Together with my younger sister and pregnant mother we fled from Iran. I was only eleven years old but I remember everything very well. The first thing I saw when we arrived at the airport was a young couple making out in public. Something I wasn’t used to. We were placed in a refugee center and applied for citizenship. We kept moving from one refugee center to another without any clarity about the future. That changed autumn 2005. It was six a clock in the morning when the police woke us up. They said we had to leave the country and for the meantime we were placed in a detention center which is a fancy word for prison. The days passed by and after seven weeks they decided to review our case. When you go through something like that it’s hard to believe in the future. One year after we got released we received our residence permits. Slowly I started to move forward and make plans. I auditioned for theater school in Maastricht and surprisingly I got accepted. Even though I’m not a refugee anymore it still influences my life and also my work as an actor. For example, I’m now working on a production called ‘Nobody Home’. The title says it all. When you are a refugee you don’t belong anywhere.

“Eight months ago we met in this horrible club called ‘The purple turtle’. She seemed to be the only interesting person around. We talked for hours about all kinds of subjects such as art, philosophy and the Latin language. One week later we spontaneously took off for Paris and one month after that she moved in with me on my boathouse. We have been inseparable ever since. A few months ago I came up with the idea to propose to her. We go to the same university so I thought it would be cool to propose to her through our university magazine. I wrote an entire article and send it to the editorial office. Unfortunately they refused to take it serious. After that I tried to propose to her several times but every time something went wrong. It took me a few weeks and 5 proposals before she got the message. Lucky for me everything worked out and now we are on our honeymoon. We are only 19 and 20 years old but I think the fact that we are both a bit crazy makes us work.”

A few days ago I was walking down Rembrandt square when suddenly I noticed this little girl with bright red shoes being completely hypnotized by two street musicians. I got to talk with her father who told me they were from South Africa and her name is Barbara. I asked him if I could take her picture. He said it was no problem but I would need to get her attention by myself. ‘Things that move tend to hypnotize her’. I kept calling her again and again without any success. I wasn’t going to give up and after a few minutes she gave me this look.
After I took her photo, I sat down and I kept observing her. Then I saw her father encouraging her to take a big step.

Check out what happened:

Small step for mankind, big step for Barbara.