Married to an Iranian, it has taken a few years but I finally got my a**e into gear and agreed to visit this mystical but highly controversial country. I had very mixed feelings about the visit but went 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 have no desire to enter any political or religious debates and I purposefully went with an open mind and 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 also aware however 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 which in turn will spiral me into a depression. Was this a genuine concern?
I didn’t 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. The following posts give you a flavour of what I encountered, which was a lot more positive, inviting and welcoming than the general media portray.