After much crawling around on top of and below my computer desk, and shutting down the computer to move wires around and stuff, I finally have my little four-cup coffee maker up and running. This thing is ridiculously tiny and looks like a toy, but damned if it isn't working like a charm. (I guess you could say I'm... java-enabled? ::dodges stuff thrown in her direction::) Thank goodness, too- I went all weekend without caffeine since I was scared about Friday's little incident, and even though I don't feel like I'll keel over and die without some coffee, I'd still like something to keep me warm. The AC vent above my cube continues to blast out cold air, despite the turn in climate outside. I perpetually wear a sweater to work, and my fingernails have turned an interesting shade of purple this morning.
Anyway, Mom came back safely from Iran yesterday! ^_^ Since our apartment's so close to the airport, she dropped by for a short visit. I can understand her not wanting to stay longer, as she'd been awake about 26 hours for the return trip (and, knowing her, she's back at work this morning). It seems she had a good time as usual, and she brought back a lot of nice presents from my family. Her cousins bought us a couple of really pretty silver bowls and baskets- the detail work on the one especially is incredible- and her brother and Grandma sent us a substantial amount of money, which I feel just terrible about, knowing how far just a few bucks can get you over there. But they insisted that we buy something nice with it, so Nick and I have put it toward our furniture fund.
Someday, when I can, I plan to reciprocate big time. It's tough, though, because everything you send to Iran has to be hand-delivered by someone going out there to visit if you actually want it to get where it needs to go. The mail system's a joke, unfortunately- anything of value is stolen, and sometimes they'll remember to at least send along the accompanying letter. A while ago, upon learning that my cousin Arya is an avid guitar player, I tried to see if anyone could take him my recreation '68 Fender Strat with this kickass black/orange sunburst finish. It was a present from my dad, but I'd never gotten into guitar playing seriously (though I can still pick one up and play a few chords/songs if you ask me to), and I'm sure he'd have enjoyed it ten times more than I would've. But, uh, a guitar with a hard case is an awful lot to ask someone to take halfway around the world along with all their luggage. And customs probably would've shat many bricks. =( Cash seems to be the best present... I'll wait 'til I have more, then send them a few thou.
One very encouraging bit of news was that customs in Iran was not difficult at all for Mom to get through. She had trouble only at her stopover in Germany, which surprises me not a bit- I can tell you many horror stories from personal experience about German airport security, pre-911 even. Anyway, Mom also ran into a big group of American tourists, who were there for a three-week holiday and were apparently having a blast. (You see, the Iranian people make a distinction between American people and American government. Most everyone you'd run into there would treat you like a long-lost member of the family and ask you a bazillion questions about America and how you're enjoying Iran so far.) So, maybe there's hope for us natural-born citizens after all ;)
I really would like to go to Iran someday, but a big part of me is nervous to make the trip. For one, my Farsi's not exactly passable, and I have a really bad accent (at least, thank goodness, most of my family speaks/writes very good English). For another, I don't think anything bad would happen to me over there, but much as I hate to admit it, our government's done a fine job making me think I'm screwed without an Embassy nearby. I really need to de-program myself.