When we were on the plane to our next destination, at the very end of boarding a very beautiful lady stepped onto the plane. She had her hair dyed blonde, wasn’t wearing too much make-up, so a natural beauty, and she must have been an artist. She looked like and was treated like a famous person and she was carrying something that seemed to be paintings.
As both, my cousin and I didn’t come from Iran, unfortunately we didn’t know who she was. Anyway, there was only one seat left, right next to my cousin. As for muslim policy, if I may call it that, she would have never sat or even asked to sit next to my husband, and everyone on the plane has probably thought my cousin was that. Well, even if he had been, I’m not the jealous type, so once I understood what was going on, I offered her to sit next to him. I hope my cousin didn’t have a problem with that 😉
She was so happy, that when we got off the plane, she came to hug and kiss my kids and wish us all the best. What a lovely woman.
Flowers, flowers, flowers.
Having finally arrived, my cousins got to the airport one after another this time. They have had to drive a long way to get there, and couldn’t all arrive together. Everyone brought me flowers, and flowers, and more flowers. Too many for me to carry all. The cousins and … thus the flowers … didn’t stop coming.
I stayed in this city for about 2 days and until the last moment, really until the very last moment when we were already getting late for our flights back, more cousins arrived to meet me. I finally understood that my family is huge!
The kids were happy, happy, happy. Everyone loves kids here and you can already notice this on the flights. They get extra meals with extra toys and extra pens to draw and extra papers, and extra… you get my point. Iran – would you have known – is a paradise for kids. Even on the streets, on almost every corner, you will find a playground.
People love kids here so much I had to change my complete habits. In Germany, you teach your kids to be quiet all the time and would never take them to fancy restaurants or something. This is completely different here. Well, I don’t know for the fancy restaurant bit, but people here always asked me to stop stopping my kids from doing whatever they’re doing, and they said: “Boys are supposed to be wild”. Yeah, that’s easy when everyone around you thinks like that. But when you’re in Germany, no one thinks like that 😉
The next day we went to see another one of my aunts. Her family had invited us over and prepared some great food. Did I already mention that they have great food in Iran? If you have the possibility, go to a persian restaurant, you won’t be disappointed. If you are not used to foreign tastes however, it might seem a little strange in the beginning, sometimes it’s a combination of tastes like sweet and sour (but not like Chinese).
So when we arrived at my aunt’s house, I remembered from reading the book “Not without my daughter” (published by Betty Mahmoodi some time around 1989) something you should say to elderly people in order to show your respect. I didn’t recall it exactly but it was something like being a good servant or – whatever. And you would have to be quite obedient or even submissive or so. I asked my cousin, before we entered the house and he didn’t quite know what I was talking about. I said, isn’t there anything special I must say to her in order to show her my respect? He said, with a deep voice and a sinister tone: “Yes, there is something you can say. Say to her: ‘Hello, aunt Layla'”.
If you hadn’t noticed it from my previous tellings, my cousins can be really funny. They were telling each other jokes all the time and I felt like they never were really serious. So we were sitting around my aunt and I was kind of shy and all of a sudden, everyone started laughing. Then they translated it. One of my cousins must have said something like “You’ve gotta get yourself a new husband!” and the next one had said something like “But not just any guy, it’s gotta be a young one!” And the laughter was big. Oh my… I think my face turned red like a tomato. So much to behaving submissively towards the elderly.
We also saw the house where my father had been born and grown up in. A tree had been planted when he was very young right in the center of the front court and that same tree my father has grown up with is still there.
One of my uncles surprised me one day early in the morning. Apparently he had been driving all night from a city that must be like 7 or 8 hours away. He and my kids immediately got along and when my little one had this phase of not wanting to eat anything, he got him to eat his meal up completely – like magic.
When we had to head back to the airport on our last day here, we had the whole family accompanying us. Thousands of cars drove along with us, everyone kept blowing the horn, all warning-lights were turned on and you could hear music coming from every car. When we arrived, the whole airport was crowded by my people. My cousins, my uncles, everyone.
Even my kids were so overwhelmed at this point, that the older one started missing his daddy like he hadn’t seen him in a long time.
A day later, we flew back to Qatar to say goodbye to the family there, and then we finally got back to Germany. I had taken off two weeks only for this holiday, as I hadn’t been too sure about what I’d have to expect. In the end, time went by much too quickly and that lead to my decision: I absolutely needed to go back and spend more time with my families now that we had finally been reunited. I wanted to learn more about their culture, habits, traditions, religion, and everything else about them.
So I did. I quit my job and flew back to Qatar with my kids to stay there for a while. I’ll tell you more about it. See you later, alligator 😉