Monday, October 6, 2008


As I get more involved in writing my memoir of Iran, I begin to remember things that caused me great consternation as a new expat, but which now seems amazing that I was not more prepared, hence the wake-up call.

Before I moved to Iran, I never considered where my drinking water came from, other than my kitchen faucet. I never considered where my electricity came from, other than the switches on lamps, walls, various and sundry plugs located at convenient intervals throughout my home. I never considered where the heat and air conditioning came from, other than the cutesy little louvered registers at ceiling level all over the house that blew out the required heated or chilled air.

I never considered what made them all work; how the gas went into the furnace, was then heated by a flame that warmed the heat exchanger, which in turn warmed the air, which then circulated through the vents and then was forced from the register to warm our house, our bodies, and made life in the winter worth living.

But as a new expat to Iran, I now found myself worrying about everything that I had taken for granted. The heating pump in the basement; how to keep it full of oil (Naft) that kept us from freezing in 20 degrees, that kept the old radiators in each room putting out warm air, or worrying about the cooling when it reached 120 degrees outside, and which worked arbitrarily. It all depended on when the “AC” or “Naft” man came to town to make it work. Some days he was busier than others and just couldn’t get to our house. Busy also meant taking his four hours of Siesta time, prayer time and various obligations that he must attend to before showing up, if indeed he came at all.

I also had to fret about the water that came through our rusty pipes. Well, either the pipes made it rusty, or it came to us just plain rusty. Where did it originate? A brief walk through town revealed water troughs (jubes), running down both sides of the street, which were used for many conveniences; for rinsing the vegetables that merchants sold from their carts, for tossing rotted bits of produce into, for urinating into by the merchants, or any male passing by if the urge to purge came along, and a quick lap for the scabrous dogs who prowled the streets.

Which brings me back to my original thought: Some of us forget how lucky we are to live in the U.S.A.


Gutsywriter said...

As an expat in Belize, we also had similar problems, but that's what cures you from taking everything for granted, as we do here in the U.S. I agree with you. Also, it's the best and possibly ONLY way to cure your kids from the "entitlement" attitude.

GutsyWriter said...

I like your new blog. It works great. Easier than the last one. Great job.