I'm going to Iran. It's getting to count down time. My daughter and I went “rusari” shopping last night. Up until this point, we've only had one scarf that we have had to share. This is fine for passport pictures, but sharing the scarf once we get to Iran will be more difficult. Just a note about scarves — My Iranian girlfriends here have been referring to the scarf as “tusari”. I've just discovered that the proper term for the head covering is “rusari”. A good friend of mine finally explained to me that “tusari” translates roughly into “hit to the head”.
Speaking of scarves – A note about our preparations before I continue with my excuses for not going in 80's — In my last couple of episodes, I advised people to be sure to apply for passports, and so forth as early as possible. A friend who has been following story told me that I was misleading people into thinking that the process was slow. Well my friend was right — The process isn't that slow — providing that you have followed the rules to the letter. But, when things can go wrong they will go wrong. In our case, my daughter had a wisp of hair that managed to escape from under her rusari. We had to re-submit all of her paperwork a second time with new pictures with all of the hair covered. My advice for this week is, if you are a woman, to be sure that you cover all of your hair when having your Iranian passport pictures taken.
1980 – On the Road Again
We were married. It all happened so quickly. As I mentioned last week, I had been the one to make the proposal. Before agreeing, Jamsheed made me promise that this was something I really wanted – something permanent. Whatever we faced, we were going to face together from now on. I agreed. No more worries about either of us losing ourselves in the other's world. Now it looked like there was no 'his' world or 'my' world. Now, all we had was 'our' world – something that we were going to have to get lost in together.
The main campus had become too expensive for Jamsheed. In spite of the odd jobs he had taken bussing tables and washing dishes, he knew that he couldn't continue there. He knew that the school wouldn't take any more of his IOU's for tuition money.
We made a trip to the library with Donna and Khosrow, a couple with a similar situation and started to make plans. Donna found book with all the Universities listed on a US map. We looked to the Southwest. I had heard that school was much cheaper out there and I always wanted to live in a place where it didn't snow. We settled on a University where the tuition was low that was located in a sunny climate. Donna had relatives that we could stay with while we were looking for jobs. In the first week of January we were on our way.
Driving through Texas
This was January, 1980. Every evening, there was a report on the hostages being held in Iran. Cars had bumper stickers with pictures of Micky Mouse giving the finger to Iran. I was driving through a desert in Texas with my Iranian husband in a car that was anything but reliable. The old Mustang had a tendency to overheat, so we didn't drive too fast and stopped at the rest stops more to give a rest to the car than to the passengers.
Jamsheed was driving. I was peering out the window watching the scenery, my first experience in the desert. After passing a long stretch of desert, I noticed cows. My mind was wandering. It's so beautiful — so peaceful out here. How do these cows survive in this desert? Wonder if it will be this dry, this sunny this? My daydreams were rudely interrupted by a minor explosion. The hood of the car swung open and flailed in the wind blocking our vision of the road ahead. Jamsheed quickly brought the car to a stop on the side of the road!
We were doomed! Here we were in the middle of nowhere with nothing but cows. We both got out of the car to see how bad the damage was. It was the radiator. The radiator on this little Mustang had taken all it was going to take. The radiator had literally “blown it's top”. The entire length of the top of the radiator was now dangling half-out half in the car. Jamsheed just stared shaking his head.
I asked, “Can't we just kind of hammer it back into place?” I looked up and down the highway. Maybe there was an exit we could walk to where we could get some kind of help. All I could see was cows — cows and their water trough. It looked like there might be an exit a couple of miles up the road — but, I couldn't see any signs of human life from this point. Jamsheed found a hammer somewhere in the car and did his best to hammer the top of the radiator back on.
“Joni, you brought some kitchen things, didn't you?” We got water from the water trough and filled the radiator. Then, we filled up everything we had in the car that would hold water. This car was a site to see — We had pulled out all of the pots and pans, the kettle, and plastic containers out of the boxes we had so neatly packed them in and filled them all with water. Jamsheed's cat, Pishi, watched looking bored as we rearranged things on the backseat to minimize the water spillage. We used blankets and clothes to position the containers that didn't have secure lids. Pishi made herself comfortable curling up above it all on the back window ledge.
We were on our way again. We drove for a few hundred yards. We stopped to fill the radiator. Drove for a few hundred yards. Stopped to fill the radiator. Finally, just as we were running out of water, we reached the exit. There was still no sign of a gas station, or a town, or anything that resembled civilization – But, there was an exit. The exit gave us hope.