6.3 Isfahan with Fatima

​ Fati told me about a French guy who thought Iran was a place ‘with many camels on the streets and only chadors and things like that’. She wants me to tell everyone COME TO IRAN!! IRAN HAS MALLS AND CARS and your m&ms and sushi and Coca Cola and your favourite cereal, just sometimes in different names ~~ And cool things like carpets of course.
We went into the shopping mall with glass-paned windows and doors, and M.A.C.
With a car inside.




‘Take pictures of these and show your friends!’



Sushi in the Iranian supermarket

On my way home that day, this kind lady helped me find my way to my host. She got off the bus and walked with me / waited with me for 15 minutes. I gave her a chocolate bar, the only gift-able gift I had with me.

6.1 Isfahan, Iran

​ My favourite days. Making chicken rice and milo and drawing connections – my host and the family I crashed.

One of my favourite cities, for sure. I had the most meaningful memory in Isfahan. But not really, Shiraz and Qazvin and Tehran were so special too, because of all the people I’ve met. Sigh.

Outside the Shah Mosque,  I think.

I was thinking and rewriting my favourite part about Isfahan. As I sat in the living room watching my host, and the girl whose next-door apartment I incidentally crashed the first day, with their deep excited chatter in Farsi and their occasional eruption of laughter, I knew it was that. 


Imagine all the little incidents and coincidences that had to happen for their (neighbourly) paths to cross; the date and time I chose, the driver I flagged, the wrong buzzer we pressed – the chances are almost once in a million. I imagine these events sowing a tiny seed, and the possibilities that take root from here. I think everything happens for a reason. I hope they stay friends for a long time. 

In the evening we ate saffron ice cream and cruised down the streets blasting Persian pop with the windows wound down, driving past watermelons




female drivers whee!







along the streets

Azar shared with me that sanctions against Iran have led to the closure of many factories and resulting unemployment; once she received 1 month’s salary only after 6 months. ‘But my father told me once that when you are in the sea and you feel you may be drowning you should not feel hopeless. You should try to reach out for a float or a stone, and you should not feel hopeless.’ I wish you all the best in your dreams, Azar.


6. Isfahan, Iran

​I arrived from Kashan to Isfahan in 2 – 3hours. The bus gave a banana bread and orange juice, which I gobbled down.
From the bus terminal I took a cab to Azar’s house. I showed the driver my address and despite the seeming initial agreement of 80k he insisted it was 100k rials when I got off…. Fine, except he dropped me off and rang the doorbell of a home I didn’t know. Well blessing in disguise!

What unravelled was a series of unexpected events.
So the doorbell rang and the door was opened, and I stepped in. Someone came down the stairs – it was a girl, quite a young girl. I showed her my message and she said it was the wrong address. I caught a glimpse of the house and it was lovely. She tried to call my host, but it could not get through. She invited me to her home and we laughed and I shamelessly accepted her offer (or rather she insisted).

Shortly after her mother offered me melon tea and some candied nuts which tasted awesome.
Her brother and father came home, and before long the living room was lively with conversations and the strums of the guitar. So kind of them to perform for me, really!
My host came after the brother of the family went over to the address to call her. They were engaged in deep conversation and laughter in lively Persian as I sat and watched, trying to guess (and clearly failing) what they were discussing about.
Shortly after (they invited us to stay for lunch!) we went back.

It was such a lively atmosphere.

the living room that came alive with the sounds of the guitar and their singing – how surreal it seems, now. stumbling into a stranger’s home.

my very first taste of those delicious candied almonds! I had to remind myself to stop eating so much. i really wanted to buy some back, but with SG’s humidity they’d turn into a sticky mess.

​ My beautiful company the past days – my host and the girl whose wrong apartment I crashed. Imagine all the little incidents and coincidences that had to happen for our / their (neighbourly) paths to cross; the date and time I chose, the driver I flagged, the wrong buzzer we pressed – the chances are almost one in a million. And there they sat now in the living room past midnight, like they’ve known each other forever.
(Although they’re already so beautiful(!!), nose surgery is not an uncommon status symbol in Iran.)

Before I left they put a jewellery in a gift box (with a ribbon!!) and gave it to me as a present, luckily I brought some SG magnets and Milo packets to spare. Such hospitality :’)