Who'd ever guess we would want to go back to Iran?
By Katy Maty
December 13, 2001
I love Iran and everything about it. Sometimes I think my veins flow
with the aab-anaar from Iran.
I get so upset when people come back from Iran and talk bout how much
they hate it there and never want to go back. I take these comments very
personally. How can you not love Iran if you are from there? I will stick
by my country through thick and thin and defend her with every bit of life
I have in me.
I am 20 and I grew up most of my life in America. Up until a few years
ago I generally accepted my dad's point of view that America is the best
and Iran is no place to be. My dad, may God forgive his sins,he is a great
man, but him and his generation were mostly blind supporters of a revolution
that had no planned outcome.
After they caused hell in 1979, they fled, never believing their children
would want to go back. But actually, most families fled for the sake of
their sons; they did not want their child ending up fighting in the war
with Iraq. Did my parents make a good decision? Yes and no. But who'd ever
guess their children's generation would want to go back?
I started having the desire to visit and even move back to Iran about
two years ago. Through some desperate act I finally convinced my parents
to go to Iran for a one-month visit. I realize why a lot of people dislike
living in Iran, but for all the bad in Iran I think there is a thousand
times more good -- if only everyone could see what I see.
I love everything about that country and more than anything I love Iranians.
And I cannot say enough. I have heard so many discouraging remarks, and
everyone has tried to convince me that moving to Iran is a horrible idea
and that I could never survive (these people have no idea what I am capable
But a lot of these negative responses started to convert into concurring
opinions and desires to better Iran, especially among those in my age group.
Yes, we want to move back, and some of us feel very strongly about it. Can
someone tell me where this pride came from? Barely speaking Farsi and having
lived in America for so long, some even born here, yet we still feel more
at home in Iran.
When I went with my parents for the one-month visit I saw so many relatives;
some I do not remember ever meeting. Slowly, I started to notice that my
parents where changing and losing the Americanized attitude they had gained
over the years, even becoming more strict, and even more so, they were remembering
the "good old days".
Also, I had never seen my grandmother so independent in all the times
she visited us in America. I had seen my mother's Aunt and her husband a
hundred times in America, but I had never seen them in their own home. It
is truly different to see someone at their home and to see how they have
decorated their lives.
When I started to think of all this I cried and one year later I still
cry every time I think about it.... what if we had never left Iran. What
if the day before my dad's visa expired he had not decided to take us to
Paris? What if I had gone to school in Iran? What if all my relatives that
have spread across the world and those that have gathered here in the US
had stayed close together in Tehran, and every weekend or so we could see
each other for another mehmoni?
What if I could still walk over to my cousins' house and knock on their
door ready for another dip in their pool (just as I, barely, remember we
did)? What if ... And I cry thinking about it, and I cry thinking about
this life I have lived away from where I should be, and I cry about why
I only feel at home in Iran. And I cry out of frustration that is my sadness.
So, now I am on this, seemingly never ending search to find Iran in me.
Since my search began, I have improved my Farsi 75%. I started taking Farsi
reading and writing lessons and trying to learn the "big words"
and proper grammar. I speak Farsi with no American accent. I have also taken
Iran history classes, visiting the exhibitions at museums, and buying every
book that has anything to do with Iran.
I have even found it in me to follow my grandmother's advice and become
more religious. And it is so eye opening to finally understand the Iranian
culture and the language. To finally understand where I come from and who
I am is so rewarding. I have been trying so hard to be Iranian that my English
has deteriorated. Sometimes when I speak English I even have an Iranian
I have become so pro-Iran and obsessed that most people who have just
met me assume I just recently came from Iran. For some reason that is a
great feeling to finally feel like I am viewed as the one who is knowledgeable
about Iran and to not be stereotyped as the ignorant Iranian-American that
goes clubbing five days a week.
I wonder every day, not if, but when will I reach my reality,
and I dare not call it a dream. When will I finally convince my parents
that this is not a foolish fantasy and not a way to disrespect their decision
of 15 years ago. When will I finally be at home and no longer the foreign
visitor. When will I get home... I have been wondering around for 15 years
trying to find my way back.
But, with my fairly recently renewed belief in my religion, I believe
God is Great and with His blessings those of us, young and willing to work
for Iran, and who feel so strongly about our homeland, will be able to go
back and create a positive atmosphere for everyone else to come back as
I guess for now I will finish my anaar, this fruit that has been the
most common thing in my life and tastes like the sweetness of Iran. I never
did learn the English name for it.