Sunday, July 31, 2011

Oxford Mark

I was sitting on a bench in front of an old building (hardly remarkable here) and opposite to the Oxford Library minding my own business and watching people.  I was thinking about how much I have been thinking.  No one to talk to really except to myself in my own head.  Then I thought, to myself, that I wouldn't be a good talker right now any way with hardly any sleep last night.  Then I thought how it was that people came to Europe and met new people.
Right then here came a young man, probably my age, and sheepishly sat on the other side of the bench and murmured something.  I assumed he asked if he could sit there and I completely ignored I heard any thing, because I hardly did.  He had a cup of coffee in one hand and a wrap and a banana in the other.  I debated in my head, do I need coffee?
Soon after he sat down he started asking a couple questions, first or second of which was whether I was living in Oxford or I was there just for pleasure.  I responded that I was there for business and after that we didn't stop talking for the next three hours!!
His name was Mark, a hardware engineer working for a start up company near Oxford.  He liked outdoor activities like rock-climbing and rafting.  He had been to Colorado in 2005.  We talked about energy and food and society and politics and economy.  All the subject which needed a present mind which I didn't have.  But it seems I managed to carry on well because he invited me to a drink:
Early in the conversation I told him how crazily tired I was and how I was just waiting for my hotel to call me and anounce that my room was ready; I wished for a couple hours of nap.  Still after the quick chats, when he was almost done with his wrap, he suggested if I wanted to have a drink with him.  He said he was fairly new to Oxford and didn't know many people and would appreciate the company.  We walked to the other side of the street and to Malmaison the building of where was a renovated prison!
He mentioned in the middle of his talks that he would accompany me to dinner if I wanted to.  I had told him earlier that I wanted to attend a community call at 7PM, which is about the Fasting Month that begins tomorrow, yet he said may be I wanted to still dine out afterwards to which I didn't really comment.  I really didnt know if I wanted to have his compny while dinning, or even if I would have dinner at all.  I regret it slightly now as I do want to dine and I would appreciate his company.
He walked me to my hotel and then said "see you" as goodbye and I wonder what that means.  Is he really going to come back for dinner?  He just knows my first name and that's all.  Nah he wont come back.  And I wish we had arranged for some form of contact. ...  He will just be remembered through this post.

More Oxford

When you really need it fly by it drags. It's just 10 minutes past noon. I have already walks the covered market and peeked inside the open stores. I even stopped at MarksAndSpencer for a bottle of water where I also bought some fruit snack. I am tired and sleepy and bored!  No one to talk to.
I'm sitting on a bench and people-watching now. It's interesting that many different languages are being spoken. Granted the British English sounds foreign enough to me that I need to really focus to understand but I'm talking about really different languages.
May be I should head back to the hotel and sit in the tiny lobby. It's really a lodge, an old building indeed. But I spot a room on the ground level that could be considered a study room. I am reading a book called Last Night in Chateau Marmont, catchy enough for passing time. Wish I had it on me!


I arrived at Heathrow at 7AM this morning. It was arranged for me to be picked up and then dropped off at my hotel in Oxford. Got there around 8:30AM but they won't check me in until 3 PM. So I grabbed a jacket, it's a bit chilly, and left my carry-ons with them & headed to the Center which was less than 15 minutes away and all closed when I got there. There are lots of tourists around though. Mostly language exchange high school kids I think.  The shops started opening one by one as I wandered around trying to spend the time.
This is a really old town as far as I can see. Lots of very old building here; not happily old but stubbornly old, like anchored and prodded to keep them stay tall.
I walked most of the streets already and walked a few twice even. Yet it is only 10:30 now. I found myself a local patisserie with free wifi to post my thoughts.
I feel light headed. Need some sleep. I'm filling in with carbs and no caffeine as I really need to sleep tonight. No luck last night while flying.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bluest Blue

The nature around Rocky Mountains close to Colorado Springs is spectacular!  I had never seen such a scenery before in my life.  The blue of the sky in contrast with the white of the fluffy clouds and red of the rock standing tall on the ground is magnificent.
We hiked in The Garden of the Gods, and a well-deserved name.  The scenery was unique yet was as humble as red and white dirt and plush green.
We also climbed to the top of Seven Falls.  Such a beautiful nature!
I truly enjoyed what I saw and I was so happy to witness it all with my family.  Perhaps the fact that I had no expectation in my head about what I would see made it all ever more so pleasant.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An Irish American in the Family

The American wedding was in the backyard of a French restaurant in the heart of Manhattan.  They already had their Iranian wedding conducted a few weeks ago in presence of the parents.  It was time to celebrate their love the American way.

It was a pleasantly warm evening. To reach the venue one had to go through an underground path and come back up a few flies of steps.  There were two rows of tables and chairs facing a small patio on top of a few steps where the Reverend was standing. All the guests were seated in their designated spot when the bride merged up from the stairs.  She was smiling sweetly.  She was so beautiful and elegant!

The reverend was the father of the groom. He seemed like a very kindhearted father.  His ceremony was heart filling; he touched our soles with his quotes from the holy Bible, the holy Qur'an and poems of Hafez.

It was truly a pleasure to meet the groom's family that night and feel how affectionate they were toward the new bride. Such a kind and warm family!  This is what I call the beauty in an American wedding when the families already knew each other and particularly the bride and groom.  It was obvious how close they all were, and how welcoming and loving they all were toward my cousin. After the ceremony when I introduced myself to new relative whom I learned was his cousin, I introduced myself as the cousin of the bride; he cheerfully corrected me "we are all cousins now".

My cousin H married Mr J last night; she is an architect, he is an Irish Literature prof; and they look heavenly together.  I know she is loved.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


This America is an amazing country!
We are in Midtown New York, New York.
Today we visited Ellis Island again after a decade. It has been a major entry point for emigrants between 1892 and 1924. They have made a museum out of the emigration office of a century ago.
It was very touching for me watching the pictures and reading the highlights of that process in that era. At the entrance level a big poster caught my eyes:
"Each of their [emigrants] stories is unique and bears witness to their courage and determination that enables men and women to leave their homes and seek new opportunities in an unknown land." I could relate to that remotely. Then all the pictures hunt me; the fear and hope in the eyes in those pictures, their costume, their baggages, the narrated stories ... it all touched me deeply.
I've been thinking, they came by boats, I came by a plane; they carried all their worthly and portable belongings in a few suitcase, so did I; they possibly never went back home, I did several time; they got through medical exams and emigration documents at the port, I went through medical exams and background checking while still at home... I was amazed how similar the stories are after a century. I'm not sure how they felt when they arrived; and it is undescribeable but I feel more alienated eventhough I'm more educated and more affluent compared to most of that wave of emigrants. I cannot stop but wonder, is this only a matter of race?...
I have have lots of respect for the earlier emigrants because I think their unknown was more unknown than mine so their courage is highlighted more strongly.
I like this land!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Forbidden Line

SDS: "... may be you are starting to realize that the only forbidden lines that exist are those you create yourself.  The lines impressed on us by other people, societies, or cultures are inaccurate. You are crossing YOUR boundaries and it is challenging your previous conception of who you are!  Isn't it exhilarating?"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A :)

A: "mom! you are the bestest mom in the whole world!"

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Lake

At sunset she arrived at the silent lake. It was all sound and color just a few hours before when the tourists had spread along the shore. Now there was no body around, nothing except the geese, the sand, the water, and the still snow capped mountains surrounding the water. In the sky there was the evidence of a previously present sun with the purple colors on the east and bright orange clouds on the west.
Looking at the orange sky, suddenly the reality of "presence" dawned at her. Then a strong longing surfaced in her heart. She was all alone in the presence of the reality. She started to pray.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


For a real smile, sometimes all you need is a memory.