Throughout middle school and the majority of high school, I dreaded the idea of visiting Iran or simply leaving the town I was in to go somewhere that was definitely not the same. No internet? No cell phone service? What was I going to do? Everything was vastly different and I didn’t like the idea of it one bit.
This past summer, my family traveled to Iran after years of not visiting. No matter how many complications our trip had, they were completely unrelated to the place we were staying. Sure, there were pesky mosquito bites and extremely hot, dry weather – but hey, was it that bad in the long run? I got to see family that I didn’t realize I missed so much. When our trip was cut short, I was genuinely sad to leave. I didn’t get to go to that avenue or eat that kabob… and I felt like my time in Iran wasn’t finished.
Chaharshanbe Soori this year was so eye opening, maybe even more so because I was sharing it with my friends who were not Iranian. The event reminded me of how much I missed Iran. Sure, I’ll eat my Iranian food once every couple weeks at the restaurant that’s only 10 minutes away… but the home made food doesn’t happen often at all. The genuine Iranian culture isn’t a constant part of home life like it used to be when my mom was alive or when my grandma was staying with us. I’m not saying the change is bad or that home life isn’t good now, but it’s genuinely different. I miss the Iranian part of me.
At Chaharshanbe Soori, I asked my dad to start speaking to me in Farsi again. He was the more English speaking parent – my mom spoke Farsi to me exponentially more so than my dad. Both were good, but I miss that other side nowadays.
On our trip to Los Angeles over spring break, I got to experience the LA Iranian culture that I hadn’t in a long time. We went to restaurants that are from my childhood and it was so good to be in a different environment and appreciate Iranian culture in another way. A deeper way. We even got to see part of a Persian New Year festival in Westwood, just by coincidence. These were all reminders to me that so many people are proud to be Iranian, and I should remember to show my pride off, too.