He smiles and tells us that one day he wants to go back.
He asks us, don't we think that it is very difficult to understand people in Glasgow? They speak very quickly. He does an impression and then rolls over, laughing.
We are served tea with spoonfuls of sugar. Tchai lagal shakr. Tea with sugar. Our wee friend and his mother test us so we don't forget the few Kurdish words we know. His mother asks us if we want kawa. Kawa? Coffee! But we are pronouncing the 'k' terribly wrong and our friend spends the next 20 minutes demonstrating and correcting us. He hugs us when we pronounce it correctly and almost falls over from laughter when we fail.
We leave, hoping that it won't be long until we see each other next time. We leave, hoping that next time we see our friend he'll be a pupil again.
Tuesday 14 March
On Tuesday night, like many other nights, my partner goes downstairs for a cigarette. In contrast to all other nights so far, he comes back up to tell me and my other flatmate that the police are outside and that they are concerned for a neighbour's welfare.
A few minutes later, we hear people talking loudly in the hallway outside and we peek through to see the officers. They go into our closest neighbour's flat and we are wondering what has happened. Did something happen to our neighbour? Has he witnessed something? Has he done something?
We learn that the person of interest to the police is in a flat further down, and that they are trying to force the door open. We see the police officers collecting tools from their car, and a few moments later feel the building shake. It shakes, again and again, until we figure that the door must be down.
A van carrying a police dog parks right below our window. A man steps out and speaks to another officer. He opens the dog's cage, and they start wandering around the block of flats.
My partner, flatmate and I decide to make ourselves some tea. We feel that we are being too nosy, but if we are having tea, then there are several reasons for us to stay up. We sip our tea and speculate about what the police dog is searching for.
Eventually both the car and the police dog van leave, we finish our tea and decide it's time to get to sleep.
As I write this the following morning, two police officers knock on the door. I become very aware of what I am writing about, but they have only come to ask me if I have seen or heard anything. I tell them that I haven't, apart from hearing the police knock down the door. They take my name and leave.
Wednesday 15 March
A few days ago, I had the first stage of a job interview for a role involving working with children. Tomorrow I have the second stage of the interview. I will be interviewed by children.
I realise that I am much more nervous for this round. Although I am impressed that the children are entrusted to conduct the interview – I start wondering why this method of interviewing isn't more established for jobs involving working with children – I am also scared to be judged. At the children's centre in Dunkirk refugee camp, I wouldn't understand even if children were criticising me, because it would be in Kurdish. Not tomorrow.
Unsure of how to prepare, I ask a friend. She advised me to watch 'The Secret Life of Four-Year-Olds'. Another woman advises me to spend the night watching Nickelodeon.
I have done neither and hope that I will get to know the children well anyway, just like in the camp.