About a month ago I had the idea of taking a two weeks vacation to come to Iran for the Persian New Year. At first this idea was just a dream, for seven years I never even dared to think about it. There was no question about taking a two-week vacation in the middle of March while I was in grad school in US. This year, with a lot of hesitation I asked my boss if I could be absent for two weeks and she didn’t object. Later, I realized that she hadn’t realized it was for 2 weeks (even a bit more), but still, she was kind enough to buy a gift for my parents and wish me a happy vacation.
When I was a kid, the New Year vacation, which started the first day of springtime, was the most exciting time of the year. The schools were closed for two weeks. We would all get together and leave for our summer house in Daryakenar, in the north of Iran at the shores of Caspian sea. Many of my parent’s friends had their own places and at nights we would get together for dinner parties, etc. My best friend Melanie, also was always here with her family. The only problem was our enormous amount of homework assigned for this time period. It was then that I realized there are two types of people, first those who would do their homework during the first days and get over with it, and second: those who would postpone it until the last night. I was always among the second group! I even remember once, my sister was writing my homework for me and my mom was telling her: “Make some mistakes and write a bit messier so that it resembles the handwriting of an 8 year old”! Unfortunately, my sister left Iran when I was nine, and I was left with my New Year homework afterwards.
Last week, the day after I arrived to Tehran, we left for Daryakenar. Now our group is much more meager than it used to be. Many of our acquaintances have either left the country, or passed away. I walked by my Melanie’s house, the new owners were there and the house was in good condition; that was reassuring. Daryakenar is quite different from what it used to be. Until few years ago, there was a constant presence of the infamous “morality police” in the streets. Loud music, women with bad hijab, Guys with tight shirts, or women on bicycles were reprimanded on and off. Now, there is not a sign of these “guardians”. People are enjoying themselves without being worried. At nights, we even have trouble sleeping because of the loud music from our neighbors!
We will be staying here until the 13th of Farvardin, which is another Iranian holiday. This is the day that everyone goes out for a picnic. I can call it a “collective” picnic. It’s called “getting rid of the 13” (13 is considered a bad omen number). I will be returning to France two days later, I feel a bit bizarre not to be in Tehran for more than 2 days and not seeing any of my friends, but there is not much I can do about it. Life is waiting for me in Paris.
My homework for this time is to organize my huge amount of pictures that I have accumulated on my computer and to update my mothers website. There is no one to help me this time!