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I was born in Tehran-Iran to Assyrian parents and spent the first few years of my life travelling all around the country, wherever my father’s job took us. My first 2 years of schooling were completed in four different towns, with the summer holidays yet in another town.
It was an idyllic childhood, though I was too young to appreciate the significance of seeing so much of the country in such a short time.
The family eventually returned to Tehran and remained there until we migrated to Australia. I went to a school a few minutes away from our house, close enough to bring my friends home for lunch. I was a very popular girl at school but in hindsight I believe it may have been more my mother’s cooking than my vibrant personality that won me so many friends.
One of my most treasured books was bought from what I now realise must have been a second hand book shop (judging by the fact that my pocket money was enough to pay for the book). At the age of nine I walked into the shop and started browsing with the intention of spending the rest of the afternoon in the shop. The store owner kept insisting that I buy something from the children’s section and pointed out a few books and magazines, one of them being the Iranian version of Mad Magazine. In desperation I picked up the first book nearest to me in paid for it and left. It was a thick book and I used to think that any book with a lot of pages must be good. This one was okay, a funny sort of love story. Years later in Australia when I re-read the book I realised the book I had bought from the second hand book shop was Rebecca by Daphne Du Murier.
Seeing my first book in print was a bitter sweet experience. It is an absolute thrill to see the final result of one’s creation. I’m sure that painters, designers and actors feel the same. My only regret was that in dedicating the book to my family, my father, sister and brother’s names were up the top but for my mother it could only be dedicated to her memory.