I am currently sitting in the boarding queue in Amsterdam, only a few hours away before landing in Tehran. We arrived in Amsterdam at about 7:30am local time (01.00+ GMT), and our connecting flight to Iran is due to leave at 4:30pm this afternoon.
Crossing the Atlantic, we lost about 6 hours. These were six hours that we had gained the last time we crossed the other way about ten years ago, a good enough motive to move westwards of course. The Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is quite large and looks promising for exploration. I didn’t have much sleep though, so my desire to explore so is subdued by my need for a nice bed right now. There are very comfy “sleepy” chairs here in the airport across from me (second floor up from the international gates)… oh and the Egyptian Youth handball team heading to Switzerland…
This trip has been on my mind ever since we booked it a few months ago, and now is a good time as any to finally write about it. I left Iran when I was a little girl, and I’m now returning as a young woman. I left at a point where the foundations of my identity had been rooted, to another country where my identity matured.
When I left Iran I was a child enamored with my surroundings, culture and history. So parting from that, at the time, seemed like a departure from everything I knew. Estrangement. But everyone learns to adjust and so did I – I learned a new language; I made friends, and grew up.
But as if the self-consciousness that comes with growing into an adult wasn’t enough. In a post-9/11 world, my beliefs and values, what I looked like and what I wore were being challenged in every headline. I had to traverse through identities and ideologies, trying my best to distinguish who I was from who I was being told I was. And all this time, I anchored myself in memories held in solitude, kept safe in their fragile impermanence.
When I planned this trip months ago it was to be a personal experience, a rekindling with old memories… After all, the last time I crossed the Atlantic, I never envisioned that I would not see Iran again for so many years. I hoped that the country that I left would be a better country when I returned to it. But no one seems to have had anticipated the events that have transpired in the past few weeks in Iran. Like many other Iranians across the world I’ve been glued to the news, trying to understand what is happening. What is evident in the reports and the searing images that have emerged is that there has been a rapid change in the mood of the country.
There is a point in the film Mononoke Hime by the divine Hayao Miyazaki where the character Lady Eboshi asks Prince Ashitaka, the main character “what exactly are you here for?” referring to his journey to the west. He replies “To see with eyes unclouded by hate.” In this journey to the east, back to my home of long ago, I hope that I too will be able to see with eyes unclouded and convey what I see through my words.Permanent linkMarzieh Ghiasi