I do not know much about my family's immigration story, as much of our family history was kept a secret and all but disappeared into ambiguity after my parents' divorce. However, as the child of Iranian immigrants, I know that my parents come from a beautiful country filled with constant political change, especially following the Islamic Revolution of 1979. When I visited family in Tehran in about 2004 or 2005, the country was especially overwhelmed with turmoil due to the upcoming presidential election. Riots took place in the streets, buses were set on fire, property was destroyed, tear gas was utilized, and families were warned to stay inside. I remember walking with my family during one of the more peaceful days, and seeing a bus stop that had been attacked. The glass wall behind the seats had been shattered, and I asked my mother if I could pick up a shard "to keep as a souvenir." She nodded, and I have that translucent blue shard to this very day (although it is currently back home in South Carolina, hence the photograph which is as close to what the bus stop looked like as I can remember).
I have mixed feelings about my Iranian culture, as I find many aspects of it compelling but also struggle with the relationship I have to people within that culture. When I look at the glass shard I have from all those years ago, it urges me to think about why I, as a nine-year-old child, was so determined to get an object to remember Iran by.
– Camillia Fayyazi