Day78 - Sina (2nd person I approached)
March 19, 2014 - Sina was born in Hamadan, Iran and lived there until the family moved to England when Sina was just one year old.
“My father is a University Professor, and when he has sabbaticals, we would travel, and sometimes relocate. He teaches, presents papers and often his time is spent involved with research,” Sina said. He has one younger sister, and the two share a close relationship.
“It is typical of Iranian families. We are all very close and get along well,” Sina says of his family.
At the age of five, his family moved back to Iran, and Sina went to elementary and then high school there. When Sina was 16 years old, the family left Iran again, but this time was a little different.
“In Iran, young men must serve a mandatory two years of military service. This isn’t something that I agree with, and it doesn’t fit in with my mentality or personal views. From what I understand it really isn’t even training, and it’s not the way I want to spend two years of my life. I wouldn’t have been allowed to leave the country to come to Canada, or the United States. There are certain countries that you’re permitted to travel to for religious purposes, such as Syria or Saudi Arabia. I had a ticket to travel to a permitted destination, and once I got through customs and security, I also had a ticket to fly to Canada, and I left Iran that way. Now, I can’t go back, because of not fulfilling my duty to serve in the military. When I made it through customs and was waiting for my flight to Canada, I realized that it would be many years before I would see my friends and some of my family. I couldn’t tell anyone that I was coming here, so I didn’t get to say goodbye. I spent hours in the airport waiting for my flight, crying.”
Sina met his family in Michigan, USA, where his father was once again working during a sabbatical. Eventually the family all moved to Vancouver, and Sina completed high school here.
“I remember the first day I landed in Vancouver, taking the Canada Line train to where I was staying and looking at the mountains and thinking how beautiful it is here, and how fortunate I am to be living here, “ Sina said as we talked about Vancouver.
“I hope to stay here and to make Vancouver my home, I certainly think of it as home now.”
Sina’s father is challenging the local Iranian authorities, as there is a permit that allows one to travel for educational purposes, and delay military service until ones education is completed.
“I’m hoping that we can get things worked out and then I would hope to go to see my friends and family in Iran later this summer. I haven’t been there for six years. I’m going to the University of British Columbia now, studying biology, and hope to get into med school here, so military service would be many years away, as school is going to take me years,” Sina says with a smile and a shrug of his shoulders.
“I want to be in healthcare, anything medicine related, probably research. I’m not exactly sure yet.”
As it happens, I know that tomorrow is Persian New Year (Nowruz), and Sina seemed surprised when I said Happy New Year to him. I asked what plans he had and when he told me he planned to study, I jokingly asked if that was permitted.
“Well yeah, my parents aren’t making an event of it this year. My father is in Iran, and there won’t be any decorations laid out so my mother is ok that I am studying," Sina told me. He also told me a bit more about the celebrations.
"It’s a celebration of the New Year, and Spring and regeneration, so there is usually a table laid out with seven items each beginning with the letter ’S’ such as apples, which in the Farsi alphabet begin with ’S’. It’s about new and regeneration and celebrating nature.”
I said that with his name beginning with an ’S’ that he was a good fit for the celebration table. He laughed and said sarcastically
“Yes, normally I sit on the centre of the table each year.” #notastranger