By Habib Rezaie
What a wonderful surprise to receive letter from you! I hope this letter finds you in the best of health. I am so grateful that you are well and I cannot tell you how happy I was when I read your letter. Reading your letter gave me hope and comfort. You know how they always say, best friends are hard to come by. Indeed, friends like you are the one that have the ability to make me smile even when you not around.
It is wonderful to know that you have already started your journey to Afghanistan. I am also very happy to hear that you arrived safely in Italy. I was so worried about you and I know that the conflict is getting worse in the UK. Now that I know that you are in Italy, I am relieved.
I am fine here but I am just so concerned about my family and friends back in the UK. I listen to the news every day and the UK crisis is getting worse and worse! I have heard that Germany has been flying combat missions over the UK for more than two months now. Despite all this horrible things happening in our home, let me tell you something cheerful about myself here in Iran. I have two big news for you.
Firstly, I got a job as teacher. I teach English, isn’t that great? I really enjoy teaching. However you know that I have always wanted to be an actor. My biggest dream was to play in the next 007James Bond movie! I just love James Bond and the thrill I always get watching the movies. But you know what? You never know what the future may hold for you and what is best for you. I like my job as it is, event it is not the thing I dreamt of. The most important for now is I am safe and sound in this country.
The second news is that I met a beautiful girl at college. Her name is Lila. We got to talking for a bit, and I found out that she majored in History Education at the University of Karaj. She can speak prefect English so there is no language barriers whatsoever. After spending some time with her, she wanted to know more about me so I told her that I am from the UK. She was really keen to know the reasons I left England and how I got to Iran so I decided to tell her my story. And when I told her, she began to cry and gave me a big hug. It is nice to know that someone is interested in listening to your story. She seemed to have the heart in the right place. She was the one who changed my life around, she taught me Farsi and also thanks of her I have this teaching job. Other than that, not much has changed in my life. But maybe all this is already plenty!
Do you remember that I complained about how hard it was to learn Farsi? You were right, learning a new language takes so much time and it can be difficult. I took your advice, I made a lots of friends and I tried to speak with them in Farsi. Now I understand most of the words and I am making good progress. As soon as I’ll pass the language test, I will be able to take the “Test for Life in Iran” and to get my citizenship. That means that I can travel everywhere in the world freely. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to come to Afghanistan to visit you in the near future?
Now I come to realise that living in a different country and getting used to a different language and culture is not easy. But gradually you get used to it and you adapt to your new home. Now I call this country a home. I start a new life all over again, and this also means the beginning of a new community.
I told you so much about me. What about you, how are doing and how is life treating you? Where are now and how is the journey going? You mentioned in your last letter that you felt lonely in Italy. But don’t you always feel lonely in a different country? It takes time to settle down in some new places and it takes time to make friends in a different country. I had struggled myself to communicate with people here and to make friends, but now I am starting to have more friends here than in the UK!
I know how difficult and dangerous the journey is until you get to your final destination. Now you have still to face the long journey to Afghanistan, crossing the sea to reach Greece and Turkey, and then travelling across Iran and Pakistan. My advice to you in this difficult journey is to make sure that none of the countries you cross take your fingerprints, otherwise the country in which you want to claim asylum may send you back to the country that took your fingerprints.
Please take care of yourself and make sure you don’t get on boats that are overloaded, and without life jacket. Take an extra care when you’re crossing the border between Turkey and Iran as you have to place yourself under a lorry. This is the only journey that you have to complete alone. In this journey nobody is going to come and save you – you got to save yourself. And nobody gives anything, you have to go out and fight for it. We may have to make sacrifices today but those scarifies are worth it, if it means a better and safer life for us. This journey could be difficult but most of all there will be also moments and experiences to enjoy.
Regarding the £1000 that you asked me, it was difficult for me to send it to you directly, since I didn’t know where you were and who should I send the money to. I know you have regular contact with your family back in the UK. I managed to get hold of your brother John and I sent the £1000 to him so that he can send it to you somehow. If you need anything, I am always happy to help you as I can – just ask me.
I wish you best of luck for the rest of your journey. I hope you reach you final destination safe. Please keep me posted. Never give up on your dream just because of the difficult period you’re facing and because of the long time it takes to accomplish it. This time is to test your strength, this time comes to pass, so just keep going and you will reach your destination.
Your friend George
Read previous letters here:
About Habib Rezaie
Habib was born in Afghanistan and he lives in Leicester. He currently studies Computing for Business at De Montfort University, in Leicester. He also works as a project assistant for The Becoming Adult Project. He enjoys travelling, socialising with friends and playing a range of sports