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Who'd ever guess we would want to go back to Iran?

By Katy Maty
December 13, 2001
The Iranian

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 of).

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 accent.

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 well.

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.

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Comment to the writer Katy Maty


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