Forever Under Construction

The Tale Of Two Kiddies

Posted in Personal by homeyra on December 25, 2006

An interesting experience as a Juror has lead Shirin to write another delightful post. Here is an excerpt:

(23 dec) … It’s weird having two nationalities, especially if like in my case, your two nationalities are so different from each other. I guess it’s a bit like having two children that are very different. Say one is a bit of a retarded drug addict and the other is a model-looking genius. From what I’ve seen, if a mother has two kids like this, she will always pay more attention to the first one. She will take care of him more and maybe even love him more than the second one who she may end up ignoring or maybe even loathing. Well she figures the second one doesn’t need her really because he is great and everyone knows he’s great too so he will be fine. The first one however will probably only ever be loved by her.
This I think is similar in a way to the two nationalities that I have … Guess which is which child!
Anyway just like that mother, I have always sort of taken the side of my not-doing-so-well nationality … flag burning, holocaust denying, generally as politically incorrect as they come country and pooh-pooh my other nationality (which I’m not saying is without its faults) but … deep down I respect it immensely and love it really … read more

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Dreaming of you WP!

Posted in Personal by homeyra on December 19, 2006

billgates-china.jpg

Decoration only!

It was late evening, I was somewhere, sort of a semi-public place. The receptionist calls and tells me that there is a police car at the door to take me away.

I ask him what it is all about, he shows me a piece of paper. It has something to do with my driving license. I tell him that, as he is well aware, I don’t drive. It seems too extreme to be taken away in the middle of the night for such a matter.

The receptionist, who somehow knows me, looks at the paper and notices a sort of administrative flaw. He says that this seems enough of a reason to send them away but I better present myself first thing in the morning to the police station.

I look at the paper, and I realize that this is not about the driving license. It is because I have a link in my blog to Winter Patriot! 🙂

I was mildly uncomfortable and I was trying to find a way to handle the situation till I woke up.

Btw, in a previous post about Newsha, I forgot to write down this link to her pictures of Iran, Iraq and Pakistan.

Political Correctness

Posted in Personal by homeyra on December 11, 2006

My dear online friend Bluebear2, from the land of the Great Satan – is this enough as an ice breaker? 🙂 – made a comment about his auto-censorship regarding a very innocent matter thinking that I might be offended.

If you have seen the Xmas in England post referring to Shirin‘s acute sense of observation and humor, you’ll get an idea of the ongoing distortion about “political correctness”.

As ordinary human being, we should agree to maintain some courtesy toward each other. I think life is more pleasant if we do so, though….

I hereby declare that I won’t be offended by any of your comments. I can take that much, and if I “moderate” any post, as I did before, it would be for totally impersonal reasons.

Living In A Documentary

Posted in Iran, Personal by homeyra on December 9, 2006

I was 17 when I left Iran to study architecture in Paris. I was still there when the Iranian revolution occurred.

The first time I went back to Iran after the revolution was during the war. At this time Teheran was not under attack but the city seemed quite depressing. There were frequent blackouts, numerous check points and graffitis all over the walls. My parents have had to move from our house to a rented flat. The landlords/neighbors were a family from Esfahan, they were old acquaintances of my grandfather’s.

Both my parents had adapted themselves to their new life. My mother was, as always, very busy: she always had an open door to friends and many “protégé’s” to take care of. She was managing the shopping with the new “coupon” system. Sewing scarves and selling them in private was a new occupation.

My father’s style was different: He used to listen to the BBC news on the radio, go to bed and sleep after some reading … at about 6pm!! My mother used to say that he didn’t see a single evening in their new home! He would wake up very early, go to his office, whether there was something to do or not. He had a new camera, and photography was his new hobby.

It is always an intense moment when you go back to your homeland after a few years.

There was like a layer of dust and dirt all over the city. Obviously no one had cared to make any repair to their houses in recent years. Insides of building were as gloomy as the outsides.

The society had a totally new organization and people I knew had undergone almost the whole spectrum of possible adjustments.

I discovered that A was an active revolutionary, he had already served in the front of the new war and now had a good position in some ministry. My 13 year old cousin, who wanted to go to the front, was send to Europe by his parents, while S was proud of his son’s martyrdom. A street nearby was named after a young student in Europe, who returned to Iran at the beginning of the war to defend his country. He was killed as soon as he arrived to the war zone. My best friend’s father had fled the country through the mountains of Kurdistan after a year of hiding. R had obtained a very good position in another governmental office, N was taking paying passengers on his car while going forth and back between his first and second job. Many had left the country, many intended to do so. Conversations were mainly about the latest news, the new laws, and endless speculations about the future. Each one was eager to tell you his or her story, fears or hopes.

A French friend asked me on the phone what was life like in Teheran, I told her it was like living in a documentary.

Although I was happy to be home, it was way too different from life in Iran as I knew it. I was eager to leave and resume the life I was accustomed to. At that time, I just couldn’t stand that much tension. On the day of my departure, I was inflicted by some strange virus, its symptom was absolute tiredness. Planes were full, and delaying my departure meant to postpone it for an unknown date in a few weeks. I almost crawled to the airport, and as soon as I was in Paris I crawled again into a café. I really needed to feel some “normal life”, freedom or happiness. It was a sunny day and people were sitting outside.

I realized that I didn’t see many happy faces around me. I thought god, look at all that they (and I) have here … it was all taken for granted, and we didn’t seem to do much with it.

C & A

Posted in Personal by homeyra on December 1, 2006

A true story…

C, an American woman, met A, her future Iranian husband in a well-known US university some 35 years ago. After they got married they settled in Iran. It didn’t occur to A to apply for a green card; he reckoned he didn’t need one. Years later while they were on vacation in the States, the revolution occured in Iran, followed by the eight-year war with Iraq. Given the situation and having the luxury to choose they settled in America.

Years passed. Iranian emmigration to US was increasing and conditions kept getting harder and harder. Fake wedding was the only option for many to get a green card. In these times A realized that an Iranian passport was not the ideal travel document. He decided to apply for a green card on the grounds of having an American spouse. Their friends warned them about the tough interview: it would take hours, many trap questions would be thrown at them, and that A couldn’t count on getting a green just because he was actually married to an American for years…. unless they could convince the immigration officer that they lived together…

So… C and A prepared for the interview: they memorized the brand of the toothpaste they used, the color of their toothbrushes, the pattern of their towels and bedsheets, and anything they could think of that may pop up in the interview. They took the whole morning off from their work ready for a prolonged interrogation. When they entered the interview room in the INS building, the immigration officer’s first question was when they had gotten married.

Our protagonists responded immediately, simultaneously, but differently. Then they looked at each other. C was livid that A had once again forgotten this momentous occasion. A was equally certain that he does indeed remember and it is C who has gotten it wrong. C let A know in no uncertain terms that he has mixed up their American and Iranian wedding dates, and so on…

The heated exchange went on for a while. The immigration officer, completely ignored, was studying the couple in amazement. Finally, he declared: “That is quite enough, get the hell out of here… ” C and A froze! “we have really screwed up … A is never going to get the green card now …”, they thought.

Until the officer continued, “… I have no doubt that you are really married.” The interview took only a few minutes, A got his green card, and they were both back in their respective offices before coffee break.

Month Two

Posted in Personal by homeyra on November 29, 2006

The truth is that the introduction on Month One was not really representative… A “month” can be a lot of time in some parts of the world, but here, it’s like a day in terms of accomplishments. In one month if I am lucky, these can be my achievements:I got the plumber to repair that leaking sink, I have managed to meet a person about that emergency, I’ve found the medicines I needed and the like. The best thing that could have happened in one Month – or any period of time, is if you have been able to avoid all the usual calamities! You must think in terms of avoidance techniques to spend any day of your life 🙂

Having clarified this, I have now a Sister Site, I never had a sister – always wished to have one. It is not clear if I also have a Brother Site or not, hopefully PPGG will explain all that soon 🙂

Top post of the month was Persian or Farsi mainly thanks to the Archer and Alireza’s links. Seems many were wondering about it. I found recently an article: “Farsi” or “Persian” for those who are still interested. Next, the total of all posts about Cyrus Kar followed by The Upside of Down and Persian Cinema – more advertisment? 🙂

I highly encourage you, dear reader, to start a blog if you don’t have one. It is so easy to start and it broadens one’s world amazingly. Each can bring a lot to the others. I wonder why there are only few readers who comment. I asked a friend, she said she was too shy about it. Don’t be shy! Your feedbacks mean a lot, and I only “moderateNaj and the dear Professor 🙂

Here are few interesting reads in no particular order:

The top 25 Censored Stories, if you like conspiracy theories. The Afghan Pen and Farda Magazine, bilingual, Persian and English. Iranian student blogging from India. Acculturation Stress and Drug Use among Iranian Youth, a main problem over here. Teheran Avenue about all things Teheran-i!

Last but not the least: Captain Picard blogging from Enterprise and in case you wonder how you can de-motivate yourself, there is always despair.com

Just An Idea!

Posted in Personal by homeyra on November 28, 2006

For A. who is having so much fun with this blog, why not be a revolutionary Project Manager and launch a company blog to know what POS residents thoughts and opinions are. That could be fun! At least for them 🙂

Have a look here

Mr.S

Posted in Personal by homeyra on November 24, 2006

Mr.S was a very special person. Truth be told I don’t know much about his profession or education but he was highly literate, at ease with words and poetry, and best of all, a unique sense of humor. He was one of those people who could turn any trivial situation into something hilarious through his observations, questions and comments. He would seldom smile himself, while triggering big laughs all around him.

Years ago my mother used to have a “doreh” – regular weekly gathering – with Mr. & Mrs. S and other friends. Once they were all at our house. The doreh‘s regular members where in the salon, doing whatever they were doing and Mr.S, a friend of mine and me, were chatting in the living room.

This friend used to teach sociology at a reputable university. He was telling us about a situation he was facing and was not quite sure how to handle it: One of his graduate students was a quite high ranking and powerful official. In the final exam my friend had failed this man’s paper and given him something like 10 over 100.

The dean had summoned my friend and asked him to reconsider this student’s grade for the University’s sake. My friend wanted to stick to his principles and refused to accept. We were debating about all that until Mr. S. who was hitherto listening quietly, advised my friend:

“You should call this student and explain to him the following: Normally there is a purpose to an education. Let’s review it from the very beginning. You start at the kindergarten for a year then you spend six years in elementary school. If you succeed you continue to the secondary school for another 6 years. If you are good enough, you pass the university’s entrance exam, and spend another four years studying for your bachelor’s degree. If you succeed you may go on to graduate school and study another two years for a master’s. You might even consider getting a Phd.

After all these years of schooling you may find a job and start practicing in some office as a trainee, first at lower levels. If you are capable you may get promoted after years to a management position…

Tell your student that people spend some 30 years studying and working to end up –maybe- one day in the position he actually holds right now. What in the hell does he need a degree for?”

In case you are wondering, my friend had to agree that the student writes another, less taxing, exam.

P.S. Shirin is the granddaughter of Mr. S. I bet she makes him smile quite often, wherever he is…

Salam Inni! Salam Baba!

Posted in Personal by homeyra on November 19, 2006

My parents were not intellectuals … maybe I should review this assessment within its proper context. But I am not totally wrong if I say that they had a sort of “intuitive wisdom”… I definitely should think about all that … later 🙂

This “elaborate” introduction was to say that one thing we learned when we were kids was to say proper “Hello” to anyone we met. First we had to stand up, stop doing whatever we were doing, and look at them. Then it was up to them to nod, shake our hand, kiss us, answer back or even ignore. We had to wait respectfully until the person had any of the above reactions. Saying a proper Hello was mandatory for us, regardless of the newcomer’s social status. We were kids and had to treat all elders with deference.

This attitude was forged into us without explanation or justification as modern parents do. This was the way to behave and that was that.

Although my father was rather unconventional, I have no childhood memories of my parents disregarding or disrespecting any human being.

I never thought about all that afterwards for a long time, but I have always been very sensitive to this simple and daily moment of encounter, like others I had my periods of “self-affirmation” and did the opposite of all that I was taught to do. But I always felt uneasy when in a friendly gathering or a meeting, people would ignore a newcomer. In ordinary situations, I definitely hate this loose hand shake from a person looking somewhere else.

Later in life we have a better understanding of things-in order to accept or reject, or we embellish our memories. Now I think that a proper Hello, this simple acknowledgement of the “other“, means a lot. I think of Hannah Arendt

We were also taught to say proper “goodbye“, but I am not going to reveal all that in just one post! 🙂

Blogger’s Doubt

Posted in Personal by homeyra on November 17, 2006

I just read my dear Friend To Humanity‘s last post. He is so thoughtful, sensitive and moving that I felt bad about my own unbearable lightness of being… as a blogger.

It is not easy to look deep in our hearts and write honestly about our wishes, aims or motivations.We write what we deserve.

My dear Friend, forgive my lightheartedness, I wish I were courageous enough to be as sincere as you are.

I will try.

A church, a temple or a Kaaba stone,

The Koran or Bible or a martyr’s bone,

All these and more my heart can tolerate,

Since my religion now is Love alone. Abul Ala Maari

If I Were A.A.

Posted in Personal by homeyra on November 8, 2006

If I were A.A. I would make two look-alikes : A picture below with a cubicule…Managing Expectations with my biography. Maybe also a third one: Publish or Perish / Publish and Perish.

Let’s end these thoughtful analogies with a quote from one of my favorite blogs:

“I was standing at a central point in the room. The walls were all at approximately the same distance from me. I continued to stand there for a few moments.”

Month One

Posted in Personal by homeyra on November 4, 2006

In this speedy era, one month seems like a long time.

Faces and whole outlooks can transform; opinions/religions change, homes may move across the continents, spouses and sexualities may alter- or any combination thereof. Thousands have their 15 minutes of fame, the space station turns 480 times around the planet, a country is invaded, liberated – or both. My share was to become just another blogger on the web.

I started blogging by pure accident. I was fooling around on the net, I noticed a line at the bottom of the page:   Get a    …”F R E E”…   blog at WordPress.com , I clicked, and Voila! Thanks WordPress 🙂

I got acquainted with the whole idea of a blog through Anousheh’s space blog.  Her serenity and dynamics pulled a trigger, made a change.

I am not a master of English – or any other- language for that matter 😦 Yep! I am at the mercy of my two forced-volunteer-editors Changiz, downstairs home and Rona in Alexandria. I lack the experience to communicate on such a regular basis but as the wise Bluebear said: …let if flow. I would advise anyone from my area of the globe to read about blogging manners. It might help.

Few statictics: total hits: above 850. Tintin in Teheran was definitely “the” hot topic, followed by Double Life and Paris’Vlogs right below. Lesson number one: I shouldn’t write, I should link… and ping!

I enjoy reading caustic and sarcastic writings as well as the wise and thoughtful posts of my dear Friend To Humanity, see for instance “Publish or Perish“. Beside the adjoining blogroll, the followings are some of my findings or- favorites in no particular order:

Wikipedia, wikipedia, wikipedia!

Wikipedia has a page about Iranian blogs, and it reports that “Persian is now the fourth most widely used language on web logs.” – seems it used to be the third. Here is “a case study of Iranian English Language weblogs”, and this is the directory of english blogs by Iranians.

On wordpress, Reclaiming Space is most informative, see The New Middle East.  Kamangir has an updated site about many Iranian events, from fashion to missiles,  Proggiemuslima also very informative.

Global Voice has a great amount of links. [under construction] !! is also about Iran and more. An american lady blogs in Farsi in I learn Farsi, , and in View From Iran another American blogs from Iran. Here are Ali Ettefagh‘s writings for the Washington post.

I found a very disturbing research, The Great Famine and Genocide in Persia, 1917-1919. A page of history that –ignorant me, had never heard about. If anyone knows more about this please do inform me!

I really enjoyed reading from A to Z the caustic verve and bravado of El Professor Victorino De La Vega Y Alcantara – found in Tltlkts‘ blogroll. He starts with a warning: “Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split…” Here you go 🙂

I learned recently that Attack On Iran Would be Understood. What a relief.

Some goodies: Scott Adams,  Amusements by Andy Foulds And this thanks to A.A.

I will have to cool down for the next month, my clients are getting impatient!

Alibaba In Tehran

Posted in Personal by homeyra on October 27, 2006

Alibaba left Iran in about 1969, and came back for the first time in the late 80’s.

When he arrived at the house he was not happy at all: his handicam was taken at the airport and he was told that he will have it back when he leaves the country. We all laughed and told him how naïve he was: when asked if he had something to declare he should have simply said NO and avoided all complications. The next day he went downtown for some errands, he returned outraged: he had seen huge billboards advertising the exact model of his camera all over the city and recited his favorite quote: “I don’t understand……” 🙂

Anyway, when he left he got his camera back – but that, by itself, is another story.

On his next trip few months later, he was delighted. He opened his luggage and showed us his brand new laptop and said victoriously: “This time I said I have nothing to declare”.We all laughed again and told him that he didn’t get it at all. This time he should have declared his laptop because now when leaving, he cannot take it out of the country.

Alibaba still does not understand 🙂