Wednesday, March 29, 2006

La marcha en Buenos Aires

Here are some of the pics that I took on Friday...

the begining

march 031.jpg
Never Again1976-2006

The worst opnion is silence.

march 030.jpg
El Che was everywhere.

I will upload more pics on my farsi weblog and I will tell you about it more tomorrow...i promise. I have to run to a class now. The march was on Friday, March 24th.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

My NoRooz…

I must admit that having lived abroad for a while, the concept of Norooz has changed in my life. In my world Norooz is really not a cultural ritual anymore. To me Norooz is a personal ritual that allows me to pause for a moment and reflect on a year of adventures, stories, happy and sad incidents. Well, this Norooz was a special one…The southern hemisphere does not offer you the smell of spring and therefore Norooz did not bring me any kind of nostalgic feeling. On the contrary, this year’s Norooz was simply a moment for me to pause and accept some of the new changes in my personal and social life. This Norooz, my wish-list was a very brief list. My wish was simply for me to love myself. That was all!

It was towards the end of this year when a series of events made me realize that over the past few years I somehow have not been kind to myself. Realizing my urgent need to be loved by ME definitely woke me up from a very deep sleep. It was as if a layer of glass was shattered around me. The tiny sharp pieces of the shattered glass cut through my skin and left me in so much pain that I was not even capable of comprehending. All of a sudden my body rejected me, my feelings rejected me, my logic rejected me…I was alone. I had lost the ability to describe what was happening to me. Even words had betrayed me. It was a battle. No, I guess it wasn’t really a battle. At least it was not the beginning of a battle. It was rather the moment that I had to decide whether I am against myself or against things that make me discontent in this world.

It has been a tough few months. Honestly, at times it has even been harder than having had a father being tortured in unknown prisons. I have spent a lot of time talking with Me, scolding at Me, yelling at Me, patting Me, seeing Me cry and begging ME for more love and more care. It looks like I have survived through this harsh and rigorous monologue or rather dialogue with ME.

And now it is my beloved Persian NoRooz (New Day). It is my beloved Persian new year. It is when the Earth tickles my feet to greet me and wish me a happy new year. This is MY New Year …and all I could wish for this New Year is for me to start loving myself. Loving Me also means loving others, because my family and my friends are a part of my being. Therefore my new rule is that I should not let ‘loving others’ prohibit me from loving ME. Without listening to my feelings and needs, I will not be able to be the Azadeh that everyone is used to having around…

Happy NoRooz everyone! 

mother earth.jpg

Poem # 519 (Emily Dickinson from The Poems of Emily Dickinson edited by R.W. Franklin)

This is my letter to the World
That never wrote to Me-
The simple News that Nature told-
With tender Majesty

Her Message is committed
To Hands I cannot see-
For love of Her-Sweet- countrymen-
Judge tenderly-of Me

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Oh, Argentina….

Wow, I can’t believe that it’s already my 3rd week here in Buenos Aires. In fact, I must say, I have two very different feelings about here. At times I feel that I am very much used to everything and that I have lived here for quite a while and some other times the fact that I am so faraway from things that I am used to, family and friends frightens me. As much as I miss all of my friends and ‘peeps’ (), I needed some time off my life in the US. My mom always tell me that people sometimes need to be away from what they have to be able to appreciate their life again. Enough of me and my feelings… Let’s talk about Argentina, the language and my experiences as an exchange student:
First of all I have to tell you some funny stories:
1) So here there are VERY many locutorios all over the place. They are kind of like internet cafés and you can also make long distance phone calls in these stores. They also sell gums, water and juice and some snacks. Believe it or not, they are also sometimes Lavenderia, which is something in between laundry rooms and dry-cleaning places. So yeah, all of these things go on at the same time and in the same place. Using the internet is very cheap in these places, something like 50 argentine cents for half an hour. Yeah, so I use these internet cafés a lot, especially because you could find at least three cafés in every block. The first time I went to one of these locutorios, I used the computer for about 45 minutes and the whole time I was scared that it will be very expensive. When I went to pay, the guy at the cashier said, “70 cents” and the retard that I am, I thought he said 70 pesos. So I got nervous and started to dig into my bag, looking for more money. And when I realized that I didn’t have enough money, I started to talk to this man in a VERY broken Spanish. I tried very hard to tell him that I have to go to the ATM and get more cash, that I am from Iran, that I live in the United States. I told him how I am very new in Buenos Aires and that I am clueless about everything in this city. The whole time this young man was looking at me without even trying to understand what I was trying to say. So, finally while I was still talking in broken Spanish (as they call it here, Castellano), he looked at my hand that was full of all sorts of coins and took 70 cents from my hand. I stopped talking, looked at him blankly. He looked the other way and said, “Chao”. I left the locutorio cover in sweat….I was embarrassed, tired and disappointed with my Spanish and yet happy that I didn’t have to pay 70 pesos for having checked my emails.

2) One of my friends from Oberlin is in this exchange program with me and the two of us have been hanging out a lot. So one day, my friend, J and a few other friends and I decided to go to the zoo. Of course, the zoo had closed by the time we finally found the zoo. Instead, we went to the Japanese restaurant which turned out to be the size of the backyard of a house. Though, we had a lot of funny being all ridiculous about what we had encountered instead of a Japanese Garden. We decided to go to lunch and after having walked for a long time we found this place that had all sorts of food, salads, pizza, pasta and etc. So the waiter comes to get our orders. J wanted to order appetizer, but she couldn’t remember how to say ‘appetizer’ in Spanish. She decided to ask whether they have something for ‘picar’ which is something like snack. Instead, she said to the waiter confidently, “tenes algo para pescar?”. You had to see the waiter’s face. A girl asking him whether he has anything for fishing in the restaurant. Finally this other friend of ours who is fluent in Spanish intervened and fixed the situation by apologizing from the waiter and explaining to him what J was trying to say.
3) Last weekend, we went to Pinamar which is beach city 5 hours away from Buenos Aires. Ten of us in the program decided to get on the bus at 1am on Friday (well, Saturday morning) and we got to Pinamar at 6 am. So I came home Friday night, told my host mom about the trip and very quickly got ready for the trip. While I was walking towards J’s house to get her and go to the bus terminal with her, I passed by a 24-7 pharmacy and remembered that I need lotion. I walked in the pharmacy, passed by a security guard and went to look for lotion. After a while, I realized that someone was tapping me on the shoulder. I turned around and sure enough it was the security guard. He pointed to the big red bag pack on my back and said something. Of course I did not understand what he said. I only understood the word ‘mochila’ for bag. I smiled at him, nodded and pointed to my mochila just the way he had and kind of tried to ignore him. But he tapped me on my shoulder again and walked me towards the entrance door of the pharmacy and left to talk to the cahier. Well, here I was standing at the front of the pharmacy, which my bag in my hand. What was I supposed to do? I didn’t really know. He turned back and pointed towards something. He was clearly trying to show me something. I walked towards the shopping baskets at the door and slowly put my bag in the shopping basket and started to look it, thinking that what I did, putting my own bag in the shopping basket at the entrance door, was not making any sense. “This is not sensible. Why would a security guard ask you to put your bad here? It will get stolen this way. It will be more work for him….”, I thought to myself. Finally I gave in, took my wallet out and left the bag in the basket. I walked towards the security guard, pointed to the basket and my bag and said to him, “ senor, mochila alla, esta bien?” and he said, “ no, claro que no” and of course both the cashier and the security guard thought I was a crazy person having escaped from an asylum or something. He grabbed my bag, took it to the locker at the corner of the store that was especially designed for customers so that people don’t walk around with big bags in the store. Once again after buying the lotion, I walked out of the store all sweaty and embarrassed, but then I told the story to my friends in a very theatrical way and we laughed so much at ME that we couldn’t breathe anymore…Oh, Espanol…definitely not my strongest skill in life! So now whenever my friends see me, they say, “hola ¿Mochila? Si?” (hi. Bag pack?yes?) and laugh…
4) Also, people make out A LOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT on the streets of Buenos Aires. It’s unreal. I feel like such a dogmatic and conservative person for saying that, but honestly it’s not the most pleasant thing to see random people make out so openly. People make out everywhere…on the bus, in metro stations, every single corner on the sidewalks of main avenues…not just that, but they also decide to stop in the middle of the sidewalk during rush hour and make out. I swear, I am all about pubic display of affection. Why not? But seriously what I see here is toooooooo much. It’s not only me. My friends who are in this program with me are not used to seeing this many people make out everywhere in the city either. It might be that America is, in fact, pretty conservative in that sense.
That was an informative digression… I was going to tell you a story related to this make out situation here. Last weekend when we were in the bus terminal to go to this beach city, Pinamar we saw two dogs making out and being all touchy touchy in the terminal. They were kissing hardcore…So, when J turned back and faced this scene, she said loudly in English, “oh my god, even dogs make out here. That is crazy”. And all of a sudden people in the terminal, especially couples who were watching these dogs and being all romantic looked at us, the group of young American who were laughing at the Argentine dogs. I don’t think they liked the fact that we were so amused by this scene…But I actually really think these two dogs were madly in love.

We were getting on the bus to go to Pinamar

Hmmm, I left this entry unfinished and went to a bar with my friends. I just got back. It’s 4 am and since I have been walking under the rain for the past hour and that I am kind of tipsy, I will peace out and will tell you the rest Mañana. Chao…
p.s. My first class of this semester starts tomorrow at 8:30 pm and ends at 23:30. How odd, no? Also they use military time in here. What time is it? It’s twenty three o’clock. Haha, I can never get used to this military time business.
p.s. my dear friends, I miss you all MUCHooooooooooooooooo.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Today was one of those days….No kidding…

March 4th
It’s 5 in the morning and I have just gotten home after having walked for something like 4 hours (3 hours with a friend and the last hour or so I was alone). Since I have been walking a lot lately, my feet hurt so much that sometimes during the night I wake up to a flowing pain in my feet and my legs. But, walking on the streets of Buenos Aires is by far my most favorite part of my stay in Argentina.
Today was such a day… At first I watched a little dog get run over by a car. I literally watched a happy-go-lucky-looking dog moan for a few seconds and die. A few other girls who were passing by and watched this scene started to cry.
Then in the afternoon when I was walking back home I realized that the sky was covered with black smoke. The sound of sirens was making me deaf. The highest floor of a building (maybe the 20th floor or something like that) was on fire. There were many fire trucks on the street and they had created an unbelievable traffic situation in that neighborhood. Pedestrians and drivers had all stopped to watch this fire scene which was getting worse and worse every minute.
A few minutes ago when I was walking back home, I witnessed a really bad car accident. Driving in this city is all about survival. People drive in between the lines, people drive ridiculously fast, cars stop very close to one another and cars simply don’t stop for pedestrians. Anyways, as I was walking I heard something like a small explosion noise and when I looked to see what had happened, I saw a car literally flying from one side of the street to another and another car had stopped right in the middle of the intersection. So much smoke was coming out of the car and the driver was trying hard to get out of the car. Though, his attempts were futile since he was locked in the car. Knowing that a car in such condition could explode any second, made it unbearable to stay next to other pedestrians and watch. When I left that intersection some people had already proceeded to help the drivers and other people in the cars.
And also tonight I met up with a very good friend from my school, Oberlin in the US. She, in fact, used to be my best friend. She is also here in Buenos Aires with a different exchange program. After having had a really long talk about how we both have failed to be there for each other for the past year or so(of course we both blame each other for it), she took a taxi, said goodbye to me as if I were a complete stranger and left. After she left, I had a really hard time locating myself. For a few seconds I was very confused about where I was in the world and in life in general. Another person had taken off from my life. I feel that lately I have been saying goodbyes to friends and am meeting many new people. “People come and go during our lives”, no? But when you put ‘friends’ instead of ‘people’, it becomes a much stronger sentence…. I feel that many things are happening in my personal life all at the same time and every night before I fall asleep, I think to myself, “Wow, I am entering a very different stage in life”. Though, I must say as much as I am excited to live this new life, I am scared of the way I am losing some friendships and am in a way leaving a world behind. Let’s not talk about this thing anymore. It makes me want to cry and I have abandoned myself from crying during my stay in Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires is an amazing city. Beautiful and ugly. It’s an intense city. I like it!
P.S. My camera has stopped working. :( I am going to try to get it fixed soon.
P.S. I also have some funny things to say. but now I have to run.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Hihi. What’s up chicas y chicos?
I am just fine. It’s now a week that I have arrived in Buenos Aires. It has been a calm week. Yeah, rrrrrrrrrrrrrrright! No, it really hasn’t been a calm week.
My flight was LONG. By long I mean many hours, like never ending. I flew from Cleveland to Washington DC and from DC I flew to Buenos Aires. The flight was almost 11 hours. That’s a lot. My seat was located in the middle of the airplane. I firmly believe that my seat was literally in the center of this huge airplane which made everything a lot worse. I felt trapped the whole time in there. I would fall asleep and have nightmares of me getting drowned in an ocean or falling off a really tall tree. Finally at around 5 am I threw up and that was basically the end of my nightmares.
In Buenos Aires airport, this one girl who was probably in their late 20s, early 30s, stopped me before walking out the airport. Apparently she had seen my Iranian passport in my hand and wanted to introduce herself to me. She was also Iranian. Though, she was second generation Iranian-American. She was really sweet and kind. Those of you who know my obsession with Iranians, should stop laughing at me right now. As you can see this time an Iranian found me. I did not (well, haven’t yet) looked for Iranians in Buenos Aires. But that is also in my agenda.
Anyways, I took a taxi to the hotel where I was supposed to meet up with the rest of the people in my exchange program. There are 120 students in my program. 119 American students and me….well, ok, I guess they have counted me in as an American, too. So although everybody else had gotten there 2 days earlier than me, people were (and are) freaked out and confused about everything. I started to talk with two of the girls and we went out to lunch together. I ordered Mediterranean ensalada(salad) and the guy brought me a bowl full of cold pasta with cream cheese and when I glanced at him disappointed, he said, “ Ensalada” and left. So, yeah, I had cold pasta which is called salad in here as my first meal in here.
Oh, life is so hard…just kidding. I am having a good time in here and can’t complain. That same day, we all met up with our host families. The lobby of the hotel was like a madhouse that evening. All the host families and students were there. The director of our program would yell out our names one by one and we would be introduced to our ‘families’. But you know what was really cool? I was standing at a corner with my suitcase next to a friend and while I was waiting, I saw a lady standing at the other side of the lobby all by herself. I looked at her again and decided that she was my ‘host mom’. I walked towards her and said, “Eva?”. She was surprised that I had recognized her. I don’t know how, but somehow her face and outfit matched the tone of the letter that she had sent me in the United States. She lives all by herself. She is 35 years old and has a MA in psychology. She has a boyfriend who is 2 years younger than her and I was told that his passion is music. I met him a few night ago and he made me a lot of mate ( a kind of drink that they drink in Argentina. It’s kind of like tea). Eve, my host ‘mom’ is a vegetarian and since I am a vegetarian, too, that is working out pretty well. I must say there aren’t too many vegetarians in here.
What is really surprising to me, is that I have developed an ok sense of direction in this country. Again, those of you who know me, know how horrible I am when it comes to understanding directions. Lol. But in here I function with a map and so far I have been able to find everywhere, take the subway, bus or walk everywhere without getting lost. This really does surprise me, especially because Buenos Aires is a very bid city, like Tehran or NYC.
I went to a tango show last night. There is a national tango festival happening right now. It’s really cool. Last night three different bands were playing different kinds and adaptations of tango. It was fun. I must say that the ‘loneliness’ factor that I mentioned in my previous letter to you guys is still there. And there are so many times during the day that I miss you all so much and wish that you were here. It would have made all these beautiful things here ACTUALLY fun….
I registered for a couple of classes at the catholic university today. It was a complete mess. Things that there administrators were saying were really hard to understand. They were speaking really fast Spanish. And in general, I am terrified in terms of classes. I don’t know how in the world I could survive in classes with Argentinean students. I have to take some classes at this huge university, too, called University of Buenos Aires. I have been through this kind of not-understanding-the-language experience in the US. But this one somehow seems harder and more overwhelming.
Regardless of all of these fears, I am excited for the next few months in here and think that no matter how incomprehensible things are, it will be a very good experience for me. I needed to get out of Ohio, Oberlin and anything else that is related to the US or the Middle East. Take good care of yourselves. Ok?
Love ya.
p.s. Last night when I was walking back from the Tango show, a guy took off his pants and everything in front of me and a few other Argentinean girls who were walking a little ahead of me. This is called an authentic argentine experience, no? For those of us, who know Tehran, this shouldn’t be an odd thing at all.
A big south american hug for all of you(some of you more than the others....just kidding)

Friday, March 03, 2006

Argentina (1)



First of all: Hola ¿Cómo están ustedes?
I am just fine…chilling in Buenos Aires. I got here 4 days ago and at the moment I am as confused and clueless as an individual could ever be. But that’s ok. I am used to being confused. I have been confused in the US for a few years and that is why I am pretty much used to being a newcomer. As you probably know it’s summertime in here right now and classes won’t start till 10-15 days from now. We are having our orientation for the next two weeks.
I must say, I feel kind of lonely in here. Well, although I am very Americanized and everything, it’s hard for me to understand north Americans outside the US. I guess as an Iranian who has experienced immigration during the past few years, I have different methods of learning about other people and their culture. My American friends want to see and experience everything that exists in Argentina like NOW, whereas my experiences tell me that there is no way I can see everything in here. To me, going to a convenient store and observing the people there is as interesting as going to a beach and exploring the touristy areas. That is why, I feel lonely these days. I have been walking for hours in the city and love every second of it.
For those of you who like ‘ladies’, I must say that you are missing out for not being here. Women are young girls are absolutely gorgeous here. Argentineans are usually have European (Italian, Spanish, Germany, and Eastern Europe) backgrounds. So you can imagine European figures with Latin American style. It’s unreal. And men are, of course, often very handsome….tanned skin, tall, skinny with light eye color.
The tango festival started yesterday in Buenos Aires and today I am going to see a tango show with my host mom, Eva, who is a beautiful 35-year-old psychologist, her boyfriend and her friends. I will upload pictures in here later. Right now I am in the library and don’t have my camera with me.
I will write more about here. I have to organize my thoughts and overcome this current state of confusion. But I miss you all a lot and wish you were here with me….

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