A Vacation Of A Lifetime

by Lance Ekum on · 75 comments

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

A vacation!!  Now there's something I really love!  It's great to take a break from the daily things we do, and step into a different mode of living our life. 

Today I have a special guest with us, sharing a personal story of a vacation like no other.  Please welcome Farnoosh Brock, a wonderful friend here in this space and someone whose words always touch upon a deeper meaning within me. 

Farnoosh has created a vibrant space filled with her thoughts on life.  That space, Prolific Living, is one that touches upon the many aspects of truly living and being fully awake to what life is about.  And the thing is, from every interaction we've had, I just see this all so being a part of her being.  She truly lives what she writes, and that's a beautiful thing to see.  

Sit back and let the words Farnoosh shares touch your soul too… 

A Vacation Of A Lifetime


Have you ever left to go on vacation, never to return home?

No?  Well, I have. The vacation of a lifetime, quite literally, with all its ups and downs, twists and turns, the unknown and the unexplored.

In the spring of 1986, my family and I left Iran for a real vacation, not just to the beach or the mountains of Tehran, but off to Turkey we went! At the time, Turkey happened to be one of the few countries not requiring a visa from Iranians. It was an easy choice. It was great a spot with all its beaches, attractions, delicious food – not as delicious as Persian food but we wanted variety – and great shopping. Plus, it would be my first international trip out of Iran. That meant: no hejab! I was free to wear what I want and at 11 years old, that was the biggest freedom of all. I exploited it (within limits of course, I was with my parents after all ;))!! Suffice it to say, this was very exciting for all of us, me, my brother, my expecting mom and my dad, the planner and the initiator among us!

Toward the end of our trip, my dad made an announcement. From the way he spoke and looked at my mom, I knew he had already discussed it with her. They are such a team, the two of them, even if they are complete opposites. That decision was made on solid ground. Sometimes, teamwork is imperative to your survival.

"We will be living in Turkey!", he said, which opened a very interesting discussion, even though it was anything but a discussion. Really, the part about living in Turkey was not shocking altogether. Many, many Iranians had been fleeing Iran since 1979. However much you loved your country, opportunities and freedom beckoned you to make a choice, a difficult one, and many opted to leave Iran behind. We absolutely belonged in that category. I was rather excited.

Yes, we were going to live in Turkey and I was going to go to school to learn English and we would have a new life here together. It sounded wonderful. The part I missed in my Dad's announcement was that we will not be going back at all. We had left Iran with exactly two suitcases for all of us. Only two! I shop a suitcase's worth of nice clothes on a random trip these days, if the right mood strikes! But forget that. I had left Lucky, my beloved dachshund genius dog, with friends. I had not parted ways with my life, my school or my house, oh how I loved that house and how sorely I missed it through the years. I had not brought my "stuff" from my room. I had not said good bye to my girlfriends. I had not finished my "business" at 11 years old in Iran (mind you, I seem to have had some very clear ideas as to how I would have cleared all my "business" in order to leave the country but alas, it was not to be and I never did return, not to this day, not once).

I still remember our tiny hotel room where my dad made the announcement that changed the course of our lives forever. I remember the beds, the small balcony overlooking the garden of the hotel, the staircase, the outside and the shops. We ended up living in that room for 3 months with my pregnant mom when my Dad left to take care of some business back home. He was serious and we were all in this together as a family but we certainly wished that it had happened on other terms.

What followed after my dad rejoined us for good are three long hard and lonely years in three cities across Turkey. We learned Turkish (well, my parents refused to learn so my brother and I learned for all of us), we learned English (and thus my parents could no longer speak English in our company as their exclusive language), my little brother was born (we call him a Turk when we want to tease him), we learned that Ankara can get 4 feet of snow but you have to run in the snow if you miss the bus because school is on no matter what, and that it is not at all out of the ordinary for the electricity or the water or both of those necessities to stop working for hours at a time.

We learned that we are very different from Turkish people, even though they were extremely hospitable, kind and inviting; no matter, we had very few friends while living in Turkey. We learned that we can do anything together as a family, and it does not matter if we have to start all over again and struggle every day, so long as we had each other, we would be okay. We learned that we had no idea we would miss our family and our friends and our dog so much, and in a world without email or internet, distance really meant distance and it hurt. We learned that no house in the future will fill the void of 13 Lida Street ever again. We learned the price of freedom the hard way, and no matter how much of those years in Turkey I forget, those lessons are always with me.

In the 25 years since that decision shaped the course of our destiny, we have reached what I consider miracles of achievement and success in our respective lives. We are all happy and still a very tight family. We hardly ever talk about our time in Turkey anymore except to reminisce about a funny occasion here and there. In fact, I cannot wait to go back with my husband and visit the beautiful country which defined the initial meaning of freedom for me. Most of all, I do not live a single day where I forget to indulge in my beloved freedom, a freedom rooted in utter gratitude to my parents for the sacrifices they made.

Farnoosh started pursuing her passions only in the recent years where workaholism took a backseat and balance became a survival matter. She has a love for personal expression, writing, reading, traveling, yoga, Toastmasters, and self-improvement and explores these elements and more on her blog, Prolific Living. She is grateful to her friend Lance Ekum and thrilled to be contributing here to the fun Jungle of Life community.

You can keep up with Farnoosh by subscribing to Prolific Living, and following her on Twitter.

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Lance June 9, 2010 at 8:15 am

It’s both an honor to have you here today, and to have this story shared here. I can not imagine how challenging this would have been. And yet – that this “challenge” was also a step toward greater freedom, how worth it this was! Farnoosh, I’m touched by all of this, and by your parents and the risk they took in doing this – and of leaving an old life behind for more opportunities for them, and for you and your brothers.

You are a shining light of goodness in this world, Farnoosh! I suspect that comes from your parents, and how they have shined their own amazing light into this world… Keep shining…always…


Farnoosh June 9, 2010 at 11:35 am

Lance, my dear friend, you are most welcome. I am so happy it was here in this wonderful space that I shared the story because you and your website embody the goodness and kindness in your words. Also I am sure my parents will love that compliment. You can have me share stories here to your heart’s content anytime in the future, please know that; the pleasure, fun and honor is all mine.


Lynn June 9, 2010 at 8:32 am

What a wonderful story, Farnoosh! Although I can imagine your wistfulness at the time in leaving behind your friends and pet. My niece is married to a man from Turkey – they live part-time in Ankara. And I hope to visit there sometime.

Reading your story makes me thankful again for the freedom we enjoy in our country.
.-= Lynn´s Last Fabulous Post ..Hialeah, accent and Nick and Nora =-.


Farnoosh June 9, 2010 at 11:36 am

Hi Lynn, Ankara was city #1 for us and my least favorite but memories of ages ago reflect a child’s experience. I am certain I can appreciate the city more if I were to return. Turkey is well worth visiting. Here’s hoping you can make that trip very soon. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!


Kate June 9, 2010 at 8:51 am

What an inspiring story, many thanks for sharing. I think many people (myself included) don’t even realise they are taking the most basic rights for granted. Living in the UK all my life I find it hard to imagine a lack of freedom. I have a couple of Persian friends who also left Iran in the early 80’s for Austria, and again, when they tell me about the way it was my mind boggles.
My list of things to be grateful for grows yet again:)
Best wishes,


Farnoosh June 9, 2010 at 11:38 am

Hi Kate, you are so welcome. I think it’s just easy to forget what we have in the natural (or not so natural) day to day race from one thing to another. And you can find Persians anywhere with more stories than you can imagine. You are so sweet to share these words. Thank you!


Jewel Allen June 9, 2010 at 9:12 am

Hi Farnoosh and Lance,

I can relate to your experience! I went to the US for a three-week vacation…and I’m still here 23 years later, grateful for the opportunities life has sent my way. Things happen for a purpose; we are all part of a grander sceme.



Farnoosh June 9, 2010 at 11:39 am

Hi Jewel, what a lovely name! And I see you have been to a vacation of a lifetime too…..We are indeed part of a grander scheme and it’s nice to see it unfold day in and day out. Thank you for reading and sharing that story!


Evita June 9, 2010 at 10:08 am

Hi Farnoosh

What a story! Having left another country myself when I was little I can relate a little to your story. These are indeed life changing moments and they teach so much, so fast.

It is great that all turned out as good as it did and your vacation turned into an amazing life today 🙂
.-= Evita´s Last Fabulous Post ..Book Review: The Lost Gospel – The Book of Q and Christian Origins =-.


Farnoosh June 9, 2010 at 11:40 am

Hi Evita, another great name – I wonder if you came from Argentina (one of my favorite countries). Life changing and in a great way. Yes, it has turned into an amazing life and I sincerely hope that yours has as well. Thanks for reading the story!


Jannie Funster June 9, 2010 at 10:16 am

Farnoosh, I cannot imagine leaving my first 11 years behind to start a new life, but you are right — family IS life. As long as you have each other, you have all. And the poochie dog — the genius, you must’ve missed him so much, but I’m sure he got on famously with you friend and received lots of love.

One of my English pals and her family bought a condo in Turkey and they LOVE it there. She has invited us whenever we can go.

Heart-warming story. You are a very special person, Farnoosh. Your story reminds me to cherish my freedom.

And that Lance Guy — he ain’t so bad himself. 🙂

.-= Jannie Funster´s Last Fabulous Post ..What Would You Title This Post? =-.


Farnoosh June 9, 2010 at 11:42 am

Hi Jannie, it’s hard to imagine but sometimes things just happen and there is no choice but to adjust! Family is life, what a great phrase! Gosh I wonder if Lucky had a good rest of her life too. You oughta visit your friends in Turkey; you won’t find better beaches anywhere (well, except Hawaii). I am so happy for the reminder on the freedom bit! Lance himself is alright too, as you say!! 🙂


Audra Krell June 9, 2010 at 10:38 am

Farnoosh, Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I was so inspired by your thoughts and grateful heart. I ‘m looking at things a little differently this morning after reading this glorious post. Thank you Lance as always, for bringing life changers to the peak of the Jungle!


Farnoosh June 9, 2010 at 11:43 am

Hi Audra, gosh I love these great names on the comments here…..you are very welcome. You flatter me and I love compliments, you are so kind……Lance is a wonderful guy and we can learn so much from him.


Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker June 9, 2010 at 11:14 am

Farnoosh and Lance, thanks for sharing this story. So many of us take our freedoms for granted when we shouldn’t. Freedom is so precious and so many people around the world don’t have freedom. I can only imagine the courage that it took for your parents to make the choices that they did.
.-= Patricia – Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker´s Last Fabulous Post ..Inner Child Letters Series – Grieving =-.


Farnoosh June 9, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Hi Patricia, I know – even I have to remind myself when I feel that I have lost perspective but as long as the appreciation of our freedom stays in the background, we would be truly happy regardless of life’s ups and downs…Thank you thank you for all the kindness in your comment again!!!


J.D. Meier June 9, 2010 at 11:16 am

Talk about a change of life. I don’t think anything is as dramatic as changing where you live and starting from scratch. It sounds like everybody got a fresh start at a new life, even your dog.
.-= J.D. Meier´s Last Fabulous Post ..Wabi-Sabi – Embrace the Imperfection =-.


Farnoosh June 9, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Hi J.D., starting from scratch is the hardest part and I am sure Lucky thinks of me to this day (dogs think, right?) – Thank you for reading!!!


Tess The Bold Life June 9, 2010 at 11:42 am

Hi Farnoosh,

How amazing and thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. I love what you said about your parents being a team. They’ve set an example to all who strive to have a wonderful family. Teamwork that begins with parents trickles down to the children and that is one strong family unit. You are blessed and so are we to know of you and your journey. I love your blog!
Thanks for having Farnoosh here today, Lance!


Farnoosh June 9, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Hi Tess, thank you for reading. My parents are definitely a team, even if they are very different!! Blush blush – you are so sweet, I am blessed to have YOU and people like you as my readers…..thank you for making me smile again and again!


Joy June 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Wow! I love this story! Thank you for sharing! I love the relationship your parents had, I love the closeness you express about your family–how you can endure anything because you have each other. And the love and Faith, utmost trust, and patience you express in this story…of your family, life, yourself…beauty filled. And inspiring.
When I was in college in Savannah, Ga, I drove home to upstate NY on a long weekend. I never went bac– I missed boxing up my stuff, saying goodbye to my friends, wrapping up my GA life. I moved to So CA within the next week–literally followed my heart.
I still live with the same sense of adventure today. I do like that my roots are established; as long as I’m rooted in joy I embrace it fully– yet I find that sometimes fear is what keeps me rooted, so I process it then figure out how to move:) I find when something transforms internally and my external space is no longer reflective of that, it’s time to move space.


Farnoosh June 9, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Joy, thank you so much for articulating it so beautifully – and sharing your own bravery and courage with us. Following your heart to Southern California is wonderful. My heart has wanted to move out there a lot but I have yet to make the jump! Do not lose that sense of adventure, it brings spice and zest to life and we all can use some! Thank you for sharing your story and for reading mine!


uzma June 9, 2010 at 4:34 pm

What a courageous and inspiring journey. Especially liked the title, ‘a vacation of lifetime’. A vacation where you learnt, grew,and found joy. Thank you for the inspiration.
God bless


Farnoosh June 9, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Thank you Uzma and so nice to see you here…..I wasn’t sure about the title so you have set my mind at ease. Thank you so much for reading!


Wilma Ham June 9, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Hi Farnoosh. Going on holiday never to return, that must have been something for your parents to arrange. Your mom must have been very courageous to be doing that, being pregnant and with children. She must also have trusted your dad and all of you.
It shows you how we can adept when something is at stake. We never know how much we are capable of until we have to step up to the mark. Wonderful how your family coped, love sure does move mountains. xox Wilma


Farnoosh June 10, 2010 at 5:18 am

Hi Wilma, it was no easy task not for the entire 3 years we lived in Turkey but my mom did very well (although she does not have too many fond memories of her loneliness during that time!). We can indeed adapt to anything and I love the reminder about what all love can do. Thanks for your wonderful words here. So kind of you to say all this.


Deana June 9, 2010 at 11:08 pm

Your post brought back so many memories! And this week I found another (long) letter you wrote to me from Turkey and I can’t wait to give it to you.
I remember when we left, my mom told me to pick one toy to bring in our one suitcase. I remember spending hours agonizing over which of my beloved stuffed animals to bring with me. I finally chose a little brown dog named Jackie – 30 years later, I still have it by my bed every night, believe it or not. 🙂 In my mind, I can still picture your apartment, and ours a few floors above. I know they’re not, but I always imagine they’re just as we left them, all our things still there, simply frozen in time.
I still marvel at the way our parents and grandparents had to leave their homes and country, not knowing if they’d be gone for a week or a lifetime, going into an uncertain future, starting from scratch.


Farnoosh June 10, 2010 at 5:22 am

Deana, I cannot believe it – ok? – After you left, literally the next day, my dad woke me up with a stuffed bear that you had. I had the older, rattier version. He told me I can have your stuffed bear which was the world to me (my poor ratty version was shoved aside…I used to sleep with your newer one). Yes you were on the top apartment and no, that apartment complex has grown much too old. When Mommy brought a photo back, I burst into tears seeing what had happened to what I called home. I do not remember writing you letters but you are so good to have kept everything – and yes I want to see it!!! Was my English awful? 🙂 I marvel at all of it too and wish, fantasize, dream of watching those days on tape or from up above someday to see details, conversations, feelings that passed between everyone but of course it won’t happen. Perhaps it can happen in a sweet dream….


Deana June 10, 2010 at 9:02 am

Your comment made me choke up a little. I really do think time froze after we left – I can still picture the apartments as they were, Mahjoon & Baba’s house too. Reading that you remember us leaving the next day, that the apartment has grown old – proof that life did go on after we left! 🙂 I’m glad my bear ended up with you – the poor bear is the one that lost out to the stuffed animal I took with me.
Your letter was written in Farsi, like the other one I had given you but much longer. I hadn’t read it yet (thought I’d have you read it to me!) but I just picked it up and you say that you going to be in second grade, so you must have still been in Iran. Not too long after we left. If you can wait till next month, I’ll bring it to NYC with me. I can’t stand to mail it – I’ll hand deliver it!


Farnoosh June 10, 2010 at 10:00 am

Bring it in person and let’s read it together, when we are together again. I am sorry to have brought back emotions, there is no shortage of that on my end after reading the “daftareh khateraat” that my girlfriends shared with me. I could not believe how wonderful my Farsi was and how awful and pitiful my English in contrast! 😉 – I will have to tell you what we wrote. Thank you for keeping the letter. I wish I had brought or kept more things with me but my earliest stuff is from Turkey or early US years……Oh well, memories live on in our hearts!


Hilary June 10, 2010 at 2:08 am

Hi Farnoosh and Lance .. how fantastic to hear this story .. and the strength that parents have in some situations .. humans are very resilient and show their true characters at times. I have great admiration for all who emigrate and make that decision to move and integrate fully – great to be here and to read a little of your struggles but with wonderful outcomes. Thanks to both of you – have lovely weekends and I look forward to reading about your trip back to Turkey sometime … Hilary
.-= Hilary´s Last Fabulous Post ..Food, Food, Glorious Food … What could possibly go wrong …? =-.


Farnoosh June 10, 2010 at 5:24 am

Hi Hillary, I really can’t imagine having that strength today but I am sure if the situation arose, we, both of us and all of us here, would surprise ourselves with the will to survive and to live a free life. Thank you for reading, for enjoying and for sharing your thoughts. Maybe I will rack my brain for more memories of Turkey too……


Jenn June 10, 2010 at 7:21 am

Lance and Farnoosh, I love this post. So much to think on and great timing to be reading this.
I love the part Farnoosh where you talk about “we are not going back!” how difficult and yet freeing to awaken to that part of your life. In some ways I feel that dreams ask this of us, .. when we bring them into the reality sense. I am here now. no more fantasy, pure performance that is who we are. So thank you for this beautiful inspiration today!
Also,.. this part spoke to me so much: “We learned that we can do anything together as a family, and it does not matter if we have to start all over again and struggle every day, so long as we had each other, we would be okay.” It is so beautiful what we can accomplish together.. including our divine family here on earth that is such a blessing! 🙂

I enjoy your blog and so I was excited to see you here visiting Lance 😉
your ending comment is so beautiful also… “Most of all, I do not live a single day where I forget to indulge in my beloved freedom, a freedom rooted in utter gratitude to my parents for the sacrifices they made.”..
blessings to you and your family, and thank-you Lance for finding such beautiful guests for your community here! 😉 xx Jenn
.-= Jenn´s Last Fabulous Post ..Live Into Your Wildest Imaginations, Heart Expectancies =-.


Farnoosh June 10, 2010 at 10:02 am

With all this attention and love, I am going to start a new story for Lance right now ;)! Thank you Jenn, you are so sweet and so observant. I am glad you share the passion of family ties and the will to start again as long as we are supported by love and family. I was writing this for Lance to just show him an ounce of gratitude for all his friendship and support for me, so he is the one we should be grateful for….This has been a blast all around, even if it brought back some bitter memories but mostly bitter-sweet ones. Thank you again dear Jenn!!!


Karl Staib - Work Happy Now June 10, 2010 at 10:20 am

As an American I sometimes take my freedoms for granted. I don’t vote as often as I should.

You have a great attitude. You appreciate what your parents did for you and make the best of it. I like how you take advantage of all the opportunities before you. By writing a blog, practicing Yoga and Toastmasters you are helping make you and the world a better place.


Farnoosh June 10, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Hi Karl, it’s ok – we all take some things for granted, it’s just part of living a normal daily life and being caught in normal everyday stuff, but it’s good to have a reminder that it is indeed a priceless thing we live with and one that it would be most difficult to do without……..Thank you for making me believe that I am making an impact – I will only continue on this path. Thank you so much!!!


Tim June 10, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Hi Farnoosh:

That was an amazing story. I’ve been on vacation a few times where I fantasized about starting a new life at my destination. But you and your family actually did that…amazing. Your story also reminds me how sometimes I take my freedom for granted. There are plenty of things that upsets and angers me about this country…sometimes to the point of apathy. But I know I (we) have it good. BTW, I’ve stopped by at your blog and think that its awesome! I’m also a member of Toastmasters and have learned so much about myself and have met so many amazing, interesting people in my time there. Keep up the great work.

Lance, thanks for allowing Farnoosh to tell her amazing story here.
.-= Tim´s Last Fabulous Post ..Blackhawks Win The Stanley Cup!! =-.


Farnoosh June 11, 2010 at 7:16 am

Hi Tim, funny enough I have never thought about that on my countless vacations – I think how it may be nice to come back and live there but my goodness, to leave it all behind……it takes courage. Freedom is intangible and all the intangibles are easy to take for granted. It takes conscious reminders, and I am definitely myself one to sometimes forget….I am sure there are things that you may not like about this country too – quite natural – but it takes living somewhere else for maybe a week to gain a huge sense of perspective. I don’t suggest Iran though! Not safe!
Wonderful to meet another Toastmaster friend. Speaking of which, I had better prepare for that meeting today! 🙂


Cheryl Paris June 11, 2010 at 6:03 am

Hi Farnoosh,

It is great to read your story. The best part is you all are still together and respect each other for the sacrifices made. Yes, freedom is everything…I cannot just imagine a day without that…

Lance – You have such wonderful friends… and I am glad to have subscribed to the updates.

Cheryl Paris
.-= Cheryl Paris´s Last Fabulous Post ..Using The Extreme Power of Failure For Success =-.


Farnoosh June 11, 2010 at 7:17 am

Hi Cheryl, I am so happy to hear you say how you cannot imagine a day without your freedom. We speak from the same hearts. So happy you liked our story and of course, Lance, our mutual friend, just rocks!


Abubakar Jamil June 11, 2010 at 9:27 am

Engaging article indeed.

Great to know you Farnoosh and Lance thanks for bringing her words to us.
.-= Abubakar Jamil´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Story of You =-.


Farnoosh June 11, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Dear Abubakar, I see you are following me. Thank you so much for liking this article too – I enjoyed reading one of your recent posts. Very nice as well.


HappinessandWisdom June 11, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Great post. Following (added to blogroll and Twitter) both blogs now. Stories like these can really make us appreciate what we have. At the same time, they demonstrate that change opens-up opportunity. Thank you!
.-= HappinessandWisdom´s Last Fabulous Post ..Video about Happiness. Habits of Happiness by Matthieu Ricard =-.


Farnoosh June 11, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Thank you thank you – and what name may I call you to thank you?
You are most welcome and I am so happy you enjoyed the story. Lance gets the credit to displaying it here on his beautiful space!


Diane Fit to the Finish June 12, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Thank you for sharing your story. You and your family made difficult sacrifices and it is very uplifting to read things like this. You are very strong indeed.
.-= Diane Fit to the Finish´s Last Fabulous Post ..I’m So Excited! =-.


Farnoosh June 13, 2010 at 8:21 am

Dear Diane, you are very welcome. I am happy you enjoyed the story – and I really believe anyone can make the sacrifice and survive, especially if there are no other options! Thanks for your comment!


Judie June 13, 2010 at 12:15 am

Farnoosh and Lance, I have learned recently from a travel agent friend that many people from the U.S. are travelling to Turkey for vacations, and quite a few are buying vacation homes there.

Farnoosh, your story is quite touching. You are so lucky to have such a wonderful family, and to be so close to them. I am wondering if you got another dog? I know how sad your were to have left him behind.
.-= Judie´s Last Fabulous Post ..THE ROAD HOME, Chapter 4 =-.


Farnoosh June 13, 2010 at 8:23 am

Interesting bit on vacation homes in Turkey…..I will probably pass on that ;)!
Thank you Judie, yes I am so lucky for my family, despite their eccentricities ;)! Thank you so much. We did get another dog, her name was Brandy, she was a pure golden retriever who blessed us with 7 darling puppies, all of whom went to very good homes of our friends…..she brought us a lot of joy without replacing Lucky but with fulfilling all of us…..thank you for asking!


Vincent Nguyen June 13, 2010 at 12:45 am

Thank you for a powerful and emotional story Farnoosh
Reading your story word for word reminds me of my first days as a 4 yr old immigrating to Vancouver, Canada from Vietnam.
The two biggest obstacles to overcome was the language barrier and massive culture shock.

There are many qualities that I read from your story, but the two that resonates most for me is your high level resiliency and abundant appreciation for life because of your freedom.

.-= Vincent Nguyen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Options are key to success: What are your options? =-.


Farnoosh June 13, 2010 at 8:25 am

Hi Vincent, you are very welcome. You remember being 4 and immigrating? That’s wonderful, I know even if it were not the best time in your life, but I bet you cherish that you remember it. Language barrier is tough at first but passes…..culture shock took a lot longer for me. Years even. Thank you for summarizing the article’s highlights better than me even….
By the way, I’ll be visiting the beautiful Vancouver soon if one of my childhood friends comes there for a visit from Iran soon…..!


Evelyn Lim June 13, 2010 at 1:48 am

What a story, Farnoosh! It is certainly different from the ones that I read on a regular basis. I found it inspiring that your parents made the decision to stick together – no matter how hard the circumstances appeared to be. You certainly have great messages to share about freedom and living authentically!
.-= Evelyn Lim´s Last Fabulous Post ..How to Conquer Tokyo Disneyland In One Day =-.


Farnoosh June 13, 2010 at 8:26 am

Hi Evelyn, so nice to see you here and thank you thank you for using such beautiful words to describe what I cherish in life. Being strong as a family is no cliche after all…..


Sue G June 13, 2010 at 8:12 am

What an amazing story. Your parents were very brave to make that huge leap for a better life (freedom). As an 11 year old, it didn’t see as though it was a better life at first, but your family was together and that was most important. I know what an emotional and scary time this was for you. I was 6 years old when my parents told me they were divorcing. I didn’t move to a new country, but I did move to a new city, house, etc. I felt as though I was in a foreign country. No friends, no dad.
You are a great story teller and I felt as though I was there in the small room as your parents were giving you the news. Thank you for sharing your story. AND, for helping put things in perspective. Your parents loved you very much to leave your country. My parents loved me very much to spare me from their anger with each other.


Farnoosh June 13, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Hi Sue, I am very touched with your story too – and I love that you see how much they loved you to give you two (hopefully two!) happy homes rather than one unhappy one because their love for you is independent of their disagreements – And I must say, that you are braver and stronger than me because I cannot imagine the concept of separation even though I logically can agree and accept it. It’s very difficult for young children. You are so kind and so sweet to comment here and share your story. Thank you so much!


Coach T.I.A June 13, 2010 at 10:29 am

Hi Farnoosh! This line “That meant: no hejab! I was free to wear what I want and at 11 years old, that was the biggest freedom of all” really jumped out at me. There is so much said in just that one line. I

t was lovely to read your story, thanks for sharing it! I grew up in India and while there was a lot of freedom growing up, I didn’t know what real freedom to do and say as I please was, till I started travelling.

Having now lived in 4 countries in 3 continents and visited many more, I too cherish my freedom deeply. One of our most basic rights and yet, it hurs to know that so many who will not experience that in so many ways..

Turkey is on my list of places to visit next (along with Egypt). So you’re living in the States now? Good to meet you 🙂 Hey Lance, hope all’s well with you too! Tia @TiaSparkles
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Farnoosh June 13, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Dear Tia, that I could wear what I want, that was the biggest deal of all – and can you imagine it? At 30 something years old now, if anyone were to put limits on how I dress, I would not tolerate it and yet my family and friends in Iran still have to tolerate this lack of basics rights and freedom. You are right, some people will never experience this freedom. All the more reason to protect it and cherish it and never be complacent about it. Yes I live in the great United States and going back to Turkey as well as going to Egypt if only to see any remains of Nefertiti (!!) are on my list as well. Be well and safe travels. (ps: I thank India every day for giving birth to one of my passions: Yoga and one of my most favorite cuisines: Indian)!


Tia Singh, Coach T.I.A June 27, 2010 at 2:53 am

Yes actually, I can imagine it. Although I didn’t have to wear a hijab, growing up in India meant certain restrictions on clothing – always had to be covered up to a great extent. Indian kids these days have so much more freedom than we ever did. Someday, I hope everyone in the world will have the right to choose how they want to live, free of restrictions. Maybe not in my lifetime, but wldn’t that be so awesome.. Take care Indian food loving Yogini! Cheers! T
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Lance June 14, 2010 at 7:39 am

Having you here has been such a complete pleasure. You speak so deeply from the heart, and in that I just feel an even more meaningful connection to YOU. Know that your sharing of this story here, and the trust to allow this space to be that conduit for sharing – this all touches deeply to your caring soul. Much peace to you…always…dear friend…


Farnoosh June 14, 2010 at 9:37 am

Lance, you are so kind-hearted and sweet – thank you for all the encouragement and support – I am melting from your kindness and from all the wonderful, fabulous comments in this space. I would LOVE to write more for you in the future. Thank you for publishing the story here and for being such a dear friend to know and care for!


Billy June 14, 2010 at 7:58 am

Hi there Farnoosh,

A great post. I really enjoyed listening to you words of wisdom. I learnt alot.

I try to see life as a joy, a vacation and a joy to live, as apposed to a task or a chore. I believe life was made to be easy. Let it be that way and stop getting in the way of yourself. Well thats my thinking. Thanks for sharing 🙂


Farnoosh June 14, 2010 at 9:38 am

Hi Billy, I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed the story….wisdom is exaggeration but you are most welcome! Stop getting in the way of myself – I have never heard it put that way – I like it ! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!!


davood July 12, 2010 at 4:51 am

Hello , that is fantastic story. I don’t know that do you have the mountain climbing experience? Or no? but I had it. I normally explain about difficults and unpleasantness to conquest when I am on the mountain’s top and I am enjoying to remember them because I could prevail over my difficults . I think that you have such as feeling


Farnoosh August 5, 2010 at 10:54 am

Dear Davood, I do not have mountain climbing experience – But I have pushed myself different ways physically – But I love the analogy, thank you for sharing and I am happy you enjoyed the post. Sorry for late response here…..!! I was traveling :)!
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Dina January 26, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Wow, Farnoosh, I had no idea before that your life is very rich like this! I’m amazed to read how your family just moved to Turkey like that. I can’t imagine what was in your mind when that happened… Excitement… worry… unfinished business (yes, even for 11 years old!)
Marvelous life story…
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Farnoosh January 26, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Dina, yes it has been quite the journey! It was not easy for a long time. I was mainly excited but my Mom had a very hard time so it naturally affected me. Yes, a lot of emotions…thanks for all your support and interest today! So nice to see you here and on my blog….
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