My first day of my Western Civilization class at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Professor Robert Porter had us go around the room and tell everyone our name, year, major, hometown and an interesting fact about ourselves. Luckily he started with the other half of the room so I was able to think of what I was going to say. At first I thought I would bring up that I am an avid movie fan and at the time I owned over 250 movies but then I realized that it was not interesting enough especially after one guy got up and told the class that he was in New York City on September 11, 2001. I could have told the class that I had gone to Yosemite National Park in 1997 and took 9.5 roles of film or that I attended the games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on the two nights that Cal Ripken tied and broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game streak.
But I had a truly unique experience, one that probably no one in the class had ever experienced, especially considering most of the class were not even born at the time this happened. I stood up, gave my name, year, major, hometown and then "my family and I were evacuated out of Iran in 1978." There were a few gasps around the room.
I remember bits and pieces of our time there. My mother kept a journal which she recently turned into a blog: http://americansiniran1978.com. The United States really let Iran down in the late 70s and we are all paying for it now. Most of what I remember is that we lived in a HUGE concrete house that had a pool in the front yard and our backyard was very narrow and concrete. Iranians have so few trees so they keep the ones that they have so there was a tree in the middle of our street. My bedroom was directly above the garage. My parents kept us very sheltered from all the upheaval that was happening. The above photo was taken the day we were evacuated out.
An interesting twist happened a few semesters later when I took another class with the same professor. In the class were two Iranian girls (their parents were Iranian) but they had never been to Iran.