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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Two Weeks in Iran & Happy Anniversary to Our Lovely Jay

Everyone loves weddings don't they?
Sometimes we travel hundreds of miles rather than miss a loved ones big day.

How exciting for us to be going to a wedding in Iran.
They are  HUGE, dressy, noisy affairs.
The one we went to between 400-500 people, I'm told.

I suppose by the time you get to those numbers it gets a bit vague.

Because of the large numbers gatecrashers slide in unnoticed.
After the last wedding the family worked out there were forty guests unaccounted for.

That was forty people who dressed up and went in for free dinner and entertainment.
Forty people who one side of the family assumed the other side had invited.

It was only afterwards they enquired.
"Who was that?"
"I don't know, I thought you invited them."

It's been a while.

Eight years for me.

Not your usual tourist destination.
Although becoming more so.

Nass and his youngest brother

Family draw us back.
Nass, my husbands family.
My family now too.
Meet the family....well just a few of them

From Yazd to Kensington

Nass left Iran when he was 11.
The eldest of 4 children.
The naughtiest.

A naughty boy with a kind heart.
Like the man he became.

His parents didn't know what to do with him.
He missed school, preferring to climb across the village roofs to his widowed grandmothers house.

Stayed there for days. 
Keeping her company. 
Helping her around the house.
Escaping through the back door when his father came looking.

He ran wild with other truants.
Playing in the desert.
Dodging wild dogs.
Finding hidden coins and treasures from generations past in the sand.
Selling them to shops or passing tourists.

Revisiting his old stomping grounds.

An uncle returned from a holiday in England.
He heard there were schools where boys could be sent to be educated.
"It will calm him down. He may end up a doctor."

When he left home the little boy thought it was for a holiday.
A guardian was paid to ensure he arrived safely in London.
Then on to the English school in Eastbourne.

At Heathrow the guardian either became bored or decided he had done his bit.
Or maybe never intended to do the full job.
Either one ever found out.
He was never seen again.

The 11 year old whose only English words were confined to Coca Cola
 wandered through Heathrow Airport. 

He was found distraught, after many hours, by airport authorities.

Taken to a hotel in Kensington his father was contacted.
The bewildered child spent three days on his own.

Hotel staff came to his room.
"Would  you like some dinner? " they asked, showing him plates laden with food.
"Na Merci."
So they took it away.
The boy couldn't understand it.
Didn't they know about taaroff?

For three days he didn't eat any hotel meals.
Waiting for them to ask him the polite three times.

Thankfully, his mother had given him a good supply of biscuits for the flight.

He braved going into Kensington High Street.

After the small desert village it was breathtaking.
Never having seen rain he stood on the crowded pavements and let it wash over his upturned face.

When his father arrived he was stunned by the weight the little boy had already lost.
"I'm taking you home."
But the boy argued he wanted to stay.

Another Iranian guardian was found. 

His father took him to the English language school in Eastbourne and returned home.

Not long after Iran was turned upside down.
The uprising and then the war with Iraq.

The story after is one of family lost and found.

Too long to go into here.

It is one of twenty years of separation and at times extreme loneliness.
Moments of cruelty and sadness. 
Other times of intense happiness and fun.
He says he doesn't regret anything. 
It's what has made him the person he is.

A wonderful emotional tale of being reunited at thirty one with
 the mother he never thought he would see again.

It's a story for another time.
One that I would  sit down and write now if we weren't so busy with our antiques business.

As for me, my first visit to Iran was at 17 years old.
We called it Persia then.
How much more romantic it sounds than the Islamic Republic of Iran.

I lived in Brighton, had a Persian boyfriend who was going home to Tehran for a month.
It was a surprise to me when my over protective parents said I could go.

The Shah was in power.
The country Americanised.
I wore the same clothes as I did in England.
Mini skirts and flower power kaftans.

They were given only a cursory glance.
The women there were wearing similar.

The month was a step into a different world.
One I would never forget.

But I met and married an Englishman a year later and Iran became something that happened in my youth. 

Years went by.
I adopted my lovely son, Jay.

He was four and a half at the time.
He became the centre of my whole world.

One day a write up caught my eye in the West Sussex Gazette.
It was about a 15 year old Iranian boy at a local boarding school.
His papers had run out.
The school walked to Downing Street with a petition to keep him in the country.

How was I to know, looking at that photograph, that one day he would be my husband?!
How strange life can be hey?

After 17 years of marriage my little family moved to Arundel where sadly, things went awry.

Divorce is never easy.
I joined the school PTA to keep myself busy.
We organised a summer ball.
The teacher on duty was Jay's rather attractive sports teacher.


The only Iranian in town.
Although I already knew him, the event helped me get to know him better.

We started dating.

We were, in the eyes of the other teachers at the school, like chalk and cheese.

So much so they ran a book on us.
Six months was the most they gave us.
So we haven't done badly.
It's been twenty six years!

Nass returned to Iran for the first time when he thirty.

He hadn't seen any of his family for over twenty years.
Thought he never would.
It was quite a reunion, with brothers that hadn't even been born when he left.
When he arrived at the airport he was engulfed by people he didn't recognise.

Speaking a language he had lost.
Sidi...Nass's sister

Because of further complications, he went for a month ended up staying six.
One morning his sister said he woke up speaking farcie.
Not only that, it was with a Yazdi accent.

He has returned most years. 

Me, every few years.
At first his mother was suspicious and sceptical.
An English woman taking her eldest son.
It didn't take us long.
Even with the language barrier.
Not long to love one another.

 I found myself drawn into this large, loud, laughing family.

This year we promised to return for Nass's nephew's wedding.

Here's a preview.

Much more on that tomorrow.

Virginian Wedding

And talking of weddings a huge Happy Anniversary to our Jay and his lovely Krista.
Five years ago.
Where did that just go to?

Another of the most spectacular/stylish weddings I have ever been to.

These were just the engagement photos....Simply gorgeous

Jay designed his own suit.
Even had old English sixpences made into cufflinks. 

Mother and son dance

Huge Happy Anniversary wishes 

Have a great day