Something Important to Me



The important thing to me is learning English so that I can read and write correctly, and communicate with people. This is the result of another decision I made four years ago. Tired of living under pressure, not physical but mental pressure, of religious dictatorship of a government, far from my children, and after consulting with my wife, we decided to immigrate to the United States, the country with most democratic system in the world.


Settled in this country, we had to be able to communicate with the people and acquire the culture that is dominant in the country, English culture. Sometimes I heard voices that ordered me to rest, and wanted to make a wall between me and the outside world. “Learning a language is difficult at your age. What is the use of that?” Annulling these counselors, some relatives and friends, I decided to continue my way.


Some obstacles rose in front of me. In the past, whenever I had an interesting book in my hand, I could finish it before going to sleep. In these days that I am in my low seventies, ten or twelve pages are enough to make my eyes tired. As you (the teacher) instruct me, I sent my critic for a cup of coffee, and now I have to send my eyes after my critic. Another obstacle: I am not a coffee drinker, so I have to send my eyes for a cup of tea. Again, I can only drink two or three cups of tea round the clock. At last I found the answer to the problem. I decided to divide my weekends by hours and send some of these hours for cup of coffee, so that I can use these hours for studying. As the weekends’ hours are busy with their cups of coffee, I study, rest, and study and rest again, so I am able to keep my pace with our class or at least behind our class.  I have participated in ESL and English classes, and I have learned many things that made me enjoy them. That enjoyment transformed to a force that is pushing me ahead.


Learning English language or any living language is an inaccessible goal, swimming in a boundless ocean, but I have decided , as much as I have time, and so much as is possible for me, to add to my knowledge; although I know that I will never see the shore, but perhaps some days in the future I could write a correct letter.  Answering to one of my friends who asked me: “How many years do you think you have for studying?”


“I don’t know!” I said,” yet on my last day of my life, if I see an unfamiliar word, I prefer to find its meaning in a dictionary; although knowing or not knowing the meaning of that word doesn’t mean anything on the last day.


Deciding to immigrate to a new country with another culture was important, and it puts another important obligation on me. For now, I think improving my English is the first and the most important thing to me. I will do the best of my ability; in class or out; I study and I am content to learn a little more every day.



M. H. Zahraie

July 2, 1997



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