Thursday, August 21, 2003

What I like

I could never say anything as bad about Iran or Iranians as Iranians say about each other and their country. I guess that is why I am surprised that many Iranians think that I am only critical about Iran. (It’s too bad K has not posted in such a long time, because his posts make mine look more positive.)

Here is what I like:

I like being an American here. Everyone is so nice to me. Everyone seems to think that Americans are wonderful. One restaurant owner had to restrain himself from hugging me when he discovered that I was American. People shake my hand. They talk to me. Sometimes they tell me that they don’t like Bush, but they always tell me how much they like Americans. This is so refreshing after a couple of years of living in Europe where all I heard was how evil Americans were.

I like the fact that I can get a really good challah at a bakery in Tehran. It’s almost as good as my grandmother’s, but not quite.

I like the fact that everyone has an opinion and that they tell me what they think. I like all the complaining and grousing. I like all of the discussions. I like that people are unafraid to voice their opinions.

I like learning Persian. I enjoy speaking the language.

I like the way that Iranians are dissatisfied with their society and their government. I like that they are working to change it (slowly). One thing I always complain about in the Netherlands is that Dutch people are too satisfied. Everything seems finished there. Everything bad that happens in the Netherlands is the fault of their immigrants. In Iran (like America, I think), there is a sense that society is an ongoing project. Things are most definitely unfinished and moving forward.

I like how K’s sisters care for his mother who is ill. I like that his older brother taught his daughter to wrestle and that he calls her, “My lion.”

I like the way his family helps each other.

I like taking the bus between cities.

I like the fact that Iranians have managed to hold on to their cultural identity despite efforts to squelch it.

I love pistachios.

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