Farideh sent me a message. "I’ve arrived." Sam and I walked out the front and stepped in the car.
We said the good mornings, asked how are you, this morning has been busy she said, plenty of trips to the airport.
We got to the bottom of the hill and I asked her where she was from and she said Iran. She told me how she moved to Australia with her husband when they were both 37 and didn’t speak a word of English.
"It is very hard to learn a new language when you have things going on in your life you have to take care of she said."
You could feel the passion she had for her country flowing through her veins.
"Iran and Australia have similar people," she said, "but they are different worlds because of our (Iran’s) government."
She kept going.
"When I was a little girl, 10 years old, we had a King and times were great. But after the King, a dictator took over. He changed the laws in schools. Instead of teaching English, they teach Arabic. Instead of teaching us about the outside world, they teach us about things which help them. If you don’t know much, they can control you easier."
She pointed to her smartphone.
"But the younger people, they have social media now, they have the internet, they have the ability to educate themselves. They don’t like what the government is doing so they are standing up for themselves."
I leaned forward, kept listening.
"People think Donald Trump is crazy for what he is doing with Iran. But the Iran government is crazy too. Crazy knows crazy. No one in Iran has a voice as big as Donald Trump. He is raising awareness for the people whose voices aren’t loud enough."
I looked out the window and then back towards her. I told her I don’t watch the news much so I didn’t really know what was going on but made sure she knew I was interested in what she was saying (I was). She started speaking.
"My country seems bad in the news. But we are people like the people here. The government does bad things and it makes us appear bad. They say ISIS came from Iran but we are not Arabic we are Persian people. If outside people believe ISIS is from Iran, it makes it easier for the dictatorship to keep control of the people inside because everyone outside thinks we are bad."
Our stop wasn’t far away. I thanked her for telling me her story. It changed my whole outlook on Iran. It made me realise how much of the world is just people trying to live their lives. Doing their best. But somehow the bad boils to the top and not the good.
Before we got out she thanked us for listening, thanked us again for welcoming people like her into our country. It wasn’t necessary. Listening to someone talk with passion is a pleasure. Their energy wears off on you and it’s a gift. And as far as I’m concerned, people like Farideh should be welcomed everywhere. We opened the doors and she started talking.
"You must go to the Persian Restaurant in Bardon. It has the best Persian food in Brisbane. You will love it! It is very close to what my people eat. The address is 56 or 65 Cross St. I think 65 but maybe 56. But it is called, The Persian Restaurant."
I thanked her and wrote it down it my phone.
She waved as she drove off. I looked at Sam. Started speaking.
I’m glad my car is in the repair shop.
Thank you for the trip this morning Farideh. I appreciate the conversation, the energy and the restaurant recommendation. You're an amazing woman.