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The end of summer

The Persian month of Shahrivar has started. And with that, also the last month of summer, ending on the 20th of september. For us following the gregorian calendar, the 21st of september is also the first day of autumn. I find it really soothing that as such, the Persian calerndar is a lot more seasons-based than the Gregorian calendar. Persian new years, nowruz, also falls on the first day of spring which is usually the 21st or March. Every start of the month is therefore equally a day to celebrate as it does have deeper astronomical meaning.

Unlike a real garden, by the end of summer a garden rug or embroidery still looks just as fresh as in spring

The last month of summer is also some encouragement to know that those blistering hot days of summer are over and temperatures have gone down to a more agreeable 33-35 degrees, rather than 38-41 that we had in July. Our garden definitely has suffered and some plants have dried out despite watering daily, but we take it as part of the experience of our ‘first year’ of gardening in a climate like Tehran’s. Maybe a Hortensia that prefers partly shady in a mildly humid climate just isn’t the plant to put outside here! This autumn we can already start planting for the coming spring and summer and this time, we are going in it with a plan knowing just where the sun is at what given time, and we are taking into account more native plant species as well as those that can adapt to this climate with cold winters and hot summers. Excited!!

In other news, I recently came back from a trip to Belgium to visit my family and friends and had a wonderful, such a wonderful, time. I brought my beloved cat with me to Tehran upon my return, and can now say she and Manjil, the cat we picked up on the street here, have become friends and started playing together! Sometimes it’s all about the little joys in life.

On a horse riding trip with a dear friend during my stay back home

These might seem like small and arbitrary updates, barely worth writing a blog post about to be fair. But as many have, we are going through a time of grief for our Afghan brothers and sisters. While I am doing my very best to secure visas for some of my friends living there and their families, the devastating reality of what we see around the country and at the airport, flights leaving empty, girls not allowed back in schools or not allowed back to their jobs, … is downright heart-breaking. We do what we can for them, but in the end there is only so much of a difference we can make.

Ehsan and I have decided that we will do our very best to employ Afghan refugees into our company to be able to provide fugitive women legally residing here in Iran to have an income with a skill that some of them already possess and can pass on to their daughters, namely that of rug knotting. We are currently trying to reach local organisations working with Afghans residing in Iran and hope to be able to update you on that soon. This is by no means a humanitarian endeavour, we mostly want to start specifically aiming our search for more knotters at a specific group. Traditionally, Afghan people have made some amazing rugs and the tradition is just as deeply rooted as in Iran due to their mostly shared history, language and culture.

One of the rugs in our new collection. Stunning and made by Afghan women in the Isfahan Province of Iran

The beginning of September also marks the beginning of the academic year. Although I am not attending university this year, I see many of my friends moving on to the next phase of their academic careers, whether starting a masters and some even a PhD. I have actively chosen not to go that route (for now), but i have to say it stings a little. Do you recognise that feeling that everyone is continuing their lives while you’re just sitting there? The infamous FOMO. Of course, you rationally know this is not the case and we are all progressing in our lives one way or another, but it is always easier to look at others and feel like you are doing less or that you are somehow saying ‘no’ to big opportunities. Definitely a point in myself I have to work on and mature into accepting: now might not be the time, but we never know if and when the time comes. Focus on what is here and now, because tomorrow will come but you don’t know what it’ll be like.

For now, I am focusing on the rug business and specifically, the international expansion. We have a mission here, and there are countless reasons to be grateful for what we have built so far and for all that is to come.

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