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“When we first arrived, we didn’t know how to behave and how to react,” he said.
During his first few months Gaspar didn’t socialize much and rarely left his apartment, except for trips to football practice.
But Gaspar says he steadily started feeling comfortable.
He says he learned his impressions of Iran, created mostly by the media, didn’t quite match reality.
“When you listen to the news and you read the news, you see things. Sometimes during commercials I step off my couch and look out of the balcony and it’s not what I am seeing, it’s not what I am reading, it’s not what I am hearing.”
Gaspar says what he has observed during his stay in Iran is a nation full of generous people who love their country, their food and their football team.
But the highlight of Gaspar’s Iranian adventure came on the night of June 18, when Iran’s national football team recorded a 1-0 win over South Korea to qualify for the World Cup for only the fourth time.
The win sparked frenzied celebrations on the field and in the streets of Tehran.
“There were a lot of tears, a lot of hugging. You can’t describe it.”
“If I would’ve listened to the experts, and my friends, and family, I would have never been here in Iran. It’s been part of my life for three years and the memories will last a lifetime.”