Kaveh Vahdat, Senior
When did you move here?
“I moved here a year and a half ago. Iran at that moment was in a bad situation and today in an even worse one. I wanted to come here. My parents wanted me to come here to have a better future. In Iran, my future was really bleak and I had one line to follow, while here I could go through anything that I wanted. And do anything that I wanted. So I came here a year and a half ago for academic and life reasons.
The plane ride was 16 hours. It’s a long time to think about it. At first I was like ‘yeah I’m going to America.’ Halfway through, I started thinking. I’m leaving a lot behind. I’m leaving my parents. I’m leaving my friends, my school, back there.
My mind said ‘okay you know you’re going to America, you’re going to have fun.’ And then the other side of my brain reminded me that my parents have put so much on the line. You’re going there, you have to be successful. You got to put in everything you got, even if it’s not for you, for them. All the pain they went through to get you here.
And that was the moment that I thought the best thing to do is to balance it out. That doesn’t mean you go into 9th grade, jump in and say I’m going to have fun and forget about the other classes. Know when you go there, you have to do that, but at the same time take advantage of everything that you have in school.
You guys have a lot of things that we didn’t have in our high school. You guys have theater programs, sports programs, everything that we didn’t have. So when I see some kids that just throw everything away, it saddens me because they’re not using the school system to its full potential.”
“So you came here alone? How has that affected you?
“Yes, it was just me. My grandparents and my mom’s family have been here. I’m living with them at the moment. My parents stayed back. I miss them. We still keep in regular contact almost every day. We call at certain times for the time zone changes and we talk. I update them.
The only person that I’ve seen since that is my mom. She has her green card, but my dad doesn’t. I haven’t seen him face to face since I left. That had a big impact on my life, not having my parents. It really emotionally hurt me. I knew it wasn’t their fault at all. It really hurt me when I was in my first play and I didn’t see them in the audience. None of my family was there. I was alone. I was depressed because I felt alone. I had no friends that I was close to and that I could go around with. My parents could send me all the money they had, but at the end of the day, I didn’t have anything to do with it. I could go anywhere, but I’d be alone.
Then I started opening up. After a long talk with my mom. I said ‘you know what? I’m going to stop lying to myself that no one cares about me. I’m going to start making friends, and then I opened up a bit more, opening up to the idea that all of us are human. Everyone has a background. I see so many teachers that are old. When they go ramble off, some kids find it annoying, but I find that awesome, because I hear someone else’s experience from the past or present. And that’s just what really took over me. During the years of being here it’s really opened me to other people.”