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Part 3

October 9, 2003
The Iranian

My school days in Arak were pretty normal. Luckily, I was too young and oblivious to allow such things as moving from one end of Iran to another -- and a war -- make me a shy person. So I quickly found some friends to hang out with during lunch and breaks. The only problem I had was remembering names, which is something that continues to haunt me to this day.

Sadly enough, I don't remember much else about school except the most traumatizing Pofak experience a 7-year-old could possibly have. For those of you poor saps who were deprived of Pofak in your childhood, it's basically Iran's version of puffy Cheetos. Now, I loved Pofak. I mean, I really loved Pofak; it was clearly the greatest thing on earth next to chocolate.

So picture this, a young Houman walking up to the lunch lady with his pocket money in hand all excited about purchasing his bag of Pofak. So I give the lady my money and take the bag of yummy goodness.

As I open the bag, I begin my Pofak eating routine by waiting anxiously for the cheesy aroma to penetrate my nostrils. It seemed a bit off but hey, I was a 7-year-old kid and all I wanted to do was shove the entire bag into my mouth. I reached into the bag and grabbed a piece, ate it, and immediately spat it out. I looked inside the bag and noticed that it was filled with maggots. Needless to say I ever had another piece of Pofak again.

During the time we were in Arak, NIOC (National Iranian Oil Company) told my dad (a lawyer for them) that he had to travel to Abadan one month out of every three. I didn't understand the danger of someone having to travel four times a year to a devastating war zone for his job, but would notice how restless my mom would get during those months.

Abadan was still under siege and very dangerous but luckily for us, my uncles managed to keep her mind off my dad's absence by constantly getting into trouble. My mom has six younger brothers and needless to say my brother and I weren't her only "kids"; she was the de facto mom of all my uncles too.

They were teenagers and interested in dating; a crime in Iran. During the revolution, the Pasdaran (revolutionary guards) were looking for any excuse to detain people. Unfortunately, they had no sympathy for my uncles' raging hormones (didn't the Pasdaran like girls?).

Anyway, my dad was quickly transferred to Tehran and saved my from insanity. I had just finished second grade and now I was going to experience something completely new by moving to a big city. I was sad when I left my cousins and uncles behind, but excited about the new adventures I was going to embark on. What I saw and experienced in Tehran was something I was not prepared for >>> Part 4 >>> Index

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By Houman Jazaeri
Escape from Abadan





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Funny in Farsi
A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America
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