vendredi 11 juin 2010

Last hour

So we leave for the airport in 1 hour and I can't sleep at all (Its 1am), so I decided to write a blog post. We said goodbye to everyone a few hours ago and I have to admit I nearly lost it and started crying, but I managed to hold it together. Now I'm staying up watching TV and eating cookies. I have to say- I just watched the last episode of Lost and it SUCKED. I am so disappointed in the lost writers. Lost writers- I hope you are reading this and feeling some shame, because that was an awful last episode. I have been faithful to you for like 6 years and this is what I get in return? So sad.

However, I am watching my fav Iranian soap opera and some good shit's goin down so that sort of makes up for it.

So I failed at shopping: I still have 43,000 tomans that I didn't spend, I'm so ashamed of myself. This would never happen to me in the US. Next time I come I need to be a better spender.

Oh my gosh I almost peed in my pants of fright, dad just sleep walked in the living room, stared at me for like 30 seconds, asked me what time it was, and then went back to bed.....longest 30 seconds of my life.

Ok I should probably get offline because I think Amu Mehran might be trying to call the landline. See you yanks in 20 hours!

jeudi 10 juin 2010

Last Day!

Omgggggg I can't believe tomorrow is the last day we are here!!!!!! Today we met with AIESEC Iran and they were so fun! I'm definitely coming back for a TN very soon. We also got some awesome bootlegged DVDs from them.

Maryam and I are very sad to leave. Actually I think dad is the most ready to leave which is sort of bizarre. We've learned so much since we've been here, including how lucky we are to live in America.

Things we'll miss:
- All the people
- Iranian food!!!!
- Farsi
- Cheap stuff
- Tea ten times a day
-Lots of other stuff I can't think of right now.

So we leave for the airport at 2am Saturday morning. I'M SO SAD!!!!! I'm honestly going to cry. Maryam and I don't want to leave at all. I can't imagine going back right now but I guess everything has to end sometime or another. But we're for sure coming back and going to rock harder than ever!

Thanks to everyone who read my blog. And Hossein I can't believe you were a creep and learned all my secrets hahahaha but it was awesome and I love AIESEC Iran!!!! Can't wait to hang out with you guys come January!!!!

See you all on the other side!

mercredi 9 juin 2010

2 daiz

Ok so we have 2 days left. Tonight we have my dad’s friend Majeed’s mom coming over at around 5 (which means dad is going to go by sweets for her arrival- yesssss!) and then we are going to my dad’s uncle’s house for dinner. Maryam and I were absolutely DREADING this day for so long but we just found out that Marjan, Mehran, and Kamran are all going too so we heaved a collective sigh of relief.
Quest to find Dasa bala: So there’s this song that Maryam and I love and the only thing we knew about it was that we heard it in Mehran’s car and that it was maybe by the artist Arash. So we knew nothing about this song but we knew we had to find it. I literally used every internet search skill I possessed and after 2 hours I finally found the song. The only problem now is that our internet is too slow and we can’t download it- so Maryam and I, like freaks, have every night been staying up super late in hopes that maybe it’ll download faster later at night. No luck. I guess its good that we only have to be away from it for maybe 4 more days until we return to the wonderful world of pirating music that is America.
Dad thinks we are special ed: So a few nights ago I got really irritated because dad and his friends were talking about socioeconomic issues and I didn’t know enough specialized words to understand what was going on. So last night we ate dinner with dad’s old roommate in college and his family. They took us to this awesome restaurant themed like old Iran- so it was like cobblestone floors with Persian carpets, they had all these scenes of carpenters working and seamstresses sewing and every waiter was dressed like Aladdin, and they had live music which was amazing. But literally every 5 minutes in the conversation dad would turn to us and start translating everything that they were saying and it was so embarrassing/annoying. Once they were talking about movies and dad started translating to us in English even though all the words are THE SAME in both languages. The waiter was asking me what I wanted to drink and dad started yelling in English “Meena, just describe what you want” and then as if I somehow forgot how to speak English too, he started gesturing drinking something. Needless to say I was mortified and everyone in the restaurant probably thought I was a complete idiot. Another time I was talking to someone at a party and dad started translating what I was saying in Farsi to me. Only dad would think that I didn’t understand what I myself was saying. Maryam held my hands down because she knew I was going to get up and start yelling at him. Good thing Maryam is here or one of us would be dead by now, and I’m not talking about me.
June 12 is the year anniversary of the rigged Iranian elections and the police have decided to make a statement this time. Starting last night, every able police officer, revolutionary guard, army, etc have been lining every block of every major street and just standing there, looking straight ahead, feet shoulder width apart and their police shields in front of them. Basically anyone who tries to start the protest is going to get it. Someone was telling us yesterday that the basijis (the ones you really don’t want to get in trouble with) dress in plain clothes and pretend they are regular citizens. They listen in on conversations on buses or on the street or wherever and then take you in if they hear you talking bad about the government. One professor was heard talking bad about the government and the next day A basiji in plain clothes came and knifed him to death in his own office. Maryam and I are sooooo happy we fly out before the protests will begin. We will literally miss it by about 4 hours. Of course dad being a bad ass took a picture of the policemen all standing in the road (which is a capital offense depending on who you are) and I thought I was going to pee my pants I was so scared. Luckily no one saw. Then we were at the museum and Kamran stuck his middle finger up at the picture of the Ayatolla Khomeini and again I thought I was going to pee in my pants but somehow these people know how to be deviants without getting caught. I’m just trying to stay alive thank you.

Also to everyone writing to me on facebook I’m sorry that I’m not writing back but facebook is forbidden here and I can’t seem to hack the ban. So I’ll respond back to everyone after June 13 

mardi 8 juin 2010

3 days left :(

So now I’m super excited because I just talked to the Iranian @ers on the phone and we are all meeting on Thursday at 10am. I thought it was going to be like 4 of them but turns out like 12 of them want to come and meet us bahaha. I was going to host them at our house but maayyyyybe that’s too many people- I think grandma would have a heart attack. So we’re going to a coffee shop somewhere to chill- it’s going to be awesome. Also dad won’t stop talking to us in English and then when we tell him to stop he gets mad and starts talking really fast. So every day while dad takes his afternoon nap I’ve started hanging out with the maids and cleaning with them so I can learn slang.
Today we went to the museum of contemporary art and I made a profound realization- I hate contemporary art. It’s like a canvas that someone painted black and that’s art…are you kidding me?! I could make that in 2 seconds. Dad and I were so bored but Maryam liked it so we had to go through the whole gallery. But dad kept calling it the museum of “contemporary fart” and laughing hysterically. Then, since this joke is clearly hilarious and not at all something a 5 year old would say, he proceeded to call all his friends after the museum and tell them this joke he came up with about fart and laughing. I think I enjoyed that display more than the museum actually.
I can’t believe we are leaving in 3 days. I would be totally pissed but I came to this country totally unprepared- mostly because dad fed us lies about what it was going to be like. I didn’t bring a monteau ahead of time nor a headscarf which I should have done. Instead I bought one but didn’t realize that people only wear dark colored monteaus, so I look like a total foreigner in my bright red one.
But this is my kind of city/country. The headscarf and jacket you have to wear suck, but I love getting invited over to random people’s homes, I love drinking tea 5 times a day, I love eating bread and cheese and jam for breakfast, I love dressing up fancy for parties and not feeling like someone gravely misinformed you of the slack dress code, I love bartering and fighting for a good price for literally EVERYTHING, I love talking loud and waving my arms all over, and I love making friends with everyone I meet because this country is obsessed with being friends with everyone.
A side-note on bartering- Maryam and I are bartering masters. I can’t tell you our trick because I don’t want you people to steal it, but we get things for half price all the time and its awesome. Once and Iranian we were with asked us to get a good price for him because we could only get $2s off. We got $6 .
I’m trying to convince dad that we should climb up the mountain early in the morning and go to one of the tea houses higher up. We only have 3 more days though and the only day really we could do it would be Friday so idk if its going to happen. I’m sort of angry because I ran 3-4 miles every day for 2 months leading up to this trip so that I could expand my lung capacity in order to be able to get up the mountain (the altitude here is way higher and even walking in the city is super hard on your lungs so needless to say climbing a mountain is tough stuff here) and now it looks like I did that for nothing. But I guess its alright because we did go to a restaurant in the mountains yesterday, although we drove there. The restaurant we went to was so beautiful though!! We sat outside and ate next to this water fountain and the mountain behind us. Since we were sort of nestled in the mountain we had the natural air conditioning cooling us off too so it was really comfortable. Everyone was jokingly telling not to get used to this type of eating out because its very expensive…but what I didn’t tell them was that the prices at that restaurant are what a typical American restaurant charges and so for me its not expensive. I plan on coming back and eating at fancy restaurants in the mountains all the time- and only having to pay $10 for it is a super good deal!

I told the maids/nurses that we have to leave at 2am on saturday and be on the plane for like 15 hours straight and they were all like, 15 HOURS WITHOUT TEA?! And now they are all freaking out and trying to figure out ways I can have tea on the plane. Its so hilarious. I told them what kind of food they serve on the plane and I think one of them puked in her mouth a little bit. Its so funny because they can't afford to go on a plane so to them traveling by plane is this crazy ass concept that they will never have the discomfort of experiencing. I didn't bother admitting to them that I'm gross and secretly like airline food....

samedi 5 juin 2010

Stop Stop Stop talkin that blah blah blah

So the museum was closed yesterday and we couldn’t go- so we’re going today instead. We went to a party last night and a younger person at the party asked Maryam “Is the way your hair is right now the new style in America?” (Keep in mind everyone that Maryam’s hair still looks like a hot mess even in Iran). Maryam was kind of confused and asked why he thought that. He responded by saying, “well I just saw this American music video with this blond girl who had that same hair, her song was something about stop talking blah blah blah”. He was talking about Ke$ha HAHAHAHAHHA. Omg I will never stop making fun of Maryam’s hair resemblance to Ke$ha.
Here’s the thing about Persians. They all wear knock-off designer clothes and probably couldn’t spot a real Armani jacket if their lives depended on it, but when it comes to jewelry, they could smell your cheap, cubic zirconium ring from a mile away. They know their silver and stones, and they want them for the cheapest price possible.
Two days ago we went to this park of stone formations. It would have been awesome except my stomach was hurting the whole time. But there’s this one area where there is a waterfall and all around it is a stone wall . Up and down the stone wall are ledges where people can sit and look out at the park. And here is the most hilarious part, we got to the park way before a lot of people did (there was some event going on) and already every ledge seat was taken. Why? Because this ledge is Persian PARADISE. Not only can you sit on this thrown of a wall and look down at other people like royalty, but you can stare down everyone who walks by. If there are two things Persians love they are feeling important and staring at people. For this reason, Maryam and I dubbed it “the wall of critical Persians” and took a picture. Its awesome.
Another thing Persians can’t get enough of: picnics. I’ve never seen a country so inlove with picnics. Friday is like our Sunday here, but on Fridays literally nothing is open except some shops. So on Friday when Persians don’t have any work to do they all flock to the parks to sit down on the grass, drink tea, and eat bread. Of course they would all rather be out shopping, but since they can’t do that on Friday the next best thing to do is picnic. Fakhri asked me if I picnic in America and when I said I actually don’t really like picnics slash nature she looked at me like I had just taken off my hijab in front of a police officer. She even had me convinced that I had done something wrong. Note to self, never admit to hating nature around Iranians.

Iranian soap operas are the BEST THING EVER. I mean literally I think Maryam and I could make a better quality program with her $50 Canon digital camera. The episode I just watched featured two of the main characters riding in a car….for 10 minutes….literally saying nothing. There was almost no dialogue of any kind for 10 minutes. I started complaining that it was more boring than I thought any soap opera could ever be and Fakhri chided me for being an impatient American. I’m not impatient, I just like my trashy tv trashy, not boring.

I just jumped up and down screaming in rage for 2 minutes

Ok so after I wrote that last post like 2 seconds ago I got about 5 angry mesages telling me to write more happy things (you people need to go out and do something, its 2am in the states). So I wrote this happier thing and then the damn internet kicked me off AFTER I WROTE LIKE 2 PAGES. So I jumped up and down damning the Iranian government and now I'm going to start again. Ok so this is what's up right now:

Right now my face is so oily I think you could cook an egg on it. Right now its 9:30 here. Of course Fakhri is serving me breakfast which I leeeeerve lerve lerve...and maryam hates. This is the perfect country for Paul Quick because its so warm here you literally have no appetite ever- aka perfect for manos.

Little persian girls dress better than Maryam and I do. Every persian girl (not kidding you, starting at the age of about 3) wears rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces and ALWAYS has their nails painted. It doesn't matter what age you are here, if you are female and you are persian you LOVE having painted nails.

You will never meet more intelligent, more learned taxi drivers in any other country. What happens here is the government says what job you get. If they don't like you, you don't get the job. Our taxi driver last night beat up 5 Basiji (hard core police) during the protests last year, got his face broken by a 6th basiji and was tortured for 2 days after. How did they torture him? The made him STAND for 2 days! Can you imagine standing for 2 days????? Anyway so he was a poli sci major and was going tro get a governmental job but because he beat the crap out of the secret police the government told him to go to hell. So now all he can do is drive a taxi...and he has to use his own car. This is not uncommon. Someone else here was in med school in his last year when he protested. Becuase of this they kicked him out of med school and now he can't get a job anywhere. And they can't leave. There are only 11 countries in the whole world an Iranian can go to without needing (and inevitably being denied) a visa....and they are all in East Asia, or New Zealand. An American can go to over 110 countries without a visa- and the others will give a visa no problem (unless its North Korea or of course Iran... but why would you want to go there anyway? ;) )

My dad's uncle came to see us last week. He is cool but he brought his nightmare of a daughter with him, I thought I was going to kill myself. She literally doesn't stop talking. I'm not kidding- I timed her, she talked for 20 minutes straight and all I said was "yeah" "ok" "oh really?" the whole time she talked. And she is only in 5th grade but she looks so old that when we first met her maryam thought she was his wife BAHAHAHAHAHHA. Anyway he invited us to his house on wednesday and I am DREADING it. Maryam and I are just planning on speaking in english the whole time so she can't understand slash can't participate. I know, how mean girls of us.

Ok 2 nights ago we went to a party at Mehran's. I tihnk I've said this before but our family here is so rich its like crazy. Good thing I brought all my gold jewelry with me slash my best dresses. But there was this guy there that was literally CREEPING on me and Maryam. In farsi you say he kept "netting us" or in english we say, trying to "tap it" hahhaa. So basically we made Kamran follow us everywhere and be our bodyguard so he wouldn't talk to us. He kept talking about how he is a tour guide with this eco friendly company and how he started when he was 19 and how he was the youngest in the world to do that. I wanted to be like, dude, come to America and see 15 year olds be summer tour guides for're not that special.
Every Persian is a doctor. Or at least they think they are. You’re stomach hurts? Don’t eat anything green. Your head hurts? Drink shameless amounts of tea. Sometimes I just make stuff up about where it hurts to see what the diagnosis will be.

Iranians are the worst and best drivers ever. Here there are no rules. It’s red but you think you can be like frogger and cross without dying? You go for it. You think you can pile 10 people in your car and not get into an accident? Go for it. You think you can drive in between two other cars and not die? Go for it. But then why is it I’ve seen no accidents yet? Because they are attentive as hell. In America you wouldn’t think for one second that some idiot would drive up in between you and another car and try to make their own lane on the high way would you? So if they did do that you would most likely freak out and swerve and get into an accident. (By the way if an idiot did do that, that idiot is most likely Persian). But in Iran that WOULD happen, anything could happen, so they just don’t freak out and everything’s kosh.
Things with English names. This is the Persians worst nightmare. Some things don’t have translation in farsi. For instance, we are going to the Museum of Contemporary Arts today. But there is no translation for “contemporary” in farsi, which is why its in English. But the problem is that no one speaks English, so if you want to know where this museum is, you literally can’t ask anyone bc they don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. So you just need to bum around until you find it, which will be what we do today apparently.
Also I’m really getting the hang of Persian humor. At parties I have mastered the art of Iranian jokes- it doesn’t really matter what you’re saying, just yell it loud and make it quick. I’m having trouble now though bc I try to be smart and use well to-do words and then I use them wrong so no one laughs. Then yesterday Maryam was like, “Meena, even when you suck at the language you never shut up.” Hahahahah. It’s true, I can’t take offense.
Also, Maryam still looks homeless everyone. She has bought no new clothes- I’m sorry I failed. But now I need to go chain drink espresso shots so that I can boost my alertness and get ready for the Museum!

vendredi 4 juin 2010

Last Week

So we have one week left here. I still have stomach flu so we had to leave this park that took us an hour by taxi to get there after 2 hours because I was going to throw up. This then led to a huge fight when we got home. Needless to say we are all just trying to figure out how we can get through this last week together without killing eachother.

On a worse note, grandma decided 3 days ago that she was no longer going to walk anywhere- not even around the house. She got the same sickness I got a week ago but as far as we knew it had cleared up, but still she decided she was too sick to leave her bed and so we had to hire another nurse to come so that when grandma had to go to the bathroom they could lift her together, but even those too couldn't lift her so dad had to come help all the time. Then 2 days ago the second nurse had to leave to do another job and Fakhri and dad were alone to lift grandma themselves. We had been planning a trip to the Caspian Sea for the weekend but Fakhri told us that if we left she wouldn't be able to lift grandma and so she would just let her lay in bed for 2 days until we got back and that there was nothing she could do. Because of this we had to cancel our trip to the sea. Then yesterday Mehran took just about all he could of this and called an ambulance to take her to the hospital. The trouble with hospitals here is that they literally will not give help to someone who comes in if there isn't someone with them that is planning to spend the entire stay with them. Because of this we put her in ICU, where visiters aren't allowed. Today we are going to see her and see if she is OK to come home or to be moved out of ICU.

On a happier note, we are going to a restaurant in the mountains this coming week! We are also going to some museums and seeing the crown jewels of the Qajar kings, who are the sheikholeslami relatives.