An Excerpt: The Street of Good Fortune

An excerpt from Author Maryam Manteghi’s memoir, The Street of Good Fortune


Though hair does grow back, ovaries do not. I didn’t cry when the surgeon told me I had cancer. Mostly because I was in shock but also perhaps deep down I somehow sensed not so much that I was sick, more that I was about to face a test unlike any I had before.

I didn’t cry when my boyfriend of five years, the younger Man-Boy I planned to marry, broke up with me over the phone the night before I started chemo.

I didn’t even cry when I realized that I was not going back to my Sarajevo, the only place in the world I’d ever felt truly at home, not for a very long time. I did cry, though, when Dr. Verma explained that the chemo I would receive might leave me unable to have children.

I fell into his arms and sobbed uncontrollably till I couldn’t breathe.

and Dr. Verma’s white coat had my bodily fluids all over it. He didn’t move until I stopped crying. My reaction, I think, surprised me more than anyone else. Suddenly, all the things that I had taken for granted would simply happen were being snatched away from me.

I suddenly felt like I was being punished for not having the foresight to plan a normal life.

An ordinary life that in a split second had become extraordinary. The same kind of life that I escaped when I left in 2002 on a one-way flight to Sarajevo. The same life that I was so relieved not to be living when I saw my friends tied to houses, children, nannies, minivans, and the mundane everydayness of suburban life.

Until now.

Punished for having made different choices than my peers. Punished for living a life where I never thought about mortgages and families and job security. Sitting there sobbing on Dr. Verma’s white lab coat, I wondered why I had never thought about those things.

How had I missed entire chunks of life that had occupied my friends during the last five years?

What was I doing when they were all getting engaged, buying houses and planning babies?

How was it that I had never, until this day, sitting in a Sunnybrook Hospital examination room in Toronto, seriously concerned myself with the business of family and children?

It wasn’t that I didn’t want children or a family, it was just that I always thought that marriage and children simply happened to people and that they would simply just happen to me too at some faraway point. And even though this thought was at the back of my mind. The front of my mind had always been occupied with more current events. Like today, or tomorrow or, at most, next week.

My immediate reaction was to blame my parents.

Why didn’t they tell me? Why didn’t they, like normal immigrant families, become alarmed when their only daughter wasn’t married at 30? Why didn’t they nag me about being grandparents or put out a public call to our substantial network of friends, family and acquaintances to drum up some suitable men? Where was the team of middle-aged women in my community whose job it was to make matches?

I mean I was an IRANIAN. Hello?

Matchmakers, setups, Yenta characters straight out of Fiddler on the Roof. How had I fallen through the cracks?

Check out Maryam’s book by clicking here!

Everything You Missed | The Weekly Roundup

It’s the freakin’ weekend baby. Here’s what you missed this week:

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  • What makes Persian Dads so angry? Are Iranians just really bad at conflict resolution?
  • You don’t need bigger boobs. You need to read better books.” Iran had the “world’s biggest book fair.” Yes you read that right.
  • Joonies, we popped our BuzzFeed cherry this week – spreading a little Persian culture for the BuzzFeeders.
  • Persian brides are the queens of contouring. Sorry Kim Kardashian (not sorry).
  • A map of Iran (and surrounding regions) by the Shahnameh – translated into English!
  • The Shah of Iran rides the Matterhorn with Walt Disney. Circa 1960.

submit links for the weekly roundup here! 

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National Persian Gulf Day

Happy National Persian Gulf Day!

The Persian Gulf – comes through the Strait of Hormoz and separates Iran from the Arabian peninsula – has been pretty controversial for decades. People aren’t always so cool with the name –  Arabian Gulf/the Gulf. 

But Persian Gulf is like a national holiday.

an Iranian national holiday… 

Khezr Beach, Hormoz Island/wikipedia

Khezr Beach, Hormoz Island/wikipedia

History agrees.

On maps printed before 1960, the body of water between Iran and the Arabian peninsula, was labeled as the Persian Gulf: 

Source: GeoGarage

Source: GeoGarage

Arab countries called it the Persian Gulf

until 1960:

A Saudi ARAMCO map from 1952 using the term "Persian Gulf"

A Saudi ARAMCO map from 1952 using the term “Persian Gulf”/wikipedia

The U.N. also recognizes that beautiful body of water as the Persian Gulf.

Hormoz Island, Iran

Hormoz Island, Iran

Do we really need to go on?

The point here is that…

the Persian Gulf really is a sight to be seen and appreciated.

Instead of dwelling on a name. 

Celebrating National Persian Gulf Day in Iran/Payvand

Celebrating National Persian Gulf Day in Iran/Payvand

We prefer to stick with history.

But until everyone gets on board with normalcy, we’ll celebrate by staring at photos all day long.

Sand Carpet, Hormoz Island/Panoramio

Sand Carpet, Hormoz Island/Panoramio

Should we stick to the Persian Gulf? Let us know!

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Everything You Missed | The Weekly Roundup

Here’s what you missed this week:


How is the English language so impoverished that we do not have a word for the glory of rice brought nearly to a scorch at the bottom of a pot? … In Persian cuisine, it is tahdig and merits almost its own subgenre, with variations from potatoes to lettuce layered beneath rice in a heavy pan.

  • The Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad, Iran deserves some hype, and HuffPost agrees.
  • Moroccan Artist, Fatima Mazmouz, using her own pregnancy and art to break stereotypes about femininity. It ain’t all pretty all the time.
  • Yes, Iranians also know how to skateboard. On the Azadi Tower.
  • The clothing scene in Iran is transforming into a “hipper” style… and designers are making a splash all across social media.

submit links for the weekly roundup here! 

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Everything You Missed | The Weekly Roundup

Here’s what you missed this week:

special needs

  • We all know Tehrangeles has it going on – Iranian restaurants, ice cream shops, cafes, and hookah bars. But who knew India has some of the oldest Iranian cafes around?
  • A story of Forgiveness and the most emotional story from the week: Iranian man spared from execution by the parents of the man he killed.
  • Speaking of eating, there is a fake Chipotle in Iran and it may looks better than the real one. Seriously.
  • Mohammad Ali Ziaei is the center of attention with his Iranian Caricatures (and even the non-Iranian ones).
  • Iranians invented math, ghormeh sabzi, and pajamas. You’re welcome world.
  • The clothing scene in Iran is transforming into a “hipper” style… and designers are making a splash all across social media.


submit links for the weekly roundup here! 

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Top 5 Hottest Persian Rappers

It is time to rank these bad boys (and girl!).



Deep and brooding. Hi.



He’s made a lot of music. But we won’t let that distract us from what’s really important…that perfect scruff.



To be an Iranian female in the rap game, you have to be bad ass. Sogand is also stunning.


mehrad hidden
Mehrad Hidden

We could’ve included anyone from ZedBazi on this list, but this guy’s voice just makes us want to undress- very quickly.


behzad leito

Behzad Leito

Basically, his face is everything.

And those lips…

He may be younger than us, but age ain’t nothing but a number in this case.

another one for the road:

behzad leito 2

Disagree with our ranking? Let us know how you’d rate these hotties.

16 Reasons Why Middle Easterners Are Crushing it

Crushing it since 3,500 B.C. 

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I am a Middle Easterner, and I approve of this message.

1. We have shame, therefore we have class.


we may be obnoxious, but we’ll never be sloppy. Our mommas taught us better than that.

2. Middle Easterners are never late, White People are always early.

When white people are running late… running lat And when Middle Easterners are running late…


3. Our Reaction to everything is usually,

white people

4. We’re good at Math and Science, because we invented Math and Science.

yeah science

Our ancestors knew what was up.

5. We don’t have to look for our ancestors on



6. We’ll always be scared of our parents.

yes sir

And therefore, we’ll always respect them. Fore, they gave us life– and lots of traumatic and embarrassing experiences.

7. Our parents will let us move back in with them, even at age 45.

Rent Free.

snl lol

8. If there is a shortcut to anything, we will find it.

Assigned readings in college? We walk in like…

readings lol

 And still raise our hands to participate.

9. Every Middle Easterner knows that a deadline is actually the last date to ask for an extension.


Our nonchalant attitude isn’t arrogance, it’s just that…

10. Nothing’s ever that serious.

do not care

11. Except when it is.


12. Middle Eastern hospitality is the stuff legends are made of.

Looking for small bites or hors d’oeuvres? umm…

time for that

We willingly starve ourself before our gatherings just to make sure we can feast like kings.

Everyone else has parties that end at a decent hour, like 9pm. Middle Eastern parties are like marathons. We love to feed, entertain, and then gossip about it all.

13. We’re all about equal opportunity shit-talking.

I ain’t even mad about it.

aint even mad

And since it’s equal, its fair right?

14. Holding Grudges is a testament to how great our memory is.

When someone wrongs you, it’s like…

kobe lol

Forgive and forget? Bitch, please.

15. Black Tie is never optional, it’s necessary.

suit pajamas

suit pajamas.

Dress down for what?

16. Finally, once you get past our hard exterior

we’re the warmest and kindest people you’ll ever know.

big bird snl

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Middle Eastern and Crushing it,


Unveiling the City of Qom

I was born and raised in the Western world and have fond childhood memories of traveling back to Iran to visit family. Through traveling back and forth, I have been able to see things the way they are, not the way western media portrays them. With roots in both worlds, I’m lucky enough to be able to switch between two perspectives.

Downtown Bazar in Qom

Downtown Bazar in Qom

“Where in Iran do you visit?”


Cue wide eyes and uncomfortable smiles; perhaps, even a…

“You’re not one of those mullahs, are you?” (it’s happened before).  Some Iranians are desperately trying to demolish the image of akhoonds and black chadors (trans: muslim clerics and black cloak-like veils), and the last thing they want is for an unassuming Iranian-American girl to blab to all of her American friends about one of the holiest cities for Shiite pilgrimage, which has a lot of both.

A store in Qom, with dresses on display and tape on the glass to hide the boobs, haha.

A store in Qom, with dresses on display and tape on the glass to hide the boobs, haha.

I’ve heard numerous times that…

“Qom isn’t even considered to be Iran,”

(due to its conservatism) The cultural gap widens upon entering the most conservative city in Iran. In the universities of Qom, chadors are ejbari (required) upon entrance. All over the internet, articles about the secret lives of Iranians center in on colorful, barely-there hijabs and underground bashes; but the secret life of Qomis’ is kept buried.

True, Qom is not as vibrant or exciting as Tehran or Isfahan, but there is something calming about walking through these proclaimed holy streets as the sun shines brightly during the day, and the lights of restaurants and shops flash alluringly, as the calming sounds of rosaries echo through the night (I, myself, am not even religious).

Arg Restaurant

Arg Restaurant

Though a large percentage are, in fact, wearers of the chador (even in their private lives), for many, it is out of devotion to God, rather than means of a political alliance. But many, including Iranians, don’t fully understand.

People from Qom get discriminated against, a lot.

“At first, the girls [from other cities] in my class at university wouldn’t talk to me,” my cousin, Farzaneh said. “They later said, ‘wow, we didn’t think you’d be that open-minded, being from Qom.'”

Like all other cities in Iran, Qom has something unique to offer to the country’s culture. There’s something oddly precious about akhoonds walking in the streets, old and young, riding motorcycles, pushing their kids in a shopping cart, or talking on the phone (some of them, barely in their twenties, talking on the phone to their brothers about what to tell Mommy joon).

Plenty of tourists visit the holy city every year; mostly Iraqis, Saudi Arabians, Lebanese, and even Chinese. The Haram is dubbed one of the holiest mosques, and it sparkles at night. One can visit plenty of graves of famous figures ranging from politics to royalty, as well as the tomb of Fatemeh Masume. The Arg restaurant and hookah lounge (see photo above) is an outdoor restaurant that is open year-round. With Tahitian-styled tents set up side by side, the restaurant imitates a tropical paradise with waterfalls, a decorated pool, and bridges. Not to mention, awesome food! Jamkaran Monsque: on Tuesday nights, people crowd the beautiful mosque to pray and toss their hand-written letters down the holy well, in hopes of Imam Mahdi hearing their prayers and helping them in a difficult time.

Jamkaran Mosque

Jamkaran Mosque

At the Bazaar (see photo earlier in the post), they’ve got just about everything from boots to Barbies. There’s also an entire building dedicated to jewelry (whatcha know about gold?!).

Over the past few years, the holy city of Qom has become one of the bigger cities, due to the construction of more universities. There has been fashionable progress in recent years; what used to be chaador-only outwear has now transformed into black manteaus, with well-groomed eyebrows and makeup. Males and females struggle to be discrete as they snuggle together in the corner of a dim-lit restaurant, softly reciting poems of Hafiz, as they stare lovingly at each other. Inside the universities, young people flirt between classes.

I had no idea they were posing for me!

I had no idea they were posing for me!

Surviving in a sub-culture of a closed-off society, the youth of Qom struggle not only against the labels given to them by the rest of the world, but across Iran, as well, but

They also have a story to tell.





SARAH سارا

Gender Inequality, by an Iranian American Female

In my Iranian-American family, there is a double standard. I have a younger brother who has been raised and treated rather differently from me. I love him but he gets away with things, I would’ve been buried for. Sometimes, this double standard exists because he’s younger. But sometimes it’s because he’s a male.

And I feel that to be an attack on my gender.

After growing up in a pretty traditional household and working in a male-dominated profession, I’ve picked up on some of the subtleties that create gender inequality. Gender roles are often reinforced by harmless words and attitudes, moreso than by laws and handbooks. The fact that my brother is never asked to wash a dish or set the table. The fact that women have to remain feminine and submissive at the office to be liked; because assertive and intimidating are qualities that are reserved for men. 

Inequality goes both ways.

My brother is expected to stunt his emotional growth and deny any feelings of fear or vulnerability. Men in the office often only express their dissatisfaction by shutting down or getting angry. While, as a woman, my emotional intelligence is emphasized and accounted for.

She cried because she’s a woman.” The statement is actually more liberating than discriminatory. Yes, my tear ducts are smaller than a man’s, and I will cry when I want. For men? If you cry, you better run for cover.

While inequality exists for both genders, I still believe that ‘male privilege’ is quite an oppressive factor that women face in today’s society. But as an Iranian-American woman, I’ve discovered that gender equality, to me, is a change of attitude and perspective. It is the acceptance that genders are different, but equal, and that none of the current gender roles rightly define what it is to be ‘male’ or ‘female’.

As a female, gender equality isn’t looking at a man and saying ‘me too! me too!’

It’s saying ‘I’m different but my differences do not make me worth any less’.

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To FOB or not to FOB?

Hi Joonies,

Let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of dating FOBs.


First, a basic definition to start off with so we’re all clear as to who this concerns:

F.O.B – (n) an acronym for “Fresh Off the Boat”, and refers to new immigrants to a country (mostly Western). Now commonly used to describe any person new to a country, who is not well versed with its language or culture (mainly Western). Can be taken as an insult, or a term of endearment (eg; pride of culture).”

PRO: They speak the mother tongue so well, and it gets you kind of hot when you guys are alone. And you know that amazing ‘Farsi/Persian‘ skills means a slam dunk with the parents.

CON: But then you realize that they have a Persian accent when they speak English, and that just makes you feel all self-conscious when you bring him around your friends. (and let’s be honest, you can never convince yourself that the accent is sexy.)

PRO: They seem to still have some old school culture and chivalry, and that makes you feel warm and lady-like– I mean, a man with manners who picks up the tab is always sexy.

CON: But some of that chivalry just turns out to be chauvinism and ….

PRO: In their lives, FOB guys have had it pretty rough and left everything they’ve known to come to a new country with a new culture. They’ve proved they can stand on their own two feet.– DAMN. #Respect

CON: BUT, they may be on the prowl for a woman just so she can replace his mom. He could be missing the warm meals and clean laundry. (watch out!)

PRO: Finally, there’s so much they can teach you about a part of your culture that you never got to experience because you’ve never spent more than a vacation’s time in Iran.

That, arguably, could be priceless.

CON: Or it could be exhausting because you’d have so much to catch them up on.

Hello, Pop Culture waits for no one!

So I guess the jury is out. With a FOB, you gain some -you lose some. It all comes down to a matter of personal taste (and patience), right?

thoughts on our new look?

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