The places I’ve been and will be.

Its funny. I’ve known since September 4th (my birthday) that I would be moving, but actually putting it into words and posting about it was another matter entirely.

I guess I can talk about it now, since I recently stopped working and I have a better idea of my plan from now on.

Sometime in the first week of December I will go to Haifa, Israel to serve at the Baha’i World Centre. EDIT: FOR 18 MONTHS!

My job can best be described as a project assistant, and I will be doing what I tend to fall into naturally: event planning and project management. It is going to be a lot of work, of course, but I can’t even put into words how excited I am.

And I just found out yesterday that Mojan and her husband will be coming! There are so many amazing people I know that are already serving in Haifa, and more coming soon…happiness abounds.

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Coming to Minnesota is mostly about family & food. My grandparents, two aunts (and their families), and my uncle (and his family) all live in the same neighborhood. So when guests are in town, it turns into an extravaganza of Persian cooking & music, mehmooni (dinner parties), and a jabber of people speaking a mix of Persian and English. Quite fabulous, really. I’m taking pictures and will post them as soon as I get back.

In the last 36 hours I have eaten:
-Chicken & rice.
-Cereal.
-Rice snacks from Japan that are now my newest obsession.
-An amazing kabob dinner that consisted of ground beef kabobs, chicken kabobs, grilled tomatoes, yogurt & cucumber salad, doogh (yogurt & club soda drink), pickles, rice, and cake.
-A ridiculous amount of Persian tea.
-Eggs w/cheese, ham, and rice (breakfast).
-Ice cream and truffles for breakfast.
-Dolmeh (stuffed grape leaves) with homemade yogurt.

whew. And it isn’t over yet…

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The day of labor

This coming holiday weekend has special significance, since my birthday is one week from today. That is, September 4th.

This weekend also promises to be very busy. Friends in from out of town, family, and several events, some of which may be happening concurrently. I’m beginning to get overwhelmed.

hmm…haven’t changed much. Check out the rockin’ sunglasses. hah!

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Mama bird

I like bird nests. My sister and I used to collect them as children, along with any eggshell pieces we would find discarded.

I like birds, too. But when a bird interferes with my everyday life, I get a little annoyed.

Exhibit A: The American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

(Look at those beady, devilish eyes…)

We have a nest in the roof of our back porch with several baby robins. During our 4th of July BBQ, Andrew was attacked as he attempted to set up the grill. Once Jinous, Maysoon, Lauren, and I came outside she was less aggressive…too many people to fight, I guess.

A few days ago I was weeding the patio and the mother bird was swooping down so close that her wings were touching my hair. I abandoned the effort with half of my task completed. Yesterday I tried to hang lights on the back porch for the party and she dive-bombed me with such ferocity that I retreated back into the house, shaking with terror.

This is just ridiculous.

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Girodet

Last Tuesday I went with my father and sister to the Girodet exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson (1767�1824) was a French painter, and the exhibit is overwhelming. I must say that he is my favorite artist…the vibrancy of color and attention to detail is amazing, and the way he used light is simply astonishing.

The Burial of Atala is definitely my favorite painting in the exhibit, but I was impressed by the attention to detail in Hippocrates Refusing the Gifts of Artaxerxes.

If you see Pygmalion and Galatea, note how Girodet manages to transition from marble to human flesh in Galatea’s body as he shows her transformation from statue to a live being.

The exhibit is at the Art Institute until April 30th, so I suggest you check it out ASAP. And give yourself a few hours…you’ll need it.

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Lost Cassete tapes

Yesterday
I heard the voice of myself
at age 4
I spoke with a Persian inflection
as I said prayers into the microphone
age 5
I read from a children’s book
not recognizing myself as I realized
the strength of my southern accent
(South Carolina public schools)
But when I spoke to my parents
I had no accent at all.

“Maman joon, Baba joon, Allah’u’abha.
This is Sholeh, and I am going to say
some prayers for you.”
The messages that we sent my grandparents
17 years ago
brought tears to my eyes,
the slight lisp of my 4 year old sister
as she said her ABCs
and talked about riding the elephant at the circus
and sang prayers and children’s songs.
“Maman joon, Baba joon, can you come visit us?
We will play with you, and we miss you.”

I heard the patient voice of my mother
“Ahfarin, Sholeh joon.” (Good job, Sholeh dear)
As my 3 year old self
pointed out objects: duck! moo! ob!

Why do we forget the things
that should never be left behind?
I cried today…
I wish I could go back sometimes
to that innocent child of my past
to let her know that I love her.

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Do you realize?

That we’re floating in space…

10 EASY points to whoever guesses the song first. And no cheating by using Google.

Anyways, I am out in the middle of nowhere and loving it. I love the mountains, the sun, the stars (I can see STARS!), the fresh air (even though my cold is making it hard to breathe). Love love love.

Going back to Chicago is going to be tough. My heart longs to be there always, yet I find myself being pulled in different directions. I miss the ocean, I miss mountains, I miss being around different people all of the time. We shall see what the world has in store for me.

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In more sad news, a dear friend of my family passed away Wednesday, December 21st. Caswell Ellis, my friend Jonathan’s father, left this world. I’ve known the Ellis family since I was 4 years old, and Caswell had a huge influence on me throughout my life. I love that family so much, it is impossible to describe. I wish I had adequate words for such an amazing man, but this will have to do.

I saw him in November when I went to visit Carmen in LA, and she and I somehow both realized that this would be the last time that we would see him. We didn’t know why we felt that, we just did. All of us kids grew up together, and now we take care of each other as the older generation is no longer able to in some ways.

Love,
Sholeh (on vacation)

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Atlanta

I loved the Botanical Gardens in Atlanta. I went with my grandma, uncle, and cousin, and it was just fantastic.

There was a whole section in the greenhouse devoted to orchids of all varieties. There were also birds flying around, completely fearless, and would walk right up next to you. (click to enlarge pictures).

There was this train exhibit called “Locomotion in the Garden” that was like a little world with a bunch of different trains and buildings and tracks made from branches. There was a waterfall, and a little island. Amazing.

Sorry, the quality of these isn’t great. 🙂

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summer flowers

The first flower is the Baha plant I put in the back yard years ago. I planted it, and it has survived Chicago winters, summers, too much & too little watering. And I don’t have to do a thing.

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The Best Thing About Summer (Guest Entry)

The following was dictated by my sister Gloria while I typed (the only way I knew I’d get a guest entry). Thanks, G!

The Best Thing About Summer:

When I was younger, I used to think it was the ice cream truck, because hearing it in the street made me run to mom, thinking I could weasle some money out of her.

As I grew up, I believed it was because I could skip out of dreaded homework assignments.

Now I’ve gotten older and wiser, and I’ve realized the deeper meaning of what makes summer so great.

It’s movies.

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