Seventeen year-old Parissa Rohani is of Iranian and Persian descent. Here is her story:
Catalina Perez de Arminan: Where is your family from?
Parissa Rohani: My mom is from Lima, Peru,but later lived in Tarapoto. My dad lived in Tehran, Iran until he was around 15. He later moved to America because of his family and the opportunity here.
Perez de Arminan: Where were you born?
Rohani: I was born here in Miami.
Perez de Arminan: Which culture do you feel most identified with and why?
Rohani: In my family we don’t really emphasize religion. We choose what we want to be and what we want to believe in. In the end, in both religions there is a God. I would say that I am more Muslim because most of my aunts and uncles are as well. They teach me more about it every day and I learn more about the Muslim traditions than the Catholic ones. However, I go to both church and the Mosque. I don’t feel like I must choose a religion. I can be both.
Perez de Arminan: What traditions do you follow?
Rohani: One of the main traditions we follow is the celebration of the Iranian New Year. The Iranian New Year is all about celebrating the gift of having a family. We give each other presents and spend time with each other but mostly we show appreciation for one another. My parents do not restrict me from following any American traditions, so I celebrate American New Year’s as well.
Perez de Arminan: Do you have a favorite food from your country of origin? If so, which one and why?
Rohani:From my mom’s country, it would be Lomo Saltado. From my dad’s, it would be Baghali Polo which is lamb with Akron rice and lima beans. Another dish we always eat is Kabobs with rice.
Perez de Arminan: How has your culture shaped you?
Rohani:I think that because I am Muslim, and there are a lot of stereotypes, and there is some criticism towards the religion, I have become more aware of not being critical of other people. It doesn’t matter what your religion is or where you came from; you are a person. You have your own personality. Who you are is defined by how you present yourself, not your religion, your background, or what your parents did. You create your own representation of yourself. Being both Muslim and Catholic has shaped me that way.
Perez de Arminan:Does your brother Babak receive any special treatment or privilege for being the only boy in the family?
Rohani: That answer might be a little biased because I am his sister, but I think that my dad does see him as his son and only son but I would say we are all loved equally in our family. There is no favorite and no one prefers one over the other. Especially since Babak and I are twins, my parents are always careful to not show any preference for one over the other.