Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Persian ways

Every minute we were there, our hosts were eager to see that we were entertained. Shirin and Siamak arrived each morning to take us somewhere new. We explored the Pike Place Market and downtown one day, ending at the Elliot Bay Bookstore. Majid met us there and magically, somehow everyone else had left to do other things, leaving the two of us time alone to talk.

It’s so refreshing to know that there is a whole other group of people now in my life who are mature and kind and generous, brilliant and passionate. I only wish that I could have done more. It’s true the saying that it’s better to give than to receive. After being the recipient of so much affection and generosity for four days, I only wanted to give back to these amazing people. They promised to let me return the love when they come to visit us in NY.

I learned about a Persian custom called Tarof. It has to do with manners and the requisite courtesy that one pays to family or friends. It’s very complicated and I doubt that I’ll ever completely understand it, but I think that it has something to do with the way that we were treated. No matter that we weren’t close, since we were visiting in their city it was their obligation to treat us as their special guests. I hope that we weren’t too much of a burden and that somehow, despite all the work involved in entertaining us, they managed to have a good time too.

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