It took me some time to get used to having a driver. At first, it made me feel awkward. I’d hired someone to carry out a task I was perfectly capable to doing myself. I felt embarrassed and self-conscious, being chauffeured around town with my kids in a shiny expensive car, when there were local children on the streets selling toilet paper after school.

At some point of our second year in Damascus, though, I realized I’d come to truly appreciate both having a driver, and the driver himself.

Hamed slowly became an important person in our lives, in his own way.

I was pregnant for the third time, with two kids under three. Damascus was a vast city, where getting hold of cash could mean visiting several ATMs and possibly the bank, where filling petrol likely involved long queues, where traffic was insane (or fun, depending on who you ask) and where parking could be a challenge. I was tired. So, so tired. And car sick. Hamed took it all in his stride. He effortlessly drove us around while allowing me to practice my wobbly Arabic, entertaining the children, opening paths to hidden treasures in Damascus and acting almost like a father figure to my constantly exhausted and nauseated self. Slowly, taking over my most time-consuming tasks, he allowed me to keep my sanity through the pregnancy, and I loved him for it.

This text was written as part of a series at Ute’s International Lounge. Go on, head over there to read the rest!

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