Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Late Mocha

There was the sound of music coming from one of the neighboring shops.  She was listening to the tone of it, warm, lovely even, passionate perhaps.  She wanted to memorize the lyrics but her mind was not cooperating. He was late and that was all she had her mind on.  It was no surprise; he was late many times before. Yet she couldn't tolerate him being late.  She knew the tiny little time they had with each other, they could have with each other, would be cut even shorter now.  She looked at her watch. The white band was fading. How old was this watch?  Four years? She remembered that she asked for a black watch with a rectangular face when she was asked what she desired for Mother's Day and she got a white watch with a round face.  He smiles at the selection back then she remembered. Now he was late.
The song had changed, the new guy's voice was not as warm anymore.
Her tea was totally cold now. Bitter. Cold.
She looked around; she had already read all the posted ads on the walls around her and names on the shops and even entertained herself by focusing on the fonts each store had chosen to display its name.  She turned on her iPhone. Browsed her Facebook page one more time. There was no update since two minutes ago.  She opened flipboard but thought she had no desire to read about all the miseries in the world at that time. Locked it again. He was late.
The music was completely faded now amid the street noises.  It was a humid afternoon and it felt like with every honking car more humidity was added to the layers of air around her.  She started fanning herself with her fingers to get rid of some of that air.  He was late.
She looked at the end of the street again. There he was!  Striding big steps waddling from side to side.  Eyes wide and bright and a big 'ol grin on his lips.  She giggled like a child but didn't move.  He sat down panting: "I'm so out of shape" he said.  She frawned and smiled.  The waiter came over "Can I change your tea?" "Yes please!" She replied. "And please add a mocha to the order, no whip cream".

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Little Angel is One

A few hours ago last year this time, just past 6pm on June 24th, my little angel was born in a hospital a few blocks from home.  The drowsiness of the moment amid the purest love I ever felt is vivid in my heart. She is laying by my side right now, asleep, breathing her sweet breaths.  She has the sweetest voice when she talks her broken words and the happiest smile. My darling sweetheart! Happy First Birthday!  May you smile sweetly for many years to come!

Istanbul Trip in Pictures

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Istanbul in June

Thinking about it now while nesting at home in California, walking with my mom and sister in the Fatih destrict of Istanbul on Saturday feels like a dream.  VisitingIstanbul  this June detached me completely from daily life and provided me a real break.
I enjoyed walking in the Topkapi area and grand bazaar on Thursday with all 12 of us.  We walked the old streets and visited Sultan Ahmet mosque.  We spent some time in the Grabd Bazaar before dividing into two groups, one to go back to the hotel and one to continue on walking around.  We visited some shopping areas afterward as the bazaar itself was inappropriateky expensive.  We found a couple good bargains and got stuck in a pouring rain in the middle of a local Thursdsy Bazaar with no roof and no real shops to escape the rain for a few minutes. We had to wait a long time for taxi and hunt two down for the 8 of us who stayed for shopping and got to the hotel soaking wet.

On Friday we got on a tour for some famous shopping areas including a leather shop. The leather was really soft  and the designs were stylish for a relatively inexpensive price. We separated from the tour and shopped around for ourselves. It was my sister and mom, my mother in law and sister in law, my brother, and me.  We decided to take the public transition route to go back to the hotel.  We took the tranva first and rode off at where it was supposed to be our transfer to metro to get to Taksim square where our hotel was but the transfer included a 10 minutes walk and another toll which due to lack of English speaking of the staff cost us almost twice as much.  In general and to our utmost surprise we didn't find the Turkish people much helpful or considerate this time.  The taxi drivers seemed mad, some sellers seemed offensive and hard to deal with discouraging us from doing business with. I have a theory that it might have been the June weather that got them inpatient?!
On Saturday we went to Sulaymanieh Mosque which was huge and simple but beautiful.  In general the mosques had less color compared to the Mosques in Isfahan and many other places in Iran.  Instead, the buildings were designed with so much details, generally ornamented through architecture rather than colors and mosaic.  In front of the mosque I took sight of a coffee pot which I had promised myself to buy the next time I went to Turkey.  I decided on a 4 cup pot and chose a wooden handle. I was looking at the tea collections when the shop keeper approached me, grabbed the coffee pot away from my hand and walked to the back of his shop. I was baffled and watch him to understand his next move but he just stayed there proving to me that he refused to sell.  I was shocked and even to this date I'm surprised and puzzled as to why. Is it their style of selling? Is it the hot weather that got them inpatient and mad? Is it the fact that they could tell we were Iranian? And if so why? They know Iranians have brought a huge business to their country. I decided to find an information center and get some guidance to understand if there was anything that would offend the Turkish people but it was lame hunt.
We walked in the old winding streets entangled within the modern traffics it was not built to tolerate. We got to Shazdeh Mosque in time for noon prayers.  The mosques were orderly and you could see a variety of Moslems there with variety of Islamic covers for women. It was endearing to walk.  A lady gave us sugar cubes, I took one but she opened my palm and poorer a few in my fist. She was a darling and I had no use for the . I decided to bring them to San Jose for our Sufi friends' gatherings.

We divided into two groups again and the sippers headed to the Fatih area.  It was crowded Saturday afternoon and fun to walk all the people shopping around.  There were many tourists from other Moslem countries shopping.  There were many western looking tourists too of course and I wonder if the Turks were as rude to them as they were to us. Of course not all of the Turks were rude.  I particularly found the Kurd shoppers helpful and smiling. Being smiling and showing an open face is one of the main recommendations in Islam you know.

We watched the Iran-Argentuna soccer game in the hotel restaurant that night. It was a glorious loss at the 90+ minute with a definite pentalty missed to the announced by the referry. It was sad but we tried to remain positive.

On Sunday we took a tour to Buyuk Ada or the Big Island. It was beautiful and the seabus ride there was joyful with many great conversations with brothers and sister. I really liked the Turkish icecream which we got a taste of in the island.

Sunday was the last evening we were all together and two days before little angel's first birthday. So M and I invited the family to a birthday cake ina local cafe.  Some neighboring patrons sang m Happy Birthday in Turkish. We sang the Persian version and got her blow her candle which she managed with A's help. It was a joyful and memorable birthday celebration for sure.

On the last day just before goodbyes my mom gifted me a 4 cup coffee pot.

Monday, June 16, 2014

If You Are A Muslim

Just think about it.
You are first a Muslim and then a Shiite.
You are first a Muslim and then a Sunni.
You are first a Muslim and then a Sufi.
You are first a Muslim and then a Bahaii.
You are first a Muslim and then any-other-secondary-belief-you-have.
In Islam it is forbidden to be disappointed from Merci of God.
In Islam you are called to return whoever you are, whatever you have done.
In Islam as long as you believe in God and hereafter and do good deeds you are not to worry and not to feel saddened.
In Islam, you worth the Divine.
In Islam, "whoever enters this house, give them bread and do not ask of their belief; since whomever deserves to live in the land of God for sure deserves bread in the land of Bolhasaan (you read me, you)."
In Islam it is forbidden to judge.
In Islam if a person is killed a whole nation is killed.

If you are a Muslim, be one!  Otherwise anyone can and will do crime under the name of Islam but really to gain power and resources and you have let them do so.

PS: Here is a good read:

Sunday, June 15, 2014


SiDE is a tiny little town close to Antalya with ruins of a Greek city and a perfect place to celebrate M's birthday.  We dined at Fiesta, a sea-view restaurant with welcoming staff. They were happy to hear we were Iranian, like many many other shops and restaurants we stopped at.  I asked my dad to find out if they would bring a cake with candles for M as soon as we stepped in. As soon as we were sitter my dad assured me that it was taken care of.
We ordered Turkish kabob and cutlet.  It took some time for them to bring the food but when they did it proved to worth the wait.  After dinner M was eager to walk back because the kids were not behaving and it took some cajoling to convince him to stay. Eventually they stopped the music and replaced with with a Turkish style Happy Birthday song and a few waiters arrived with a red cake compete with lit candles.  We all sang the song to him happy that it would be remember able birthday in a Turkish restaurant by the Meditranean sea.

Little princess got to swim some today. She seemed to really enjoy herself and afterwards she seemed to enjoy a deep nap by the poolside.

Given the list bag we shopped a few items in the hotel and also in SiDE. The quality and design of some clothing and shoes have pleasantly surprised me.  It is not inexpensive but perhaps more reasonable compared to the US considering the quality.  I feel particularly excited about polo shirts we got for M and A and also a bag and a beach bag I got.  Looking forward to some more shopping in Istanbul enshala.

Hello Antalya!

So here we are; at a resort by the Meditranean sea and reunited with my dad.  It was supposed to be a five star resort but we won't rank it higher than three. It's clean and the pool ambiance is nice but that's about it. Aside from that m developed fever during our flight and then Lufthansa didn't deliver one of the bags from Frankfurt to Istanbul and we won't receive it before Monday. This is kind of strange and unacceptable but it is what it is. So lots of energy has been spent on discussing the hotel issues, m's health situation, and  planning for replacing the items we never received in the lost bag.
It was a short night last night with frequent raises with m's wanting to be nursed.  We made it to the last hit of the breakfast service and then while everyone was relaxing by the pool I hit the gym. Really, I'm an active traveller not enjoying sun bathing much at all. We had a relaxing time under the shades overlooking the sea sipping on yogurt drinks and chatting away.
I cannot wait for my sister and brother in law to join us tonight. And thank God m's fever seems fading away, enshala.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

France Vacation the Second Time

France in the shoulder season of mid June treated us well.
We travelled to Paris as a family of four this time. Baby m has undeniably slowed us down but also has added a great pleasure with her little presence; she has been a good sport for most of the time.
We got to travel outside Paris this time, visiting Rambollie, Chateau Chambord, and Chateau Chenonceau. We spent a night in Bloise which was an older city with a river and another Chateau we didn't visit.  Looking back at the memories it was a nice trip that could be more relaxing than what chance we provided it.
I haven't been letting go of things yet.  The job I left. The new job I accepted. The immediate assignments as soon as I will start enshala. Little angel's care plans. The dilemma of motherhood and professionalism.  These are the main issues bugging my mind preventing me from being in the moment.
I must say it was a huge mistake, not relaxing I mean. A repeated one too which make it even worse.  I will try to let go for the rest of the trip.
The castles we visited added new experience to our tourist selves.  Chateau Rambord was huge and dark and mysterious with many rooms and many doors and many pathways and many locked gates.

It had an interesting staircase in the middle of the main foyer where two flights of steps led to the top floors but each flight designed to not meet anywhere along the way even at landing.  It had a huge moat around it which made it even more mysterious.

Chateau Chenonceau had a very pleasant and welcoming taste to it, as contrary to the previous one.

From the entrance gate the tree shadowed pathway pleasantly greeted us. The tower and balcony facing the front garden showcased the classic depiction of a tiring castles, which I had only seen in books and movies.  There were many details considered in the interior design of the castle and the huge kitchen with many windows receiving the day light pleasantly surprised us.

It resembled a happy place as contrast to the mystery of the first one.  We heard that Chenonceau had a feminin nature which was easily conprehended.

We payed a short visit to the city of Paris today, just stopping at the Eiffel Tower and then took a walk in my favorite Qurtier Latin.  Paris never fails to please.  It was a nice short visit and I feel thankful for the opportunity.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

On to New Adventures

After 7 years, I said goodbye to my current employer. In the end of the day I surrendered my badge and walked out the doors, knowing I couldn't go back anymore unless someone summoned me.
The emotional state I'm experiencing has taken me by surprise. I feel grateful and sad. People have been so kind to me. Genuinely sad to see me go and that means a lot to me. I'm grateful. Forever grateful for getting to know these amazing people and working with them. I'm leaving knowing that I'm inherited with some lasting friendships and experience.
I feel forever grateful!