"Iranian House" wall picture collection.

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After much deliberation I have finally arrived at the 'outpost of tyranny' to take on the exploration of my roots, learn a new language and to embrace a non-western/Christian nation as a resident. These are just a few of the many reasons why I've left the comfort of England for the Islamic Republic of Iran - formerly the 'axis of evil'.

So... the story thus far.

My father - whom is looking after me in the short-term - is being somewhere between splendidly hospitable and painfully controlling. Due to his kindness, I'm being tolerant of his often imposing ways. I shouldn't really complain considering the flat he has arranged for me in Karaj (Tehran's closest city of 1-million plus strong). Today we went to buy curtains for this place - as one of the many things needed before I can move in - and I was given a choice of style, of which was ultimately disregarded - oh, the Iranian politics. Before I make the move to the arse-end of Karaj I am living with the old boy in his fancy Tehran pad. This, of course, has its plus points: fed, watered and clothes folded neatly-clean on my bed, a small price to pay for lack of privacy endless compromise.

I have spent most of the week commuting to a sports complex my family run, where I struggle to either get internet access (circa '96 - 30kps at best) to work on current Borbonesa projects or exchange pleasantries with a healthy supply of local notaries. This has not, for the most part, been a pleasant experience as I have had to play baby-sitter to my brother or cousins. Aside from that I have been very good at fitting in a good few lengths of swimming whilst attempting to dodge the Iranian hair-balls that splash around erratically. While here I intend to regain my status as champion of some small town, somewhere - I'm already booked-up to race with all the lifeguards.

Yesterday was the first opportunity for me to escape the watchful eye of the family and meet with a friend from a former visit. This was doubled as a business meeting - what with him being a fellow design buff. We discussed my going to work with his company, of which should happen in a couple of days, inshallah. Most of the day spent with this guy was done so, mincing around in fancy coffee shops/restaurants - meeting friends and struggling with languages. In one such place I was reminded how conspicuous the Tehran folk are with there wealth - no opportunity is missed with showing off. Later that day, we headed out to a party where I had the pleasure of forcing my music upon them via my rigged-up laptop. There was the usual dancing to be had and a plentiful supply of eye-candy.

I still feel unsettled about things here what with work, family (still to meet) and my flat (still to move into), yet don't really feel any regrets by my heading here for roughly 10-months. If anything I feel rather ready for the time ahead. My ability for the language is improving at a good pace for which the barrage of compliments helps... I think that I am trying harder with the language what with it being important for me to get by. There has been so much change here within the last year and half since my last visit, this has been very much progressive, or at least superficially so. I quizzed a Tehran business man about how hopeful one should be about further progress, suggesting that we might witness this in 2-years or so, he said it's been '2-years' for about 25 years or so, 'I wouldn't get excited'.


  • I often wonder how much of a barrier language will be once I go to Iran. I can fake it pretty well :) In general people do not realize that my Persian is incredibly weak and that in all honesty, I probably couldn't survive alone in Iran for more than five minutes. Now that I think about it, I wouldn't even know how to properly word directions for a cab driver. I can get through pleasantries fine, I can t'aroff and offer information on my week when asked, but I get nervous when speaking to people outside of my comfort zone in Persian. I grew up only speaking Persian, I had a horrible accent and was the butt of every joke in elementary school, it was sheer hell. Because of this my mother, who was fluent in English before leaving Iran, decided to speak to me in English at home so that my accent and language abilities would improve.. and we never really switched back. It caused me to lose a lot... a lot of my Persian. Over the year or so I've been attempting to re-learn, after all, how silly does someone as patriotic as me look when they can't speak their own language fluently ? Still, it's a painful process when surrounded by English-speakers. I pray a stay in Iran will bring my native tongue back, and quickly so that I'm not made fun of too much for it by family.

    By Anonymous Tahereh, at 12:59 AM  

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