Translation of a blog I wrote in Persian:
Europe has slipped into chaos. The U.S. is not as attractive as it used to be. Australia won’t let us in. What on earth are we going to do?
I’ve been living in Cusco, southern Peru, for nearly three years. I’m getting my work residency permit soon. I can no longer imagine going back to the U.S. or living in some other place. I feel I’m in orbit, slowly moving around the Sun. Without a need in the world. I don’t have a lover, savings, or real estate. I have no beliefs or desires. I’m not sad or happy. I’m content.
I’ve had my fill of the fast-paced industrial world, and the slavish, meaningless metropolitan life. I've had it with people. I’m burned out, turned into ashes. I’m not searching for the meaning of the life. I don’t feel empty. I’m not pining for anyone and I’m not anxious about anything. I feel joy by looking at the blue sky and feeling the sun on my skin and hearing birds sing.
What does Cusco look like? Imagine Shiraz without militias and thugs. Without ayatollahs. Without people and government interfering in your life. Without harassment. Without war and political and religious conflicts. Without savagery.
I wake up with a smile every morning. My cat Soraya jumps down from the bed and follows me to the kitchen. She sits at the entrance and stares at my every move until I take out a slice of ham from the fridge. She runs to her bowl and when she’s had enough, she naps under the rays of the sun and then heads out into the garden and gets lost in the woods and tall grass. Once in a while she pops back inside, jumps on the bed, says hello and after some more food and milk she disappears again. At night she cautiously crawls between me and my laptop and falls asleep when I caress and scratch her underbelly.
During the day I translate news into English about human rights in Iran and manage iroon.com. At nights I watch movies on Netflix and other sites. In between I visit Facebook and sometimes I post things.
I’ve boycotted news sites. Why should I read about terrorist attacks, war and bloodshed? I don’t listen to Hillary’s speeches or Trump’s. I gain nothing from news and in fact it disturbs my peace of mind. In this far away place, what’s the point of knowing about catastrophes in other places when I can’t do anything about them?
I usually cook for myself, especially in recent moths as I’ve dared to prepare Persian dishes. I walk to the market two or three times a week to buy chicken and fresh vegetables. I enjoy watching sellers in their small stalls and their colorful products.
The camera has become an extension of my body. I have to take pictures of every beautiful thing and moment I see.
I’m not social and I don’t like partying. But I have a few good friends and we have lunch or dinner once in a while. There are five of six excellent restaurants near us. I have kind neighbors. I’m especially good friends with my upstairs neighbor who’s a thirty-something American.
I’ve learned a few words of Spanish, enough to get by. I won’t take language classes because I don’t want to talk to anyone. I want to remain a stranger.
I haven’t been to a place where the people are as patient and content as they are here. Nowhere are kids - boys and girls - smiling as much. They don’t have grand ambitions for higher positions, wealth or fame. People don’t whine about not having things. You don’t see posers about. What you see is life radiating in the eyes of the poorest, most broken people.
This is the best place where I can watch this movie called life, rather than acting in it.