There are a lot of things that are different about Kurdistan, but probably one of the hardest things for me to get used to, especially after having lived in the Czech Republic, is the severe lack of pork. And by "severe lack of" I really mean "complete non-existence of."
Pork is "haraam" which basically means it's forbidden by Islamic law to eat pork.
In Prague, you couldn't walk two feet without smelling some kind of pork. My niece and I spent all summer eating sausages and ham with cheese and bread for picnics in various cities across Europe. I may not have always eaten pork chops but dammit I miss bacon.
Luckily, I have friends who often leave on R&R. That and I had a visitor from the Czech Republic over Christmas. So I've stocked up a little bit on pork.
In my freezer you'll find Spanish chorizo and three Czech klobasa. We've already eaten the other three klobasa, and two links of Macedonian sausage that some friends gave us for Christmas. We're also halfway through a chunk of ham I was given (which I loved making mini-frittatas out of). I also have a package of bacon on its way from another friend.
Point is, there have been a lot of things over my years of living abroad that are difficult again. Normally, they're things I can live without or that I don't find particularly difficult to have shipped over (like the gigantic bag of spices my friend, Flannery, just sent me!).
But pork, man, who was I kidding, I love that stuff. It's also a huge pain in the ass to get shipped over. Not impossible, but considering the mail system here is even less reliable than the one in Czech... oy vey.
The boyfriend and I are heading to Beirut in March for a long-weekend holiday that we have coming up. I'm told I can buy pork there. It's very likely I'm going to bring back half a suitcase full...
Don't take bacon for granted, people.