Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Wow, it's been more than one year

"Our friends are all asking when our crazy daughter is coming home," my mother tells me.

"And we say, 'which crazy daughter?'" my dad chips in.

"Tell them they can call me crazy to my face. I will just laugh and agree with them. I won't even get offended."

You want to hear the craziest thing? There are things I really like about living here. Yes, there are things I like about Iran. Iranians seem to think that I only write about the negative aspects of life here. Not true. (To be fair, Iranians outside of Iran think I'm pretty positive…)

Living in Iran means that you get sucked into all of its attending neuroses: depression, passive aggression (or 'tarof'), uncertainty, indecisiveness, etc… Like others here, sometimes I get overwhelmed by uncertainty and depression. Sometimes I am paranoid; sometimes I am desperate; often I am frustrated. I am never bored; I am often amazed; and sometimes I am dazzled.

The two things that dazzled me most this year were these: K's cousin playing the drum while his brother-in-law sang and the capacity that Iranians have for change that does not compromise their core identity.

The first represents one of the unexpected pleasures of life among Iranian culture anywhere that I have experienced: unexpectedly some banker or engineer will start singing in a beautiful, clear voice while another plays the traditional drum or traditional stringed instrument. (Sorry their proper names escape me.) This year I have cried as K's sister sang folk songs she learned from their parents and been overwhelmed by the quality of amateur musicianship.

The second is connected. Iranian culture is open and changeable while retaining its essential identity. Oh the change I have seen in one year… Possibly much of the change is internal. Possibly I have become a keener observer, a more nuanced observer. Possibly I things have changed as much as I think they have.

I can't quite describe the changes in this post. It needs time. I will be attempting to describe these changes in my next few posts, but don't expect too much in the next couple of weeks…

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