When I was 19, my coworker taught me phrases in Farsi and gave me my first glimpse into his culture through his generous spirit and admirable hustle behind a jewelry counter.
At 28, I took my Life in the UK test at the Iranian Association in London, and was welcomed along my journey as an immigrant in England by a building full of kind, motherly ladies, who told me with delight how highly I'd scored on the exam. They made a big hurdle into a safe passage among friends.
Whether in dance classes or late parties, I've had the honor of having a lovely introduction repeatedly reaffirmed for decades. In my years of running around the world, making friends, and learning about bits and pieces of humanity's tapestry rather randomly, Persians have continued to overwhelm me with their grace and hospitality. They are not the only ones, and I know no group of people is uniformly good-natured, but I have been blessed to meet some wonderful cultural ambassadors, and my impression of this particular group of people has been entirely benevolent and long-lasting.
I think of my friends, and the anguish of warfare, and how deplorable it is to have the United States and Iran run by the sorts of governments they have. We all deserve better than this.