Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving...sort of

Today, after doing dishes and cleaning up a bit (I quite like having something of a routine, and even being domestic is fun for a while), Irfan Ali and I decided I would meet him at Mofid at 1:00 so we could go together and change some money.

But then the Khanum called and we were on the phone for a bit (not chit chatting away, but it took a good 15 minutes of talking to even understand a few things on both sides) and so she said she had a meeting and would meet me outside at 1pm so I wouldn’t have to walk alone. I tried calling Irfan Ali to tell him of this change, and I’m so proud of myself because the number I called goes to the main switchboard and I told the operator “please office of my husband Agha Robert Tappan #457” and he put me through!!
Of course, my hubby bubby didn’t answer. (Later he told me it was because he was at prayer.)

So, I met up with the Khanum at 1pm and we walked over together and practiced talking in English. It was a beautiful day today and she was on her way to a meeting in a park and I learned some quite fascinating things.

She is one of four members of the Qom Women’s Jockey Club. The problem is, they don’t have horses to ride, so she, being a lawyer and a women’s rights activist in general, managed to procure 2 horses from the government in Tehran for the women of Qom to be able to ride. She said the men have lots of horses available to them, and there are horses in Qom, but usually privately owned.

So, she finally managed to secure 2 horses from the government for public use by women. The problem was, they still needed to lobby for land and equipment and some funds to house and care for the horses. So her meeting was with her partner Mr. S who is the president of the Jockey Club, and other members. The Khanum is the head of the women’s division of the Jockey Club.

She asked if I could ride horses. I tried to explain that if by ride she means sit on a horse and let it walk or trot, then yes, but not really proper riding or dressage or whatever it’s called. She said that we could go horse riding sometime. I am *quite* thrilled since I’ve only been horse riding twice in 10 years in the US. I love horses. The only thing is, I’d have to do it with just women; Irfan Ali and I couldn’t go together. That’s definitely a bummer since I like doing things with him. We always have such a good time together. Especially here, it would be nice to experience and discover Iran together.

So, once again, waved to the guard as I went past the gates, but unexpectedly, someone came after me with a “Khanum! Khanum!” and so I turned around and told him my husband Robert Tappan American office there 4th floor. And he had no idea what I was talking about. So I tried telling him again that my husband is there and he is the American. I also said yesterday, I here.

He finally asked Dr. Elahi? And I said, yes! So he asked me to step back and tried calling Dr. Elahi’s office but there was no response. So after a good 5 or 6 minutes, he hands me the phone and someone says “Salam” on the other end and I don’t recognize him. I look at the guard and say “Not Dr. Elahi” and he says “yes Dr. Elahi” and I say hello and salaam and don’t recognize the person and then I tell the guard again “Not Dr. Elahi” and he again says “Yes Dr. Elahi”. But then he says “English” and says “Dr. Nouri” and makes a hand gesture showing that Dr. Nouri and Dr. Elahi are the same person.

So I say “Do you speak English?” and mercifully, the man spoke perfect English. He is the head of the language lab, I think. I explain to him my husband is Robert Tappan and I came with him before but it’s not the same guard and he says ah yes yes, this guard is new and then explains the situation to the guard. They stay on the phone a good 3 or 4 more minutes and finally the guard, who is a nice man, says bebakhsheed (excuse me) and khodahafez (goodbye).

So it took me a good 45 minutes to get to Irfan Ali’s office. I was late and while he wrapped up I had a quick tea (he always has tea and snacks in his office!) and we were off on our way to catch a cab and change money. We had to hurry because the bank was closing at 3:30 so luckily, we got a cab right at the building’s curbside and he took us to the bank. The cabbie was friendly and talkative and got us there at 2:30.

The bank was closed. Well actually, the iron grating was drawn about, but I saw the front door behind the grating slightly ajar, so I tested my luck and slipped through. People were still there and coming in, and so we asked about changing currency. The guy spoke fluent English and explained to us that they were in fact closed and that their hours were 7:30am-1:30pm on weekdays, and they closed at 12:30 on Thursdays because of the weekend (everything closes early on Thursdays). Grouchy and hungry and tired, we just caught a cab back home.

Then, in the evening, my sister called from VA and I talked to her and it was so good to hear her voice and I asked them what they were doing and they were getting turkey ready for Thanksgiving and were having some family over. I feel lame for saying this, but I started crying. This is my first real cry in Iran. I’m just not a good cook and no matter what I cook it doesn’t seem to be substantial enough. I feel totally inept and out of my element and I’m a horrible wife to AliBob. I serve absolutely no purpose here. I also miss my family and Thanksgiving and Turkey (or Tofurkey, or Unturkey) dinners with mashed potatoes and gravy and fixins. [Sigh] I’m such an American.

So we talked and I told them not to worry because I was just in a grumpy mood and they ran out of minutes and we got cut off and then I had my second cry, and that was that.

Later on, the Khanum called and asked what we thought of having a picnic on Friday in a park and that she would cook Iranian food. We said sure why not and she said she’d make us Fesenjaan. I am excited and nervous because I don’t want it to be like what we’ve eaten so far.


Blogger huma said...

hey -- when you come back, we can have turkey -- adam sandler style.

2:10 AM  

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