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During my trip to Iran this past summer I visited a few cities: one of them was Shiraz, the city of Persian poets: Hafez and Sa’adi.  I fell in love with the city’s delicate architecture.  The buildings were like flowers, just looking beautiful and you had no choice but to be mesmerized by them.  Shiraz is full of sights and stories that I will share with you in time.

One day mom and I had just finished visiting one of the mosques.  They let us in for a quick visit before the evening prayers.  On the way out, I was taking photos of the doors, which fascinated me because they had two different doorknockers: one for men and one for women.  Apparently they were used in the olden days.  The difference in sound alerted the person inside to the gender of the visitor.  As I took pictures, a little boy (the one with shaved head) looked at me, then looked at my mom and said:

“is she a foreigner?”

“No, honey she’s not.” Answered mom.  “She just doesn’t live in Iran anymore.”

“Will you take my picture then, miss?”

“Sure.”  And before long, seven kids had lined up, in colorful clothes, ready for their close up.  In a hurry to finish the task, and not having enough battery in my regular camera, I took the picture with my phone camera, thinking I might even delete it afterwards.  But when I looked at it I fell in love with their faces.  I showed them the photo and I asked if it would be ok for me to take the picture with me and show it to my friends.

They looked up and down, smiled and gave me their permission. “Baleh.”(that’s the polite, formal yes in Farsi.)

I thanked them, said goodbye.  Then, as I was getting into the cab I heard them giggle and shout:  “WE ARE SUPERSTARS!”  Now I was in love with their spirits too.

Just the thought of having a picture travel abroad made them elated.  Then it occurred to me.  Children carry their happiness in their hearts.  That’s how “happiness is flowers and candy, learning to whistle, tying your shoe for the very first time, five different crayons, two kinds of ice cream, walking hand in hand. Or happiness is anyone and anything at all that’s loved by you.”  When you carry joy inside, you can have it no matter where you go, how hot or cold it is, even if you are forced to cover your hair in 100-degree weather.  And the opposite holds true as well.  Keep misery inside and it’ll travel to Laguna Beach with you.

When we were getting ready to move to the U.S. our family doctor and friend said: America is a giant at everything: opportunity, education, food, fun, sex, and drugs.  On that day all I wanted was for him to stop talking and for us to leave Iran already.  Now here we all are, in the land of giants.  Both, those who immigrated and those who were born here.

Take a moment and just think of what we have at our disposal:

Abundant opportunities, food (organic, conventional, oh heck, even processed,) transportation, good weather, fantastic albeit expensive medical care.  We wear what we want.  Say what we feel.  We can choose to go to school.  Or work and have our own independence. We can choose to marry or divorce.  Plus, our vote actually counts.

I think that qualifies all of us as: SUPERSTARS in our rights.  Now let’s stop complaining and make the best of it.  Better yet, perhaps we can flash a smile about it too.