Last year at this time I was dealing with a lot of people telling me ‘don’t go.’ ‘Have you seen the movie ‘Not Without My Daughter’ was a phrase mentioned by friends, family and strangers as I planned to go with my husband to meet his family and see where he was was from.
But in 2015 I kept quiet about this huge trip we planned together. Whenever I told someone, it was always shock and ‘why.’ A few people assumed I’d be kidnapped and murdered for going. Anyone who ever met my husband would know he’s awesome. His family created this awesome guy. If he was from Kentucky or Oregon or Paris, it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d have gone to meet the parents before the wedding.
His parents were unable to come to our 2014 wedding. So in 2015 we went to them. And let me tell you it was an amazing experience. I met his family, saw how they lived, saw history that I cannot begin to explain. The devotion to Hafez, a poet from the 1300s, was sweet. In the US, we don’t idealize poets and writers. As an author, it was nice to see this cultural difference.
I learned so much. Everyone was nice to me. The scariest part of the trip was when my name was called on the speaker at the airport to go to security. As men and women must separate then I had to go by myself to find out what security wanted from me. Once I arrived and spoke English, they welcomed me. They helped me with my scarf and told me to tell everyone I had a great time.
Whoever wrote the novel that the movie was based on clearly had some sort of bad experience with one bad person. I hope no one judges Americans based on the Zodiac killer or the murder rate in the US being so high that it means all Americans are killers. (And yes in Europe if you go to the US, they sell Europeans murder insurance.)
My husband’s culture was as far as I can tell tolerant, intelligent, gracious to the core, and far more open than people realize. While walking down streets in Tehran, we saw protests just like we see if we walk down a city street in New York city. We also saw women driving cars, and walking alone.
I also think people get Iran confused with all of the Mideast. World History clearly didn’t pass along the memo that there were different cultures that existed and most of mankind sprung from the Middle East.
I had an amazing time and I would bring my child there in the future to meet her family there. Movies are just that, movies. And one person’s experience does not mean everyone’s experience will be the same.
What I learned last year is that you have to follow your heart and do what you think is best for you and your family. Other’s peoples fears are their own issues and you can’t let others stop you from following what you know in your heart is true.
So these are a few more pictures. (I don’t share the photos I took too much of his family because that’s private and I’m not sure the culturally acceptable pictures versus the casual ones. The one I’m sharing of the food is because it was typical where we sat on the floor to share a meal. The food was delicious! And yes, that is me in the pink dress.)