It’s been about two weeks since I got back from Tehran; and I’m already looking forward to getting out of Singapore again (or rather: looking forward to the end of this semester). But that talk aside, this semester has been going rather strange-smoothly so far, given the number of things that I tethered myself to this time. There’s a limit to how fast you can run though — 4am nights and 8.30am mornings are not a good way to go.

I’m so grateful to have gotten the opportunity to visit Tehran though. It’s such a beautiful city (well not physically — the bare buildings and dusty landscape can attest for this; although, the occasional brilliant mural brightens up the landscape like nothing else); its people are wonderfully kind and welcoming. Against all cautions about ‘Stranger Danger’, I don’t think I’ve talked to this many strangers before in my life; and yet, all so friendly and eager to share.

Despite all the lectures we attended, the one thing I learnt most from the trip was (strangely) the importance of graciousness and empathy; from the way that the students from the University of Tehran made a constant effort to ensure that we were comfortable to the warmth of strangers on the streets (two handed out candy to us as if they just magicked it out of thin air). There’s nothing like the generosity we received in Tehran — it inspires me to be a better person.

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