Again, the beginning of the year is going to commence with a trip. This time I’m headed to the Middle East, to my native country of Iran. But this time I don’t go into a country with a completely blank understanding of the country, I’m headed to Tehran with two perspectives: one as an Iranian and one as a Canadian. Other than being born there, being taught the language by my parents and visiting a couple times, I am fully Canadian. I’ve been living on a diet of bacon and maple syrup and been calling football, soccer since I was two years old. The last time I visited Iran was 12 years ago and I think it’s safe to say a lot has changed. How will these perspectives serve me?
Visiting Iran as a Canadian: I’m a little bit nervous. There is so much you read and hear about in the Western media that it starts to have an negative effect on your knowledge of the area. On TV you see wars, bombing and executions. What I remember about its past is the First Persian Gulf War and the 1979 revolution. I’m worried about what I can and can’t take photos or videos of. What is acceptable to say about the government, if anything?
Visiting Iran as an Iranian: I’m excited. There is so much you read and hear about from Middle Eastern media and family that it starts to create a delightful view of the region. On satellite TV you watch sitcoms and learn about the cultural initiatives in the country. What I remember about its past is Cyrus the Great and when drinking alcohol was legal pre-revolution. I see Instagram and Facebook photos and videos on YouTube that paints a picture of the lives Iranians are living, which is pretty similar to young Canadians.
I know I will be in for some surprises but I feel like, with any travel I’ve done, I’ll come back with a positive experience with lots of photos and video to share.
Do you have some suggestions of places I should visit?