Love and warmth back home in Iran

My family and I have been in Iran for four full days, but it still feels so surreal.

Meeting my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins for the first time had such an unreal quality to it because I never dreamed that I would be able to experience their love.

My favorite meeting so far was when I saw my grandparents for the first time. Technically, I have met them before since they lived with my family on and off up until I was three years old, but I have no memory of them whatsoever. However, it was apparent that when my family came to their apartment on our first day that they remembered me.

Both my grandmother and grandfather, or Mamani and Bababazorg as they’re known in Farsi, embraced me with such love and joy that I immediately knew that this entire trip to the Middle East was worth it. They kept hugging me and kissing me that it seemed like they were never going to let me go. I experienced that same greeting with everyone that I met, from my dad’s brothers to my cousins. All I felt was warmth and love from all of them.

It’s because of all my extended family’s acceptance that I feel so comfortable. To feel such love from people that I never have met has been so awe inspiring that I feel like I can be myself.

Thus far, this trip has been a success. Even if we were to come back tomorrow, I would still think that this trip was worth it just because I was able see my Mamani and Bababazorg’s faces light up with pure joy and to feel their love.