Friday, March 27, 2015

Fun with Qum Baby

I took Qum Baby to a soft play centre that's opened up recently. It's located on falake safaye. Can't miss it, there's a man wearing a bear costume outside and handing out leaflets. 

The place isn't very stroller friendly. It's in the basement and no where  really to store them, but I managed to fold mine up and stash it under the shoe rack (umbrella strollers rock!) and said a little prayer to keep it safe.

It's 5000 tomans for an hour, which is about £1. There's a ball ball, lots of slides and ride on cars, play kitchen and other toys. 

Qum Baby took a while to get into it, maybe since he'd just woken up from a nap, but he did love it towards the end of the hour. It's perfect for 1-3 year olds but older kids may find it a bit babyish. They had some craft activities and face painting too. Mostly mums there with their kids... A father did come but he didn't stick around. He did look a bit awkward being the only male over the age of 5 there. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Baking Store

Qum Baby is keeping me very busy these days so i haven't had much of a chance to blog. Oh and I only have vpn on my phone which also makes it hard to blog as Blogspot is blocked here. Qum Baby usually goes to grab my phone everytime I take it out (he usually wins LOL) so that's another reason I've been on social media a lot less these last few months.

I've had lots of ideas for blog posts, but haven't had a chance to type them out... So here we go.

I thought I'd dedicate a few posts to shopping in Qum. A lot of people tell me they read my blog before moving out here... So these posts are for you! I hope they help.

There's a baking store in Dore shahr between kuche 23 & 25. It's quite a small shop. Open from 10am to 2.30pm and then again from 5pm to 11pm. Next door is a party supplies store which has some nice stuff too.

The store stocks everything for your baking needs and most of it is made in Iran - food colours, sprinkles, baking tins etc

They also have imported goods too, as well as things like cream of tartar (Iranian made) and chocolate chips which were both previously unavailable in Iran. (Side note- the local shireeni bakery sells me the chocolate chips for cost price, which works out cheaper than this store)

Another thing to note is that there is another baking store near falak e jihad (near Imam Khumayni madressa). I haven't been there personally but some of the sisters say it's a bit cheaper than the Dore shahr shop but not as fancy. For me personally, I'm in Dore shahr anyway most days so it doesn't make sense for me to go to the other store.

I've taken some pictures of the store... Hope he gives me a discount for advertising his store!! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Muharram in Qum

I hate spending the month of Ramadan in Qum. It's really dull here. But I love spending the month of Muharram here.

There's just something about spending this time in a shia country that I haven't seen replicated anywhere else. From the flags in the streets and houses, the sabeel stands handing out drinks and tabaruk, the mini processions and latmiya in the streets, the reenactments of the story of Karbala.... This list goes on. It actually feels like the streets are mourning for Imam Husayn.

During this time, there are often young men offering to spray paint a 'ya Husayn' slogan on car windshields. 

Here are some pics from around the city:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Wedding Anniversary

Eeeekkkk I've just realised that it's been forever since I've blogged. 

It's a New academic year and we are back in Qum for more adventures. It's been a busy summer. Qum Baby met his great grandparents in Canada, a few weddings, lots of biryani and desserts and a trip to Mashhad for the wiladat of Imam Redha (yes it was packed, but a great experience!)

Today is the wedding anniversary of Imam Ali and Sayyidda Fatemah. I usually get a couple of emails about historical events which is great right now as I'm not in Hawza so it's very easy to lose track of dates and events. 

One of the emails gave a detailed description of the proposal and the wedding. It also outlined the things that were bought for the couple to start their married life. I've copied it from the original

- Two mattresses made of Egyptian canvas. (One stuffed with fiber and the other with sheep wool).
- A leather mat.
- A pillow made of skin, filled with palm tree fiber.
- A Khaibarion cloak.
- An animal skin for water.
- Some jugs and jars also for water.
- A pitcher painted with tar.
- A thin curtain made of wool.
- A shirt costing seven (7) dirhams.
- A veil costing four (4) dirhams.
- Black plush cloak.
- A bed embellished with ,ribbon.
- Four cushions made of skin imported from Ta ‘ef stuffed with a good smelling plant.
- A mat from Hajar.
- A hand-mill.
- A special copper container used for dyestuff
- A pestle for grinding coffee.
- A (water) skin.

A few things struck me about this. 
• how minimalist this list is. Every year, I go back home and bring back suitcases filled with ingredients and kitchen tools and toiletries. How much do I really need? I've seriously re-evaluated my list of things that I bring back from back home and am making more of an effort to buy things from here rather than rely on parcels from back home. 

•a coffee grinder? Not sure if they were drinking coffee back then! LOL I'm sure it was more for grinding the wheat than coffee.

A teacher of mine last year also told us that a large amount of money was also spent on perfume. She pointed out that Sayyida Fatemah smelt of jannah and there was no need for her to use perfume. But more likely that it was to highlight the importance of perfume and smelling good and cleanliness. It's said that the Holy Prophet used to spend more money on perfume than on food.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Clinic visit part 2

Log of our visit to the clinic

8.02 arrival at clinic

8.10 clinic staff arrive

8.12 card put in queue

8.14 start to read Quran and Qum Baby falls asleep

8.25 man arrives in excruciating pain and needs iv drip. Nurse shouts at him for coming alone?! Weird

8.36 catch up on emails

8.50 friends come in with their kids for vaccinations- yaaay for the company

8.45-10am a lady wearing a turquoise scarf hovers outside the room waiting for her turn even though 10 other people came before her

9.06 the lady whose card is in front of mine in the queue has gone in. Decide to hover by the door of the clinic as it should be my turn next.

9.30 our name is called
Have to tell turquoise scarf lady 3 times to move out of the way so we can go inside

It wasn't too bad. Usual questions about feeding, how many dirty nappies a day etc and a height/weight/head circumference check. Qum Baby doing quite well alhamd!

The only complicated thing was that they wanted mine, The Husbands and Qum Baby's dates of birth in the Iranian calender, which I had worked out before hand. We were given the usual advice about feeding and not using a pacifier blah blah

By 10.00 we were done and Turquoise scarf lady still hovering at door

The set up was quite strange for us westerners who are used to a bit of privacy during medicals. There are 3 nurses/midwives/health visitors sitting behind a table, seeing 3 people at the same time. The nurse at the end does the pregnancy consultations while the other 2 deal with the babies (weighing, vaccines etc) So if a lady comes for a midwife appointment, she lays down on the bed for the heart beat check while 2 other ladies are in the same room having their babies checked out too! But I guess that's the way things are done here. And they spend half their time telling the ladies who are hovering at the door to go and sit down and wait their turn (you have to put your card in the box when you arrive so they know who came first)

The nurse didn't make a fuss when we told her we weren't getting vaccinations in Iran. It's not that we are anti-vaccines, rather we we told that there are a couple of extra vaccines given in the uk that are not given in Iran, so we consulted with the practice nurse at the local surgery in the UK and she came up with a vaccination schedule for us that fitted in with our travel plans :)

So now we have to go back in a couple of weeks for weighing again, but at least we have registered at the clinic so it should be straight forward.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Iranian clinics

So we arrived in Qum over a month ago and since then I've been trying to get Qum Baby registered at the local clinic for check ups and weighing.

But straight forward it has not been.

So I was told the clinic is open from 8-12, so shortly after landing in Qum, we went to the clinic at 10am. I was told to go to another hospital to buy the vaccination card and come back the following day at 8am. 

I went to buy the vaccination card but the problem is that neither of us is awake and/or human at 8am and the second issue was that the nowrooz holidays were starting and everyone who lives here knows that Iran doesn't function during the first 2 weeks of the new year.

So we waited till after the holidays were done.

On our second trip to the clinic- at 9am post holidays, I went in to join the queue and again was told: "unless you come at 8am, don't come. We can't register you" So I mentioned that my friends had come at 10am to register and they were registered so what's the problem. Anyway so it was a battle not really worth fighting.

On our third visit to the clinic, I got there at 8.10am! Promptly put my card in the queue and waited and waited and waited. So she forgot to tell me that even if I came at 8am, I wouldn't be seen till 12. And not only that, they didn't actually start seeing people until 8.30!

Seems like once you have a child, you spend your life waiting and visiting clinics. Do the mums here not have cooking and cleaning and laundry to do??? I must be doing something wrong!!

So after waiting 2 hours, I went in and took my card out of the queue and went home. 

Made me really appreciate the sure start children's centres we have in the UK. I think the most I've waited is 15 mins got my turn. And not only that, you're not limited to one clinic. As long as you have the baby's red book, you can go to any clinic in the area.

Not only that, but there seems to be an awful lot of unnecessary testing going on.  Hearing tests at birth, 3 months, 9 months, 18 months and 30 months as well as regular eye tests from 6 months! 

So we're going to try to register again tomorrow. I will be taking a book and a LOT of toys to keep the little one entertained while we wait our turn.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Picture of the day

I had to LOL when I saw my neighbour's shoes!

PMS!!! Thought I'm sure it probably stands for something else here!