Life In Tehran Vs. Life In New York

Hooman Majd’s new book The Ministry Of Guidance Invites You To Not Stay follows his experience as an American going back to live in his home country of Iran. Here are a look at how life is different in each country’s major cities.

1. The Cityscapes

The cities, both bright and vibrant, look incredibly different due to location, geography, climate and history.

2. Traffic

New Yorkers may complain about traffic in the city but in Tehran, traffic is almost unbearable during rush hour.

Majd had difficulty transporting his infant son in the unsafe cabs in Tehran and says that he’s often seen children sitting on laps or driving cars themselves.

3. Bikes

New York City just started their Citibike program but in Tehran, motorbikes are far more common.

4. Alcohol

While you can find is readily in the city of Tehran, the consumption, manufacturing and trading of alcohol is technically banned in Iran for Muslim citizens. In New York City, last call is at 4 a.m.

5. Coffee

While there may be a Starbucks on every corner in New York City, Raees Coffee strikes a bit of a resemblance.

At home in Iran, Nescafe is the coffee of choice but Majd explains that Iranians are far more selective about their tea.

6. Organic Produce

Organic produce may be the ‘norm’ at Whole Foods around New York but the experience in Tehran is a bit different.

Majd explains a conversation with his friend:
“”Everything is organic here. Nobody wants to spend the money on pesticides or stuff like that! It’s cheaper to let half the crop go bad then to spray it with chemicals.” He was half right—some produce, particularly from smaller farms, is indeed “organic” or close enough. But Iranian farmers do also use pesticides, probably some that are banned in the West.”

7. Vegetarianism

While New York seems to be on a vegan, gluten free, juice cleanse craze, Majd observed that there were only a few vegetarian specific cafes in Tehran, often catering to hip and artsy clientele.

8. Dairy Products

While consumers in the US are used to cow’s milk, Iranians many products from sheep, including sheep’s yogurt which is said to have any health benefits.

9. Children

The US has been taken by the helicopter parent phenomenon where parents are highly protective of their children. In Iran, complete strangers will come up to touch and hold children.

Majd talks about having poems handed to him by complete strangers that were inspired by watching his son play in the park. Iranians openly praise and embrace children, even ones they do not know.

Learn more about life in two cities and Hooman Majd’s journey to Iran in The Ministry Of Guidance Invites You To Not Stay

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