The Americanized Bead of the Family
After my finals I came to visit my mother in Boston and to stay with her for a month until my last semester begins in February. While it has been very nice to reunite with my family, it has also been kind of hard to perceive myself through their eyes. As many of you know my mother is in exile and lives in Boston these days, my father is under loose house arrest in Tehran and my older sister, Lily, lives in Toronto. Although we have been far away from each other over the past 5 years-some of the hardest years of our lives mainly due to political reasons that in a way destroyed the nuclear of my family in Tehran- we all have somehow managed to stay in close touch. We talk a few times a day on the phone and my mom, my sister and I try to have reunions once in a while.
Lately, however, it seems that I am becoming the ‘foreigner’, the ‘stranger’ of this family. They often call me ‘The American’ whenever they want to tease me or complain about me. They think that I have become secretive and detached from them. They think that I do not want to interact with them. It is often ‘them’ and ‘me’. It seems as though there is bold line drawn in between us: their world & my world!
They say that even though we all speak Farsi, they do not necessarily understand the core of whatever I tell them. And they claim that I do not understand them and their culture.
I, the Americanized, find their argument to be a rather unfair claim. I, the Americanized, too, have lived their lives in Iran. I, the Americanized, too, consider myself Iranian. I, too, belong to Iran and the Persian culture. And I, the Americanized, do no think that they have the right to draw such boundaries in between me and them. It is unfortunate that even in our era, we still have to restrict ourselves to one way of expressing ourselves, to the rules of one culture and to consider those who have different ways of doing things, ‘strangers’ in our crowds.
I, the Americanized, wish my family could understand that I still love them, that I still care about them, that I still want to be a part of this family. I, the Americanized, wish they could see me beyond my cultural changes and to see that I am still the same person with the same feelings, desires and affections. I wish, the Americanized, was not becoming my nickname in my family. I wish they knew how strongly I feel about being Iranian and being a member of the Iranian diaspora here in the US.
Is this really our destiny to have to view each other through the labyrinth of cultures that at some point, it seems, become serious obstacles for interactions and exchange of feelings rather than mediums for human relations?
I wish my family could still see the Azadeh that has always loved them and that still loves them dearly and wants to be a part of their unity!