Moving Abroad and Starting a New Life

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Last week, my mom Fariba joined us here on Mon Petit Four for the first time, giving us a brief introduction and a short snippet of her life. Today, she’s addressing a couple of your guys’ questions in today’s post, which will hopefully shed some more light on how her life in America came to be and what her experience has been. 

A family photo in Montecito

Moving Abroad

Although our circumstances can each be different, I would say one should ask these 2 questions of his or herself before deciding on a move: 

  1. What is the underlying reason/desire to move? 
  2. Do you feel the move will be worth it?

In my circumstance, the answer to the first question was very easy. As I mentioned last week, I was excited to start a new life with my husband and move to a country that seemed to be full of opportunities. I was also leaving my hometown of Tehran, which at the time was undergoing the revolution of the Islamic Republic. 

You can imagine the atmosphere was tense and unknown. It sure didn’t take me long to make my decision to move abroad. 

To answer the second question, which is whether I thought the move would be worth it, for me the answer was yes. I figured that even if America was not what I imagined it to be, it couldn’t be worse than what was on the horizon for me in Tehran. 

Did I miss my parents, my siblings, and my friends? Was it hard to be away from them? Did I miss the holidays, gatherings, parties, and events? Heck yes. Badly. 

But, I did my best to focus on building my own family with my husband, here in America. I learned and embraced many American traditions over the years.

I’m a firm believer of “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” however, I still made an effort to share some of the traditions and values I grew up with that were meaningful to me. 

Eventually, most of my family immigrated to America too, and that made my life in America even better. I feel very fortunate and grateful that my family and I were able to come to this beautiful country.

If one is given the opportunity that I had been given, to move abroad and experience something that could potentially have a very positive effect on his or her life, then I firmly believe one should go for it!

(Photo above taken in Montecito, California – my happy place here in America!) 

6 thoughts on “Moving Abroad and Starting a New Life”

  1. After reading the comments I decided to throw my two cents in the foray. I am also an immigrant; I came to the United States when I was 11 years old. We came as a family unit, my father, my mother, my 13 year old brother and me. My father and mother were both fluent in several languages including English and German. My brother and I were fluent in French, Portuguese and Spanish. Having limited knowledge of English became burden for me, my brother had soccer to rely on, and I had nothing. My father was a foreign consultant for several American companies we moved and traveled a lot. Our first home in the United States was in the Midwest, Evanston to be precise and I learned to loathe it. Mainly it was the ignorance about foreigners, the lack of empathy, and the lack of simple knowledge of day to day geography about my native country. Soon my parents noticed and realized that the fun, happy go lucky child that once lived inside of me was gone. And in its place was a sad miserable child that was constantly bullied by children from a distant place. Arrangements were made to send me back to live with my Godparents, I was miserable and sad. It was God sent that my father had the opportunity to move to California…and there I thrived. How I loved California and it changed the way I view America. Again our little family was on the move and this time we were going South..Atlanta. I loved the South with its genteel attitude of its citizens a much slower pace of living and this was at the height of the Civil Rights movement BUT I REALLY NEVER NOTICED. I never saw riots or anger the time we lived there. Soon we were on our way North again and we settled in New York. The navel of the world, it is there that I went to college, met my future husband and laid the foundation for my future. New York at that time offered the kind of diversity that you did not find anywhere else. As I see it America does not have a culture, it borrowed from every other person that came from the Old World. I happen to have Native American culture (Inca), but even that is extinguished by ignorance, even today. I would have been totally different if my parents did not have the opportunities that they had when we first came to the United States. Education, skilled employment, the ability to speak English but most importantly to INTEGRATE and become part of this country.

    • It was so great to read your comment, Sandy! I think you touch upon really valid points, especially the fact that where you land can really make a difference in what your experience is. I’m really happy you were eventually able to find somewhere that allowed you to flourish. The hope is that all of us can uphold the ideals this country stands for and make it a welcoming place for newcomers so others don’t have to experience some of the challenges that immigrants face when it comes to integrating and adapting to a new culture.

  2. You were lucky. I came here as a9 yr old and had a horrible experience with racism and the educational system. It was a different era then and today it feels like that era is coming around again. Of course i also had in later years very good times. As you know the climate not the weather, can make or break ones experience.

    • Definitely, Jacquie! Racism and xenophobia, unfortunately, still exist, and those are just some of the many challenges immigrants can face when they move anywhere. That said, I think my mom would agree that these were challenges she was willing to risk encountering due to the changing landscape of her hometown and the uncertainty of that time period. Speaking from the perspective of being born and raised in America with parents who were immigrants, I can definitively say that my parents’ experience had a positive effect on the way I grew up. It made me incredibly open-minded and accepting of other cultures and races. More than that, I think it shed a lot of light on the circumstances in which many immigrants come to America and understanding of the hardships they face.

      It’s awful that you had a horrible experience as a child – no one should go through that. The worst part is that you’re not alone. I try to be optimistic about our progress with these issues, but it can definitely be hard sometimes with everything that goes on in the world!

      Thanks for your feedback and for taking the time to comment! 🙂

  3. Moving or coming to Montecito, CA , is/was a big privilege.
    You might not have had the same response or excitement if you had ended up in Compton, Ca. Sounds as if you were/are very lucky.

    • Hi Jim! It definitely helps to know that whatever town you’re moving into is beautiful, safe, and friendly! I know my mother is very grateful that she was welcomed into a community like this. 🙂


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