Khairi is a writer. He has written his own books and translated several from Arabic to Bulgarian and vice versa. He has worked at a television station in Brussels and now organizes public readings in Sofia.
“The question ‘where am I from?’ is hard for me to answer. I was born in Palestine and I grew up in Jordan, after which I came to Bulgaria to study engineering. So I am a Jordanian with a Bulgarian citizenship, born in Palestine, but in my passport it says I was born in Israel. That is why I am not sure how to answer that question between these four countries, maybe just that I am a citizen of this world.
I still feel connected to Jordan since that is the country where my parents still live. I am able to visit them every year. I decided to stay in Bulgaria because I feel like I belong here; it feels right. So when asking me why I live in Sofia, I think you should ask why Sofia lives in me. The thought that someone is ‘home’ in the country he is born in is correct to some extent, but when you grow up with a lot of crisis around you and witness unpleasant things, you can feel better at some other place then your country.
For me; I feel home where I feel free and good. When visiting a new place I look at two things. First, I have to learn the place from a geographical point; the streets, the cafés and from there I find my orientation. Second, I find the faces of people interesting, they say a lot about the country.
One summer we were in Varna near the beach, we rented an apartment and sat down with our landlord for a drink. At one point he asked me where I am from. I thought to myself ‘he noticed my accent’. After which the landlord asked where I am from again. I said ‘Desharav’, a small town in Palestine. After which he replied: “Oh that is in the Vratsa region (a city in North-West Bulgaria), right?”