Thursday, December 08, 2005


Hello All--I'm putting up Sara's ruminations, since I don't think she's had time to do so thus far. If there are any problems, I'm sure I'll hear about it and then will fix them up. In the meantime, accept the following as the gospel truth...Bob-Ali

Qom is a city about 2 hours’ drive south of Tehran in central Iran. Its population is approximately 800,000 and it’s known for being a center of religious learning and having the shrine of Hazrat Masoumeh (Innocent) Fatimah, the sister of Shiite Islam’s 8th Imam, Imam Reza. She was on her way to see her brother, who was held captive in Mashhad, but she became ill and died here in Qom. He died in Mashhad. It’s all very depressing. But it did give Qom importance as a shrine city. The shrine itself is in the city center, which is where all the cool bazaars with vaulted barrel ceilings are too.

Qom is also known in all of Iran for its gorgeous silk carpets that are actually meant to be wall hangings, not floor coverings. They’re smaller in size than a traditional 9x12 or 8x10 carpet, and are handmade. They’re extremely expensive.

Qom is also known for its two large salt lakes. The water here is quite brackish and though safe to drink, too salty to be drunk (unless you like the taste of it, I suppose). So, the tap water is used for washing and bathing, but big plastic jugs of water are used for drinking and cooking.

Interestingly enough, unlike other Asian/Middle Eastern cultures, Iranians tend to be punctual (give or take a few minutes, based on my experience thus far).

Ode to My Parents:
Everyone hears me whining about getting in trouble with my parents about something or other, but now I must give credit where credit is due. I have to ‘standingly ovate’ (why does that sound so dirty?) my parents for the amazing job they did in all the different countries we lived in. I never felt a break in the continuity of my home life. All the foods I’d grown up with accompanied us everywhere. I don’t know how hard it was to come by spices or whatever else my mom needed to recreate a little Pakistan in our home, but she and my dad did it repeatedly. I know how hard it was to find halal meat, so they would go scope out farms and find good healthy animals and my dad would go out to inspect them in person (sometimes it was *quite* a long drive to get from the city to wherever the cows and chickens were) and then he would slaughter them himself.

I know in Colombia, we were thousands of feet above sea level and that affects cooking times. Maybe my mom struggled with getting it all right, but when the food was at the table, it was perfect. And it happened every single night, 7 days a week.

We all know parents do for their kids. I know mine did for my siblings and me. But with every new experience, I realize just how much they did. How many sacrifices they made (never in my life have I had a babysitter, which means my parents were skipping out on a lot of socials and parties to be with us) and how hard they worked to make things right for us.

And they did right up until the end. My mom helped me pack and sort because I was being a slacker scatterbrain. AliBobert is a grown up so he did his own packing. The day before we left, one of our suitcases broke as we tried to weight it. When we tried lifting it a different way, something else broke. We were almost all packed in all 4 suitcases and didn’t want this happening again, so my parents ran out right then while we continued packing and sorting and bought us 4 brand new fantastic suitcases within the hour. My mom made and fried me my favorite rolls to take on the trip and my dad gave us extra wads of cash (in addition to the cash the day before, and the checks before that) for this that and the other incidentals on our trip. He also gave us what British pounds he could find so we wouldn’t have to worry about changing right away during our 11 hour layover in London. Anyway, there are so many other little things that they did for us that we can probably never recall, and much of which we may not even realize.

I know I’m starting to sound gooey, but we both owe my parents so much. All we have to give is our thanks and our love. So we thank you and we love you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

that was really sweet -- hk

1:53 AM  
Blogger huma said...

that was me for i figured out how to blog

10:13 PM  

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