A different kind of ‘change’

A different kind of ‘change’

A store owner owed me 300 tomans in change. 

But he didn’t have any, so I got something a lot more yummier than coins. 

This happens A LOT in Iran. While you definitely cannot pay for anything in chocolate/candy/sticks of gum/wafers, many stores have no issue doling out treats in substitute of money. 

To be fair, I’ve never seen them do it for change more than 500 tomans, and instead of coins weighing down my wallet, my kids are always ready and willing to take candy off my hands.

Are you ready for 1396?

Are you ready for 1396?

The Iranian new year, or Nowruz, is starting March 21. Iranians world over will ring in 1396 with their loved ones, enjoying the beginning of the season of spring, around the sofre haft seen. A setting made of seven things that start with the Farsi letter “seen” or س.

Living as a foreigner in Iran, I’m not too keen on the traditions, but I’m looking forward to my 2 weeks off from school, getting to sleep in and relax. 

Right now we are fighting crazier-than-normal traffic, and stocking up on essential food items. Because during Nawruz break there will be less good produce and fewer items on the shelves. Iranians love their Nawruz. And they should – it’s the celebration of the season of spring and new beginnings. 

Interestingly this year the first of the new year also coincides with the birth anniversary of Lady Fatima Zahra (sa). It falls the day before the eve of the new year. 

Hoping this new year brings more blessings to everyone, and helps us come closer to the Almighty! 

Here are a few pictures from around the shrine of Hazrat Masooma in Qom.

22 Bahman in pictures

22 Bahman in pictures

Today marked the 38th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. We went out for the rahpaymah, or procession, in Qom.

Below: “The movement continues…”



Today those of us in Iran answered Trump’s threats by coming out on the streets in large numbers.

No, we don’t fear you. Bring it on.

Soaking in the book fair experience

Soaking in the book fair experience

Yesterday we took an impromptu trip to Tehran on the last day of the International Book Fair. 

One of the motivating factors was the new venue – Shahre Aftab. It’s a bit closer to Qom – about 1 hour and a half. This place was constructed as the permanent home for the fair, right across from the araamgah of Imam Khomeini. It was a nice open air facility, with some stalls set up in hangars. I was quite pleased with the ample parking room and constant shuttle service to and from the fair. 

Other plus points: the clean bathroom facilities (with a Western toilet!), indoor and outdoor food stalls, water fountains, play areas for kids, and feeding tents for nursing moms.

We made our way through a few areas (kids, international, Iranian, digital) and liked the variety of books, although I think there could have been more good quality English language Islamic books. 

FZ is quite the bookworm, and enjoyed picking out a new Farsi language book on Imam Reza and one on rainbows, while Marium got a few sticker activity books in Farsi/English.

While my husband looked around on his own, the kids played nearby in the playground and gave me a nice break. 

It was a hot day, but there were lots of places with shade, and plenty of cool water. 

We ended our day with a trip to the Nutella Bar stall. And it was delicious! 10 tomans for a cup of Nutella ice cream topped with bananas and strawberries. 

It was a nice experience and made for a pleasant outing with the kids! Although it helped that we went in our own car, so we weren’t forced to follow a bus schedule or look for a taxi.

We hope to go again next year!

The winding road of Chalus

The winding road of Chalus

Took a nice road trip with a few families to the north, or shomal, of Iran this past weekend. We visited the Roudkhan Castle in Fouman and stayed in Chamkhaleh.

The kids especially enjoyed their dip in the Caspian Sea, and making sand castles with friends. 

But perhaps one of the best parts of the trip was driving back home through the Alborz mountain range in Chalus. The Chalus River goes through the range and ends at the Caspian Sea. 

The winding road gave way to scenic views of the rushing river, snow capped mountains, and lush greenery. 

All along the road, there were chai stops, fruit sellers, restaurants, hotels, etc. We were supposed to stop for famous shomali ice cream, but it was too crowded.

But we did make a stop at the aash kadeh for a warm and yummy bowl of aash. 

Aash in the mountains, anyone?