I decided to travel to Iran in hazy times, in the early morning of May 5th 2018, just a few days before the Iran Deal May 12th Deadline. Indeed, uncertain, yet exciting times. Actually, I love being where things happen and I was lucky enough to be exactly where some of the most important world stage events happen.
Istanbul. Colorful youthful turbans, long dresses and full abayas appear at sight. He oils his new tattoos.
- Can I see?
- ارض (Earth in Arabic)
- Why, I ask?
- …because I’m Earth Sine and because I like this side of the world.
Yep, we’re all in it together.
In the terminals next to ours people wait to go to Baghdad, Tunis. Kabul, Jeddah. Beirut, Doha. Medina.
Still fascinated with airports and travelling after millions of miles flown, yet not so much with these night flights, waiting for connections and interminable boarding. My flights were sweet and short. Or so I thought of them, even if they were 17 hours+.
Some probably drink their last glass of wine for the next two weeks. Bus number 119 next to me. 1+1+9=11, a number that’s following me. Also my birthdate and an symbol, at the same time. A door and I love doors.
We’re not yet at the aircraft and the mystification for Iran reaches maximum heights in the conversations I hear here and there. I’m amuse
d. One of them is that even in the flight, when the captain announces we’ve crossed the border, they stop serving alcohol. Like crew don’t have something better to do.
Driving by the noses of tens of Turkish Airlines aircraft at dawn. I’m peeping at the cargo containers, my heart and eyes are of a true cabin crew. Such a fantasy world that only few understand and fewer enjoy. You can take the girl out of the airplane, but cannot take the airplane out of the girl.
Both doors of the plane bound to Tehran are opened bringing in the fresh breeze of the Bosporus. While still in my cabin crew fantasies I hear a knock in the right side door and I know it’s a wheelchair boarding. I want to stand by the door and look at the people come up the stairs to the plane and greet them. I miss the things I once hated. This is life and human nature, in the end…
Above Istanbul, off to Tehran. Alone with my thoughts, as always when I’m up in the air. No matter if 250 other people are in the same flying box with me or if my neighbor is literally using half of my seat. Maybe there’s something about being closer to God. When I decided to start flying, although I was a rising attorney, a highly spiritual person said: “If you want to work in the sky, go work in the sky”, with a smile on her face that only people who understand much more than they say have.
Flying on top of cities has something mystical abut it. Tens of ships in the Bosporus sleep while the green, pink and blue bright lights of the city reflect in the clouds below us. Planes one floor up, planes one floor down. Below there’s the moon and the plane’s wing bends to the right. How many times have I flown over this place, this city, these mountains?
Opening my eyes to see this airplane window makes me dream. With my curious eyes, I probably seem on the first time on the plane.
As always, contemplating on my purpose in life. That divine, true, core purpose. It’s true, I know what I need to do, I just need a way to do it. Flying always gave me this extremely important event feeling, as if the fate of the world would change, as if a strong force is surrounding me and I could make anything happen. This catering by Do&Co reminds me of Vienna.
Keeping my feet down to earth and my head in the clouds, I’m in my seat taking me to Tehran, the capital of Iran, a metropolis of 15 million people, a melting pot of modern and traditional, of the West and the East, of powerful decisions impacting the world and of regular people just like you and me.
In-flight announcements in Turkish. I’m already in my area – aviation plus Middle East. Recipes in the in-flight magazine. Why can’t I just be a housewife – as I declared for the Iranian Embassy? No matter how hard I tried, I know I couldn’t. Besides, I have a fate to fulfill.
Sore muscles remind me this morning I was at the Pilates class. Back to moving very fast. Does it feel good for the ones who enjoy it or is it running away from something?
Push back in Istanbul. I realize I wanted this, the too many flights we’ve done together, the crazy flights for love.
Watching a documentary on Arabia and the role of women, who peep in the lifestyle of occidental women and how they try to import activities intro their own lives, many times passing over laws and doctrine. I cannot hide there is something about women’s rights that drives me to come back to Iran.
I have prepared for it and researched a few good months and my fascination for the place has been there since I was very young. When I was 14 I chose Farah Pahlavi’s Memoirs from the library where I used to spend hours and ever since I have carried it with me – together with a tone of other books – in many, many places where I’ve moved.
At the moment I am in the most significant evolution time of my life and the ones who have gone through something like that know it’s no easy task and that you get to do things nobody understands, yet you know they are exactly what you need to do. It’s something above you and above this materiality of the everyday world.
Looking back with some detachment, almost two years down the road my first experience in Iran, I can say that was the moment and the place that produced such a click in my heart that I started changing my life completely. As always, there is a book attached to the most important realizations in my life and that is The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak.
This book was not only one of the best I’ve ever read, but the one that brought so many synchronicities in my life that it was scaring me. By now I got used to their presence. Actually I resonate so well to Elif Shafak’s books that I feel she wrote for me or I could have written them.
My last flight to Tehran seems so long ago. January 2017, the day before I met him. Where was I there in my evolution and where am I now?
I do believe everything happens for a reason and it happens at the right time, so I was waiting patiently. Oh, my transformation started with Tehran. I had to be here now, of this I’m sure, but where am I heading…
In this Turkish Airlines, decorated in red Airbus 330-300 I’m thinking of Mustafa, one of the characters in the book I read by the fireplace in a wonder house I keep in my heart, somewhere in Alborz Mountains, 70 km away from Tehran, at over 3000m elevation. So, yes, closer to God.
That small place between doors and the containers that used to be my kingdom so many days and nights. Memories of boarding hundreds of people and feeding thousands, filling baby bottles, boarding for Hajj. My last flight on 330 to Athens…
Should it be around 150 flights a year that I’ve done? And is my melancholy really worth it or it’s just fancy? Would I go back to it? I don’t really think so.
What most people don’t understand is that this life is something tangible on top of the spiritual experience, not the other way around.
Smells like bread and I’m watching Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. After eating the breakfast, I should sleep, but I cannot. I cannot. I remember the life stories on DOH-IKA flights I’ve done, people going back home after 30+ years.
For the first time, I miss flying and I’m nostalgic. Turkish Airways destinations…I cannot even follow on the map with my finger the places I’ve been to in this world. I’m truly blessed. I’ve hopped like crazy through it all: Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Sydney, Hong Kong, Moscow, Tehran. I’ve lived at least 3 lives already and I’m about to land in Tehran a week before – maybe – a crucial date for humankind.
First time to see thunderstorms from above while in a plane. Such a small gathering of fast light. Of light…
Once above the heights of Iran, the night view looks polar and thousands of stars twinkle. Cities with lights and stories and troubles and love somewhere 33000 ft beneath and the thunders that follow us for the past hour or so. 83 km South of Tabriz.
I’m doing this for my soul. “I’m not afraid, I was born to do this” – Joan d’Arc, I’ve written on the notebook I carry with me
Exactly when I’m wondering what’s the constellation I can spot through the airplane window, I see a shooting star. One second of marvel. It’s mine, it’s for me. It’s my wish, my purpose in life.
We’re almost landing, so let me put my hijab on.