Z is for Ziba #AtoZchallenge

ZDear Ziba,

I still remember the day I found you and your family. It was 2007 and I was homesick. My heart was bleeding for the sound of Azerbaijani speech or the taste of home. When I voiced my longing, a housemate pointed out that there was an Iranian delicatessen shop nearby. Perhaps they had something that could tickle my fancy?

When I walked into your shop, I could smell home. Grabbing a pack of Iranian fresh dates, feta cheese, honey and other goodies originating near my homeland, I was impatient to pay and run home. Your husband looked at my selection, then at me.

‘Where are you from?’ He asked.

You can imagine I get that question a lot here. I was not in a mood for a small talk. Sensing my hesitation, he decided to help:

‘Turkey?’ Pause.

‘Greece?’ He didn’t give up.

‘Azerbaijan,’ I said reluctantly. His eyebrows shot up.

‘Salam aleykum,’ his face softened.

I didn’t see that coming. I was so thrown, I replied in Turkish.

‘Marhaba.’

‘I’m Azerbaijani,’ he continued talking. ‘We come originally from Iran.’

My longing to speak my language overwhelmed me, yet I stood staring at him. I forgot all about food. There was something better in store for my soul. I stayed and chatted. It was like finding a family, my new family. With time, I got to know you and your two sons. I even celebrated Novruz, a spring festival, with you in 2008. Every time I felt homesick, I had a place to go to.

Since I moved away from that area, I see you less. You are as friendly as ever when I call and occasionally visit you. And of course, your generosity blows my mind away. When I was recovering from a C-section, you cooked me a variety of Azerbaijani meals and brought them to my home. I feasted on those delights for days. This is what mothers do for their daughters in our homeland. On the days of your visits, I felt like I had a mother in this country.

Thank you for all your love. I love you all too.

Gulara

Thank you for reading. This post is a part of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. My theme is ‘love letters’. And while you are here, let’s connect on Facebook and Twitter too.

39 thoughts on “Z is for Ziba #AtoZchallenge

    • Oh, thank you, Solveig, I’m glad you enjoyed the letters. It’s quite a compliment, because the reason I embarked on writing letters was because I thought I was rubbish at it! The challenge must have helped 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Isn’t it wonderful to find a friend like Ziba! When my daughter grew up and left home I prayed for her to meet people who would help her when I was not there. And you know what – she actually met many people who gave her a hand, and we are all like a family by now 🙂 Kindness is there, always, and hope, and a helping hand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s heart-warming to know that there are people like Ziba in the world. So glad your daughter got support she needed when she left home. Thank you for reading, Ines, I greatly appreciate your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It was altogether a most wonderful theme Gulara thank you. And this love letter to Ziba is as heartwarming as all before. What an amazing meeting in the Iranian deli! Congratulations for completing the A-Z! (I connected with you on FB – didn’t know I could).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is one of your best letters, Gulara. At least, one I completely relate to. Living far from one’s homeland is both a curse and a gift. Sometimes the aching for what was once familar is particularly strong. Finding then someone who can share this emotion without much talking is definitely a gift.
    Bravo for finishing this challenge on a very loving note.
    P.S. Love all the food you describe in this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gulara, you are a wealth of inspiration and love. I truly enjoyed your stories and looked forward to reading them daily. Thank you for sharing your heart! Also, Congratulations for surviving the A to Z Challenge… Excellent job!

    It is fun running into people who lived in and know the area where you are from. I’m not from another country, but even living here in the states I get a kick out of talking to people who lived where I lived and know the unique aspects of the area. It would mean so much more for you coming from another country. I’m happy that you have found such loving friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your letters have been a treat for me to read. I think your approach to this challenge is inspired. So glad I found you along the way. Now, please, go off and have a relaxing weekend. You [we] deserve it. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a special meeting, heartwarming story and beautiful letter, Gulara, The food sounds delicious, too. Some of my favorites.

    As I’ve said, what a lovely idea for a theme. Congratulations on completing the A to Zs. I have so enjoyed meeting you — and reading your love letters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Samantha, yes, the food is great. Glad you liked the post. And I’m delighted we met during the challenge. Thank you for reaching out. I love your posts and will continue reading them.

      Like

  7. What a beautiful last letter of this challenge. It shows that the world is smaller as most of us think and with a lot of warm people in it.
    Enjoyed joining you on this journey, but I’m not sad this ones finished. I just know there will be more beautiful, inspiring posts coming, with beautiful lessons to learn 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you liked the post, Patty. It’s been amazing to have you every step of this journey. Thank you for joining me on this adventure and being so generous with your support. Yes, many more posts to come 🙂 Just need to work out the right pace.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Again, another beautifully written letter from the heart. And now we are at the end of the challenge. I loved your theme, so creative and sensitive. It has been an honor to travel along with you on this challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Me In The Middle of #atozchallenge Reflections | Me In the Middle

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