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Surprise trip back home

By Yashar Zhalehdoust
July 21, 3003
The Iranian

I've been living alone in the US for almost 2 years now. Just when I turned 18, I left Iran for a better education. I've gained a lot of experience and enjoy living in a country full of foreigners. The one thing I'd been missing more and more was my beloved family. I was excited to come back home and visit my family. I had taken the final for my summer class and was packed to go to the airport.

Seven hours before my flight I called my parents to see if they needed anything I could bring. I told them I was going shopping and the only day I had time to go because I needed to study for my final. My family, knowing that I hate shopping, told me they don't need anything. I had already bought everything and my luggage was packed and I didn't have space for anything else. I just called them to make the surprise look better.

My father asked me to give the flight number and the exact date. "Babba, nemidoonam hanooz. Vaght nakardam bilitamo nigaa konam, kheily dars o kaar daaram. Haalaa badan email mikonam hameh chizo." (Dad, I don't know. I've been too busy with my studies and work. I'll email you the information later.)

Then I spoke with my brother and finally with my mother. My mother was like: "Yashar joon, pesareh azizam, babat migeh chetor akheh shomaareh parvaaz o taarikhesho hanooz nemidooni?" (Your dad says' how come you don't know your flight number and the date...).

"Mommon, final daaram 2 hafteh digeh, hichi ham balad nistam. Koly kaar daaram. Asbaab keshi ham hanooz tamoom nashodeh!" (I have to take my final in 2 weeks, and I've got to study hard for it. I still haven't moved my stuff.)

The conversation ends with my family thinking I'm "geej" (out of it).

I rushed to the airport and made it. I met this young lady who was married and hadn't seen her family for 2 years. I thought she was my age, but oops she was 29! Anyway she was very excited to see her brother and parents.

I told her that my parents don't know about my trip. I was waiting for her to show some expressions like, "Eh, cheh baahaal..." (How cool!...) But she started to talk about her own life and that she wanted her brother to come to the US and have the same opportunity she had. In short, she did all the talking. I was listening to every word she was saying, but was thinking about my family and that what I should do next. Should I call them, or should I go knock on the door!? I didn't want to scare them.

My best friends Amir and Shervin knew the story and they were waiting at Mehrabad Airport to pick me up. There they were, holding flowers and waiving. "Give me a big-big hug!" They started to show their excitement with tears. I tried to cry, but it didn't work. I didn't know what to do, pinch myself or... It was a weird feeling. Although I missed them, and they're my best friends but there was this feeling that I still haven't made it home.

I didn't really feel that I was back home in Iran. It was 2am, wondering if I should go home or not, I finally decided to go to Shervin's house. We talked and I showed him some pictures. I stayed there for an hour or so. I insisted on leaving, but he would say no, it's too early. "Bichaarehaaro mikhaayee 4 sobh bidaar koni?" (Poor things, don't wake them up at 4 in the morning!) I waited for another half hour and told him if he's not going to take me, I'll take a taxi.

There we were, I jumped out of the car. I was so excited; I didn't know what to do. I saw our neighbor's lights on. It was 4:30 a.m. I think they were praying. I always had my own method opening the front door. I wasn't doing it right or was it that they fixed the door! I told Shervin to give me a lift so I can climb the wall. His reaction was, "Zadeh beh saret Yashar?" (Have you lost your mind?)

Shervin didn't know how fast my heart was pounding. I had this serious look. I asked him if he was going to help me or not! He laughed and said: "Baaz rageh torket zad biroon o divaaneh shodi azizam?" (Are your Turkish genes activing up again? Have you gone mad?)

I don't know how to describe it, but I jumped and climbed the wall like a monkey! I opened the front door, and asked for Shervin's cell phone. I called my brother and woke him up. He didn't ask why I was calling at such a bad time. "Khoobi Yashar?" (How are you?) I said I'm fine and that I was going to call back in 10 minutes with great news. Apparently my father had woken up and asked my brother why I had called.

I looked at the time. Exactly 5:00 a.m. I started crying like a baby. Shervin was shocked, and it was his first time seeing me cry. He hugged me and said: "Cheraa geryeh mikoni? Boro khaanevaadeh montazeretan."(Why are you crying? Go, your family is waiting for you.) It didn't help. It just made me cry more.

I shut the door and ran upstairs with my luggage. I rang the doorbell. I heard my father's footsteps. He looked through the hole and unlocked the door. His immediate reaction was, "Eh; divaaneh!" (You madman!)

I saw tears and joy. There he was. I hugged him hard and started crying out loud. The only sentence my brain could put together was, "I love you so much and I missed you even more!"

My dad was asking me questions like, What about your exam? Did you move your house? and ... I couldn't answer, I just felt like hugging him and crying.

My brother ran towards me crying and yelling: "Mommon, Yashar oomadeh!" (Mom, Yashar's here!)

I hugged and kissed them all and just repeated over and over that how much I love and missed them.

After a couple minutes I was a bit relaxed. My brain started to work again so I started talking and answering their questions. My parents were like: "Baavaram nemisheh, ajab soopreezee kardi maaro." (I can't believe it; what a surprise!) We talked and laughed. I called Shervin to thank him and see if he arrived home.

I think this was the biggest shock I've ever given anyone. I think I kind of scared my family too. The only reason I called my brother was to give them a hint. I told them everything I had said on the phone 24 hours ago was a lie. I had already taken my final exam and had already sold my stuff and moved my house.

After talking for several hours, I excused myself. I had had a very busy week without much sleep. I said I want to rest for a few minutes. The second I put my head down on my bed, I fell asleep. It was so relaxing. I don't think I've ever slept like that in America the past 2 years. No worries, no school or work, no bills, no deadlines...

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