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California Fire Revived a Painful Memory, When I Left Home...


I was looking at the fresh laundry that I folded the day before but hadn’t put away and thought to myself, this is what we use on regular basis, so they will definitely come with me… Along with them was a bag that held our passports, two back up hard disks with all our pictures, and of course our documents. I paused for a minute and asked myself: what was important enough to take?

The only thing that flashed in front my eyes was my family.

With my husband traveling for work, my son at school, and my brother’s family visiting us from Vancouver, I didn’t have other family member in San Diego. Staying home close to my son's school with my brothers family was the only sensible thing to do. I could only drive one car, my Santafe had more space. With 5 people, and a dog, I only could take couple suitcases with our essentials…

That was oddly familiar… It reminded me of the night I was leaving home to the world of unknown. The night of October 6th, 2001 when I was leaving Iran to fly to the United States.

I still remember the night vividly.

As a young women barely 20 years old, my husband and I were packing our stuff to leave our clan for an unknown future with a single entry visa. It was a struggle to fit everything in four pieces of luggage. Making a choice between necessity and memory was daunting. My dad was sitting in the corner of the couch and listening to “Mohammad Esfahani” “tonight in my heart I have a light”. He had a tissue and once in a while ran it across his face, trying to hide his tears.