Before I started this trip, and any trip, I always make dua that Allah makes it easy for me.

This trip has had its challenges. Lost my luggage on the way to Doha, and a few other bumps along the road, but my time here in Iran has been fabulous!

The Iranian people are warm and friendly! And things in this country are bustling and busy.

They seem to do business with various neighbors, there is trade, but most importantly there is innovation!

I really liked my time here, and honestly, the vision it takes to invite people from around the world to go head to head against the best storytellers their country has to offer, for prizes, is amazing.

Last night was the closing ceremony of the festival. It was filled with pomp and ceremony and some of the speeches went on a bit too long, but it was very nice.

One of the storytellers called it the Academy Awards of the storytelling world.

Anne Stewart from Australia made an interesting point. She said that when she told people she was going to Iran for this festival many people looked at her like she was mad. But when she told them she was going to Persia, they said, “Ooooh, Persia!”

Even though they’re the same thing!

And all the storytellers seemed to agree that there is nothing like this in other countries!

I was on the jury, and I sat through all 46 storyteller presentations including my compatriots who, like me, hadn’t understood that they were all part of the competition!

While judging they were in group A, including nine other tellers from Iran and we were to choose three over all winners from the Iranians and three from the international group.

It was very hard! Five judges, four of whom were Iranian and spoke the same language and then there was me.

We had different tastes in storytelling styles! And different standards.

I’ve been on other juries and it’s funny but I seem to really take a stand.

Well, that is if I feel strongly about something.

It was a fascinating experience. I learned a lot and apparently they did too.

Some of them even said that I had made them look at things from a different perspective.

So it’s all good.

Made some fabulous friends! I’ll talks more about that another time.

And contacts!

So I think this trip went very well indeed! It’s not over, but I’m hoping that there’s no other hiccups.