I’m back, and with a new story to tell…

So it’s been a while. A long while, actually. Sorry for being out of the loop, but I do have a good story to share about my absence from the blogosphere.

Around November of last year we moved across the Atlantic Ocean over to Qom. Yup, that’s Qom, Iran. My husband has joined the religious seminary (or Howza, as it is called) and we have now made a home in the IRI.

It has been an interesting adjustment, to say the least. Learning a new language, a new culture, and getting used to being far from family – which is never easy.

Currently I am back in the states visiting family, but these past few months have given me a new perspective on life. Iranian culture, although a little different from my own, is quite welcoming. Our neighbors are amazing and very hospitable, and even the locals I meet always have a smile. Naturally you run into those who are more busy trying to find a way onto the road than take a look and see if they’ve run over someone’s toes, or those who don’t bother to take a second look after they’ve shoved you in a busy market, but hey, you have to look at the bright side.

The biggest benefit of living in Qom is the incorporation of religion in everyday life. FZ loves her new school. She loves learning the Qur’an, and her school is very organized. When you go to the water fill-up stations (because regular water is salty, not sweet, so you have to get water that is suitable for drinking and cooking separately), the screen of the station says “As salamo alaika Ya Aba Abdillah Hussain.” (For my non-Muslim friends, this is a reference to Prophet Mohammad’s grandson who was killed in a battle while thirsty after being denied water by the enemy forces.)

And it’s not as “evil” as we see on TV. In fact it is easier for women to live and function than it is in Saudi Arabia. Couples walk the streets holding hands, women drive freely, wear what they want (although bodies and heads must be covered) and they work everywhere. Yet Iran is a “threat” and Saudi Arabia is a “friend.”

This is not a permanent move, but I think given the state of the culture in the U.S. I am happy my daughters can spend some time growing without caring if they have the latest toy. I feel safe sending them to school and they enjoy life playing with the neighbor kids. They eat fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables and are not bombarded by sugary cereals or candies.

All in all it has been a good adjustment for our family and although I miss my family dearly, I know this is better for my children. In the end, that’s all that matters to me.