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.