Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pomegranate Soup

Ash-e Anar ("pomegranate soup")
I made this soup a couple times recently, and both times was a huge success. It's a special, fancy soup perfect for cold evening’s meal. And especially if you want to impress somebody at the end of this winter... The preparation can be rather time consuming, so give your self a few hours. Or, to save time you can use dried herbs and bigger meatballs.


Herbs (stems clipped, and finely chopped) 500 grams:

àParsley, Cilantro/Coriander, Mint, Green Onion tips

2-3 tablespoons Basmati Rice

4-5 tablespoons Split Peas

2 cups Pomegranate Paste (find at Iranian or Arab grocery store)

4-5 large yellow onions

250 grams ground beef or lamb

Cooking Oil

2 tablespoons dried mint

Sea Salt & Black Pepper

Thinly slice 4 onions and fry in a little bit of oil in a large soup pot. Fry until thoroughly golden. Add 4-5 cups of water and split peas. Add salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes and then add the rice. Cook for another 20 minutes.

Meanwhile you better have started rolling-up meatballs and chopping the herbs:

Mix 1 large grated onion into the ground meat along with salt and pepper for taste. Roll into tiny meatballs, no bigger than a couple centimeters in diameter. Here the hard work pays off, because, unlike other parts of life, in this case smaller means better. The small meatballs somehow contribute to a more delicate, royal look and taste to this soup. (You could also replace the meat with chicken, or more beans if you are vegetarian)

real size

Same hard work pays off with fresh herbs. Lose all the stems and chop them finely. It can be fun and relaxing. Pour yourself a glass of wine and sit near a window. But try to be organized: Chop them all up separately and put on a plate for use later.

meatballs herbs and wine = magic

Once the rice and split peas have been cooking for 20-30 minute, drop in the meatballs. Add more water if necessary. After another 15-20 minutes add the herbs, put the heat on low and simmer. The soup can stay simmering for up to an hour, but that’s not necessary. The longer it cooks, the elements merge and the soup becomes creamy. Add the pomegranate paste towards the end of cooking. Blend it in well.

See if it needs more salt, pepper, or you can add a little stock for added flavor. If you like it more sour, you can also add some lemon juice at the end.

On the side, heat up some oil, then take it off the heat and lightly fry dried mint in the oil. (This ensures that you don’t burn it.)

Before serving, drizzle the fried mint over the soup. For a more dramatic effect, you can drop a few fresh pomegranate seeds on each soup serving.

Don’t forget to give your guests a spoon. Then sit back and watch, as everyone twitches around in orgiastic frenzy. Or as they say here “kaf mikonan” (“they will foam”) !

I know they've used big meatballs here, but i promise the smaller ones are better ;)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

One Night in the Desert

There are two types of desert in Iran: Sahra is a desert that has some life in it. Kavir is the desert that looks like a sea, where life is very scarce. There are two massive 'kavir' located in central Iran. Dasht-e Kavir and Dasht-e Lut.

About 5 hours drive southeast of Tehran, begins the Dasht-e Kavir, a.k.a. Kavir-e Namak (The Great Salt Desert)--800 km long and 320 km wide, the size of Serbia.

We had the good fortune to travel with a desert expert, and tour leader, Hamid, whom you can now find out about in the latest Iran Lonely Planet. You can see in the soft weathered skin on his face, his brisk tranquil walk and rugged hands, that Hamid is very close to nature. He has a thousand captivating stories from his travels, and he smiles almost all the time. In one of those stories he and two others run across the dangerous Kavir-e Lut, with temperatures up to 55 Celsius (after 3 months training, it takes them 80 hours to run across), setting a world record.

On the road down towards Kashan, we pulled into the famous road stop, a few kilometers before the holy hubbub of Qom: The ‘Aftab-Mahtab’ restaurants, part of a mega-complex of restaurants and shops, a place for pilgrims to stop on their way to Qom.

The sign looks like a cheap model of a 1950s Los Angeles diner sign. And as you approach you realize there’s a lot more LA fever adorning the place. Automated doors, air conditioners and bizarre shops flaunt American style and consumer charm. It becomes clear here, that America and Iran are actually closer than you might think. (My friend swears that they are just like estranged lovers who constantly bicker about each other, in an obsessed form of lovesickness.)

In the back corner a Paris aspirant café blasting Celine Dion serves milky cappuccinos. Next to our table is a dreadfully kitsch statue of the head of a horse, and on the wall customers have written ‘I Love You’ in all their various languages—I even found “Volim Te” :) Nearby you can take a 10 minute chair massage for 2 dollars, after coating your insides with greasy, ‘yami’ (yummy) chicken, Iranian style pizza, hotdog or hamburger in Mahtab (Moon) restaurant/food court. Sit down meals are also available in Aftab (Sun) restaurant, and upstairs is a traditional tea house, with curious shops and stands in-between.

Loading back into the green minibus, we made way for the next stop, Sialk Hill- the ruins of an Elamite ziggurat from 7000 years ago located in the outskirts of Kashan. It is claimed to be the world’s oldest ziggurat, which is a temple in the shape of a terraced pyramid. All that’s left of the ancient civilization of Sialk however is a big hill (most of its best kept treasures can be found in Louvre), surrounded by small farms. We said hello, and goodbye.

From Kashan we entered the western edge of the Dasht-e Kavir, called Maranjab, through what used be a segment of the famous Silk Road, and advanced further and further away from any signs of civilization. One last sign was an old caravanserai, a hotel for the caravans of the Silk Road.

About an hour’s drive into the desert, we nestled our camp between the Darya-e Namak (Salt Sea) and some fantastic sand dunes. In the heart of the desert is the ‘Rig-e Jenn’, a rarely explored area where the sole inhabitants are ‘Jenn’ or spirits. In the silence the only sounds are their voices in the wind. On Google Earth, Rig-e Jenn shows up as a dark spot. The sand dunes we made a temporary home of however are known as a ‘fake’ Rig-e Jenn, where only fake sprits dwell.

After a barefooted walk and some rolls in the early, dusk-coated dunes, we settled down by the fire.

The full moon was huge, and as it shrunk, climbing further into the sky, cast a lonely luminous glow on the desert around us. Maybe it’s around this time the Jenn start waking up. The night chill (reaching -12 C) was unbearable, toe and nose-biting cold, and I didn’t rest until the morning sun toasted my tent. A leisurely breakfast under the passionate sunlight however, and we soon forgot the icy nightmare.

Later, we walked across a part of the great Salt Sea, from our edge to the foot hills of one of its “islands” –hills which actually only look like they are floating. Millions of years ago, the north of Iran was actually beneath the sea, and this is one of the remaining indications of that age-old existence. It was a beautiful and monumental feeling to walk across the bottom of a primeval sea, and to see history in stains on the land. The salt engraves a sheet of infinite crystalline patterns in geometrical shapes. Each step into it crunches and sparkles—some places more muddy, and others solid. Beneath the salt mud lies a thick layer of rock salt (I wonder how thick).

The landscape there is so completely stark and vast, and empty, that your imagination fills it with inhabitations and dreams. At the same time it is peaceful, surrounded by nothing, and nothing, as far as your eye can see. And everything you do see, you question its true form.

When I looked up I thought I even saw salt in the sky. Every half hour or so, we would come across some sign of someone or something who passed by sometime, like a forgotten memory: a crystallized grasshopper, a metal can pillaged by salt, a smiling crusty footprint, a bright red ladybug, a lizard.

After about an hour and half walking, we reached the foot of those hills, and there someone had conveniently set up a toilet. It was perhaps the best toilet I ever used in Iran, and the clean, tender breeze in the air made my task so much more pleasurable.

Those guys are obsessed with jeeps

Back at the settlement, thirsty and hungry, we were greeted with various culinary delights in action. Our tour leader had prepared a mean ‘Ab Gusht’ stew which was brewing on a fire. Meanwhile some locals from the nearby town, who traipsed in on a big jeep and motorbike, had brought some ‘Halim’ (a wheat stew), and were preparing a specialist ‘Kabab Koobideh’ (ground-meat kabob) with marinated camel meat.

Among other things, I learned that a live male camel cost $1,500, while the female (not sure why!?) costs $1000. And, if you kill a man, in Islamic law, the blood money you must pay his family is about $40,000, or one theoretical camel, while a woman’s murder would cost you $20,000 or half a camel. You could also say 2 women for one camel, it sounds better. I thought what an excellent cooking show this would be, true masters at work in the rawness of nature, with loads of fun trivia tidbits. We feasted like desert kings and queens, and it was all incredibly delicious.

On the way back we stopped again at Mahtab Restaurant, and took turns trying out the massage chairs. It was a comedic site, as our dusty bodies were rubbed and prodded by strange Kenny G. playing alien chairs.

My massage finished before the others and, in a brief moment alone, the young woman who worked there spoke to me with a strange gleam in her eyes:

“Did you also go to the desert?”


“You were both men and women?”

“Um yes”

“How many men and how many women? Was it half and half?”

“Um, well, no. I don’t know, there were 3 of us women”

“How is it like traveling with men? Is it interesting?”

“Well, hmm. I don’t know. It’s interesting, but not for that reason...”

I was caught off guard, and really didn’t know what to say, but I couldn’t get her out of my head for a while. We were quickly cut off. She seemed innocent, and I think she was just asking out of real curiosity.

Although the Mahtab-Aftab complex is famous for its bathrooms--they have some of the only public western toilets in Iran, which are considered sort of un-Islamic-- I was quite disappointed by them. Women in hunched up chadors, squeezing their noses and flapping about, pushed their way in front of me. The western toilets (farangi) were either closed or someone was living inside them.

The journey backwards was long dark and lonely, but filled with a satisfied air. They say once you go to kavir, you keep going. I think it’s true.

click below for more photos:


Friday, February 15, 2008

Funny Valentine

During my return to Tehran something I noticed, that I forgot to mention before: Several people seemed drunk not only entering Tehran but also leaving. And when it comes to airport activities, such as waiting in line or loading baggage through security for example, all male chivalry is flushed down the toilet.

Speaking of toilet-flushing and male chivalry...

1. I have to get used to NOT flushing toilet paper, once again (thanks to Tehran's shady to non-existent plumbing system. It's great for saving trees though.)

And 2. I got back to Tehran just in time for Valentine's Day! The romantic holiday named after 2 Christian Martyrs called Valentine. What's this got to do with Iran you might ask?

Downtown, on the famous Karim Khan Street all the card and gift shops were transformed into flashy red showcases, displaying all sorts of over-sized plush Valentine goodies: Boxes and Bears, and other strange pudgy creatures.

I wonder what the 'X' means? A punching bag?

In the same area, Coffee Shops were overflowing with couples, many of them wearing red. Traffic was even worse than the usual Thursday night.

Feeling a bit of post-Ashura blues?...Valentine's is here! And with Nowruz just around the corner, it's a jam packed season.

Valentine's Day has been gaining popularity in Iran over the past years, although there have been attempts to ban it or curb its popularity, especially by giving the shops selling Valentine's products a hard time. One government official even suggested keeping the tradition but switching the day to the birthday of Fatima (I think it was her?). This didn't happen, and even this year the stores were bustling with squishy red hearts, chocolates and kissing bears.

Proof that Iranians love to love.

Yes, they really love to love.
That poster is actually hanging, for all to see, outside a pharmacy near my house. When I passed by it, I literally froze...and had to backtrack. In Persian it says something like: "Femore gel, for the woman's sexual inability." Perhaps this is proof that North Tehran is looking more and more like California.

It may be about love, but Valentine's Day is also about buying. The shops were packed, and for the first time I saw Iranians queuing up. Outside a store, as most of them are too tiny for these kinds of crowds. The message I picked up seemed to be, bigger is better. Not only the stuffed animals, but also cards, boxes, bags stuffed with confetti and shiny tissue were size extra large. Alas...consumerism wins the battle on this day (and most days), in all it's curious ways.

Competitive street peddler: Would you like a tooth or a donkey on the moon?

For more on V Day, check out this documentary a friend of mine made a couple years ago: "Valentine's Day in Iran"

In the evening the Brazilian Embassy hosted local band 127 for a rare, and cozy, live concert. The band unofficially released their new album: Khal Punk. The word "Khal" comes from "Khaltoo" which is a genre of very old Iranian pop music.

All in all it was a beautiful first V day in Tehran. Sorry this post is pretty crappy...hope you enjoy the photos at least :)

Love, Neenee

See more photos from the day here:
Valentine's Day in Tehran

Monday, February 11, 2008

I'm leaving because the weather is too good. I hate London when it's not raining.

Title: Groucho Marx

A week before I came back to London, I spent the day with a friend. He spent his whole life in Tehran, I just showed up 4 months ago. Walking around downtown, I kept pointing things out to him that he had never noticed. He sees things more historically perhaps. And my radar for weird details is always on high, because everything is still new to me, and I’m probably constantly comparing. We realized that we each saw the city in very different ways, and this amused us.

Every time I take a trip, the return always feels really bizarre. It is like I’m going on rewind, back through the same route, the same places and steps which I came from. But everything is backwards. The tiny details are different, or perhaps those details you pay attention to, but the overall sensation is something like déjà vu.

In the Imam Khomeini Airport, A huge group of tourists from India were returning home after a pilgrimage tour. They must have been from a village in India, and it really seemed like they had never been in an airport before. It was like having a page from National Geographic transported to Tehran’s airport. They all wore their village clothes and sandals, plastic bags, and the pilgrimage tour’s t-shirts of course. Some of the women actually wore the tour’s head-dress (‘maghaneh’) which is something like a nun’s hood, and the official head-dress code for the Iranian Islamic woman. It must have said something like: “I went to pilgrimage in Iran and all I got was this holy t-shirt!”

One of the women came to the front of the line, and then tried to get 30 of her friends to join her. I realized then, something that is probably so obvious. Some people just don’t have the concept of queuing or waiting in line. Let alone going through a security station, stopping, being searched, one at a time. Iranians are like this, but these tourists proved it to another level.

At layover in Baku, exiting the tiny propeller plane, my hair blew freely in cold wind for the first time in months. Inside the transfer bus I quickly re-applied my head scarf, it was blistering cold.

Upon arrival to the Baku airport I was mesmerized. The first thing I saw, passing the duty-free shop, was a check-out girl leaning on the counter. She was wearing a fitted black dress with a patent red belt slouched on her curvy hips, her long bleached-blond hair swept across a bored, expressionless face. My jaw dropped wide open. It was like a scene from a film, dodgy but somehow very glamorous. I headed straight for the toilets, and inside a group of similarly dressed women, lounged on the bathroom’s counters smoking cigarettes and reapplying mascara. It was the store’s dress code. Out in the waiting room, a few old men were finishing off a liter of vodka they bought in the free-shop. On the airport TV, Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times was playing, interrupted constantly by commercials for various travel packages, mobile phones, and for Baku’s state-of-the-art airport. In the ads, the airport looked so cosmopolitan and stylish. Theoretically it did have some of these qualities, in terms of certain infrastructures and décor, nice cafes two identical duty-free shops located 10 steps from each other, much more than Tehran had to offer. In practice however, it appeared dusty and awkward. There was some sort of failed glossiness over everything.

How did I not notice all this before? I must have been too transfixed on what my next stop, Tehran, was going to be like. So here I was, in the same place, but from a different angle.

When I was young, I used to get really embarrassed when my mother looked at people. But I realized recently, I do the same thing--maybe I am better at hiding it though. Sometimes, I stare at someone to the point of falling in love with them. On that day, I fell in love with this young girl. She could have been of Afghan origin, about 8 years old. She had an angelic face, with robust cheeks and soft yellowish-white skin, slanted eyes and small lips drawn like a doll’s. She dressed like a small lady, with all matching accessories and a silky head scarf tied neatly and professionally.

I wish I could describe why I fell in love with her, but I’m not sure I can. I guess it was something about the air of dignity she exuded, even at that age. Her clothing all matched very smartly, with soft shades of beige, and she wore a fluffy coat. One yellow-haired doll poked out of her jacket’s pocket and every once in a while she would pull it out and prance it about for a couple minutes. She was so calm and composed, all these hours in transit and on the plane.

She sat next to me on the plane, and that made me happy. We each had the whole isles to ourselves, and I think this made her feel grown-up, and special. Sometimes our eyes met, and she would just barely crack a shy smile--the timid proof that she actually was a little girl! She wore her head scarf the entire flight, and often readjusted it. Her hair was thick and straight, and awkwardly cut short and jagged.

When we were loading into the elevator, it was getting too full so for a moment the conductor made her get on, and her father stay out. I saw a look of panic rush over his face, the thought of being parted from his girl was unthinkable. We made space, and he made his way in to the elevator, but for just a moment he showed something so utterly vulnerable and raw-it was so many things-uncomfortable, awkward, scared, helpless. It was just for a second, but I’ll never forget it.

The only thing unruffled about the girl was her ratty yellow-haired doll, which still peeked out of her pocket. It was as if nothing much fazed her-that was her look at least. It was the look of a lady. I briefly fell in love with a couple other people on that trip, but she left the biggest impression on me.

Back in the London, heading towards Finsbury Park Station, and every thing’s still going backwards. Although some things look different…there are some new things I’ve noticed about London, and some old things that I always loved, and still do.

London Notes and Nutshells

It rains a lot in London, but in return you get cleaner streets and a variety of green parks-from wild-Hampstead to tame-Hyde Park, and hundreds in between. When it’s party cloudy, London has one of the most beautiful skies. The clouds are super fluffy (‘The Simpson’s Clouds’ Slobs calls them), black and blue like a giant bruised face. The sky can turn shades of purple and pink. And when it is sunny, they are some of the brightest blue sunny days I’ve ever seen. While in New York you think about square-footage, flat-seekers in London think about ‘bright sunny windows’: the bigger the window the better the room.

London is a graphic designer’s dream. The city’s architecture is full of straight lines, stacked all around with neat bricks, buses and brightly colored signs. The colors of the city are perfectly thought out: Red bus, blue signs, yellow letters, green highway signs, blue and green rubbish bins, red bricks, blue sky, green trees. And everything is cloaked by a subtle layer of thin green moss. Sometimes it looks like a healthy head of hair, and sometimes it looks just like the fuzz on bald man’s head.

We went to a stand-up performance, and one of the comedians noted that London has the most colors of doorways. It’s true, every other doorway is a different color! Real Londoners tend to wear dark boring colors, with one red accessory: like a red jacket, a purse or a car, or red hair. Sometimes the one-accessory is green or blue. Are they subconsciously matching with the colors of the city, the dull buildings and brightly colored doors? And of course, some people wear summer clothes in the dead cold of winter.

There are tons of old signs that have lost or changed their reference point, or are just plain weird. For example we saw a sign that said “This way to the ‘The Pumping Station’.” For all we knew, it could very well have been an old fire-brigade station turned gay club. Another huge, and perhaps dated, one by London Bridge says, “This Way to the Air-Raid Shelter.” Many signs and orders are carefully worded into friendly requests: “Please Mind the Gap” or “If you notice some suspicious behavior please notify the driver.” We saw one yesterday, upon exiting the Petrol Station, it said “Please Call Again.” It reminded me of the Texas saying “Ya’ll Come Back Now!”

"Anti-Climb Paint?"

I think they are serious this time

Here they say "Fouling of Land is an Offence", we would just say "Don't Mess with Texas"

She's been made redundant, but just can't move on

One of my favorite places in London is ‘The City’, the downtown financial district, the oldest part of London. If you go through at certain busy times of the day, it looks just like that old photo of men in the city, all wearing a black suit and the same black hats, a sea of suits and hats (anyone know or have this photo?). Everyone frantically rushes about in black suits and skirts, but the best thing about it is that a couple hours later the streets are completely empty. I love going there on a Sunday, when everything is dead and abandoned, a ghost town. In this quiet solitude, a brief lapse from madness, the grand old architecture is especially magnificent.

I love all the neighborhoods around central London, which are actually quaint villages transformed into city escapes for young couples or bohemian hippies. But I love our’s the best because of its indistinct boringness, and what I call ‘real people’. All around the city, what used to be horse stables are called “mews” and they are turned into trendy little secluded apartment blocks or office spaces. Actually many things here once pertained to horses.

MacDonald’s and Starbucks are disguised as trendy little village shops, and next door may be a local butcher or fruit stand. KFC doesn’t do such a great job at disguising though, maybe the red rubbish bins give it away?

Pubs-‘Public Houses’ or ‘Freehouses’-have a very special place in English culture. The pub beneath our house is a real ‘local’. You find the same old geezers (with their kids) in there everyday. Those people who permanently smell like ashtray, dust and mildewed curtains. On Sundays, the crowd is very interesting: I think they are either former church members or future church members. Or maybe they actually came straight from church.

Ex-Dairy Factory now a Pub

They eat things like Meat Roast, Meat Pies, Yorkshire pudding (which is actually some squishy bread with gravy), Bangers and Mash (Sausage and Mashed Potatoes), or Toad-in-the-Hole (sausage baked inside squishy bread), or Beans on Toast. The day after Sunday roast, they traditionally eat something called Bubble & Squeak (leftover veggies fried up until they are brown).

Watching people here is fantastic, even though sometimes it can be a little pathetic. Like the
other day, on the bus, and woman with her two daughters was screaming and crying on the phone to her boyfriend. The two girls followed her around, as if everything was completely normal.

It is true that people are a bit cold here, out in the streets or on public transport for example. No one talks to each other much. If you do talk to someone, there is usually a sense of paranoia, and defensiveness. Although every one is extremely polite.

Once on the tube (subway), this woman was way too drunk. The tube attendant helped her on the train, and kept telling her, don’t forget you have to get off on the next stop to change trains, promise me you won’t forget! Of course, she totally ignored the stop. Several worried people sitting near her tried to remind her, only to get snapped at: “I know where I’m going! Lived here all my life, don’t need yours or anyone’s help.” So she continued in her wretched state, ripped pantyhose, bloody feet, and near crying when she realized she had no idea where she was. And everyone thus ignored her.

On another note, the way people naturally queue up (line-up) everywhere is just amazing!

Walking and riding around the city, my eyes are wide open like a child’s. When I walked around in the grimy snow of Tehran’s busy streets, which was actually a giant candy shop, I paid close attention to everything. Being back in London is a similar feeling. At times, it almost looks like a giant Swiss village.

I guess that’s why I enjoy traveling so much. When I come back from somewhere I experience a new perspective of things. Although you can experience the same feeling in other ways: reading a book, watching a film, meeting a new person. I had the same feeling when I returned to Texas after being away a year, everything was so exotic. People had always asked me if anyone there wears cowboy hats, and I finally realized that they really do!

There is a restaurant in Stoke Newington called, The Dervish: Experience the Taste of Authenticity.” I wonder what it tastes like, authenticity, and if people actually go in because of this sign?

Some more London in Nutshells:

Consumerism in Disguise (just because the shops are smaller and look villagey doesn’t mean…)

Industrial revolution meets Elfin Village

Yummy Mummies

Royal family meets Pub-flies and


Victoria Beckham

Victorian Age meets Strip Club

I’m-not-realllly-a movie-star-but-clearly-am-Raybans (as opposed to giant, unapologetic movie star sunglasses)

Spice Girls meets High Tea with Scones

Curry vs. Fish and Chips

‘Hejab Barbie’ meets ‘Oh this t-shirt is actually a dress’

And just for fun, some British word usage & colloquialisms:

can’t be bothered (don’t care)

to be sorted (to fix a problem)

bloody (very)

fancy (to desire)

Council house (projects, government housing)

"Denton" Council House

Cash and Carry (a store that you pay cash and carry the goods away yourself…?)

Off-License (place that sells liquor—‘off’-premises, as in you can’t drink it there)

all-nighter/ bender

snog (to kiss)

wanker/tosser (idiot)

bang on about/to waffle (go on and on)

whinge (to whine)

botch up (ruin)

geezer (guy –usually cool, confident, macho)

lad, chap (guy)

slapper/tart (tramp)

sod-off/ bugger-off (get lost)

bugger all (nothing, cheap)

fit (in shape, nice body)

chat up/pull (to flirt with someone, try to pick them up)

cheeky (naughty, smart ass)

bits (genitalia)

chav/chavy (lower-class origin who dresses in sportswear and shiny gold jewelry)

queue (line)

rubbish bin (trash can)

give a ring (to call)


pop in/by (to stop by)

row (a fight, rhymes with cow)

the fuzz (police)

The Fuzz

made redundant/redundancy (to be fired/laid off)

lovely (nice)

brilliant (great)

cheers (thanks, ciao, also for drinking)

dodgy (suspicious)

bloke (dude)

mate (friend)

Uni (university)

flat (apartment)

quid (pounds-money)

cunt/twat (annoying person)

arse (ass)

bum (butt)

bollocks (no good, rubbish)

dog’s bollocks (fantastic)

faff (to procrastinate)


chuck (to throw)

knackered/zonked (tired)

knickers (underwear)

nick (to steal)

take the piss (to make fun of, joke around)

pissed/sloshed (drunk)

smart (to be dressed well, to look sharp)

cuppa (cup of tea/coffee)

fringe (bangs)

barmy (mad/crazy)

royal (so and so) for example “a royal pain in the arse”

isn’t it? / innit? (don’t you think)

hiya (hey)

blimey (darn, yes they really say this!)

How have I changed? I actually wondered if I have changed since moving to Iran. When Slobs came to Tehran, he pointed out that when I would talk to him or explain things I always tap him on the leg or knee, which I never did before. Not sure what that means.

I guess living in Tehran has inspired me a lot, given me a lot to think about. It has been unlike any other foreign place I lived, probably because it’s not actually foreign completely. I still don’t understand it, not even close.

Well a lot has changed, so I’m not sure if I can account it only to living in Iran. For example, having a permanent partner has given me a certain confidence. This is not just because I am married, but because of who I am married to. Just as I edit his words for grammatical English mistakes, he reads everything I write for my confidence. I won’t say I couldn’t do it without him because that’s lame, but I must say that he helps me immensely. And I also can’t deny that he is probably a big part of why I love London so much.

Neenee in London rrrr!