YOLO, Or Live Fast, Die Young, Leave A Beautiful Corpse…

My visit to Iran for the Persian New Year coincided with what I called “Chasing Papers” from embassies to ministries. At one point I broke down crying while on the phone with a woman telling me my documents were lost. I was hysterically sobbing “But I’m flying back to Germany next week!” when my sister came to my room (now being the guest room) and, trying to calm me down, started cursing the woman. Fortunately my family was there to support me. My sister would drive me around since the lack of parking spots and my intolerance for driving on the streets of Iran worried the entire family. However, the choice of music was entirely up to her. I did not object. I had a gorgeous personal driver, with long brown curls and eyes so big and beautiful you’d think they were hand painted on her creamy face by DaVinci himself, who’d stop at every opportunity to get ice cream or a sandwich. She could listen to as many Evanescence tracks as she wished. Whenever I would get tangled in the chores that had to be done before the Noruz holidays, my father, the Superman that he is in my life, would come to my rescue, whether it was coming with me to the bureaus or simply taking the phone from my yelling mouth and using his logic to not only fix all and everything but to have me be the receiving end of the apology I could never dream of getting from the short tempered employees. I was later told that upon my departure from Iran after the holidays, my mother had called the translation bureau and had quite a few things to say. These actions being done by parents who had always encouraged us to learn how to deal with difficult people on our own, were novel yet delicious surprises. The tendency of keeping that philosophy was still there, since she did not inform me of her vicious plan and was not particularly happy about me learning about her little verbal attack. Knowing my mother, a psychologist whose job was to calm people down, I doubt that there were many threats thrown, not a loud tone even.

During a ride back home from one of the less successful attempts to get my papers signed, my father started giving me and Mehrdad (my 23-year-old cousin and partner in crime) a lecture. As a professor, my father has been paid to give lectures to people our age most of his life. We had managed to find things to giggle about during our wait. The reactions of two guards to a male cross-dresser whose clownish make up and highlighted hair looked extravagant. We did not laugh at the confusion the man possessed towards his gender identity but to that of the guards; trying not to rub their eyes to make sure they were seeing right. Yes, the man was in full make up and in women’s attire, yet had his head scarf off while brushing his hair and dabbing on more blush and lipstick. We were later faced with another seemingly funny scene, so slight I cannot recall what it was exactly. I can, however, recollect our constant laughter, the orange juice we had been trying to gulp down coming out of our noses.

The stories were told in the car, my father listening with patience, laughing at the correct time. And when we decided we were done he started to speak. This lecture was something I had never heard coming from the mouth of my father. Articulated in the eloquent Persian he uses, allowing people to incorrectly guess that he has studied literature, my father gave us his first “YOLO” speech. It may have not been the typical YOLO statements you’d find on Twitter encouraging you to get high and drunk and skinny dip in the river behind your apartment (yes, the Neckar is right outside my window.) His version basically told us to cherish the time when every little thing makes us laugh and how there shouldn’t be many things that should keep our minds occupied. Life may not be that short but the time you can enjoy it is) , but for a 57-year-old Physicist that was the closest you could get to “You Only Live Once”. I decided to take it and run…

Upon my return to Heidelberg, though taking me a few weeks to remember what I had promised myself during that car ride, I started YOLOing.

I must admit, I’m a newbie. I have not too many things on my resume yet. I started with accepting a dare from Samuel to put a note in a neighbour’s mailbox. Fortunately the receiver of my purple-inked note was cool, texting me at 2 am, leading us to meet at 3 am in our back yard. Wine drinking at ungodly hours of the crispy summer nights has become a habit for the two of us. Tonight is one of those nights, though it’s more of a “warm-drink” night rather than a bottle of dry red wine. He has an uncanny resemblance to Channing Tatum, so I cannot complain…

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Kicking off my weekend with that, I decided to do something extremely different every night of that extended weekend. Jogging along the river is our favourite activity when it comes to me and Kathrin doing something healthy. We were forced to change our route since the horses in my backyard were being taken for a stroll by their riders on the pavement along the river and they would get disturbed with the thumping of our running shoes on the cement. Kathrin admitted that she was scared. Our new route led us to the Schwimmbad Club where there was music, food, and a band. We were captivated. Yet we did not dare enter with our Nike shorts and sports bras regretting not being dressed in more party-convenient clothing. I reached my apartment ready to jump into bed after a hot shower. My plans were altered when a friend texted me asking if I could join him and some friends at the same party that I was intrigued to find more about. It was either me staying home and trying to get some sleep with the band playing just a few blocks away, or me getting dressed in something different from my jogging shorts and enjoying the warm weather while it lasted. Within 30 minutes I was in my jade-green dress. With my toe healed from the previous party injury I allowed myself to wear heels once again. I was the only girl among a group of guys who were kind enough to walk me back to my apartment, though ridiculously drunk (to an extent of having conversations with the bear in the zoo along the way), at 4 am. Beer, dancing and some good conversation made that night blog entry-worthy.

The next day I visited a Persian friend who was visiting his family in Heidelberg. He was home being pampered by his mother; a cooking goddess, with the brightest smile. I was able to treat my mouth and stomach to some Persian food coming out of a home’s kitchen, not some overpriced restaurant in Altstadt. I could hear the chant of “Hallelujah” in my stomach thanking me for feeding it properly after a couple of months of supermarket pizza and Mensa food. The Persian food was not the only treat; I was given the opportunity to hear and speak Persian. Though not too Iranian myself, I do appreciate some of reminders of my culture and language from time to time.

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My weekend ended with a smile on my face. I was on the right path. I had an alternate weekend. From notes in strangers’ mailboxes and late night rendezvous to partying with boys to a relaxing evening in a family friendly environment. My YOLO journey had started. My Papa will be proud…

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