Bye bye Berkeley
UCLA should be a blast
May 5, 2003
How do I say khoda hafez to the way the sunlight glitters across
the Berkeley Marina, lighting up the pier and creating a warm glow
along the water? How do I drive across a freeway that doesn't provide
me a view of the Golden Gate? How do I turn my back on the streets
of Berkeley? My dad went to Bongo Burger and walked up and down
Telegraph Avenue even before I was born, so how do I walk away?
I will miss the man who is the epitome of the First Amendment,
selling bumper stickers cursing our President and blaming corporate
America. Will the streets still smell like burning incense once
I am gone? Who will drive around near the I-House, checking out
the fraternity boys?
It won't be me.
The coffee shop in Walnut Creek that has become my second home
will serve its gingerbread lattes to someone else. Other girls will
have hummus and flatbread at my favorite restaurant on Main Street
which smells like the "old country" (whether you are Iranian
My entire life, I thought I was destined for this tiny slice of
heaven known as the Bay Area. After all, it is my birthplace. I
broke my nose playing tetherball on a playground in Pinole. I won
the county spelling bee in Richmond. I went to Farsi classes in
Albany, karate in El Cerrito... And to end my list, I was rejected
I was born there, and life as I know it, will end there.
You don't know what it's like to get the small envelope. I was
three out of four, accepted to three of the top four UCs, but almighty
Berkeley chose to look me over and say no. I guess my grades were
too borderline, or maybe they have finally had it with political
Middle Eastern girls. They want to de-Muslimize Berkeley, white-wash
it back to normalcy.
I hope I remain "normal" after this ordeal. To me, normal
means no highlighted hair. Normal means not showing your belly button
and not drinking or smoking. Normal means reading Michael Parenti
and drinking chaee at Cafe Strada while a stranger's dog licks your
feet and another stranger shares your newspaper, while you're reading
UCLA should be a blast.
I know a lot of Iranians down South and whenever we visit them,
I thank God I wasn't raised there. If I had been, I wouldn't know
what "Spare the Air Day" or "Critical Mass"
meant. I wouldn't know what it's like to stroll down University
Avenue and see people who damn give a damn about what everyone else
In LA, everyone is so into everyone else's business that they forget
their own. I feel scared because I think I have the potential of
going insane in such a superficial, nosy world...
I don't even know what I am writing about. I feel like I am already
gone. I have already left my heart in San Francisco. It happened
the moment they told me "No, but thanks."
Does anybody have any "nasihat"?
I am sure you do.... and for the first time in a long time, I
think I am ready to hear them...
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