Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Confused

There are three groups of people from Iran who have migrated and live in America. The first group consists of the ones who migrated to America during their late teens and later (17+). They were raised fully Iranian with Iranian beliefs, thoughts, ideas, ways, and traditions. We will call them Iranians. The second group consists of the people who migrated to America very young. They do not remember their birth country, adapt well to the country that they are raised in and are very similar to the natives. We will call them Americans. Then you have your third group which are the people who migrated in their early teens (11-16). We will call them the Amenians, or "The Confused"! And of course we have the "real" Americans who we live amongst, and that is what we'll call them. I consider myself as part of the third group. We are in no man's land, cannot relate fully to either Iranians or Americans, we do not feel that we fully belong to either group, we are the lost generation, we are Confused!!
The first 10-12 years of your life is the most crucial years since that is when a person gets their personality, beliefs and ideas. But you need a few more years for those beliefs and ways to take shape and mature. I was yanked out of Iran after completing 6Th grade and taken to America and thrown into 7Th grade Middle School, a completely different world! Every thing I knew and had learned in life was not going to apply any more, I was in unfamiliar territory and had to learn the new ways. So I did, I learned, I adapted and I adjusted. I had American friends through out Middle School and High School, yet I continued to consider myself Iranian because the Iranians that I knew were just like me. Until later in life I met the "real" Iranians! That is when I realized that I do not belong in that group any more. I do not understand half of what they are talking about, I cannot relate to them in any way, I do not feel one with them!
Us Amenians lack wholeness. We are not completely fluent in either the Farsi or the English Language, we have a slight underlying accent when speaking both. We do not share the childhood memories with the Americans who we live amongst and we do not share the teenage years our Iranian friends talk about. I was not raised with Star Wars nor did I go through studying for konkoor. I do not remember Saturday morning Cartoons, and I do not relate to going to darband with friends. I like "carbonated yogurt juice" which Americans find disgusting and I cannot stand del o jeegar which Iranians love. I do not like how most Americans are dry and simple, and I cannot stand how most Iranians are not genuine and lack honesty. There is no way I can play Charades with Iranians since I will not know what any thing they say means, and I probably will not have as much fun playing it with Americans. I cannot understand Hafez even though I can read it. I know all about American history, but do not have any emotions attached to it. I do not really celebrate Christmas even though it is my favorite holiday, I do not understand phrases like "voroodieh 74" or "kaf kardam"?? Us Amenians are confused because we are torn between family or individuality? virginity or freedom of choice? baghali polo or hamburger? Which group do we belong in? Neither.
What we get to do is chose the good from each group and throw away the bad and incorporate that into our lives. We have two cultures, two ways of life to pick from since we were never ingrained with one. Just like how I know by heart how to sing the United States National Anthem as well as Sorodeh Mellieh Iran, and they both give me goose bumps! That's pretty cool! I have two cultures. I decide to throw away tarof and keep the family values from the Iranian culture. I shall throw away the ignorance and keep the fairness from the American culture. I will take the fun loving spirit from the Iranians and the respect for other's choices from the Americans. I will return the cheating the system from the Iranians and give back the selfishness to Americans.
I guess I am more than whole with all of these choices and all of this knowledge from both cultures. Even though I may not be fully accepted in either one, I can lead a fuller life with both in me.


Shaghayegh said...

Shabi joon, I'm with you honey. Based on your groups I belong to the first one who immigrated here after th age of 17. I do mean what Konoor means and did enjoy going to Darband. And yet I am confused in many ways about the life style of real Americans.
I think it's not fine but I thank God everyday for the decision I made to move out of Iran.
Can you imagine if we didn't?

Kamyar K said...

A great piece...have lots to talk about this with you when we all meet again...