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,