I had this strange dream today. I was in Tehran. I could feel it. In my dream I was thinking wow this is real, this is not a dream anymore!

When I was a child, I always liked flying with airplanes or going to the Caspian see. So, almost once in a week I dreamed of flying on a plane or swimming in the Caspian See. I usually flew with a plane at least once in a year to visit my uncle in Mashhad. But we didn’t used to go the Caspian See very often. I always thought I dreamed these things that often because I couldn’t have them as often as I liked.

Now, being in Iran or traveling to Iran has become a recurrent theme in my dreams. This time it was so real, but all my worries were with me as well. I was thinking with myself that I didn’t go to to the embassy for applying for renewing my visa before going to Tehran. I was thinking with myself that I didn’t bring my books with me to write my papers, forgot to tell my professor that I was leaving, and forgot to bring my laptop and camera with me. Then I suddenly saw I have my camera with me. So, I started to take pictures of the beautiful sunset on my way home. I was with my dad. Then it was a party where my aunt (who passed away last month) was dancing. She was very sad and she was dancing alone. I was worried how I was going to write my papers without having my books with me. I suddenly realized it’s the same old Tehran. It’s difficult to reach academic books. All my family was there except for my nephew. I was looking for him and I suddenly woke up and found out that it was a dream again.

I miss them so much. I wish I could go back this summer. I’m afraid if I go to Iran then they don’t issue my new visa on time. That’s what happened to my husband three years ago. It took them 6 months until they issued his new visa, while it usually takes a month to issue the visa clearances. It had a bad effect on his academic work and now we are both afraid of going back to Iran while we are on visa and don’t have a green card.

I left Iran on May 14 two years ago. Every single day of these past two years I have missed my mom, my dad, my sister, my nephew, and my friends. I’ve missed Tehran’s cafés. I’ve missed hanging out and laughing with my cool friends. I’ve missed our lively and heated discussions with the women’s group I worked with. Now dreaming Iran has become a recurrent theme in my life. It makes you feel good when you are dreaming, but it makes you feel horrible when you wake up and find out that it was just a dream. There are moments that you want to hug your mom badly, and you feel miserable since you realize it’s impossible. I feel so helpless in these moments.

I could never imagine migration can be this difficult. I never predicted these difficult moments that all you want is a hug and you can’t get it. The remedy is easy. Some people say: go back to Iran! No one has forced you to live here! But then the wise side of me starts talking. Hey! You wanted to study in a good university. You were tired of all those difficult conditions. You are not afraid of drinking, partying, walking in the streets at midnights, wearing colorful clothes without wearing a veil, or expressing your opinions any more. You are enjoying the peace of this small town. You are happy that you finally got rid of the paralyzing traffic of Tehran, the migraines, the harassments. But then my heart starts talking again, my heart makes me dream…

I don’t know how many more years I would bear staying here without visiting Iran. I don’t know if I’d be able to stay here till I get my green card. I think I can’t wait anymore. If only I could go back to Iran for just two weeks this summer. If only I could hug my mom. If only there was this magical system that would help US homeland security system issue visa clearances for all the students sooner and insure all students that they will get visa in a month. If only there wasn’t this rhetoric of war everywhere and I could go back to Iran this summer without the fear of not being able to come back to continue school. It feels so bad; it feels painful not to be able to hug your mom when you want…