At about 3am, the pilot announced that we were getting ready to make our descent. I pulled out my scarf and put it over my head.
“A lot of your hair is showing,” my husband mentioned as he looked over.
I pulled the scarf lower, wrapping the ends around my neck and checking again to make sure the edges covered my neckline. I had been scouring Manteaus Daily for weeks, marveling at all the styles and trying to get inspiration. I had browsed British stores online, hunting for a makeshift manteau that was sufficiently modest to not raise eyebrows at the passport check, while trendy enough that I wouldn’t feel silly on the streets of Mashhad. I’d felt like I hit the jackpot when I found a Laura Ashley shirtdress similar to one worn by an Iranian golfer, but all of a sudden the neckline felt too low and I picked at the hemline, wishing it were longer.
I glanced around the plane at the other women, wishing I could pull off their effortless style. My hand went to my scarf again. Am I the only American on this flight? Probably. I touched my neck. What if my scarf slips while I’m carrying my bag? I nudged the edge of the scarf a little lower.
Finally, we rolled up to the gate and the doors opened. As I pulled my carry-on over my shoulder, I tried to memorize the feeling of the scarf on my head, aware of how it moved as I stood up. Clutching my passport, I maneuvered out of my seat and down the aisle.
All of sudden, there we were, standing in front of the border guard. Handing over our passports, smiling. (Oh! Maybe I’m smiling too much. I should look down at the counter.) And then, all of a sudden, the welcoming phrase, “Khosh amadid.” The passport was sliding back over the counter to me, freshly stamped, and we were continuing through to doors.
For the first time, I was in Iran.