email contact

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Summer's over

Last Wednesday was officially the first day of autumn and the first day of school in Iran. With the children off to school after a long summer (schools broke off just before the presidential elections on 12 June), this is an appropriate time to start off a brand new blog following on (with a break) from an older one (

After nine months of writing and coinciding with the end of school in June, the complete manuscript of my book Among the Iranians (provisional title) was delivered (pun intended), so it was time for a break, or maybe more than one breaks. We went on a four-day family break to Mashhad in the beginning of July and then I visited my ageing parents in Athens for three weeks in late July.
Visiting Greece from Iran is not as easy at it looks. Although only a three and a half hour flight is all it takes, there are no direct flights from Tehran to Athens. One can always get a connection through another city, but it is expensive (see previous blog for last year’s adventures). This year I travelled via Doha, Qatar, without any problems or delays, I’m pleased to say.

My time in Athens was quiet. I met up with a couple of friends, but I mostly stayed at home, trying to make the most of my time with my parents and mainly keeping them company. In the last week I managed to visit the Acropolis Museum, and I am glad I did. I found it a very attractive building, light and airy. I loved the terrace overlooking the Parthenon as well as the Parthenon gallery.

Two weeks after I got back from Athens, on Wednesday 19 August 2009 we set off on a short trip to the North, by the Caspian Sea littoral, and Ardebil, in Iranian Azerbaijan.

We headed for the Karaj freeway. We parked by a parade of shops near Karaj and the children and hubby went to buy snacks for the journey. I got out of the car to stretch my legs and back. An elderly woman in black chador was passing by. She said that I was welcome to use the toilet in her house nearby if I needed to. I thanked her, but no, I didn’t need it then. She asked whether I have any children and repeated the toilet invitation for them too. I thanked her again and got in the car.

Later on we queued up at a petrol station. A street peddler on crutches was moving from car to car selling chewing gum at 500 tumans a pack. The driver ahead of us gave him 1000 tumans as charity, but the man refused to take it. When he got to us, he said, “I am not a beggar; I sell these at a profit of 100 tumans per pack. Why do people think I am a beggar?” and he stumbled off to the next car.
More impressions from that trip to follow in a future blog.

Got to sign out now. I’m snowed under by work: I am translating book blurbs for the publishers I freelance for, which are meant to be used for publicity material at the Franfurt International Book Fair (isn’t that cutting it a bit fine?). I’ve already done fourteen of them and there’s another twenty to be done this week. The manuscript of Among the Iranians is meant to come back to me for corrections this week and will need to be returned in two weeks’ time. Together with a good friend and colleague we’ve signed a contract for the translation and copy-editing of a photographic book on the Persian Gulf. I am copy-editing a psychology academic paper for submission to a peer-reviewed journal… and the list goes on. Still, it’s good to be busy again.

New Beginning

Welcome to this new blog, the continuation of a previous one (; do check it out) I’ve been keeping on and off since July 2007 when we moved to Iran. In these two years since the move many things happened in our lives: we are now properly settled in Iran, the children are doing well at school, I have finished the writing of Among the Iranians (or everything you ever wanted to know about Iran, but you didn’t know who to ask), the book that has been germinating in my mind for years.
Here I will post snapshots of everyday life in today’s Iran.