Saturday, December 10, 2005

Why one should pay attention in history class

Ali woke up early (6 or 7 something??) this morning to go change more money. I was supposed to go with him, but it was just too windy and chilly and ‘morningy’ for me. He is my hero. We had breakfast together and I went back to bed. No haircut for me because of Ms. N’s schedule. She asked me to come over anyway. I’m not sure if all these visits to her place are actual conversation sessions or social visits. I feel bad going over there so much, especially since she feeds me every time I go over but declined food/drink offers when she came over here for conversation sessions.

I asked about salons and what to do for our hair, which has been shedding horribly since we got here. I'm desperate to resolve this soon. She said it’s the water of Qom that’s very bad for hair. Is that why I’m going gray and balding and dandruffing??

Anyway she insisted I take this L’Oreal conditioner she has but doesn’t use and try it. I don’t know how I feel about having people give me their stuff just because I mentioned I have an issue. If I ask “where do I buy x” or “what do I do about y” or “do you (Iranians in general) have z”, it doesn’t mean I want them to get it for me or give me their stuff. Does it sound like I’m making a request of them? I hope not.

I don’t know what to do with all this generosity. We haven’t had people over yet, and even if we did, how would I honor them with a fantastically honorific meal? I couldn’t. I would give them starchy, clumpy, stuck together yet still raw on the inside rice and a reasonably decent veggie dish. I think not serving/having meat here is considered stingy, according to our guidebook. I only have Robert to thank for not ever wanting or allowing meat or fish or any derivative thereof into the house for me to practice cooking it. Yes, it’s easier to just blame him at the moment than to admit that even if I'd been cooking meat all along, I'd still be a pathetic cook.

I had my conversation course, which went fine, I suppose. I took some American money to show them. They think Iranian money is prettier (more colorful, flowers and birds in the designs), and they’re probably right about that. I went in ready to talk about our cultures (which is what we decided last time) but apparently no one was prepared, so I talked about American culture. Random things, really… and we also talked about the civil war and Abraham Lincoln. But my dates are quite awful and my American geography is horrid, so it was quite pathetic, me trying to teach them American history and geography. All (I think) I know is that Thomas Jefferson was the 2nd(?) president, and the emancipation proclamation was signed in 1864 and I think the civil war ended in 1865, right? I don’t remember when it started. Oh… and Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president. I tried to explain a little about the raw materials and slaves in the south vs. the industry and money in the north, but who knows how much made sense... which is probably better since it was probably all wrong.

Then, back home, I made sure to tune in to that Pakistani cooking show I’ve been catching glimpses of the past few Saturdays. I usually catch the last 10 minutes. This time the guest made some kind of chicken dish. I couldn’t read the Urdu because the graphics were too blurry. Murgh something.
We had daal (a staple in our diets) and channa masala. This channa masala was different than the last time I made it. I think it was better.

Can you believe it? I'm tuning into cooking shows not just for the entertainment (come on, you know you love Food Network) but to actually try and learn something. Scary.


Blogger huma said...

i'm curious to try some of this cooking -- hey what are you teaching them? are you doing an organized american history lecture, or just picking bits and pieces -- i think i still remember gettysburg address "four (?) score and seven years ago..."

10:26 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home