I moved to the US to be near my children, who felt they would have more career opportunities and better living conditions in the US, especially with the war going on in Iran — things were volatile after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

It was difficult to leave the home I had lived in most of my life and where all my children were born and raised, but soon after the war started, frequent bombings made it dangerous to stay, so we had to flee our home in Abadan and move to Tehran, the capital. Our house in Abadan was looted, so we lost almost everything, but we were very lucky to leave safely and were able to salvage a few photos. We lived in Tehran for several years, but over time my children who were still living in Iran (several were already studying in the US) began moving to America one by one as refugees.

In February of 1991 I was able to move to the US via a sponsorship from one of my children who was already an American citizen. For the first time in a very long time I was in the same place as all of my children. My biggest challenge was not knowing much English, but I spent years taking ESL classes at Edmonds Community College. I loved getting the chance to meet other international people. There were other adjustments to daily life in Seattle, even things as mundane as grocery shopping. Instead of going to the outdoor market every day or having the kosher butcher send someone to your house to get your order for delivery an hour later, you go to QFC or Trader Joe’s. But some things are the same. I watch American soap operas here just like I did in Abadan.

Abadan will always be my home, because that is where I spent most of my life and that’s where my children grew up. Despite the war, there are so many good memories we still hold with us. But for me, being close to my children (plus 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren) is most important of all.

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