Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Be aware

Imagine the feeling that you get when you come home after a hard day at work. You take your shoes off, change to your comfortable clothes, grab a nice snack from your fridge and plump on the nice cushioned couch and turn on your TV. The Air Conditioning is on if it is hot outside or the heather is on if it is cold outside, giving you relief. Imagine the sense of piece, comfort and security that you have at that moment.
When your children come home from school imagine the feeling that you get when you have fed them with a nice meal and tasty desert and have sent them each to their rooms to work on their homework. Imagine how you feel when you are washing their dishes in your kitchen sink and placing the leftovers in your full fridge. Then you open your kitchen cupboards and start preparing their lunch for the next day. Imagine your feeling of satisfaction, pride and accomplishment. You feel happy about being able to take such good care of your children and providing them with a nice, meal, home and life.
Now imagine if your "home" was a motel room with two beds, a one foot fridge and a small TV in one small square. Your bathroom sink is where you use to wash your face in the morning and the same one you use to wash your dishes at night. You do not own one piece of furniture in the motel room and can be kicked out to the street at any time. You cannot cook or store food as you wish because you do not have a stove or room in the fridge. Your children come "home" from school to a place where they have to do their homework, watch TV, have dinner, change clothes and sleep all in the same room. You are not able to provide the minimum and basic necessities for your children, yet they still have posted their drawings and tests on the wall in order to feel some kind of security. Imagine the shame and pity you feel when you have to look into your children's eyes and tell them that there is no more food to eat. Imagine the sorrow in your heart when your child is ashamed to bring a friend "home" from school.
I want you to imagine this because I want you to know that your life is privileged and that the other life really does exist, more than you could imagine. There are thousands of families who live in motel rooms that they struggle to pay for weekly. Children who know that smelly and old room as their "home" where they live with their family. Children who go to school with all of the other kids but know nothing of their own room, a kitchen table, a birthday party or a back yard. Mothers who take the bus to food banks in order to be able to feed their children at night. I want you to be aware that this style of life is in your neighborhoods, in your streets and in your community. So take your head out of the sand and at least be aware!

Monday, October 20, 2008


Tomorrow is my birthday and the same thoughts are running through my head as every year at this time. What amazing thing have I accomplished in my life? What extraordinary thing have I done so far? What big differences have I made in this world? What is so special about me? I have not climbed the highest mountain, I have not saved a life, I have not discovered a cure to a disease, nor have I managed to win a damn award for any thing. The years keep coming and going and my biography does not seem to improve or grow in any shape or form.
All of the things that I have accomplished in my life are those that others have done so as well. Obtaining degrees and a job, getting married and building a house, buying a car and traveling, what is so extraordinary about that?
I want to travel for the purpose of saving lives, I want to write a book, I want to climb mountains, I want to live amongst the underserved, I want to change lives, I want to make a legacy, I want to support a cause, I want to make a difference, I want to see the world. I can do so much more, I can be so much better, I can give so much more.
Tomorrow is my birthday and I am still at the same place that I was one year ago at this time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


When my older brother Shayan was 13 years old he took a trip to England. When he came back home, he had with him an array of new knowledge, experiences, clothes, toys and a little English turtle named Lucky (not lucky as in "luck" but lucky as in "LUCKposht"). Lucky was a small green English turtle the size of a large palm. Shayan played with Lucky, fed him, washed him and took care of him like any devoted master would of his pet. Shayan and Lucky laughed, played and lived Merrily and happily together. It was not until less than one year later when Shayan was sent to America for good and had to leave Lucky behind. And that is when I became Lucky's friend and play mate, I was 3 years old.
My family had shrunk down to my mom and dad, me and Lucky, so naturally Lucky and I spent many hours together. Through out the years I played with Lucky as he was a close friend and a confidant. He roamed around the house as he pleased and some times would get lost for hours.
I would fill up the bath tub with a few inches of water and place Lucky in there where he swam around and washed his face with his two little hands. I would put Lucky at one end of the room and I would sit in the other end holding pieces of lettus and carrots (his meal) and would watch him patiently and slowly make his way down to me. I would take Lucky out to the back yard and let him roam around in the garden while I rode around on my bike. He had made a home for himself inside of a little hole in the corner of the garden. At times we would leave Lucky in the back yard where he would roam around and sleep in his little hole for days. At other times he lived in a little cardboard box that my father had built for him (with cut out windows and a door) in the terrace. Lucky always kept his head, arms and legs inside of his shell when I picked him up and he would only come out when he thought no one was there. Lucky was slow and quiet, he was the most innocent creature that I had ever seen in my life.
One of the features that this adorable little English turtle had was the fact that he would sleep all through the winter and wake up when spring arrived and blossoms bloomed. One year my parents planned a trip for us to leave the city and celebrate the Norouz (new year) with our out of town relatives. Lucky was sleeping in a silent corner as we rushed out of the house to get to our destination, where we remained for over one week. While we were gone, Lucky woke up from months of sleeping and naturally he was hungry. However, this time his owners (technically that would be my mom and dad since I was still just a young girl) had forgotten to leave food for him. Sadly Lucky died of starvation. My parents found Lucky's lifeless body when we returned home from vacation and I was devastated.
Even though Shayan was Lucky's original owner and his first friend, I was the one who took care of him and played with him for many years. Lucky not only was my pet, but he was also my beloved friend.

I am sorry for not leaving food for you Lucky. I miss you.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Friendship is...
When I run inside your car and scream "GO", you stepping on the gas no matter how loud the person chasing the car screams.

Friendship is...
Driving me to Vancouver B.C. for the Dariush concert after I had a very bad night and listen to me cry and talk about one subject the entire way. Then sitting with me at the breakfast table the next morning for two hours processing and processing about the same subject again.

Friendship is...
Coming to pick me up from my house early in the morning and giving me a ride to my Physiology exam because I had too much wine the night before and cannot manage to drive myself. Then waiting in the car while I take the exam and driving me back home.

Friendship is...
Giving me rides to and from the airport.
(Shideh, Maryam B., Sanaz, Anahita)

Friendship is...
Flying from Maryland to Seattle to attend my wedding, and not saying a word about your less than perfect seating location.

Friendship is...
Being at the door of my house in 10 minutes after I call crying and needing to talk.

Friendship is...
Taking my clothes off (and washing them) and putting me to bed when I am not capable of such tasks.

Friendship is...
Being honest with me about my shortcomings and faults.

Friendship is...
Flying up to Seattle from Los Angeles to attend my wedding. Driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas at 2:00 a.m. to attend my wedding again. Finally driving down to Orange County from Los Angeles in the afternoon traffic after a short notice to attend my wedding again.

Friendship is...
Having so much history that even though it may hurt it, but a falling out will never break the original tie.

Friendship is...
Offering to fly from Toronto to California when I am feeling down and hopeless.
(Maryam A.)

Friendship is:
A treasured gift made up of ingredients such as caring, unselfishness and respect.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Let me introduce you to my little RAV4, she is a green four door Toyota mini SUV, born in 1996. My RAV4 has been with me through a lot in my life, even things that I may not have shared with people closest to me. My RAV4 has seen me through tears and laughter, through travel and work, through life changing events and through special moments; my RAV4 has seen me through life.
My RAV4 was there in those silent cold nights when I sat behind the wheel and shed tears over a broken heart, she was the one who hugged me inside of her and then took me back home. My RAV4 was there when my girlfriends and I rode to clubs and parties laughing and singing, playing loud music for us and witnessing the friendships and the fun. My RAV4 was there through four years of college, internships, jobs and interviews. She was the fist one to see me after an acceptance or rejection, taking in all of my feelings. My RAV4 was there as I mourned deaths in my family and as I celebrated accomplishments.
My RAV4 sheltered me and listened while I had long meaningful conversations and smoked cigarettes under her roof as cold rain poured hard outside. My RAV4 and I listened to depressing music when I was feeling sad, lonely or angry. She and I listened to happy music when I was feeling excited and overjoyed. My RAV4 was with me every single day traveling through the streets of my young adulthood, taking me to work, school, parties, parks, etc. My RAV4 not only protected me as she was hit by cars from behind but she forgave me when I backed her into other cars (and poles) without looking.
My RAV4 gracefully witnessed my joys, my sorrows, my fears and my happiness through different stages and events of my life. My RAV4 saw me puke my guts out during drunken nights and she saw me the next morning regretting that last drink. My RAV4 watched me admire my engagement ring with excitement as I held her steering wheel. My RAV4 came along to Vancouver B.C., Portland, Eastern Washington and California with me. My RAV4 was a silent witness to most of my 20's.
Even when I relocated to another state my RAV4 came with me, acquiring a new license plate and learning the new streets and highways right along with me. My RAV4 was with me as I got lost in the new cities and felt homesick for my old life. My RAV4 has always been one constant thing in my ever changing life, carrying with her my past, my memories and my sense of self.
Although I did not own her until she was two years old, my RAV4 was still very young and fresh, having only acquired 15,000 miles on her. On that August day when I left the house in the morning I was not planning to buy a car, I was not even planning to go into a car dealership. When I was signing the papers I knew that the payments were too high for my budget. When I brought her home, the next day my father sent me back to "return" the car because I could not afford it.
The payments were high for me and I struggled, but not one day did I regret my decision to buy my RAV4. Every single time that I sat in that car I enjoyed it as I loved the fun design on the seats, the cool CD changer, the moon roof, the all around electric features and how perfectly it fit me. She was ideal for traveling, going out, having fun and being me.
Even though there were times that I was not making any money, I still managed to make each and every car payment by myself, may it have been from student loans or from borrowing. After six years I was finally done with the monthly payments and became the sole owner of my RAV4, and that is one of the things that I am very proud of in my life. For this my RAV4 represents my hard work and dedication, my value to commitment and my underestimated strength.
When one day I brought home a brand new shiny white SUV, my RAV4 left her home in the garage and gave way to the newcomer, taking her new spot in the street. I still use my RAV4 at times (for a trip to Home Depot or to the "scketcy" parts of town), but she is not the witness of my day to day life any longer.
My RAV4 is not my main car any more, but she continues to have a special place in my heart as it is difficult to let go of something so heavy, not by weight in tons but by weight in feelings and memories. Every corner of that car carries a memory from the pages of my life during my 20's. For example the broken little red light in the back is from the time when I backed her into the neighbor's car in the early dawn before going snowmobiling.
My RAV4 sits outside of my house gracefully and holds with her so many years of memories and stories of tears and smiles, tales from the book of my life.
Now I am creating new memories and stories for my shiny white SUV to witness, but I know that the stories will not be as exciting, fun, dramatic and life changing as I managed to share with my RAV4 in my 20's.
So now that you have been introduced to my RAV4, you should know why even though she may not have been my first car or my most luxurious car, she is my most precious car.