I came, I saw, I loved Iran!

Jameh Mosque in Esfahan, Iran

I’m back and I miss it already!

The past two weeks have been a crazy adventure that I will never forget.

In short; Iran was wonderful to us. Not only did we get to visit family (whom I miss and love dearly), but we also got to explore our heritage and learn more about my dad’s childhood. The food is delicious, the culture is rich and the scenery is gorgeous. I mean, what could be better than that?!



Some of my favorite memories of the trip are at Mamani (grandma) and Baba’s (grandpa) apartment. That’s where the family would convene for food, stories, and laughter. All three were plentiful during those days and nights. Mamani is the best cook, nothing can beat her traditional Iranian meals. Her food brought everyone together and those are the times that I will never forget. 



Baba's park

One of my favorite stories involves that little apartment. Across the street from Mamani and Baba’s apartment is a playground and park. Five years ago when we visited, that space was filled with weeds and broken concrete. During our stay we learned that my Baba actually created the park for the neighborhood children. The government wanted to put a mosque in that space, but Baba single-handedly lobbied for and created the park. My baba is an amazing man.

The people of Tehran were so kind and friendly to us during our two weeks. From taxi drivers to shop owners to the city dwellers we met on the streets, everyone welcomed us with open arms and wide grins. There was a waiter at Hotel Niloo named Reza who left a lasting impact on my family. With his upbeat disposition and his accent-filled english, Reza greeted us every morning with his happy nature and questions about the United States. I learned as much from him as he did from us. 

Other highlights include…

My cousin Keyvan’s wedding, which was just one giant party! Their traditional Iranian wedding ceremony was beautiful and my family had so much fun at the reception. Kara and I were asked to be a part of the ceremony and I was extremely honored to be there for their big day! Congratulations Keyvan and Behnaz!



Our trip to Esfahan, Iran was perfect! Our hotel (which was straight out of Aladdin) was gorgeous, I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful it was. We had a full day to explore the historic city and trust me, we got to explore the entire city! The mosques in Esfahan are breathtaking and we learned so much about Iranian architecture and craftsmanship during our stay. My cousin Sarah joined us on our trip, she is such a wonderful person and I miss her so much already!


Getting to just spend time with the family was amazing. From our joyous greeting to the airport to the tear-filled goodbyes at Mamani and Baba’s apartment, our time with family was plentiful and truly incredible. My Amoos (uncles) are hilarious and my cousins are some of the best and most talented people I have ever met. I loved spending time with them. 

Side note: I got pneumonia during the trip! With some brilliant timing, I was sick for the first half of the trip and even got to experience a trip to an Iranian hospital! We joke that my hacking cough was the soundtrack for the first half of Iran.

This post is basically a love letter to my family and the city of Tehran. The past two weeks have been incredible and I know I will continue to gush about this trip and the Iranian people for the next couple months.

My pictures are up! Check them out at Iran: 1 and Iran: 2

dad with Mamani and Baba

Azadi Tower in Tehran, Iran




4 thoughts on “I came, I saw, I loved Iran!

  1. Thanks for sharing a few vignettes from your travels, Roya! I look forward to the time when I can travel to iran and meet my husband’s family. They are from Esvahan. And yay for traditional Irani weddings. Flowers! Sweets! Dancing! Joy! When I was a wedding photographer I had a few Persian weddings and they were highlights of my work year.

  2. Roya oh my goodness this sounds incredible!! Bummer about your pneumonia but it sounds like you barely let it affect your wonderful trip. 🙂 I can’t wait to hear about it in person!

  3. What an incredible trip, and gorgeous photos! I am salivating imagining how delicious your Mamani’s food must be.. and how cool that your Baba created a park for the kids in their neighborhood. So, so cool to get to see the positive impact he had on his community!

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