Someday I Will Go Back to Iran

Going back to Iran

Someday I will go back to Iran. It will be summertime so the roses will be in full bloom, the air will be full of optimism, tinged with a trace of nostalgia, and the warm Tehran sun can quickly dry my tears to save my lush eye makeup, just in case.

My life revolves around a sense of urgency today. It is a reality I have created for myself and would not trade for the world. Yet I accept that some dreams cannot afford the luxury of immediacy in this life. They cannot happen just yet. The right stars have to align and the right circumstances have to emerge first.

The time for some dreams has not yet come.

Hence the word: someday.

Someday, I will go back to Iran.

Someday in the far or distant future, there shall be peace where there is terror now. There will be freedom where there is oppression now. There shall be goodness where there is evil now. There will be happiness where there is bitterness now.

Someday, I will feel safe and ready to go back to Iran. It may be a mistake I should avoid at all costs. It may be a regret waiting to happen. It may just be the biggest heart crushing experience of my life and yet, what the heart wants, the heart finds a way to get. It is the way we humans choose to learn most of our life lessons and so be it.

Some day, I will go back to Iran.

I may go with my darling cousins or my youngest brother. I may go with my beloved childhood friends or with my Mom. I may go with the love of my life or I may go alone and experience what I have been dying to withhold just one more time, another glimpse of the Tehran we left behind 25 years ago.

Someday, I will go back to Iran and shocking as it may sound, nothing will have changed.

Everything is the same as the day we left them. The buildings, my elementary school, the shop, the supermarket, my grandmother’s house, the park, our house, our garden, my bedroom, and everything in it that we left so unknowingly behind has not aged a single day since. My mind has frozen them in time and this dream of going back to Iran shall imagine them as such, if only to save me from a shattering heartbreak.

Someday I will go back to Iran.

Someday, I will walk down Lida Street and arrive at our house. How many thousands of times have I thought back to this house? How many times have I recreated my childhood within these walls?

Someday, I will be back and go through the yellow French glass doors and step inside. The door will be unlocked and ready to receive me. I will take the half flight of stairs up to second floor, open the front door and walk back into our house. I can tell it has been waiting all its life for me to return.

Where have you been? I hear the walls whisper. Where have you been all these years?

I hardly thought I would be gone for so long. It was a day in the May of 1986 when we decided to go on a 2-week vacation to Turkey. It turned out to be a vacation of a lifetime.

I am beyond grateful for how my life turned out. It has been a miracle after miracle unfolding no less beautifully than the most stunning rose from our garden. Yet I yearn for closure of never having said goodbye. Someday, I need to go back if only to say goodbye.

How can closure dare play such a huge role in our peaceful forward-momentum life?

Why does it even matter whether we say goodbye or just leave? Why does the heart insist on being stubborn, unreasonable, undeterred and fragile?

Someday I will walk back into what seemed to be an enormous dining room in my childhood view. The rich brown and burgundy curtains will still be intact. The painting of The Last Supper – which, hanging in an Iranian house at the height of revolution, does hold some irony, believe me –  will still be hanging in the same spot over the dark wood ornate dining cabinets, and this time I will be staring at it without looking up.

Someday, I will walk into our kitchen.

I will look for the breadbox with the red flap door first thing. I will smell my Mom’s cooking and freeze in spot from the gush of memories. I will study every inch of the walls, the cabinets, the windows overlooking the front of our house, the stove, and the door to the pantry and outside to the atrium where I kept my parrots — or single unit parrot — you see, one day Madame Parrot killed Monsieur Parrot but I got over that surprisingly quickly.

Then I will go through the middle door, walk into the hallway and run to my bedroom. Funny how little I remember from my bedroom and yet I can draw the layout of the house with ridiculous precision.

Lucky for me, my bedroom has not changed one bit. No one touched anything just as I meticulously instructed. My white bed is made and my stuffed bear is still napping. One quick look in the bedroom does it for me. Time to go to my favorite escape: our garden.

Stepping right out of the French windows into the patio, I notice the prison bars above the railing. You see, when times were unpredictable and crime ever so rampant in Tehran, the brilliant solution of all upper class citizens was to imprison themselves inside their homes. Funny how imprisonment — not that anyone at the time admitted to it — has a sobering effect on your soul and young and small as I was then, I can recall that feeling to heart instantly.

Someday, I will go back down that white and wide staircase and find myself in our garden again.

I will sit on the swing and soak up the memories of this space from the eyes of an educated, worldly, entrepreneur, elegant woman, which the tomboyish 11-year old me could have never imagined becoming.

Oh how I sometimes really miss that tomboyish 11-year old me.

I cannot leave without riding my bicycle around the path, which encircled our garden. I have to remember to duck my head as I go under the staircase and to look up as I go under the cherry trees. You cannot forget the rules of the game!

Someday, I will go back to Iran.

I will leave our house and walk to Razi Elementary School. I am sure to pass by the super market where we bought gum and snacks and the shop — the exquisite singular shop – where we bought the rare “foreign” and “Western” goods like the Hello Kitty stuff, the “automatic” pencils which needed no sharpening and the pencil boxes and fancy erasers which engaged us in hours of conversation and drawing.

Someday, I will walk through the gates of Razi Elementary School.

I will stand in the middle of that courtyard, the place of one thousand memories. Sad and bitter as many of them were, I wish that I could remember more of them. That day, the school will bring me back my memories, and this time, I will lock them up safely in my sanctum.

Someday, if I have the heart and if I am feeling strong, I will go back to our classrooms.

I will probably recoil at the disgust of the even-then dilapidated state of things, the dirty walls, the broken windows, the dim gray walls covered with disgusting figureheads and nauseating slogans. I will ignore them; they have no power over me now. Instead, I will take a sexy catwalk to the back of class – something that would have expelled me no doubt – and take my seat on the gray wooden bench, place my hands on my metal table and look at the green chalkboard, our “tableau”, and this time, I will not hold back my tears.

I will try not to reflect on the nonsensical rubbish they forced into our innocent minds and instead focus on the childhood friendships that warmed my very core in that glum classroom, friendships so complete, so lasting, and so invincible that a 25-year-old gap has only strengthened their bond.

Someday I will go back to Iran.

I may be 80 years old when I go back but the desire to return for one last glimpse before a peaceful closure of that chapter in my life will not have left me alone. Someday, I will feel safe and not terrified because goodness will have replaced evil and freedom will have prevailed.

Someday, I will go back to Iran. I want to go back to Iran. Where would you like to return someday?

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  • Sandi Amorim

    The poignancy of this post brought tears to my eyes, as I thought of your question. My answer is not a where, but rather a who – who would I like to return to and why. Like you, the someday desire has flitted through my awareness over the years, a brief tug at my heart strings accompanied by that whisper.

    The vividness of this post is so beautiful, so touching, a testament to the power of words and your skill as a writer. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Sandi, your reaction to this post so immediately after I published it yesterday touched me so much. And your turned around and wrote a post about it. Thank you – thank you! – for making me feel so special. And I love your answers, the travel back through time to special people in our lives. So, so happy you enjoyed this. Thank you!

  • Casey Hills

    I hope you do get to go back. For my ex, even the thought of going back has never been a reality. The Iranian government would kill her to get to her father.

    • Farnoosh

      Casey, that sounds about the fitting approach for Iran’s government. Best for your ex to stay put in the US or wherever outside of Iran she lives. And hence the word someday throughout my post. Hey, nice to see you here rather than Twitter for a change, thanks for your comment.

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  • Galen Pearl

    What a beautiful post, on so many levels. There is a physical going back to a place or a time that many might long for. There is an inner going back to a feeling, a memory, a relationship.

    On the physical side, I have had several people in my life who were forced to leave the country of their birth, Iran, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Poland, China, Sierra Leone, Liberia, South Africa. These people were special to me because I thought they were so brave. Many left everything behind and could never go back, at least not yet. They built new lives, learned new skills, new languages, ate new food, smelled new smells.

    I learned so much from their stories. The biggest lesson I learned was to be grateful for all my blessings, especially the blessing of being born in a country where, flawed as it is, I took for granted freedoms that these friends found precious.

    I loved the experience of living in several countries and cultures, but I always knew I could go home anytime. What a gift.

    What about our inner home? Can we go home again? Perhaps we never left. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, we have only dreamed that we were far away, when all the time we were safe at home.

    • Farnoosh

      Galen, I sat here for minutes trying to write you an intelligent response but I don’t think I can match what you have shared. I share the sentiments of those who left their country behind and sad is not even the word for it when it comes to moving on and never being able to go back and starting over from scratch. I think the freedoms in the US are a blessing and we should never get complacent about them. Thank you dear Galen for sharing these beautiful thoughts here and raising even more questions: “What about our inner home?” – very powerful.

  • Sadia

    Oh, how beautiful! Isn’t it funny how memory paints everything exactly as we wanted it to be, and we cannot imagine it changed, no matter how hard we try. I want to tell my son to travel and live elsewhere in his life at some point, so he knows that yearning of one’s mother land, the place where everything tastes better and no matter what you hear or see in the news, it will always be a perfect place.

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Sadia, yes, memory will betray us if we have to face reality, and that’s why I wonder if I should ever go back. Yes, teach your son to go away from home and then come back and fall in love all over again with his motherland. Thanks for being here and for sharing what I wholeheartedly agree with!

  • Nibras Bawa

    Hey Farnoosh,
    Been a silent reader and a happy backbencher that never commented. Today though, i’ll make an exception. This is very moving to say the least. My eyes were filled in tears when i finished reading.. I’m so sorry you haven’t been able to visit Tehran in the past 25 years or so. But there are many other good things you can be proud of. I really don’t know what else to say except that i will pray that you get to visit Iran someday, and someday soon. Also, keep blogging. I may not always comment but rest assured you have a loyal reader in me… :)
    Allah Hafiz

    Nibras from Singapore

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Nibras, I love my silent readers to bits, but thank you for indulging me with your thoughts – all the way from Singapore no less – and doing it so beautifully. Thank you so so much for what you say here in your words, and for sending such kind thoughts which give me immense hope, they really do. Thank you for your loyal readership and I am so happy you made an exception to your silence. All the best and hope to hear your thoughts again.

  • Kathy

    Wow! You took me back lady, you did….It was like I walked through your old house with you. Those glass French doors were huge and heavy. Your house was the largest in the world to me. I have millions of great memories there… millions. You never know I might even accompnay you on that trip!

    Fanatanstic post.

    • Farnoosh

      Now when *you* comment, I know I have done an exceptional job. That says it all. Kathy, I remember them too. Our house was *huge*, I use to run from one side to the other and pant when I was finished….I loved that you came over to spend time with us and I’d love nothing more than taking you along on the trip. Made my day to hear from you. Thanks darling bella!

  • The Exception

    Your words are emotion filled and beautiful. I don’t know that I can imagine what it is to believe you are going on vacation and find yourself swept into a life that is new and different in a foreign country unable to return to the home and memories that were what you knew. I hope that you will return some day and find the gifts that are awaiting you – in the unchanged and the changed; the familiar and the transposed.
    Such a beautiful lament.

    • Farnoosh

      Thank you, thank you. So happy they had such a positive impact even if there were bitter in nature…..I really appreciate the sentiments and the beautiful way you envision my trip back to Iran. So nice of you to share this.

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  • Armen Shirvanian

    Hi Farnoosh.

    I can always feel the emotions in your message. I see that you will one day return to Iran to see and feel what once was and currently is.

    I don’t really have a place I would like to return to as much as a period of time I would like to return to, but that is a travel that isn’t doable even with an abundance of frequent-flyer miles. I will return to parts of it, though, but it will take some work.

    It is great that you are not afraid to mention personal things and desires. Winners have this quality.

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Armen, you make my day every time you call me a winner ;)! Glad you enjoyed the post and I am NOT afraid of anything anymore, just for the record….well, except of going back to Iran right now! And yes, there is no way to go back in time, even though ideally that is what I’d love to do with my trip to Iran. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Emiel

    Farnoosh, you left me astonished…..what a beautiful story.
    From the heart, I can feel it just looking at your words. While I was reading, I was covering my ears. I did not want any background noise to disturb me. I wanted to become part of your story, your memories. I saw you sitting on that swing, that part for me was so full of emotions. What can I say…you touched me with this story.

    I am so glad that my 6 words inspired you to write such a poignant story. How only 6 words can have such an impact..
    The thing is, I can recall the moment last year when I read a story about a woman from Iran. I was a regular reader of the JCC blog. The story was inspiring and I started following you, reading your blog.
    This post to me is a highlight. Maybe it is your best post, maybe it is the start of something great. But I know that I love it, because you brought us back to your motherland, your house. I sincerely hope you will sit on that swing, someday…

    • Farnoosh

      Only 6 words, Emiel, and you gave me reason to write what may be one of my best posts, or at least, one that is the *most* heart-felt. Thank you so much.
      That is exactly right; you started to follow me after my “Where are you from?” post over the JCC blog and have been with me ever since. Thank you for being such a loyal friend and reader.
      You must never stop writing; your writing voice is one of the *best* that I know and read and crave. And yes, I hope to walk in that house and sit on that swing, however unlikely that it may be, we can still hope and dream.

  • Dina

    Farnoosh, this is a really beautiful and inspirational post. I’m currently reading your article about vacation of last time, not done yet, but I’m so surprised and impressed on how you guys just moved to Turkey that way! With only 2 suitcases for the family, wow, your journey is incredible! Thanks for sharing this!

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Dina, I loved seeing you pop up on this post and the post I wrote for Lance and thank you for sharing your thoughts and also for sympathizing with our journey out of Iran and into the brave new world that is North American. Yes, only 2 suitcases. Life has been much better in the recent years and we are very happy as a family. So sweet of you to comment here, thank you.

  • Offbeat Woman

    What a story! I think I would have found it so exciting to discover that I was going to have a brand new life, but the overwhelming feeling would have been an enormous shock which would have torn me apart in so many ways. Especially leaving my dog…that alone would have broken my heart in two. At least you were only 11… at that age you were probably young enough to still feel secure wherever your parents were . Maybe it would be better if you don’t go back to the home-town where those precious, happy childhood memories live. Ten years after my divorce I was visiting London and I went back to look at the house where I had lived with my husband and our two small babies at a time when we were blissfully happy. As I leaned against the tree outside I could see us all there together and even Hawkeye my cat on the doorstep. In retrospect I don’t think I should have done that as it was so painful that it tinged my very happy memories with some melancholy. There is a famous opening line to a book by LP Hartley (I think) that goes ~The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there~ That line always resonates with me…like a warning. Anyway brilliantly written emotive post Farnoosh…as always! Thank you

    • Farnoosh

      Oh Rosemary, how lovely you are and how kind to take the time to write here for me such an amazing reaction to the post. Oh I left many animals behind; funny enough I only mentioned my parrots and you mention dog. I left Lucky behind and should’ve become suspicious when my dad found a permanent home for her but sigh. Those days are gone.
      Yes you are absolutely right; I felt secure wherever my family was and your smart advice to never go back is dully noted. I think about the shattering heartbreak that will be waiting because of course everything has changed and usually for the worse. I have saved that quote for a rainy day. Thank you for sharing your return to London and for being here for me.

      • Rosemary

        Hey Farnoosh, I think I knew about your dog because I clicked on the link in this post where you told the story about going to Turkey on ‘the holiday of a lifetime’. ;D
        Oh and by the way did I mention that you have a wonderful gift in your writing talent!
        Best wishes always

        • Farnoosh

          Rosemary, that might have been it. You are right. Very, very good!
          And the compliment on the writing, that goes right to my heart. You are sweet and kind. Thank you.

  • Alicia

    Your post is so beautiful. I just went to Iran for the first time last year. My father immigrated to the States in ’77 for college. He spoke only briefly of Iran throughout my childhood, likely because of the sadness that surrounds knowing it would never be home again. Being there with him and standing beside him as he processed how little things had changed was a remarkable experience. I am confident you will make it back.

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Alicia, I am so envious. I had a hunch you were Iranian when I visited your blog. Oh I bet many emotions ran through your father’s heart. It was nice of you to be with him. I do hope to go back, and that I have the heart to see everything again. So nice of you to share this here, thank you.

  • Lance

    This whole piece feels so soulful…and it is lovely.

    The images you have created, they give me a deeper sense of you, of your life, of you today and you from yesteryear.

    …and it is lovely…

    And as I read this, I immediately think of my childhood gradeschool, a small school out in the country. That school has since long closed – taking the kids from that school to the city. That school, though, it holds special memories…

    Wonderful writing. So deeply connecting for me to read this, and feel “you” and your life experiences in your words. What a beautiful gift…your writing…

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Lance, I knew for certain that I’d have you here if I wrote this post. First time I worked up the courage to write about Iran was for the JCC Online and the second time it was for you. Not sure why I didn’t do it here in my blog til now. No matter. So happy you enjoyed it AND that I made you reflect on your own childhood and earlier years. The school is not gone, Lance, not from your heart or your memory.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Negar

    Farnoosh! You have made me smile, think, laugh, grow, wonder, dream… all through reading your blog. But not till reading this post have you brought me to tears! You took my breath away! I totally lost track of where I was while reading this post. You took me away…far, far away to a very special place. Special not just to you, but to me, since we all lived together :). I have been craving details about Iran, about our family history, about that building on Lida Street and trust me when I say I soaked up all the details you gave!!! This was so beautifully written. Thank you for sharing with all of us. I know you will one day go back and have closure. This I know for sure. And, I would LOVE to be there with you when you do! Love you to pieces!

    • Farnoosh

      Negar, my darling, I am sorry for the tears but they are good for us. They are from a place that needs to stay alive and never forgotten, our home country. You can come with me when I go back and I will explain where you lived and how things were set up back then because it will all be the same as we left it, right? You are very welcome and you know that the love is more than mutual. Thanks for making me feel good about writing this, Negar.

  • Allison

    Your posts are always so beautiful. I do hope with all my heart that you get to go back someday, that the world becomes a better place so you have that chance.

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Alli, your words give me lots of hope and courage, thank you so much for saying them, dear friend.

  • Angela Artemis

    This was hauntingly beautiful. I felt as I were with you as you took us on a tour of your home town and your house. I do hope you will go back to Iran someday – when it’s safe for you. It sounds quite beautiful. It makes me want go back to Greece again to the island where my family is from. Someday I’ll go back to Somthrace – I know it.

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Angela, “hauntingly” – what a great adverb and so you to come up with the most special words that will stay with me. Thank you my dear friend for reading and indulging me with these words. Oh yes, you must go back to Greece. I remember you told me about a trip with your sister and how something went a bit wrong and you two were so scared but it turned out ok in the end. Here’s we all go back someday to whence we came…..

  • Sahar

    Beautifully written, Farnoosh… Made me quite emotional.
    I do hope you go back someday…

    • Farnoosh

      Sahar, my dear friend, thank you. I had a feeling I might make my dear readers emotional….you saw my warning on Facebook, right? 😉
      Seriously, thank you for your wish and your friendship. So much!

  • Sandra ~ Always Well Within

    I feel like you have taken us deep inside your heart and soul. So bittersweet! I can’t help but hope you find a way to heal your sadness and grief. I hope this beautiful prose is one step in the healing process for you.

    • Farnoosh

      Sandra, I knew you would come along with me. Yes, you are one of the few that mentioned the sadness, which I really think a return trip will only deepen rather than heal. But I am working on it and while it never goes away, it will become something else altogether as the years go by. So nice to see you here as always! Thank you.

  • Deana

    Hi Farnoosh,
    Wow, not sure what to say after reading this piece. Having lived just upstairs from you on Lida Street, your words certainly struck home. Beautifully written. I don’t know if I’ve ever wanted to go back. In my mind, every single one of those rooms is exactly as we left them with everything in its place. Kind of like after you read a book and close it and put it away, the places are still there in that book just frozen in time.
    Would love to go back one day, but it’s almost too strange to think about Lida St. Seems like a different lifetime.
    Funny about the Last Supper. You know in our apt on Lida St, we had the painting “Les demoiselles d´Avignon” by Picasso. I never realized it was a Picasso – I simply thought it was our own original one-of-a-kind painting. What a surprise when decades later I was in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and ran into the original. “Hey how did our painting from Iran get all the way here!?” LOL.
    xo Deana

    • Farnoosh

      Deana, my dear cousin, you were my role model all those years I lived there after you guys left. Oh I had no idea about the Picasso (not a real one, right???). You know, this is a huge digression but I don’t get Picasso. I have tried so hard to appreciate him and it just doesn’t happen. Funny that I grew up staring at Leonardo’s work, not having a clue it was him that painting the Last Supper and as you know I am mad about his work.
      So let’s just imagine them frozen in time. Let’s just not go back and get a shock for all our troubles. I was just like you; I never ever wanted to go back for the longest time…And then I hit my 30s and I started to become proud of my Persian heritage and more nostalgic of my childhood days in Tehran.
      Glad I moved you with this. And so glad that we can be cousins again after a long time. xoxoxo….

      • Deana

        :) No, not a real one. But all those years I didn’t realize it was a Picasso and I thought it was the one and only until I saw the real one at MOMA. What a shock that was, wondering how our painting got all the way from our apartment in Tehran to NYC. :)
        I’m proud and I have the nostalgia too, but for me I think it’s nostalgia for a place that almost seems out of a book or a dream, that doesn’t even seem real anymore.
        I’d love to go back and smell the sea air of the Caspian – a mixture of salt, juniper, and …Nivea! :) Think it smells the same?
        I’d love to go back and see more of the things I didn’t see – history, ruins, ancient cities like Hamedan, Susa, etc. That would be very cool. Mason’s so into archaeology – maybe one day down the road…
        xo Deana

        • Farnoosh

          Oh you and your Caspian sea. We will go together and FIND that Nivea smell and renew that memory, yours mainly but I want a part of it. I was probably too busy playing and building my famous sand castles! 😉
          It’s great that Mason loves archaeology. I have always waned to say I know of one and now I do….He is my archaeologist now and we can go excavating together. The rest of Iran is stunning from photos but my yearning is for Tehran. Maybe we can fuse our plans and go on a trip together that someday, dear Deana. You just never know.

  • The Vizier

    Hi Farnoosh,

    I love these words, “Yet I accept that some dreams cannot afford the luxury of immediacy in this life. They cannot happen just yet. The right stars have to align and the right circumstances have to emerge first.” As much as we would like to, things usually unfold at its own time and choosing. All we can do is to be ready to seize the moment when it happens.

    One thing about life that is certain is change. Everything moves in cycles. It is true that there is terror and oppression now in Iran, but it cannot last for long because there will come a breaking point where enough is enough. It has happened many times in history and it will happen again. Most of us humans do not live long enough to see or appreciate the patterns of life.

    Having said all that, it is probably not easy to forget your country of birth. Clearly you have a lot of deeply held memories and a strong sense of identity. Although I have never directly read Iranian history, I have noticed that throughout their history of oppression, their unique culture continues to flourish unabated. Iranians have survived like no other. The same cannot be said for Singapore which has no strong sense of identity. Even our Minister Mentor has admitted that. It doesn’t matter when you return. The Iran you knew exists only in your mind now. When you do return, you will confirm that the place has no more power over you. I suspect it will be an odd sense of disconnect, but at the end of the day, you are Farnoosh. It is not a place that defines you but who you are to the people in your life. Still, it would be nice to return to say goodbye.

    Thank you for sharing your moving memories and experiences with us. :)

    Irving the Vizier

    • Farnoosh

      Dearest Irving,
      Yes, sigh, the passage of time, the seizing of just the present moment, and the certainty that there is change and more change and that is the only thing we can ever count on. Thank you though for the reminders. And for your exquisite analysis of the Persian/Iranian culture and traditions. You know, they joke that Los Angeles is really Iran-geles with millions (really) of Iranians who established homes there and have done really well. They have also created a little Iran like you wouldn’t believe. And you know something, I felt the same sense of lack of identity in Singapore. It was the only thing I could clearly say about the city. I loved it of course and we had a grand time but there was very little I found to be original or innate to the culture and tradition of the people who lived there. It’s interesting to hear you say the same, even as a Singaporian.
      All the same, thank you for the kind words, “not a place that defines you but who you are to the people in your life.” <=love this. Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Irving. Beautifully expressed!

  • Lindsay

    My ex-partner is Iranian and is planning a trip back there for next week. I’m worried about her going back to visit for a plethora of reasons. However, she has so much excitement inside of her in regards to going back. It’s home to her – it’s where she grew up – and she probably always will consider it to be home, no matter how long she lives here in Canada.

    I love the Iranian culture, music and people and it makes me so sad to see the country in the state it is now. One day, it will all change. Whether or not that is in our lifetime remains to be seen.

    • Farnoosh

      Lindsay, many, many Iranians go back frequently. My own Mom is one. Never mind that we are worried sick about her but alas, it is crucial for her to see family and I totally understand. Your ex-partner sounds just like my Mom in her regard for Iran .:)
      One day, although we have said that for over 30 years, but one fine day, it may just change. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here, dear Lindsay.

  • Alison Moore Smith

    This just beautiful and heart wrenching.

    My mother died a few years ago, but my dad still lives in the house I grew up in. I’d love to see the little house they lived in until I was four. I barely remember it.

    Other than that, I’m really content. I don’t spend much time looking back. I like to look forward and make memories rather than relive them. High school reunions give me enough of that. :) Onward!

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Alison,
      I have so enjoyed seeing you here and hearing your thoughts. Oh I am very sad to hear of your loss….I think it’s still nice to be able to have access to a home that you spent most of your life in but I know, (I know), that it is so hard to imagine the value because you have seen it all through the years.
      And just for the record, high school was atrocious and I never went to a single reunion. I had enough of it in the present tense.
      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on my story.

  • Alex Blackwell

    Beautifully written Farnoosh. Thanks for sharing a part of your soul with us.


    • Farnoosh

      A part of my soul and entire being now belongs with my online community and friends, Alex, yourself included. Thank you.

  • barbara

    Dear Farnoosh, This story was so poignant and visual I was walking right beside you with tears in my eyes. The saying, ‘You can never go home again.’ is painfully true, and yet… our fantasy can sometimes be enough. If only.

    This reminded me of a family from Iran that moved to our neighborhood in Boston in the mid ’80’s. My friend was a Realtor and as she was showing them properties she was struck by how timid their son, who was about 10 years old, seemed to be. As they were walking in the back yard of a property someone stepped on a twig and SNAPPED! The young boy dove to the ground. She broke down in tears when she realized what this young soul had been through.

    We sometimes take for granted how fortunate we are and this story really brought it home for me. Thank you for sharing this part of your soul.

    • Farnoosh

      Hi Barbara, there are Iranians in every single state (mostly California, NY and MA) and every country you can imagine. Thanks for sharing the story, sad as it was. But I am sure that boy has grown up to be brave and confident. Thank you for walking down the streets and in and out of places with me. I can use some company for sure. You are so sweet and so thoughtful and I am so happy this story touched you, dear Barbara. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Andrew Hill

    Hi Farnoosh,

    You have written such a beautiful piece about your earlier life in Iran. Your memories are so vivid! It seems this is so because of the strength of your emotional experiences at the time, mostly joyful, some less so.

    I have not left my birthplace as you have. As I live within 10 km of my previous homes, I am perhaps over-familiar with my surroundings. It is said that familiarity breeds contempt and I think there is some truth in that… but not absolute truth. There are times when distant memories are awakened in by chance events, quiet moments of reflection, or encounters with people I have not been in touch with for many years. A few years ago, I attended a high school reunion and found that quite an emotional experience as we retold stories from our past together.

    I have also found that important memories are found in the lives of those who came before us. My father’s family came from Broughty Ferry in Scotland. I treasure the memory of a brief visit I made to my grandparents there 25 years ago. I have been discovering further information about their life and the lives of their families there. My father, now deceased, was born in Hong Kong whilst my Scottish grandfather worked there as a policeman. I want to find out more about his time there and the experiences of my grandmother, aunt and father as they escaped capture by Japanese invaders and finally arrived in Australia. I am also finding it difficult to find out more about my grandfather’s captivity in Hong Kong until 1945 and yearn to discover more of what he went through.

    Sometime soon, I hope to visit Hong Kong for the first time and return to Broughty Ferry for another visit to build on my memories of my family’s past.

    Thank you Farnoosh, for your touching and heartfelt writing! I admire the way you open yourself up to your readers and look forward with anticipation to your future posts.

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Andrew, I am speechless. This type of reaction and awakening in my readers is what I yearn for and the reason I write. I used to be skeptical about sharing deeply personal stories but over the months and now almost 2 years, I have realized the grace in the way my readers lift me up and show me their amazing support and now I write from the heart and hope to have this impact on a lot of people.
      What great and powerful stories from your past. I visited Hong Kong in 2007 and found it to be a very bustling and powerful city. There is a unique energy and a place to explore especially if you have a link to the past. I sincerely hope you return both to Hong Kong and to Scotland when the time is right and that you find everything you need to know to fill the gaps in your yearn for your family’s past. Thank you again for this heartfelt comment here, Andrew.

  • Peter G. James Sinclair

    Some day – some way….brilliant writing Farnoosh.

    I actually don’t want to go back physically – but our ‘back’ mentally though is the greatest tool that we can use to teach ourselves and others to always move forward.

    For nearly 3 decades I lost my identity – and yet although I call it the ‘lost years’ – those years have given me the greatest material to use now to bless people all over the world through my writing -why?

    Because it is my story and it is our story as we boldly share it, and which you have so boldly shared that always helps others to write their story.

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Peter, thank you… nice of you to compliment my writing….
      You know, I am not sure I can be brave enough to physically go back either but that’s the dream anyway and the desire is there. You are the smart one to preserve those memories and not taint them with reality.
      I love that you are proud of your story and proud we should be, especially if we put it to good use to help others. Thank you for sharing a valuable thought here and for taking the time to comment, Peter.

  • Evelyn Lim

    My longing is a place called Home. For I am temporarily here in my physical existence. It’s been a great visit nonetheless. In dreams, visions and deep meditative states, I know Home is where I will ultimately return.

    • Farnoosh

      Hi Evelyn, if I had read this comment not knowing you had written it, I would have guessed it was you. Knowing your intuition and your deep meditation practices, it’s a beautiful thought that I totally attribute to you. Thank you for sharing your poetic words.

  • Ash Menon

    Oh my god Farnoosh I’m actually tearing up reading it. It’s amazing that you remember everything so vividly. I can’t remember anything of my childhood before 7. I won’t wish that you get to see the Iran that you remember, because sometimes the shock of change is what makes us better, and allows us to grow. I will instead, wish that you get to see the Iran that you hope for. I wish that we all get to see the Iran that you hope for.

    • Farnoosh

      Oh Ash, darling, don’t tear up. I have spent way too much time remembering details and I have forgotten a lot all the same. And don’t ever stop being so brutally and beautifully honest. Your hope is a good one. The shock will be there no doubt but at least I hope it’s a shock of good change when I do go back someday. Thank you darling friend, you are sweet to share these thoughts.

  • Tim

    Hi Farnoosh:

    Wow, this is beautiful. So interesting to read this. I will preface my comment by saying that, as a kid in America, I grew up at a time when the Iranian hostage crisis was in full swing. For 444 days, I watched with great fear all the details about our American citizens held captive – images of hostages wearing masks and handcuffs. So I guess I grew up fearing and disliking Iran.

    Many years later I starting hearing amazing stories about the Iranian people. Then I saw a program on PBS about Iran and my feelings changed dramatically. I watched the program feeling a deep admiration and respect for the people of Iran and I found the country to look incredibly beautiful. It truly is an amazing country.

    You see, it took me many years to separate a country from its leadership and politics. I know people learn that much earlier in other countries. I think we’re sometimes a bit spoiled here in that way. Needless to say, I truly hope you get the opportunity to return to Iran.

    • Farnoosh

      Tim, thank you for the comment but let’s get one thing straight: The Iranian gov’t is evil, cruel, fanatic and insane. I knew this instinctly as a 9 year old girl and have never wavered from it. They do horrific things and shower shame on anyone who is an Iranian. I lived with that shame for years til I realized I have nothing to do with it. We are not our government. We are not our politicians. We are our own person. And as a proud American citizen, I felt the same feelings you had for our hostages. Yes the countryside and scenery in Iran is nice I hear, never grew up old enough to explore much outside of Tehran but the conclusion is the same and an important one: While I am proud of my heritage, I realize I am not the gov’t. I am who I create and it’s a great person, just like many other Iranians and countless Americans. Thank you for the brave comment and in indulging me in the braver response in return :)!

  • Tom Sorhannus

    Hi Farnoosh, a very thoughtful post. Memories are like something you keep in the freezer. They lay there until you bring them out and warm them up. The good thing with memories is they don´t change (is that good?). Reality always change. I´m sure one day you will go back to Iran, and your heart will tell you when it is time. Just remember to listen to it.

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Tom, thank you for the thoughts. Yes, mine are in the freezer too, no doubt ;)! The distinction between reality and memories is a bitter one. I have to get over that if I am to make this trip back to Iran. Thank you dear friend.

  • Babak

    Farnoosh…that’s a great piece you have written and obviously I can totally relate to it. One day we will…

    • Farnoosh

      Babak? For a second, I thought my super silent brother commented here but I know now it’s a new reader. :)
      Welcome dear Babak and thank you for enjoying. Yes, one day we will….Well-said.

  • Babak

    Oh by the way I forgot to mention I love the photo. Somehow it’s very deep.

    • Farnoosh

      thank you, that’s me in deep thought – although my Mom would say it’s way too serious and I should smile. I disagree ;)!

      • Babak

        I disagree with her too. You have a nice smiling photo on the about page tough. Anyway I’m glad I found your blog and just subscribed too.
        Also watching the Yoga videos trying to do some moves lol… great stuff 😉

  • Vic Hubbard

    Beautiful post, Farnoosh. I hope you get the chance, but more than going back, I hope someday you will be home. My wife Sylvia is from Germany and luckily we can travel back. She found long ago that no matter how much she loves her country, it is no longer home. I think for a time she even felt displaced, not feeling completely home here, either. I am thankful she has stayed to be with me and more thankful that this has become her home.

    • Farnoosh

      Hi dear Vic, thank you for saying the most important and beautiful things. Oh I have felt at home in America for a long time. Just because I miss parts of Iran or wish to return for a closure really doesn’t mean this is not home. Some people never ever find that sense of home here; I have met them over the years and it’s very sad. It’s great to get to know you more with your story here and your wish was truly heart-warming, thank you dear Vic.

  • Sibyl-alternaview

    Beautiful … absolutely beautiful. I could really see and feel that you put so much of your heart into this and totally connected with what you are writing. It is great when things just open up for you and you can get out such amazing words. I think this post speaks to so many of us who have had to leave anything behind that we feel so connected to and loved. It really just points to the truth that sometime the best thing we can do is move on and let go, even if we are letting go of something we really love. Thanks for a beautiful message yet once again.

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Sibyl, you are so kind, so sweet and so articulate in expressing your thoughts. Thank you for reading and for enjoying. When the subject is compelling like this, when it can’t wait to just get out so you can rest, that’s when I think some of the best writing happens. Do you feel that way about any subject? My friend asked an innocent fun question on Facebook and this subject was no where on my calendar.
      Ah letting go. I know it too well, my dear. No worry, my desire to go back for now is at bay and under control because it simply cannot be.
      Thanks my dear Sibyl!

  • Christel

    Who could tell what the future winds’ names will be in Iran ?
    Rainy days arrived.
    It’s so sad to realise how fragile is time, when times are changing in the bad way.
    But someday we will be able to say :
    “Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces…”
    Is it just about weather ?

    I felt to be just a breath of zephyr behind you hoping for your childhood.
    Waiting for a sound from your country’s heartbeat.
    It’s just gagged, I’m sure, but not dead.
    Because you’re a part of it.

    Sometimes we can’t manage sadness, anger, despair.
    But you have to get through.
    Because you’re alive.
    Be kind to you.
    Take care of you.

    I read Persepolis when the book came out.
    I liked it very much.
    The storytelling, drawings. Everything.

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Christel, I told my husband one of my readers wrote me a POEM. This is incredible. I trust you wrote this poem because I do not remember it when I read (and wrote in detail about) Persepolis.
      Thank you. It was a very touching message. Persepolis describes it all pretty accurately but to live through it all rather than imagine it, that’s different altogether. Maybe it’s just better to forget at times. Thanks dear Christel. You were so kind here.

  • J.D. Meier

    > sit on the swing and soak up the memories of this space
    That sounds like a wonderful way to reminisce.

    • Farnoosh

      JD, you always find your favorite quote. Glad you enjoyed the swing bit. I hardly thought that would come out twice as a favorite phrase. Thank you so much.

  • Marnie


    I can’t imagine going through what you did at the tender age of 11.

    I feel rather silly mentioning this – but it’s true so I will. I live in the same city I grew up in (although I did venture overseas for 4 years) and I always dream of moving back to the house we grew up in. I actually watch the real estate pages in the newspaper to see if the listing ever comes up. Pretty silly, I know. I’m not sure what my fascination is because I can drive by that house any time (and sometimes I do). It’s not just the memories, I don’t think, it’s also my ideal home. It was built back in the day when houses had spaces between them and backyards were huge and treed. That’s a major part of why I crave living there again.

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Marnie (what a great name!), thanks so much for sharing my feelings and being so kind to share some of yours in return. You know, when we have no choice, we amaze ourselves with what we can do!
      I love your sentiment about your house and I’d buy my own childhood house back if only to be able to go back to it every time I felt like it. I sincerely hope you find your way back home, quite literally and that you enjoy it even more in your adult years. Thanks for your comment, dear Marnie!

  • muthukumaran

    Dear Farnoosh,excellent post.your emotions are brought out so beautifully we are forced to think about ourselves. i am living at Kuwait .The post comes to me at a time when i was watching the uprising of Egypt and possible return of democracy.I wish soon your ‘someday’ comes. I got your page from Stumbleupon.I shall continue to follow you at your blog.

    • Farnoosh

      Thank you. Oh Kuwait and Iran, long time neighbors. Who knows what is going to happen in Egypt? Sometimes, I wonder if uprising and a change in current government actually *promises* a better government but let us hope that they find freedom and democracy. Thank you for finding me and for leaving your thoughts. Hope to see you again.

  • Tess The Bold Life

    This is simply beautiful, heartfelt and courageous. I agree with you the stars will line up and you will know when it is time. I’ll hold your vision for you and may my energy at least line up one star!

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Tess, I just finished reading your daughter’s story – It was so inspiring, I couldn’t stop. And here you are sending me the warmest vision and the sweetest thoughts in your unique voice. *Thank you* for lighting up a special star…..You are a dear friend.

  • Zeenat{Positive Provocations}

    Darling Farnoosh,
    I’m beyond words after reading this post…literally beyond words….
    Just know I love you immensely and I hope too….to go back to Iran someday, who knows, maybe we can go together. I’ve had my sweet-bitter-sweet memories there….but thats for another day…
    Much Love to you,

    • Farnoosh

      Zeenat, my darling, someday, we go together. Someday, we will fulfill our heart from this yearning. I have no doubt because you have taught me to hope against all odds and your story is the one I think about when I am on the verge of giving up. Love back at you!

  • Aileen

    “what the heart wants, the heart finds a way to get.”

    I feel the longing you have much of its depth from not having that closure – and having that time to say goodbye to your home and hello to a new adventure.

    I do believe that you will return when it’s time. Like you say, “The time for some dreams has not yet come.”

    Your words have such poetry and imagery – I feeli like you took all of us to your home there.
    Your inner child has a clear voice. There is no way you won’t go back – just maybe not right now.

    • Farnoosh

      Aileen, my darling friend, you are so compassionate to feel what I feel so closely. I know, someday. So glad you enjoyed this post. It just happened so quickly. Inspiration is like thunder when it hits us. I am so happy you came with me on the Iran journey. Thanks so much for this lovely comment.

  • Felicia

    I’ve never been to Iran, and my family doesn’t like to go there because of the wars going on. Thanks for sharing with us your thoughts, emotions and experiences especially when you were only an 11-year-old tomboyish girl :)

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Felicia, hi!
      Well, technically, there are no wars going on in Iran, there’s just a pesky dictatorship and fanatic government in place which gets in the way of just about everything, and above all, safety so smart of your family to explore the rest of the world, my dear. Why do you think even I don’t return? ;)!
      Thanks so much for sharing your lovely thoughts and showing up and making me smile!

  • Alison

    Aw, look at your longing face “Someday…” :(

    • Farnoosh

      Alison, I thought the photo was befitting :)! Thanks for dropping by.

  • Anne Sales | Coupon Codes

    Farnoosh, you’re the best creative writer I have ever known. I love reading your posts. They evoke nostalgic feeling in me too. I’ve been away from my home country for ten years now. I have been back a couple of times but I think the desire is not as deep as yours. Truly, “the sweetest songs are those that tell our saddest thoughts.”

    • Farnoosh

      My dear Anne, that compliment gives me all the courage I need as I go into a weekend jam packed with writing. Thank you!! Oh this post came from the depths of my soul and I was way too brave in sharing it but the response has been overwhelming and sweet and I am delighted that you enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing a most beautiful quote below.

  • Financial Samurai

    Farnoosh, how come you never smile? Is something bothering you whenever your picture is taken?

    • Farnoosh

      Oh but I do, I’m afraid you are far from accurate here :). I smile plenty. You need only explore other blog posts to see. Thank you for your question.

  • Felicia

    Hi Farnoosh,
    I thank you too for spending some time replying to my comments. I definitely enjoy my stay here and I get to read your interesting and informative posts. I think the wars going on were in Iraq :)

    • Farnoosh

      Hi dear Felicia, oh yes, I was there during the wars and the bombings. It was not a good period, not that it’s a great period now in Iran but relatively, those were bad days. Of course I reply to your comments when you take the time to write them. Thank you, Felicia, for sharing all of your thoughts.

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  • Corinne Rodrigues

    Being the daughter of an army officer, I know what it feels like to up and leave home and friends ever so often. But what you went through is very different….so much of uncertainty and unspoken fear. When I was reading this post, it took me back to The Dairy of Anne Frank – another little girl having to leave the familiar. But your story turned out so well – thank God. I am certain that it was these experiences of yours that have shaped you in to the compassionate woman you are!

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Corinne, hi! Welcome here and thanks so so much for sharing your thoughts. I can imagine being in that position, you moved quite a bit but thankfully without the fear and uncertainty, as you say. I have not read that book and honestly do not have the heart for a sad story but thank you so much for the closing words here. So nice of you!

  • Qin Tang

    Dear Farnoosh,
    After reading your post about going back to Iran someday, I thought of someone I know who is also from Iran. Since you have common background, you both might like to get in touch with each other. Kian is an author and wrote “Living Your Chosen Eulogy: Live Today How You Want To Be Remembered” . You can also find her at worldhelporganization.
    I will also send her an email to introduce you to her.
    Best wishes as you embark on a new journey in your life. I know you will achieve success you deserve.
    Love your blog and writing.

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Qin, thank you so much for taking time to reply here on this post. I will look for her and I am always happy to make new connections, even though I never put more emphasis on meeting Iranians versus any other nationalities. Thank you again and again and seeing you on the blog has been delightful. All my best.

  • Khadija

    Wow, so growing up as an Arab- American and part of close knit Muslim American community I have so many friends of Iranian descent and some that came straight from Iran. It was always hard for me to understand where they were coming from in terms of their relationship with their home country. So thank you, because I feel like I understand one tiny piece of the puzzle

    Farnoosh you are a beautiful soul. Keep writing and Thank you for this post,

    in Gratitude, K

    • Farnoosh

      Hi dear Khadija, I had a friend by your name when I lived in Iran. I am so so happy that you read this story and enjoyed it and thank you so much for your kind, sweet words. I shall keep writing. Please share it with your friends too. Thanks so much!

  • Dorota

    Oh dear Farnoosh, this post just went straight to my heart! I too left my childhood home (Poland) at the age of 10. I can still recall every detail of my house from memory. This is the sort of nostalgia that only a refugee/emigrant can understand – having to leave everything and nearly everyone you’ve ever loved and start from scratch in a foreign country. Thank you for sharing this deeply moving post with us.

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Dorota, indeed we can understand each other with this feeling that is inexplicable on all other accounts unless one has direct first-hand experience. I hope that you can find closure someday – that’s what I am looking for, and I am so so happy to see your beautiful face and read your lovely thoughts here. Please come back anytime, dear Dorota!

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  • Hooman

    Your words showed me your high intention to come back Iran. I impressed by your love of Iran your home land. Same as you I wish better days For Iran. But you are far from Iran And I’m living here in Tehran…

    My wish for every Iranian outside of Iran like you is that they can come freely and enjoy their home.
    We are here waiting for your return… someday you will come back Iran for sure.
    Feel free to tell me if I could do something for your memories.