. . . so we took her with us. To Iran in 1976. I know – what were we thinking?
With these fresh-from-BYU faces
mounted inside these official documents
we began our 10 year Middle East adventure on January 27, 1976 .
We said good bye in Pueblo.
We said good bye in Greeley.
We were off to make a home in a country that I had only been able to locate on a Bible map.
Yes, that’s a leisure suit Don is wearing. What else would match my faux fur collar? It was 1976, and we were at the height of fashion.
Don had accepted a job teaching English to Iranian Army helicopter pilots and mechanics in training in Isfahan, Iran. The salary was $1000 a month plus a 40% cost of living allowance – an incomprehensible amount of money to these married college students who had been living on about $270 a month in a basement apartment in Provo, Utah.
We landed in Tehran and spent a few days in the capital before traveling to Isfahan – the city that would be our home for the next three years. The first day in Tehran, I forced us to be up and awake in an attempt to win the battle against jet-lag. When I pulled back the drapes in our hotel room and was greeted by this sight, I wondered if lack of sleep had caused me to hallucinate. Was that really the hotel laundry drying on the roof?
Upon our arrival in Isfahan, we worked with a real estate agent and located a brand new building with apartments to rent. We rented the upstairs flat (3 bedrooms) for 28,000 rials or $400/month. The Iranians take the term “unfurnished” very literally – the only appliances included were a water heater and a swamp cooler. No heat, no stove, no refrigerator. . .
Shortly after moving in to our house, we rented a car from some fellow Americans. At 6,000 rials or $85/month it was a real bargain and renting would give us the chance to see if we wanted to depend on taxis or have the luxury of our own transportation. A couple of months later, we purchased the car , a 1961 Volkswagen Beetle, for $1000 – no extra charge for rust or dents.
The first few months (actually about a year!) were rough for me, as I was desperately homesick and realizing that $1000/month didn’t make anybody rich, regardless of location. However, eventually I came to appreciate the adventure and life experience this move allowed. Some of the friendships we nurtured in that very foreign country have continued over the last 3+ decades, and we have some very happy memories of our years in Iran.
And if these pictures don’t make you laugh, I’ve got more to come.