You can always learn a lot about a country by just going through your purchases—what you need to buy to fit in, what you find everywhere, things you lack back at home, gifts you’ve received, what you chose to bring back for friends, and the little things that have personal significance that let you keep a part of the country with you always. Although in this post I’ve excluded the gifts I’ve bought for my friends (wouldn’t want to spoil anything!), I’ve documented a few of my purchases that fall into the other categories. I usually try to, for the first few weeks of my stay in Iran, just absorb—the sky, endless stretch of mountains, expressions and styles, locations, clustered store fronts, and people, and save the ever-growing shopping list for the last week day.

But, as my internship demanded a specific dress code and my mother had a lot of extra space in her suitcase which mine lacked (she left several weeks earlier than I would), I had to do a bit of pre-perusing through stores.

And this is a bit of what happened.

1. Two Notebooks

My new poetry book (see no.6), the Caspian Sea and expansive landscape, and the familiarities of home in a ‘foreign’ country invoke a strong urge to reflect and write. I lust stationary and have started without finishing far too many notebooks, but I couldn’t resist purchasing these two leather-bound notebooks that open from right to left.

2. Postcards from Esfahan

Disclaimer: unfortunately, I have not yet visited Esfahan myself but it is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in Iran and I hope to have the chance to visit myself next year. But this box of postcards was a gift from my aunt, who still appreciates snail mail. Much like myself.
I haven’t gotten around to sending a few out (I hope my friends don't mind), but I will get to that. Maybe. In time.

3. Traditional Iranian Prayer Rug

Alright I might have accidentally photographed this one backwards (you can tell by the inverse script) but regardless, this was a gift from another aunt who overheard me mentioning that finding one in the USA is too much of a hassle and I needed to get one for my new place. She works quick.

4. Iran Pristine Visions, Photography by Davood Vakilzadeh

A gift from my aunt’s husband--a picture book with a bit of history. A sort of travel guide if you will.

5. Button-up shirt and Manteaus 

Manteaus are long clothing that usually comes down to the knees and have buttons or a zipper down the middle. Sort of like super-light trench-coat shirts. Especially in the workplace, women are required to wear a manteau for modesty purposes. Since most of my shirts only look good tucked in, I had a good excuse to splurge on a few!

6. Rumi Hidden Music, Translated by Maryam Mafi, Azima Kolin

This was the top of my list. My favorite poet’s original Farsi poetry with translated into English on the opposite page (my Farsi is not quite elaborate enough to be able to easily comprehend ancient poetry, but the original Farsi is incredibly more beautiful (Sorry, English) so I needed both). This book also has beautiful illustrations throughout the poetry.

7. Watercolor Hijab

Apparently watercolor hijabs are trending in Iran, which is lucky for me because I think it’s a beautiful print and I’m pretty excited that I got my hands on this one! Still looking for a few more hijabs to take back with me because Iranians have certainly mastered the art.

p.s. Like the scarf? Get ready because I taste an Iranian scarf giveaway in the near future~
p.p.s See whatelse is upcoming on JooJoo Azad here