Salaam! I’m Pontia (silent ‘i’), the ‘teacher’ behind My Persian Corner, a language, culture, and travel blog about all things Iran featuring useful Persian words and phrases, language tips, travel stories, and tons of explainers about Iranian culture.
I was born and raised in the US- Alabama to be exact (yes, there are Iranians in Alabama). I’ve since called Madrid, Bologna, Berlin, Santiago, and now Tehran home.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve had two great passions- languages and travel. My parents are Iranian, and I grew up with Persian language and culture inside the house and American language and culture outside. There weren’t any Persian language schools around us growing up, so my dad spent a couple of hours every weekend at the kitchen table teaching my siblings and me Persian reading and writing.
But it didn’t stop there.
Every summer, I spent two months in Iran polishing my Persian and learning about where my parents came from. Now when I reflect on that time, I realize that my best childhood memories are from those months- traveling to my parents’ hometowns, hanging out with my cousins, learning how to cook from my grandmother and aunts…
In high school, I started studying Spanish, a language that I was passionate about learning. After college, I moved to Spain to study and work, and eventually moved on to Italy and Germany after that. Spending so much time in the language classroom led me to find my happy place, which is why I pursued a Master’s degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and eventually taught English in Chile and Washington, DC. But living and working in these different places made me frustrated as to why I’d never done the same in Iran. I had only ever visited as a tourist, but I wanted to experience actually living there. So I moved to Tehran.
And it was hands down the most life-changing experience of all.
Why is it called My Persian Corner?
Well, I started this blog in 2014 as a way to explore my own heritage. As an American-born woman of Iranian descent, I’ve never felt 100% Iranian nor 100% American. Marjan Kamali stated it best in her debut novel Together Tea:
“Iranian-American. Neither the first word nor the second really belonged to her. Her place was on the hyphen, and on the hyphen she would stay…”
But perched on the hyphen has given me a vantage point- a unique perspective of Iranian culture: one that is free from bias and allows me to notice things many Iranians have never even noticed about their culture. And since I’ve been living in Tehran, I’ve been able to add so many more cultural nuances to that list.
My mission with this blog is simple: to impart my experiences, knowledge, and insight into a misunderstood country through interesting, educational, and practical posts to dispel misconceptions and stereotypes about Iran and its people and culture. I truly enjoy sharing my Iranian heritage, especially at a time when (as some of my friends put it) “Iran is a black hole” and much of its rich culture remains hidden to the world.
So where should you start?
Long-time readers may notice that My Persian Corner has a new look- something that I had been wanting to do forever and fiiinally got around to doing! And in the process, I’ve cleaned up a few things- out with posts that no longer serve, updates on oldies but goodies, and of course fresh content.
If you’re interested in the Persian language, start here where you’ll find useful expressions and other tips to sound native. I try to include video clips from Iranian series and movies whenever possible. There are two reasons why I like to do this: 1) it’s authentic use of the language and 2) it really shows just how prevalent some of these words and phrases are in every day spoken Persian. But even if the post isn’t language-specific, there will always be some sort of Persian expression(s) included.
Got an Iranian friend and want to understand more about the culture? I’ve got tons of resources there too!
Is Iran on your travel bucket list? Part of my living in Iran is getting to know the country itself, so I share my travel stories along with practical tips. And as a contributing writer to Culture Trip, I’ve written over 100 travel guides and cultural explainers to the country. Check out my author page to find the full list!
Maybe you’re interested in working with me?
Or simply have a question?
Contact me and ask me anything! I’m always happy to help.
Khosh âmadid and welcome to My Persian Corner!