Sunday, October 15, 2017

The positive immigrant

My friend Youseph had just returned from a trip to Iran. His father, a former foreign minister of Iran, under house arrest for many years, had passed away, and he had returned to Tehran for the 40th day ceremony. 

We met for breakfast. I found a table at the rather busy Einstein Bagels, and when he walked in, the first thing he did was to hand me a jar, with a small package of saffron in it. The jar was the one that I had given him some months back, with my homemade tomato soup. 

I sat mesmerized as he described the trip, what it's like to hear about your father from people that remembered him. Reminded me of when I had made a similar trip, some 8 years ago. 

Youseph is a positive person (aren't all immigrants?). So many changes to Tehran: signs that read come to the mosque, where you'll find a quiet place to think, where you can find shelter from an abusive relationship, where you can find peace. The mayor's initiative to fill the city with flowers. A new and interesting bridge, architecturally gorgeous, designed by a young woman. 

He recalled that as he mentioned his observations, people in the room, those who lived in Tehran, would occasionally dismiss it. "I think you're the first person that has actually read this propaganda that they put on walls." And "who cares about the flowers when after going to college for 4 years, you have to drive a taxi."

He fell into thought when I told him that he should write down his observations. I'm pretty sure I get this desire to record things from my dad. He loved to identify places and people that were in the picture on the back of that printed image. 

I look at his handwriting, and I see a record of his movements, as well as his thoughts, still here today.

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