Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pure Gold ~ Random Memory #3 ~ Iran

Painted by my friend Thackray Seznec while expecting her second child in Bahrain. Thackray is a talented artist who has a keen eye for small details that define a moment, or place and her ability to capture them with a few brush strokes is remarkable. Her Mother and Child is an accurate depiction of clothing and accessories worn by many women in the Middle East....what Thackray didn't know was that her painting could have been a portrait of Goli, the friend I left behind in Iran.

Goli, Amir and their two year old son, Essie, lived in a small apartment downstairs in our house in Tehran. The arrangement began when Amir, who worked in the same office as my husband, noticed we had the extra space. We agreed they could live in the house rent free. Amir would help with some of the heavier chores and he and Goli would be available to look after our children on evenings when we had social obligations. At the time, I wondered if we were making a huge to the country, I had no idea what I might be in for by accepting this unknown family into our lives, but it was one of the best decisions we ever made. In turn, Goli and Amir were able to save enough money to eventually buy their own home. As my Farsi improved, our combined families formed a tight knit group, despite our colliding cultures and the Iranian revolution on the horizon.

There was one area that caused total bafflement on Goli's part. While I could understand the gold bracelets she so proudly wore represented Amir's esteem and her marital insurance, Goli couldn't fathom my lack of adornment and tangible proof of my husband's affection. It was a conversation we would have repeatedly.

Random Memory #3 ~ Iran

We are sitting around the table in my blue and white tile kitchen and Essie, as usual, is nestled on his mother's lap. Goli jingles her stack of gold bangles and remarks that she does not have as many bracelets as a recently married cousin. Amir gives his wife a look that can only be described as ineffable and says, "if I could, I would cover you in gold."


  1. What a lovely story. It's funny- while it highlights cultural differences, it also highlights some major cultural similarities, don't you think? Sounds an awful lot like engagement ring envy in the US. Lauren

  2. Lauren, your comment is very perceptive...I've been sitting on these memories for way too long and it's time to put a face on people in a country that is very misunderstood. I'm delighted with your "engagement ring" analogy...more along that line of thinking in my post "Ironing". Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. Janet, part of your history too xo.

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