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16 October 2014

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I Hate Cardiff

By Tahir Elsarrag
May 2005, Cardiff
A digital story from Capture Wales

No Place Like Home

Tahir Elsarrag documents his around-the-world search for a better place to live.

"I used to hate Cardiff, or at least I thought I did.

At 23 it was the only place I'd ever known and it had started to feel like a prison. So I decided to leave. I was convinced that life was something that only happened somewhere else, anywhere but here. So I went to look for it. I looked and looked, from one side of the world to the other.

One Christmas Eve I came back, reluctantly...

As the train approached the City I started to recognise the landscape and the memories started to flow... I remembered summer holidays, days at the beach, picnics on Caerphilly Mountain. I remembered my father taking me to the docks to see the ships. I laughed about the countless nights me and my friends would sit in the same pub and the lost weekends in Metros.

A wave of nostalgia overwhelmed me as I stepped off the train in tears. For the first time in my life Cardiff felt like home.

I realised then that it's only when you leave your hometown that you really get to know it. And the answers you're looking for can't always be found with a plane ticket. The ships are gone now and I'm too old for Metros. The City centre's like a zoo at the weekends and the weather still sucks, but 12 years later I'm still here.

I guess I didn't really hate it that much after all."

Tahir Elsarrag

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a pharmacist living in Grangetown. I've lived in most areas of Cardiff - on and off - for 34 years.

What's your story about?
It's about desperately wanting to leave your hometown when you're young, then, on returning realising the place isn't too bad after all. It describes my love/hate relationship with the city. I've realised with age that Cardiff is a huge part of my life and always will be, whether I like it or not!

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
I really enjoyed hearing other people's stories and doing something creative. The team who ran the workshop were great fun!

Streets of Cardiff

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