Firoozeh’s family is scheduled to stay in America for two years, so they make a point of visiting as much of California as possible. They visit every theme park and taste every American fast food. The family’s favorite attraction is Disneyland. Kazem particularly loves the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride.
As is the cliché with many first-generation immigrants, Kazem is more “American” than Americans who’ve been living in the country for their entire lives. What many other Americans take for granted, he finds exciting.
One weekend, Kazem organizes a visit to Disneyland with his family, as well as the families of six of his Iranian colleagues. By this time, Firoozeh has already been to Disney before. Bored, she wanders off and gets lost. Following the instructions Kazem has given her many times, she then finds a police officer and tells him she’s lost, and the officer brings her to the Lost and Found. There, a few American women ask Firoozeh for her name, and they seem confused when she says she’s from Iran. When a much younger boy, who clearly speaks no English, is admitted to the Lost and Found room as well, the women ask Firoozeh, “Is that boy from your country?” The boy clearly isn’t Iranian—even though Americans might think all Middle Easterners look alike.
Firoozeh, unlike her father, finds Disneyland boring, even though as a child, she should be the one enjoying it, not Kazem! Firoozeh encounters some “soft bigotry” in this scene: the ignorant American women assume that Firoozeh is from the same country as another Middle Eastern boy—as if the Middle East is just one big country, without any cultural or ethnic differences.
The women in the Lost and Found try to get Firoozeh to talk to the boy, saying, “Will you do it for Mickey?” Grudgingly, Firoozeh tries—and, naturally, gets no answer from the boy. A short while later, Kazem shows up and hugs Firoozeh—there are so many people in his group that he didn’t notice Firoozeh’s absence for an hour. Kazem is so “weak-kneed” from worrying that he has to cut the trip short and drive home. The next weekend, while Firoozeh is in another theme part gift shop, Kazem buys her all the toys she wants, instead of making her choose one. Firoozeh “basked in my new status as favorite child.”
One of the main sources of comedy in the book is the way that Firoozeh acts like more of an adult than the adults. Here, for example, she wearily humors the two women, even though adults are usually the ones who are “humoring” children. The chapter ends by emphasizing Kazem’s enormous love for Firoozeh: even though he loses sight of her, he’s so worried about her safety that he can’t concentrate on his beloved Disneyland even after he finds her again.