In the fall of 1974 when I was ten years old, my family moved to Tehran, Iran. My parents were teachers and wanted to travel, so they signed up with International School Services, a placement service for international schools, and we chose the Tehran American School (TAS).
Prior to moving to Iran, my father was an assistant professor at Denver University, my mother taught 5th grade at North Lakewood Elementary, and we lived in a nice suburban ranch house in Lakewood, Colorado. Mom went ahead of us to find a house and get us settled. She did not have much choice, as my father got sick that summer and had surgery to remove his gall bladder. Mom was very brave.
I remember the flight over was very long. I think it took a day or more with layovers and such. When we deplaned at Mehrabad Airport, I was struck with massive culture shock, as everything was different than anything I had ever seen before. The most shocking thing to me, was the sight of women clad from head to toe in black chadors.
In 1974, the chador was not mandatory and in fact, the Shah was trying to get rid of them. Since 1979, things are different.
I am not sure how long it took to adjust to living in Iran. We had little bits of the States. TAS had over 4.000 students and around 50,000 Americans made Tehran their home. We were very fortunate in that we were stateside hire, meaning we had military privileges such as the commissary and PX (military supplied American shopping goods) and base access. These small benefits made living in Iran easier.