I came to use the computers while everyone except Ame Fereshteh and I are taking their naps. Except today since its not a Friday there’s someone working watching the computers, so she wouldn’t give me the passes for both rooms and logged me in before I noticed that this computer doesn’t have USB ports on the front. The other computer is in use, but I would have just come and used it another time. Which I’ll probably try to do anyway, with the other room number when that one is available. I’m just worried that if she’s not here then, that I won’t be able to. I wanted to get them now so I could use them whenever I saw the computer open, but oh well.

 This morning Bababozorg, Ame Fereshteh, Ame Farideh and I went to the bazaar. I guess the big one is the one at Naqsh-e Jahaan Square, where we were yesterday. And  Granma, its nowhere near 6 miles. The taxi driver said it covers maybe 4 km.

I didn’t find everything that I was hoping to find, or at least not at a quality/size/price I wanted. I had a rough idea of what I wanted, and managed to end up spending more than I’ve spent in one day that I had since I got to Iran. But it was still less than I managed to spend in 9 hours at Heathrow.

 For lunch we went to a restaurant that Ame Farideh went to when she was here with Shokoufeh a couple years ago. It was at the top of a steep staircase, and of course we didn’t find out they  had an elevator until after Khalejoon and Mamanzari reached the top. I’m pretty sure they used it to leave though, because I don’t think they could’ve handled going down. Ame Farideh and I left first though because we walked, and managed to find a super to buy some water at finally as well. It was good that it was close, since otherwise we need two cars to go anywhere. That’s the problem with their being more than 4 people. But this morning when we went to the bazaar, we took a car because I’m not sure we realized we were going back to Naqsh-e Jahaan square and because it was hotter. Otherwise we could’ve walked, and coming back our hands were all full because we’d found Shirin Gazz, which was the gaz that Mamanzari had that she liked. I didn’t realize though that suggesting we get a box would lead to everyone being bitter because they bought more than just that and its not cheap. I personally like Sekeh, because they have a chocolate covered variety and it comes in shiny reusable tins.

I’m not sure what we’re doing this afternoon. I want another faloodeh though, because it was yummy last night. Dad told me even though its boiled when I mentioned that to him on the phone, that its still put on ice. I think I’ll ask when I get it. I’ve been pretty good about that though, I eat only cooked and/or peeled fruits and veggies, unless I was personally there when they were washed, drink bottled mountain water (though I doubt near mountains it really makes a difference than the water in the town, but I guess no risk of nasty pipes), and up until yesterday, avoid things that are out of large containers, unless you count restaurants for the most part when I have little control. I’ll try to get us to go to breakfast earlier tomorrow too so that the buffet hasn’t been sitting out as long. (I had time to use the computer this morning, so it had been sitting out an hour and a half before I got there, but I woke up 15 minutes after breakfast started, and Ame Farideh was the only one asleep.)

I’ll try for a picture post later on if I can. We’re paying for two rooms, so I don’t see why I can’t have the computer time for both.

Esfahan

30 June 2006

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This morning Mamanzari, Bababozorg, Khalejoon Belgus, Ame Farideh, Ame Fereshteh, and I all went to the airport to catch a plane to Esfahan. The thing I love about Iran Air – they still feed you on one hour flights.

I’m on the computer at the hotel. I can get a little paper with a 30 minute allowance each day. Since we have two rooms, that means 1 hour. Unfortunately, the way they’re set up, I can’t do anything with my photos (including rotate them), so only the ones I took with VGA settings and landscape can be uploaded for your viewing. That ruled out most of the pictures I took today, including most of the photos of our gorgeous hotel. Though I did take one of the Ash-e Reshteh that I could upload.

The first two photos were taken at Naghshe-Jahaan Square, where Bababozorg and my Ames and I walked to. We also went inside Aali Ghapoo Palace, and I have quite a few pictures from in there (I actually took the second photo from there), but most of them are too large to upload.

The third picture is of the delicious Ash-e Reshteh that they serve in the courtyard tea house at the hotel. I think it was my dinner, considering I ate it close to eight, and ash is generally pretty heavy.

Off to Esfahan

29 June 2006

I’m going to Esfahan for a couple of days, so I’ll probably be even father away from a computer.

Right now Mamanzari is teaching me how to make Lubia Polow. She’s more of a hands on teacher, which makes it harder for me to write things down. And I once again forgot to bring her onions.

I checked the weather for Esfahan, and it isn’t any hotter than here.
Right now though, its a surprisingly cool 31 degrees C, or 88 F. It didn’t seem much cooler though when I walked over here. I was planning to walk back to Ame’s after lunch and figured that way the shower would feel super refreshing.

Yesterday I worked with Ame Farideh and someone whose name I can never seem to remember to translate Ame Farideh’s things since their original translations weren’t very easy to understand.

I have three more recipes to post, but the computer and I have not been getting along lately (though I do actually have my USB cable today) so it may be a while.

کوکو کدو
(Kuku Kedoo, Squash Pancake)
Serves 3-6

2 medium size squash
1 heaping table spoon + 1 tea spoon flour
3 eggs
1/2 tea spoon adviyeh
1 tea spon salt
1/8 tea spoon saffrom
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
80 mL oil

tomatoes, onions, picked veggies, greens, and bread (to serve)

Coarsely grate squash into a medium sized bowl.
Add flour and spices and stir to combine.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Heat oil in a 9″ skillet over medium-high heat and pour in egg mixture. Lower to medium heat. Put lid on with a cloth to absorb moisture.
Cook for about 8-10 minutes. Remove lid. Cut in half twice (into four even sized pieces) and flip each piece over. Cut each of those pieces into half so that there are 8 slices.
Continue to cook for for another 10-15 minutes, or until well browned on both sides.

Forgetful is Me

27 June 2006

Last night Ame Fereshteh made Khoresh Gorme Sabze.

I was going to post the recipe, along with the photo. But I remembered the camera but forgot to cable to connect it to the computer.

I’m not sure what I’m doing today, but I know its supposed to be pretty hot again. But I think I’m getting used to it, because yesterday after I walked back to Ame Fereshteh’s, I walked to the fruit shop, where I managed to buy (not enough) fruit all by myself, and then went and got some sunscreen.

This morning though, Ame Fereshteh informed me that Mamanzari fell down again last night. She was still at Ame Fereshteh’s though, so she wasn’t alone. That makes me worry about leaving her alone since its her second fall since I got to Iran. I came to see her for breakfast (she’s on the phone right now) and because I’m a bit worried about her. Solmaz is coming in less than an hour to take her to get her hair cut, so I should probably go make sure she’s ready on time.

I’m back to staying at Ame Fereshteh’s again. I moved most of my stuff back last night, and grabbed the rest this morning. I was going to wait until Wednesday or so, but talking to Dad on the phone, he suggested I move sooner because I’d probably be less bored with her than staying here with Mamanzari. I feel kind of bad abandoning her, but I can be more active and help Ame with her work. Plus, Mamanzari is only an 8-15 minute walk away, so I’ll probably try to come here every day.

This morning Ame Fereshteh and I walked over here, and then with Ame Farideh went for a walk after I finished my jump roping. It’s a shame that it took me until today to realize that the ceiling below Mamanzari’s apartment is high enough to jump rope, the rope just barely skims it. And its shady.

We went to a third park, one I hadn’t been to before, that has really pretty fountains. Even in the sun, right next to the waterfall from the fountain is nice and cool. Plus, once you’ve gotten past the initial sweat phase, it doesn’t seem all that hot out. I didn’t get a headache or anything, I was just a bit thirsty since I hadn’t grabbed a bottle of water like I’d meant to.

On our way back to Mamanzari’s, we stopped and picked up some fresh lavash. And I mean fresh as in straight out of the rotating oven thing, and my wrist was sweatier than it should’ve been when we got back to Mamanzari’s. That’s when I can’t resist the bread. Day old and not as soft lavash is easier. She’d already left for her friend’s house though. It’s Quran reading day. Ame Fereshteh and I joined her later on, around 12:30, for the end of the explanations, lunch, and the socializing.

Coming back from Mamanzari’s friend’s house I stayed with Mamanzari to make sure she made it up the stairs okay. I told Ame Fereshteh I’d walk back later. I’m sure of the way now. I’ll just wait until Mamanzari’s all settled in for her nap, being sure that she doesn’t need anything, have another glass of water, call Ame Fereshteh, and head out. I’m thinking I might even risk wearing foam-soled flip flops because I didn’t feel like wearing socks, and my feet’ll make my shoes smell terrible. That and I have a blister on my ankles from my running shoes this morning. They do that to you if they aren’t tight enough, but I trip over my jump rope less in them.

On Friday I went to an opening with Ame Farideh. And then to Amu Farhad's house to get ready to go to his friend's house.
At his friend's house I spent most of the time sitting quietly, but did talk to Amir for a bit, except he used too many big words and asked questions about college entrance exams in the United States that I don't know the answer to since its a bit of a ways away. I also talked to Zahra for a while. She's twelve, almost thirteen, so she's close to my age. She was easier to understand.

Amu Farhad had taken a cake. Right as I was trying really hard to stay awake sitting in a chair, I hear happy birthday in Farsi. I was so out of it at this point that I was wondering whose birthday it was and it took a while to register that they were looking at me. So I had another cake to destroy while cutting. I need to practice my cake cutting skills, or maybe its just the utensils I've been given to use aren't the easiest. They tend to not be long enough, so their handles end up with most of the cream icing.

Then around 2 or so we returned to Amu Farhad's, I called Mom and Dad and talked to them for a bit, gave the phone to Amu Farhad, and went to sleep immediately. I actually got up rather late for me, but around 8 only gave me 6 hours of sleep. And it was the second night in a row I'd done that.

Yesterday I didn't really do anything in the morning. Zanamu Mina brought me back to Mamanzari's around 10:30-ish, and I worked on getting the photos online, wrote, cut up cucumbers and tomatoes and made sandwiches for lunch in Ame Farideh's sandwich machine. I then tried not to munch, but ended up doing so anyways. I started to reread The Truth About Forever, and am not on Chapter 5 or so for the second time. It's easier to put down when you've already read it.

Ame Farideh told me to be ready at 3:30 if I wanted to go out with her; she had to go to one of Amu Farhad's projects and then was going to go to another opening. I wasn't that interested in going to work with her, figuring I'd be really bored (but it wasn't as boring as I thought it would be), and I thought another opening would be neat, and I figured I'd get out that way. So I was ready, and around 4:30 she was too so we left.

The project that I saw was Amu Farhad's. Donyaye Arezoo, a shopping mall that they're currently building. From the models I saw and stuff, it was really interesting. They have all these images of what it'll look like when its all done. Right now outside the construction site on a wall are these mosaics and other collage-y pictures Ame Farideh did.

I really liked the opening, it was at Tehran University (I think), and went along with the one I went to Friday, only was more photography and printing, so I liked it better. The only problem was I was exhausted and hoping to get to bed at 8, which considering we left at 7:45, wasn't going to happen. I'm sure if Ame Farideh hadn't had me with her she would have stayed longer. I hate it when I feel like I'm a burden to someone.
Ame Farideh offered to take me to a vegetarian restaurant, so I accepted, against my better judgment. I should've gone with my first instinct of no and just gone home and gone to bed. I ended up going to bed at 10:30 or so, and slept today until 8. I don't think I slept enough. My stupid headache hasn't gone away.
AND I had pizza for dinner last night.

But don't take that the wrong way, its not to say I'm not having a good time. I'm just probably jeopardizing myself because of some of my decisions and trying not to burden anyone and not wanting to leave Mamanzari alone. I could be at Ame Fereshteh's with a girl whose name I have no clue how to try to spell (Kiana?) who is my age. I think I might see her tomorrow. Or Tuesday. It would be nice if I could figure out how to call people, but despite having the numbers and dialing them, I get wrong numbers, the "please check the number and try again spiel", or answering machines (which I do not like).

تولد مبارک

23 June 2006

تولد مبارک
It’s My Birthday!

Last night we celebrated my birthday, because it is the night of your birthday you celebrate. (I’ve been confused. I couldn’t figure out why last Thursday they kept saying it was Friday night. I thought they had their days of the week mixed up. But that’s just how it is.)

At Mamanzari and Bababozorg’s there was them, Amu Farhad, Zanamu Mina and Arezoo, Ame Farideh, Ame Fereshteh, Naghmeh, and Khalejoon Belgus.

I wasn’t expecting anything, so I didn’t look nice enough. I ran to Ame Fereshteh’s with her when she first got here to grab some stuff that I’d need for the party that Amu Farhad’s taking me tonight. But because I wasn’t prepared, this morning I found the jewelry that I brought to go with the shirt. I just didn’t realize how low cut it was until I was looking at the pictures just now. I knew there was a reason I wore it over a t-shirt last time I wore it.


Dinner was a feast in its own right. There was کشک باد مجان (which I just ate far too much of for lunch and will probably soon regret), ته چین (pronounced tacheen, its rice with yogurt that’s pie like made in a skillet with meat and adviyeh or saffron, the one Ame Farideh made had little red dried berries whose name escape me but I know and chicken it), baqala polow, chicken with carrots, a leg of lamb with lots of garlic (I had 4 garlic cloves!), tadik-e nan from the rice,ماست و خیار mast-e khiar (cucumber yogurt with mint, and sometimes grapes) that Ame Fereshteh drew a butterfly on, soup, and a salad (that nobody touched until lunch just now.) Ame Farideh also made gelatin that was three flavors and had fruit in it. It was strawberry, orange, and pineapple gelatin with watermelon, pineapple, melon, and banana chunks in it.

And then of course, there was cake. It was a gorgeous cake that they bought with a chocolate ganache (which threw me off since I’d never put candles of cut a cake like that before and the whipped cream layers had softened and it threw me off). It was decorated with flowers that were supposed to try to resemble foxgloves and butterflies.

After cake and presents, it was time to dance. They got Arezoo to show me how to dance, but my aunts were complaining about my music. I probably should get around to putting all the Persian music we have onto my computer, because I could only find one CD, and its called Dance Party, but apparently its not good for that. So Ame Farideh asked me to put on موزیک خارجِی which would translate to “foreign music.” So on came Shakira’s Ojos Asi, since its fun to dance to, and I would still be able to practice my رقس ایرانی (Iranian dancing). It was fun, and it made dinner feel less heavy, and kept me awake. I was up until almost two in the morning.

Then this morning, while I was writing in my notebook with the pen Bababozorg gave me, we were talking about when Mom and Dad would probably call me. I was saying right now was too late there for me to call them, and it was almost my birthday (this was at 8:25 this morning here) and when it was 7 o’clock there, I’d be on my way to Amu Farhad’s. While we were talking, the phone rang and it was Dad calling to tell me Happy Birthday since at this point it was 8:32, making it my birthday in Chicago (at 00:02 in the morning).

Sleepy, but not

23 June 2006

I guess I’m kind of in that sort of rush from… something.
I’m exhausted, but can’t bring myself to go to bed.
My wild and crazy birthday party ended a short while ago.

I tried to call Mom, and didn’t succeed. I thought she might be in the car. I then tried to call Maddy to tell her happy birthday (I’ve been trying for 10 days) and once again got a busy signal, and Michelle didn’t answer her cell phone (I don’t have Maddy’s number.) I wanted to call Granma, but I can’t remember past the first six digits, (9 internationally, I suppose), and so I called Keri since it’d been a while since I got an e-mail. And I was going to say goodbye in a minute, and the phone card cut me off. I was hearing my echo, and so I started making sure Keri was still there, and then heard the phone card lady voice apologizing in Farsi.
I guess it kept me from talking too long. I’d already been on seven minutes longer than I’d planned on.

Today’s Bababozorg’s birthday.
Mamanzari made him حلیم (halim) for breakfast. Its kind of like oatmeal. I think its wheat berries, some sort of meat, and other stuff. I’m not quite sure. She surprised him with it, so I was in the shower.

Zanamu Mina’s coming to get me in half an hour. I think we’re going swimming, but I’m never really sure what I’m doing.

I sat down with my book since Ame Fereshteh brought it with some more clothes yesterday. I forgot to ask her for socks, and I think the washing machine ate mine. I also wasn’t thinking clearly, so today I can either clothes that are all the same shade of green, or multiple shades of green. Dressing monochromatically in shades of green probably makes me look like a giant olive. Though it happens more frequently with purple…

Last night, I thought Ame Fereshteh and I were going for a walk after the game ended (it was a tie), and we ended up going to some stores so she could get me my birthday present. I got a green tunic, and a white scarf with orange and red flowers. I’m not going to wear either until tomorrow though.

Bababozorg wants me to help him with some stuff, and I think I’m confusing him flipping back and forth between this and that.