I left Iran when I was 16 years old, after getting my high school diploma in math and physics. The name of my high school was (is) Kooshesh (which translates to “hard work” or “effort”) and it was located in Jordan Street, at the intersection of Ghobadian and Jordan Ave. It seems like a different life when I think about it, the memories are awfully distant. However, there are some images and feelings during those high school days that are as fresh in my mind as ever. I lived in Niavaran, north of Tehran, which meant a long drive or bus ride to school every day. My best friend, Samira, lived on Yakhchal St., which was on my way to school. We usually walked together for a while before taking a taxi or the bus home every day. There was a pastry shop on our way on Mirdamad that sold delicious “Noon Khamei’s” and cups of chocolate mousse. I still remember the taste; how lovely it was to spend the little money that we had on those pastries. Some times we got a slice of pizza on our way home too, which usually drove our mothers crazy as they had prepared a meal and were waiting for us at home while we would arrive a bit late with ketchup all over our uniforms and not too hungry!
Image courtesy of Mohammadali
I remember clearly that one day as Samira and I were walking on the Shariati Avenue with a mouthful of chocolate mousse, I told her how much I wanted to come to the U.S. to go to college. I told her that if a miracle happened and I ended up in the U.S., I would finish my Ph.D. and would return to Iran to teach. She didn’t understand why I would want to leave Iran; everything seemed to be great, we had an amazing group of friends, and our parents were doing well. We had hopes of studying engineering in a top university and didn’t worry too much about the future. We would probably get married at some point and have kids and we’d be friends, always. Why leave? Why change? Continue reading