When we planned our second Field Note From Iran, we had no idea how significant our trip would seem this soon in retrospect.
In Iran, we felt completely safe and we were welcomed with warmth and hospitality. We remember gooey-thick yogurt and saffron rice, pedestrians flowing like music through hectic traffic, and a courtyard of persimmon trees under a full moon. We cherish the days spent watching women hand-knot Gabbehs in open-air tents around the foothills of the Zagros Mountains. We recall the lunch served to us seated on the floor of a family home, where the daughter taught us to weave on her toy loom and looked adorable in her school uniform.
The majority of Iranians lead secular lives. Only about 10% actively practice religion. The mullahs are omnipresent (on billboards, the radio), but people we talked to said the government’s opinion didn’t represent theirs. Most people there are like most people most places. They download apps to read forbidden news and to surf dating sites. They follow fashion, beauty, television and film (also downloadable, uncensored and subtitled). They love discussions and learning.
Our admiration for the Iranian people is vast. We have so much to learn from this culture, which spans volumes of history. We arrived just days after the U.S. presidential election, people there reminded us that “now” is just a speck on the human timeline, and that change is constant, and that so is art. Now we are prouder than ever to sell Gabbeh rugs. Soulful and tough, they have outlasted regimes, wars, embargos and more. We look forward to our next trip, whenever that may be, and meanwhile, the good that we experienced in Iran shines in full color at Archeo.
Margit & Molly