Friday, May 22, 2009

Preparation: What Ifs

Today is my last day in Johns Creek, Georgia, before I fly to Iran.

My floor is covered with neat little piles (casual dresses, formal attire, jeans, shirts and tanktops, chargers and other electrical cords, pills and contacts, and so on). My suitcase is still completely empty. These past few days, I haven't wanted to wake up and face the packing--even though I've been up relatively early (about 7:30-8:00) and have had plenty of time for it.

What should I take with me? I haven't come up with a failproof system yet for going from house to house--Should I put my coverings on over my dresses and skirts or should I change each time I arrive? I am still on the lookout for a pair of linen pants that I can wear comfortably outside, and plan on buying the absolute lightest-weight manteau sold in Iran as soon as I can (of course, I'll have to cover up on the airplane as it descends, so I have a "starter manteau" to use until then).

More nagging than the thought of what to pack (after all, I can always buy or borrow clothes once I get there) are the questions of what to expect.

What will it be like to live in Iran for two months? I can't get past a image of me hugging the impressionist, transparent versions of my family at the airport and calling each person by name. After that point, I have no expectations, no clues really what this trip will be like. Past trips come back to me in bits and pieces. I have memories of cars honking outside my aunt's apartment in Tehran all hours of the night; of furtively taking off my manteau and scarf to play in the Caspian Sea in jeans and a shirt (only to cover my soggy clothes again in the few minutes it took for me to get scared of arrest); of opening snapdragons and picking cherries out of the tree in my aunt's garden in Maragheh; of driving hours to see a scraggly field of poppies and singing the Turkish song Laalah-laar about the beautiful red flowers; of driving past my father's high school, now whitewashed over with an Islamicized name. Will I be able to see more, learn more, ask more, retain more this time around?

What will I miss most when I'm gone? Although I hope I'll stay busy, I'm sure I'll have enough down-time to think back to the States, wonder what my friends are doing, daydream about walking around in flip-flops and shorts, speaking in a language over which I have full control. I'll miss homogenized, pasturized, hormone-laden fat free milk, being able to pull my clothes out of drawers instead of suitcases, having a cell phone, and sit-down toilets.

What will happen when I get back? I hope I can just slide back into my place in Charleston without feeling like I've missed too many honied summer memories to fit in again. At the same time, I don't want to come back as the same Sanaz who left.

Right now, though, as I'm writing this post, I'm wondering most of all why I'm typing. What if nobody even reads this blog? With my last blog, I could console myself with the fact that it was terse, a school project and something I entered skeptically. Now, though, I have embraced the blogosphere, and I'm jumping into this with the assumption that I have something important and interesting to share. I hope you agree, and continue to check back here over the next two months.

See y'all on the other side,

سانا ز


  1. Sanaz - I am so intrigued by your travels. I hope that your trip is everything, expected with a few surprises (hopefully good) along the way. I am anxious to read about your encounters and the lifestyle you will soon acquire over there. No doubt you will change slightly when you go, but change is always good. Never anticipate, simply exist within it and see where it takes you.

  2. I am so eager to follow this! Fatash, your blog is my new religion :-) I am very excited for what this trip holds in store for you, though I will miss the ease of stateside communication. Make sure all of your extended family learns the wonders of canned chickpeas, and make sure to post pictures of the haircut in which you have a say but don't quite know how exactly to say it. I would end up with a mullet, so I'm sure you will be fine.

    Doset doram [with spelling errors i'm sure].

  3. I'm going to miss you a TON, Sanaz.

    Your trip to Iran is going to be incredible - I know it. You have a cozy home and good friends waiting for you when you return.

    I can't wait!

  4. I'm going to read your blog :) because you are fabolous writer and person <3

  5. Dear Sanaz,

    As I write this... I just slid the lid off of a Chocolate Underground yogurt, which if you remember, I only tried based on your recommendation 9 months ago. Apparently I had a great disstate for it :)

    Your blog was so well-written as always, it encourages me to keep up more with mine. I hope your trip is fabulous, as I know it will be, and I know you soak every aspect in, as you want to.

    Be safe and I look foward to hearing all about yoru travels on your blog...

  6. Sanaz! I am so excited to discover this new blog and I can't wait to read about your travels!