I haven’t posted on my blog for the whole last month. I visited my home country, Iran, with my Iranian husband who was visiting the motherland for the first time after 20 years since his departure with his family. I don’t know what I thought about our plans that I left some free time for myself to write. The first couple of days I felt bad as I wanted to keep the new/old habit I have developed through the years. But after some time I felt amazing about not writing, not documenting and not even reflecting. I was there with my whole body and mind present to connect to my past, my history and people. Iran is a country of randomness, a country of sudden ,sometimes amazing and sometimes bitter, connections, and a country of little talks. Iran is a country full of untold stories told not by words but by actions and it is really hard to capture and to document all we witnessed so we decided simply to watch and to listen and to be.
As Iranians our sensitivity was much more that any other trip to any other part of the world. As much as we loved the way we Iranians help each other even when asking a simple address, we hated watching the growth of the gap between the poor and the rich in Tehran, and we hated to watch little kids begging or working hard at the age of 5! So I can confirm that it was an emotional trip and if I may so a vulnerable one.
Now that we are on the plane in Istanbul waiting to take off, I can resume our trip in one word: Connection. I became obsessed with the essence of connection before our trip. Working in an environment I absolutely disliked proved me how disconnected I was from my true self and how my real life was different from my career, therefore, the connection to oneself and the connection between one’s life and work became two types of connections that I familiarized myself with in the recent months. But there was another kind of connection that caught my attention;the connection between the cultures. As an immigrant I have realized the importance of knowing ones own culture to be able to deliver the authenticity in the character and knowing other cultures to be able to connect to the world around us. Travelling to Iran helped me to connect to all the three groups that I have categorized before our departure.
Both my husband and I connected to our history and our background in the best way possible. Besides visiting different cities in Iran and walking and wandering for hours in the streets of Tehran, the most exciting part of our trip was visiting our families, especially the older ones. We listened to the stories of our great aunts and uncles and we laughed, we observed and we learned. We also connected to our people in a taxi or in a store when buying little souvenirs for ourselves and our families. We didn’t buy gifts and we didn’t just take a simple ride to reach somewhere in the town; We have bought experience, the experience of talking and connecting to the local vendors while bargaining for the price and getting amazing memorable gifts from them or listening to the taxi drivers . We listened to their complains about their situations in Iran besides expressing their love for our country and we watched their enthusiasm to hear our stories from the other part of the world.
Now we are back to our routines in the lovely Canada and we appreciate our life here while missing the kind people of our motherland. We miss the romance of the beautiful sun with the architecture of the old desert city like Yazd and the sound of the river during the sunset up north in the mountains. We are back with lots of amazing memories and new visions. We know now why we have empathy, why we care for others and why we are curious and passionate. They are not simply strengths or something we have developed; these characters have roots in our beautiful and rich culture and cannot be ignored. We are more than happy to embrace who we are and to build our new norms on the foundations we have inherited from our birthplace.
Lonely Planet warns travellers for one thing that they would be quite surprised of while being in Iran and that is the hospitality of the people. Trust me, we were Iranians and we were shocked by all the love and empathy we have got.
Some pictures from beautiful Iran can be found on my Instagram page Montehral.