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Of the Home and the Homeland
The person I will be interviewing was born in Tehran. She lived there for only a brief time in her life, for she was forced to leave her homeland and move to a new land – the United States of America. She was brought up here, spending a majority of her childhood and her adult life here. She has never gone back. What must it feel like to be torn from your homeland and taken to a place wholly different? And how would it feel to live there for the rest of your life?
What was your life like before you came to this country? Is there anything in particular you miss from Iran?
“I was four and a half, maybe five-years-old when I came here. I don’t remember too much from Tehran – my family home – except my grandfather spoiling me. I used to call him “Baba-jun,” meaning “dear father,” which he got a kick out of. It made him feel young.
One of the few other memories I have from there was going to my grandmother’s backyard and standing on a little sofa I dragged from the house and eating handfuls of boysenberry, or “Toot,” and it was my “Toot tree.” Is there anything I miss, though? Not really.”
“Well, the only thing I really miss, now that I think about it, is having my entire extended family in the same house.”
What were your thoughts about moving so far away from home?
“I didn’t know it was going to be for the rest of my life; I thought it was going to be a temporary visit. I didn’t like being away from my grandparents.”
How was the transition? What were the hardest things to get used to?
“The language barrier was the hardest thing to get used to. I think coming here as someone that had to go to kindergarten, not knowing the language was kind of awkward. No, scratch that, terrifying. I thought everyone was going to speak the same language I did.”
Have you ever thought of what your life would be like had you stayed?
“Based on the current political climate, I don’t think I would have a good life.”
Hmm, I guess this wouldn’t be a good question to ask, based on your last response, but do you ever think of going back?
“I would love to go back.”
“To visit: to let my children experience what I had experienced and evoke memories of my own childhood.”
Having lived there for such a short time, how close do you feel to your heritage and the culture you left behind?
“That’s a tough question because I was so young and didn’t get to experience a culture that, had I been older, I would be able to embrace and understand better. I feel a great deal of pride in my heritage as a Persian. I am saddened by how America portrays Iranians; I feel they don’t give the culture enough merit and just focus on the political aspects.”