found in the ordinary course of events
What seemed like a
mundane afternoon would go down in history as the day my world crumbled.
an acute but unspecific feeling of anxiety
I don't think my sister derived any pleasure from blowing my carefully crafted reality to pieces, but maybe she couldn't handle being alone in her teen
expel from a country
"You're not getting it," Samira continued. "The government doesn't know we exist. We could get
deported at any time."
in a manner not influenced by emotion
"Even Kia?" I asked. My brother was almost five years old then. He was
furnished with or supported by written information
"We're illegal aliens."
This was before "
undocumented immigrant" became the more commonly used (and politically correct) term.
an enlightening or astonishing disclosure
Suddenly hormonal acne...paled in comparison to the
revelation that I was a criminal. And, apparently, an alien?
stress or single out as important
My Farsi was rusty at best. Being forced to wear a head scarf would only
accentuate my bad skin.
put under state control or ownership
Yes, my sin—my greater sin...and even my greatest sin is that I
nationalized Iran’s oil industry and discarded the system of political and economic exploitation by the world’s greatest empire.
the act of making use of and profiting from resources
Yes, my sin—my greater sin...and even my greatest sin is that I nationalized Iran’s oil industry and discarded the system of political and economic
exploitation by the world’s greatest empire.
the systematic use of spies to obtain secrets
With God’s blessing and the will of the people, I fought this savage and dreadful system of international
espionage and colonialism.
producing a sizeable profit
Prior to Mossadegh, the country's most valuable resource was under British control. But why let the Brits instead of Iranians profit off of Iran's most
a sudden and decisive change of government by force
So Eisenhower said, "We're in!" And that's when the CIA and Britain's Secret Intelligence Service decided to buddy up and formulate a secret
coup to overthrow Mossadegh.
one who disparages or belittles the worth of something
In fact, the CIA helped train the officers, which means they played a significant role in the torture and murder of thousands of shah
grow and flourish
Keep in mind that the Tehran of my parents' generation (during the shah's reign) was a
burgeoning metropolis with European sensibilities.
not concerned with or devoted to religion
Of course, the new laws thrilled the country's religious citizens, but my mostly
secular family wasn't having it.
tumult of the times, I was a happy, chubby baby who slept through the night and was loved by an extended family full of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandmas.
a state of violent disturbance and disorder
With the country in
upheaval, waiting would have meant putting their children's lives at risk—a gamble they weren't willing to take.
an endorsement that allows the bearer to enter a country
In the back of their minds, I know they hoped the unrest in Iran would settle down, and we might be able to return to the country before our US visitor's
a shelter from danger or hardship
Once our visas expired, we applied for political
asylum, but after two years without progress, we were told there was no record of our application.
characterized by effort to the point of exhaustion
What followed was a series of messy,
arduous, and complicated attempts at becoming US citizens.
weighing heavily on the senses or spirit
I also hated the fact that my parents permitted me to rollerblade only if I wore a helmet and kneepads. How was I supposed to look cute and athletic with such
oppressive pieces of sporting equipment strapped to my body?
a natural attraction or feeling of kinship
affinity for street drugs was the only explanation for what were clearly the rantings of a strung-out lunatic.
perplexed by many conflicting situations or statements
confounded by their relationships. At one point, we even lived next door to one of my aunts and down the street from another...by choice.
a school you graduated from
Plus, Lynbrook (the
alma mater of seven of my cousins) was one of the best public schools in the now-famous Silicon Valley, and even though my family couldn't afford to live in the district, we weren't going to let our less desirable zip code keep us down.
Since my dayee Mehrdad lived in the
coveted and ritzy Saratoga neighborhood within Lynbrook's district, we used his address to finagle our way into the school.
achieve something by means of trickery or devious methods
Since my dayee Mehrdad lived in the coveted and ritzy Saratoga neighborhood within Lynbrook's district, we used his address to
finagle our way into the school.
impressively fashionable and elegant
We weren't living in the country legally, and we weren't residents of the
swanky Bay Area suburb our classmates lived in.
an exclusive circle of people with a common purpose
There was one Canadian member of my
clique, who always blathered on and on about how her parents had taken the appropriate legal channels to move to the United States.
violent pangs of suffering
I didn't bother pointing out that Canada wasn't in the
throes of a war or revolution.
something said in a restrained way for ironic contrast
To simply say Samira was "cool" would be the
understatement of the century.
conducted with or marked by hidden aims or methods
We lived in a two-story house, and my parents allowed us to take over the upstairs level. I realize now the proximity was just a
clandestine plot to force us to like each other.
noisy and lacking in restraint or discipline
Even though I always got lost in the shuffle of tall,
boisterous eighteen-year-olds, I loved moving through the quad with my sister.
the act of dwelling in or occupying a place
Since my dayee Mehrdad was an American citizen, he was able to sponsor our application for permanent
give a guarantee or promise of
In the pre-hostage crisis days, you could easily walk into the Social Security office, wait in line, fill out a form, and get a fancy blue card. But now we had to at least prove that we had a right to work in the country, and that was exactly what the employment authorization card
occurring or existing without the knowledge of
Unbeknownst to me, we were actually in a temporary "safe zone" from getting deported.
very sophisticated and experienced
I finally felt like a grown-up. I was mature and
contrary to accepted morality or convention
So my loyalties lay with my sister. I had to let her know that I could be trusted. I would do anything to demonstrate my allegiance. I kept every
illicit activity to myself.
assist or encourage, usually in some wrongdoing
My parents would never have to know that I aided and
abetted her bad behavior.
censure severely or angrily
I did not give in to my sudden urge to...
berate him for lying to sweet Claudia with the perfect tan and ridiculously long legs.
the everyday speech of the people
But the country was also formally called Persia until the government changed the name to Iran in 1935. By 1959, scholars convinced the government that Persia and Iran should both be part of the