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6,876 miles. This might be a hard distance to measure, so let me help you understand how far it is and just what it has entailed. It’s not only how far I’ve travelled almost every summer to see my family, but it’s how far I’ve travelled to become who I am today. Traveling this distance has elevated my global awareness and sparked my future pursuits.
Going to Iran as a 7-year-old was much different than going as a 17-year-old. At 17, I took a closer look on how women had to sit at the end of the bus. Further, I began to see inequity in places of leisure. I wasn’t focused on building a sandcastle anymore, but took note how there was a big tarp stretched out into the ocean to separate the girls from the boys. Not only were men and women separated physically, they were isolated socially too. Married women can not leave the country without the written consent of their husband. Women have been sent to jail immediately if they speak out on women’s rights. I began to see inequity that I had never even considered before nor thought about just exactly what it meant.
Coming back to North Carolina was always a big relief. Not just the type of relief you get when you’re finally back in your own bed after a vacation. A relief that made me comprehend just how lucky I am. I could go outside wearing whatever I wanted to. I could walk into my classroom after that summer vacation and see girls… and boys. All the everyday things I took for granted were things that some people would never see. My mom didn’t feel that relief when we would come back from Iran. In fact, I could see it in her eyes that she wanted to stay longer.
Although it was hard for me to say goodbye to my aunts, uncles, and grandma, it was harder for her to say goodbye to her sisters, brothers, and mother. Luckily for her, as soon as she was connected to Wi-Fi, it was like she never left. Skype, Facebook, and instant messaging were her refuge. She could connect with her family that was the aforementioned 6,876 miles away. This emotional event made me have another awareness -I want to be the person behind the technology to make the impossible possible, to connect people who are hours away in just one second. To bring a sense of togetherness when people are apart.
Being Iranian isn’t just something that I identify with, but it’s also something that has shaped who I am today. Everyday I wake up with this identity, everyday I wake up knowing I am living a grateful life and have to make the absolute most of it. Not just for me, put for the people who can only dream of this life. On top of this, My identity has guided me in discovering my passions and pinpointing a potential career. There are millions of people like my mom who depend on technology, be it for communications or otherwise. Being among the minds behind this phenomenon would be a great honor.
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