Heather Rastovac in Berkeley
I had lunch with my remarkable American friend, Heather Rastovac in Berkeley today. I had written something short about Heather in June. She is a dance artist and a researcher of Iranian arts. She is currently a student at the University of Washington pursuing a double major in Near Eastern Language and Civilization (with a focus on Persian language and literature) and Cultural Anthropology, and a minor in dance. She speaks a very sweet Farsi, and seeing her interest in Iranian arts and culture is so heartwarming to me, making me so proud. As a performer of Iranian dances and through her involvement with Iranian diaspora communities in Seattle and San Francisco, Heather has gained insight into the complex and ambiguous position of performers in Iranian society. While among the Iranian community, she also began to learn about Iran’s cultural heritage and Persian literary traditions, and grew fascinated by the strong role mystical poetry plays in every day Persian dialogue. In her studies at the University of Washington, she has fully engaged herself in Persian language, literature and cultural studies. She is currently excelling in advanced Persian language courses and has taken a variety of classes in Persian classical and contemporary literature, Islamic mystical literature, Near Eastern folklore and History of Islamic Civilization. In addition to her obvious talent as a performing artist, Heather is one of the wisest and kindest people I have ever known. I never get tired of talking with her and affectionately call her an "Honarary Iranian!" You can access Heather's weblogs here and here. You can also see her perform Persian dances here, here, and here (if you can't access YouTube in Iran, try these links: here, here, and here). I wish Heather success and joy in her professional and personal life, as she truly deserves the best. I end this Friday post by wishing you all a very relaxing and joyful weekend. As the world celebrates the New Year and Iranian moslems celebrate Eid-e-Qadir-e-Khom, I wish you all a good time next to your family and friends, filled with love and understanding. Go visit your elders, pay attention to the young people around you, and confess your love to those who matter most in this world, the people who would lift your spirits when you are down, and who would support you through harder times in life. Celebrate life as it is meant to be celebrated, with love, passion, and compassion. Be good y'all.