Coachella Fashion for Cool Violin Purse - Un No. 15
This entry was posted on October 9, 2015.
Azin: Her Purse of Choice and Her Story
Violettes Covers Another Story of A Religious Refugee
Her Handmade Purse is from our Violin Gifts selection. It was chosen for her by her mother. Azin Delavari Bland is not a musician but an artist, and a classy dresser who could carry off our purse as Coachella Fashion. She is also a tall slender beautiful olive-skinned scientist. But first, Azin is a refuge with a story to tell.
1. Violettes: Tell us about leaving Iran.
Azin: My family left Iran in 2003 when I was 13 years old so just after I finished grade 7. My
parents wanted my sister and I to go to university and get higher education and because we were Baha’is, we were not allowed by the government to go to university. Baha’i Faith is a religious minority in Iran and Baha’is are treated like second-class citizens and are denied basic human rights and are constantly persecuted. So getting an education, a basic right of every human being, was denied to us as Baha’is. The highest level of education we were allowed to have is a High School diploma. So in middle school, my family left Iran and sought refugee status at United Nation (UN) in Turkey. We left the country with Iranian passport which was only started to be issued to the Baha’is around year 2000. Prior to that, Baha’is had to escape the country illegally. We stayed in Turkey as religious refugees for about 8 months during which time I did not attend school. I sort of skipped grade 8!!!
We arrived in US in the May of 2004 and came directly to Knoxville, Tennessee where we were met by two of the local Baha’is at the airport whom we have never met before. We were instantly connected and felt part of the Baha’i community of Knoxville right away. They were notified by the Bridge Refugee group who were sponsoring my family that a new Baha’i family was arriving in town.
2. Violettes: What did you do from day to day in Turkey while not in school?
Azin: There were other Baha’i refugees in Turkey so we spent most of the time visiting each other, going to the parks, sightseeing, attending Baha’i gatherings, and learning English. It was like being on vacation in a way and we could use our time however we liked. We also had to attend interviews at the UN in Ankara and the American Embassy in Istanbul once in a while for our case.
3. Violettes: What was school like after you arrived in the US? And how was it different from what you were used to?
Azin: I begin in 9th grade High School. I was learning a new language and became very quiet and did not want to speak until I’ve mastered English. I was shocked by the public display of affection in the hallways of my High School between couples and just the informality of the classrooms and teacher student relationship was very casual and friendly. I worked hard and was dedicated to my studies and challenged myself with taking advanced and college-level course while in High School and graduated with a high GPA. I attended University of Tennessee in Knoxville and majored in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
4. Violettes: Did you have an after school English tutor? How did you learn so quickly?
Azin: Learning English was a continuous process. I was enrolled in English as Second Language (ESL) class in grade 9. It just took me one term to catch up with some of my other classmates and by the second semester in grade 9 I was already in honors and advanced placement classes. My ESL teacher helped us with our homework from other classes. I would stay after school and get help from her. Sometimes, I would be allowed to take my exams from other classes to her class where she would explain the questions in more simple way but I would answer on my own.
5. Violettes: How was the high school formality different than that you were used to in the classroom?
Azin: I went to an all-girls school in Iran. The teachers were formal and as students we were expected to be polite and not ask too many questions as this was considered rude. Everything was too formal. We were expected to only listen, and to memorize the textbook word for word. My High School teachers here were open and shared about their families, vacation photos, and many stories to connect with their students and we were encouraged to ask questions.
6. Violettes: And what after college graduation?
Azin: After graduation, I went to serve as an assistant teacher at a Baha’i-inspired international
boarding school in Czech Republic in the heart of Europe. The School was called Townshend International School. I served there at the Elementary School for 1 year and met my Australian husband, Terry who was teaching there at the time.
My sister, is currently serving at the Baha’i World Center in Haifa, Israel and my family and I have had the privilege to recently go on a pilgrimage to visit the most holy place on earth for the Baha’is.
7. Violettes: Your life now?
Azin: We got married in Knoxville a year after and moved to Australia, to the land down under. I am currently getting my Master’s degree in Biotechnology. I have done many oil paintings and various artworks over the years of my life and I enjoy dancing, voluntary community projects, being with my family and friends, and drinking tea.
8. Violettes: Do you have a favorite music style or band?
Azin: I enjoy alternative music. My favorite band is probably Boy & Bear.
9. Violettes: Somewhere along this path, Azin became an artist. Of the art photographs she sent me, this is my favorite!
This tall beautiful woman makes a perfect Coachella Fashion Rep. for Violettes. Don't you think?
Find Violin Gifts Here.