Married to an Iranian it took me a while but in October 2010 I finally organised and prepared myself to visit this fascinating country. I had very mixed feelings about the visit but I was determined to go with no negative pre-conceptions about the ordinary Iranian people. Those I have met in Europe are wonderfully friendly, compassionate, fun-loving, respectful, hard-working and have all, without exception, welcomed me into their fold. I purposefully went with an open mind and all good intentions to embrace and respect their culture, just as I expect others to do here in the UK. In short, I was prepared for a really unusual adventure and amazing cultural experience.
I was not to be disappointed.
As a long-term depression sufferer however I was also aware that two weeks in a foreign country, immersed in a vastly different culture, with reduced at-your-finger-tip communication with my support network and the obvious language barrier combined with being out of my routine would put huge pressure on my ability to cope and may spiral me into a depression. That was the last thing I wanted but was it a genuine concern? There was only one way to find out.
I knew that I didn’t just want to be a visitor. I wanted to be accepted as an honorary “Iranian” Was this too much to ask or expect? I wasn’t sure but I found out for myself. Armed with my new Iranian passport and a basic knowledge of Farsi, the Persian language I was confident that I would survive the two weeks. The following posts will give you a flavour of what I have encountered during my visits so far which has been more positive, inviting and welcoming than the general media portray.
Pimsleur-Conversational Farsi- 30 CDs providing basic conversational Farsi. A very useful comprehensive introduction to the Persian language and enough to get you by.