I created a scrapbook which is composed of pictures and letters. I wrote these letters to myself as if I were my grandmother just after moving to the United States. I composed this because in the film, American Creed, Condoleezza Rice said, “It doesn’t matter where you came from, it matters where you’re going” and the students responded that it does matter and this made me want to know more about where I came from. I wanted to learn more about my family’s history and I thought this was a creative way to get to know my grandmother.

Dear future grandchild,

I’m your grandmother, Soraya Nevin, and I came here with your grandfather, Nik Nevin, from Rasht, Iran. Before we came to America we were Soraya and Ismail Niknejad, but your grandfather thought we needed to change it in order to fit in.

After Nik and I got married we came to America because he went to college in America and really liked it here. I knew nothing about America, but I loved Nik and he wanted to live in America. When we came everything was new to me, but I got used to it little by little. I love it here and I’m never going back because after being in America I realized what I didn’t have when I was in Iran, freedom.

Nik and I, we love it here. We live in a suburb of Los Angeles in Southern California. When we came here everyone welcomed us with open arms. People did not treat us any different and I didn’t feel any different. For example, our neighbor is so kind and caring, she comes over and helps me all the time and shows me how to do different things. Also, one of Nik’s friends invites us to their house for dinner and it is lots of fun. I hope to have them over sometime soon.

I am learning English, but sometimes it is confusing. For example, my neighbor says talk to you later when we finish visiting. I thought that meant I could come back over later in the day if I got lonely.

I hope this is read by my grandchild or grandchildren. I want you to remember where you came from. I also want you to know about your grandparents in case I never get to meet you and tell these stories in person.

Love your grandmother,

Soraya Nevin

Dear future grandchild,

I hope that you are doing really well and I hope that maybe I have already met you. In this letter I will tell you about my childhood and what it was like to leave my family and come to America.

Throughout my life expectations for girls changed, but when I was little we did not wear chādors. At my school we had uniforms just like I’ve seen at some of the schools here in California. I used to walk to school with my best friend. We would walk in the morning to school, come home for about an hour for lunch, go back to school and then walk home after school.

I often wonder what might have been if I had been able to go to college like my sisters. They went to university in Russia and Jemhooray is a doctor. Luba is a nurse, and Mushruteh is a midwife. So while I feel lucky to be free in America, I do feel I missed making more of my life.

When I came to America I had to leave my family. I had three brothers and three sisters. It was very hard to leave, especially leaving my mother. She is a wonderful mother and I love her so much and I miss her dearly. I also miss my father a lot because he died when I was little and I cherish the memories I have of him. My favorite memory was when he would sit on the balcony and tell me, “Soraya, the apple fell you go pick it before somebody else gets it. You go get it.” I also missed our home, especially the courtyard and all the fruit tree–figs, pomegranates, and that special apple tree my father loved so much.

Love your grandmother,

Soraya Nevin




Okemos High School American Literature with Mrs. Reed

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