My early teens
Traditional Persian music
An underlying sense of sadness
That’s what the music evokes in me
I don’t know why
Somehow I associate it with
Something somewhat tragic
Maybe there is a sadness in the
Voices of those who sing
Maybe I just remember sad things
People living difficult lives
Not reaching their potential
Being deprived of freedom
So much wasted potential
And yet they sing
They carry on
What choice have they after all
I’m a Persian girl who grew up in Canada
Married a Dutchman and lives in Quebec now!
Where should I start?
I guess at the beginning…
My Persian heritage has shaped me
It has given me the gift of poetry, hospitality
And strong family ties
My Canadian upbringing
Has given me the gift of religious freedom
Our best attempts at equality of women and men
And freedom to be me
Not what others expect me to be!
My association with the Dutch
Has given me the gift of authenticity
Artistic expression, music and love!
My time in Quebec has given me
My passion for poetry, exploration of the arts
Self discovery and growth!
I’m happy to be all of the above
And I’m thankful for each!
It hasn’t always been east to navigate
Different cultures and try to figure out
Where I belong
But I’m in a good place now
Not hesitant to acknowledge my heritage
Not worried that I don’t fit in
Not confused about where home is
As they say
Home is where the heart is
And perhaps I’ve had many homes
This is the kind of world we live in
Things are not black or white
But all the colours in between
What is it about drinking tea that is so soothing?
Especially when drunk in the company of a friend?
Is it the aroma of a lovely tea chosen with care?
Is it the warmth of tea felt all inside as one drinks it?
Is it the conversation that one can’t rush?
All of the above perhaps and much more!
Tea brings people together in a beautiful way
It’s a binding agent!
It communicates love!
It says I have time to make you some tea and
Sit, and drink it with you as we chat!
It means I’m giving you attention
I’m happy to serve you
For all these things, offering someone tea
Is one of the loveliest things one can do!
Also, this tradition runs in my veins as a Persian girl
Offering tea, one of the first things one does when friends come over
It’s a warm welcome, a warm hug in liquid form!
The scent of saffron and rosewater
Reminds me of my Persian past
The busy streets of the bazaar
The veil-clad ladies
Bargaining for the best price
The tree-lined streets of Shiraz
The entrance gate
The garden of our house
Where the weeping willows cried
The large dining room
Where many a guest dined
The American school I went to
Where East met West
And my heart was won
Where the language
And culture of the West
Opened my eyes
To another reality
In a land far off
Where I experienced
The richness of diversity
And a door was opened
That could not be shut
And so it was, that gradually
There grew a yearning
In my heart
To know those lands
To experience freedom
Freedom from religious prejudice
Freedom of thought
Freedom to express myself
And not be afraid to talk
Many days have passed
Since those days in Iran
I have called many cities home
I have laughed
I have cried
I have experienced the freedom I longed for
But as I think of my sisters and brothers
In Tehran and Shiraz
I hope that they too
Will soon taste
The sweet savor