Sunday, July 22, 2007

Family

Over the past week various family members, more or less distantly related (family is a big deal in Persian culture and so I was even hanging out with my cousin's wife's sister), were converging on our place either in family groups or individually from all over the world: Iran, USA, Mexico, Canada and Germany. Some people hadn't seen each other in over 25 years (and others never at all). Welcome to the Iranian diaspora (due almost exclusively to the '79 revolution, there are some 10 million Iranians living abroad). Getting together wasn't particularly easy as obtaining visas to European countries for Iranian citizens is rather tricky and is entirely at the whim of consular staff (I know I've complained in the past about visas, but I have it very easy with my British passport compared to many people). However, despite such large separation, both over time and distance, there was no feeling of awkwardness between us and in no time there was plenty of good-natured laughing, banter and reminiscing about the past. I'm pretty impressed by the lack of animosity or arguments in such a big family, though possibly it has something to do with the fact that we see each other so little and for such a short time that there's no opportunity for disputes to develop. Whatever the case there was plenty of hugging, dancing, eating and singing (not by me, thank god!). My job was to show people around Prague and point out the various sights and I think that if I don't manage to find a job back in Britain at least I can come back and be a tour guide here.

For the big night of celebrations we went to rather chic local golf club-cum-restaurant (a sign of the increasing affluence of the country as some 5 years ago I don't think any such place existed) and took it over for the evening. What I found particularly amusing was that, this being the Czech Republic, a lot of the menu was made up of pork and beer and the family is (supposedly) Muslim! The evening climaxed with strange Middle Eastern music and arms-in-the-air dancing that had the waitresses scratching their heads. And then the next morning, everyone slightly worse for wear and some nursing hangovers, people started trickling off to the airport to fly back home with promises to try and see more of each other, something I hope will happen because family, when it works, is a truly fantastic thing because they are people you can fall back on and trust no matter what and without question.

2 comments:

Kangaroo said...

Hei Erik

haven't heard from you for a while. Well, ok, I have to admit that I was in Thailand for four weeks, but still....

Lots of greetings,
Sabine

Ex-Shammickite said...

Lucky you, having such a great family who will fly from all over the world to attend a family reunion. It sounds like super fun, there's nothing like getting to know family.... glad you enjoyed it.