Tuesday, March 16, 2004


It has been snowing for two days, and there is a nice thick snowbally snow on the ground. The sky is white, and everything is quiet.

This has been the most exhausting and perhaps the most exciting year of my life. I feel like I understand the curse: "May you live in interesting times." Everything is interesting to me, and I long to be bored. Or at least, calm.

When people say "They live life to the fullest," what exactly do they mean, and how do they do it? How do they flit from one adventure to another, from one event to another, from one conversation to another without collapsing from exhaustion? What exactly does living a full life mean? I would love to spend an hour or two watching television. Does that mean that I am not especially cut out for living life to its fullest? Or can a full life include television?

Oh how I miss The Simpsons.


After months of brick, limestone, and brown, rocky mountains, a little bit of color goes a long way. A spot of yellow, a red roof, a blue windowpane, yellow and orange flowers, and the new green of new growth on the pine trees are like gifts for the eyes.

Driving north to Shomal (which means "North") provides just such gifts. Because it actually rains there, the roofs are pitched so that the rain can run off. They are then tiled in a variety of colors.

Fog begins as soon as the mountainsides change from rock to forest. You get the sense that the sun rarely shines on the forested side of the mountain. A combination of weather, color, accents, and food makes you feel like you are in a different country. The olive oil and pickled vegetables are amazing. The people look more Russian here: they are stouter and rounder than most Iranians I have seen. Because we are there before the holidays, the city we are visiting is empty and quiet.

The quiet is deceptive. On the way back to Tehran, we are stopped by closed roads. There is a demonstration against the government. Of course, we don't see it. We just hear about it. Then there is a heavy fog that slows us down even more. And then snow.

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