What expats say: I am living a dream come true
“Mluvím česky, ale trošku,” says Soheil about the level of his Czech after two years in Brno. He learned from his Czech wife Martina and practices with flatmates. His motivation? “I’d like to have a proper conversation with my parents-in-law.”
His mother tongue is Persian. Before he met Martina, he didn’t even speak English. “But the eye contact! I knew there was something going on. So we just started to talk somehow, with our hands…” Now the husband and wife communicate in English, Czech and Persian. And their rescue dog from Romania is trilingual as well.
According to his birth certificate, Soheil is muslim. If you ask him about his beliefs, he only says he believes in “something”. “I’m not even sure what to call it – the universe, God, whatever.” He is simply convinced there must be a higher power because he is living a dream come true.
In Iran he ran a music studio for 15 years while dreaming of having a band. But rock music is forbidden by the Iranian regime. At the age of 27 he couldn’t take wasting his life away anymore. “I just said to myself I wanted to make my own music but I didn’t know how.”
And things started happening: Soheil moved to Georgia where he didn’t know a soul. He met a Czech language teacher – his future wife. They moved to the Czech Republic and rented a place with flatmates who are musicians. That was the origin of his band The Entropies. Then a documentarist from the Persian BBC shot Soheil’s cameo. And gig offers started rolling. Coincidence? The young musician doesn’t think so. “If you have faith in something, you will get it.”
What from his culture would he like to bring to Brno? Not sweating the small stuff, helpfulness and hospitality. “It seems to me that people here like to stay behind closed doors. Whereas Iran is full of life. At our Iranian wedding ceremony there were 400 people and my wife danced for 8 hours non-stop,” he recalls.
Also, Iranian girls are a little bit different. “They’re more like a princess. You have to please them, especially when it comes to marriage – you should have a car and a place to live, then you can ask their father for permission.”
There was a time when you’d meet Soheil in a Gucci shirt. These days his appearance has a hippie feel to it. “I was sick of wearing clothes to make other people happy. When I moved to Georgia, I gave most of my wardrobe to charity and for the first time ever bought a t-shirt from a second-hand shop. It made me feel much better.”
Soheil’s wife is a language teacher and it is her salary that pays for the rent at the moment. Soheil concentrates on breaking through with his music. Other than that cleans, cooks and shops. “I am quite a housewife!” he laughs. Every day he packs lunch in a to-go box for his wife. “Martina thinks it is very lovely but in Iran it is actually quite normal for a husband to cook for his wife,” he says.
The first time he has come across bioproducts was in the Czech Republic. In Iran, everything is bio – “they just put it in the earth and grow it”. What else is different, food-wise? “Our bread looks like tortillas. We first put cheese on it, then butter and herbs. Bread with cheese and honey or marmelade is also delicious, you’ve got to try it!”
Soheil comes from Tehran with 14 million people (“full of stress and always in a hurry”) so Brno feels like a village. “I’d definitely like to raise my children here. But one day I can imagine living back in Iran. Wherever we’re happy, we’re at home.”