I can’t seem to keep my eyes open for long when flying. So right after boarding in Tehran, I fell asleep.

“Sir. Sir.”

I turn my head to the source of the sound and open my eyes. I got woken up by the stewardess.

“Sir. Your meal.”

Life Pro Tip: always order a special meal, even if you don’t need one persé. You’ll get your food before anyone else, and you won’t have to decide what you want to eat. Let them decide. Embrace randomness.

“Sir. Are you Romanian?”

The question had me startled. Where am I? Why am I being asked whether I’m Romanian in a flight from Tehran to Dubai? Am I Romanian? Just having spent two weeks in Romania made me doubt myself.

“Uh, no, I’m not. I’m Dutch.” It was a mostly automatic reply.
“But your name, Lunescu.”
I started to regain consciousness. “Ah. Lunesu. It’s an Italian name.” I noticed a little flag on her uniform. I could make out the blue and the red, but the dim light made it impossible to tell the color in the middle from white or yellow.
“Ești Româncă?” I asked her whether she’s Romanian.
“Da! Dar vorbești bine Româna?”
“Ah. Eu nu sunt Român, dar am locuit în București cam 5 ani de zile.” I explain I’ve lived in Bucharest.

We exchange a few more polite phrases and she proceeds to help the next person.

I turn to my food and put down the book in have in my hand “Farsi on the road.” The book was open on the page with common greetings, coincidentally at:

I am Dutch.
Man Olandi ast.

من هلندی است.

Sometimes, for my own sanity, I need to remind myself who, what, and where I am.