As the plane’s wheels hit the ground, my heart begins to beat faster and faster. The adrenaline rushes within me. The excitement shows, glowing on my face. I can hardly sit still. I snatch my carry-on from beneath the seat, searching for my makeup kit and mirror. Eye shadow popping, liner looking slick, skin appearing flawless, eyebrows on point, I am almost ready to go. I look back in my bag and grab my tunic. Almost 100 degrees and humid, I brace myself as I put the unbearably hot coat over my tank top. I tie my hair back in ponytail and leave a couple strands hanging loosely in my face—scandalous. I reach for the bag once more for the last necessity, my headdress.


Exiting the plane, the nice, cool, air-conditioned premise, I instantly feel the wrath of the Middle East’s warmth. Affront, I see the lights of the city glow for miles. A glow from not the houses’ lights, but those of the city’s sleepless skyscrapers. The scent of the polluted air hits my nose. I hear the engine of the plane die down, and the engine of the shuttle revive. Soon, I will see myself that much closer to Shiraz.


The ground commute was almost as unbearable as the 24-hour journey to get here. Twenty minutes of standing in a shuttle’s crowded expanse of wearied families was not ideal, but neither was the hour-and-half taxi ride that followed. Crammed and annoyed, I endure the tightly packed premise only to arrive to the final destination.

The sounds of redundant honkings alert me, almost as much as the alluring smell from the legendary creampuff bakeries, reminding me that we are getting closer. I see familiar landmarks; I feel the excitement bursting from inside me.


It has been 1,095 days—too long since I had seen everyone. As the driver turns right into Gastrodash, I see a mob waiting at the beige-gate entrance. The swarm consisted of my aunts, uncles, grandma, cousins, second cousins, friends, even my great-grandma, she who needs assistance in order to transport, made the effort to join the welcoming crowd. Barely reaching the handle, the door flies open and I am immediately attacked by hugs and kisses. Tears cloud my eyes.


I am home.