English Idioms That Make No Sense to My Immigrant Parents

Everything on this list is always lost in translation.


The Word ‘Idiom’ –


huh, like idiot?
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Break a leg!

no, tank you.
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You’re Pulling My Leg!

but i’m not touching your leg?
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Drop Him Like A Hot Potato

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You’re Barking Up The Wrong Tree

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Monkey See, Monkey Do

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Elvis has left the building

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Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

KHODET KHARI (trans: You’re a donkey).

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When Pigs Fly

I don’t understand.

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You Scratch my back, I’ll Scratch Yours

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It’s Raining Cats and Dogs

no, it’s not.

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The Twilight Zone

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Too Many Balls in the Air

Keep your balls vhere dey belong.

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Put your foot in your mouth


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Lose your marbles

You amerikans. Eeenglish is a veird language.

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What else would you add?

Surviving Without Persian Parents

Most of us spent our adolescence counting down the days until we could move out; so we could be rid of the rules, questions, and weird home remedies. I would dream about moving to the east coast when I was just in high school.


I’ve been living far away from my parents for three years now (happy anniversary… almost) and I’ve come to a few harsh realizations (other than the obvious I miss them):

1. When I call them more than they call me. When I lived in the same state as my parents, if I missed calling my mom for ONE day, she’d berate me for worrying her. Now she’s too busy to talk to me.


2. Stating the obvious: home-cooked meals. But like…

Whose mother is not a good cook? And how is leaving that not the biggest sacrifice?

Just make sure you find a place to live that’s near an Iranian restaurant for a little to-go Fessenjoon action (downside: your parents aren’t paying). And take a big suitcase when you visit home, because your mom will sneak frozen containers of ghormeh sabzi and tahcheen into your bag.

Sorry, I don’t consider “learning to cook” an option.


3. Most of all, I can’t believe how much I am like them. I probably judge people almost as much as my mom does. Hell, I judge people for not talking to their families a few times a week. I’ve definitely adopted my father’s lecturing conversation style. Thanks Dad. And the ‘yelling on the phone’ to make a point? Yep, I’ve started doing that too.

You don’t realize how much you are like your parents, until you step away from them.

No wonder we’re so good at doing impressions of them.


Obviously, it’s not all bad. Being away from Persian parents, you can choose which guys you want to introduce them to. They won’t discover it on their own by a random drive-by or “accidentally” using your phone. You don’t have a curfew (adulthood means nothing to our parents)… etc.

Our culture puts a strong emphasis on family – supporting one another, living up to their expectations, and being reliable for them. I hate that I miss moments in my parent’s lives and if anything exciting happens to me, they’re the first people I call. For all of their control issues…

The Persian family bond is undeniable.

It’s not just about the folded laundry and housekeeping that you don’t even have to ask for. Though the esfand is definitely a must-have.






Persian House Rules


I recently left my job, and while I’m in pursuit of my next ‘career move’…I had to give up the independent woman lifestyle for the wonderful experience of moving back in with my Persian parents.

And you know, I shouldn’t complain because there are a slew of things I no longer have to worry about: Laundry, Groceries, Mail, my Freedom…

It feels like I’m back at square one a little bit.

My mother is delighted, of course. “I got my dautter back!”

oonja digeh koja bood rafteh bodi?”  Trans. Where the hell was that you were living anyway?

“Dokhtar bayad pisheh madaresh basheh” Trans. Daughters should stay with their mothers.

She seems to think it is now our opportunity to reconnect, as best friends.

I refuse to tell my mom my secrets, even if I feel Slave to her  Ghormeh Sabzi and laundry Skills.

It goes without saying, that my dad isn’t as excited.

He’s worried I’m going to like it at home so much I’ll never leave. [Read more…]

My Persian Mom Went Through My Stuff and Found…

A recent email from a Sweet Joonie with a Sour Problem. (Like Fessenjoon!)

Ok, we won’t quit blogging for comedy. But we gave her good enough advice that she allowed us to share her plight with the world, in hopes that maybe we could garner some more good insight!….

Hey girls,

I just wanted to say how much I love your blog and how much insight I get by reading it. With that said, I’ve run into a bit of a problem recently and would love to get some advice from you.

I am a 20 year old college student living on my own.

My parents live just about 15 minutes away from me. Yesterday, while I was in class, they decided to come over and bring me food (even though I specifically told them I would be in class until 5:30pm). When I left in the morning, my apartment wasn’t in the best shape, I had papers scattered everywhere, clothes on the ground, my bed wasn’t made, etc.

My mom, being the foozool (nosy) mom she is, absolutely LOVES going through my things, but doesn’t dare call it snooping, no… she’s “just helping me.”

Here’s where I’m stuck: I had a tiny plastic bag sitting on the bottom of my nightstand with 3 opened condom wrappers inside. I had every intention of throwing them out but forgot with school and such on my mind…

So what does my mom decide to do after she hangs my clothes and makes my bed?


She decided to open that plastic bag that obviously looked like garbage to see what was inside and to her surprise 3 used condom wrappers fell out… [Read more…]

How I (Can’t) Feel

First off, in case anyone remembers or remotely cares, I did meet my Persian girlfriend’s mother. I feel like it went really well. (see my last post here!)

This may have to do with my mother always telling me, as a child, how charming I was, translating into a false sense of supremacy.

Regardless, my girlfriend told me her mother liked me enough. Either I am in the clear or my girlfriend has a great poker face.

Second, I would like to thank Saaghi and Farrah for posting my blurb and genuinely caring how my visit went. They have set up a wonderful blog giving voice to first generation Iranians abroad. Merci Farrah and Saaghi joon.

I can’t express my emotions properly.

I’m not a quiet individual nor am I my great-grandfather whom apparently only spoke to berate the loose morals of 50s youth: “‘Laash’ women and their harlequin print dresses.” My issue isn’t that I’m an introvert. My issue isn’t that I think speaking about feelings is a feminine trait. My issue is that I don’t know what to do when feeling: sad, upset, vulnerable, distressed, etc…

I would categorize myself as an emotional person. I don’t mean that I sob during long distance phone commercials. I mean that whether I am really excited or melancholic, the emotion overtakes me. I have moments where I’m animated from happiness and moments where I’m as un-enthused as Al Gore in a library.
My mom has accused me of taking drugs. My doctor has accused me of not taking enough drugs.
I’m not trying to make myself sound like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, nor am I painting a picture of a cross between Cary Grant and Behrouz Voussoughi, I’m only trying to be honest. People whom I build strong relationships with, friendly or romantic, understand this about me. My girlfriend, bless her heart, know this well and remains with me, although I must say she isn’t always a walk in the park either. We’re great (for the most part) together.

This little biography brings me back to the first sentence; I can’t express my emotions properly. I can sit and listen to my friend, partner or parent speak about their issues and give semi-decent advice. However, when the roles are reversed, Lassie does a better job at explaining his issues.

This ends up complicating my relationships. Building a relationship is difficult enough as it is. While we always think and speak of our partner’s best traits, it is really their worst you must accept. This is a given, of course. No person is baggage-less. Even if I think Alicia Keys and I would mingle quite well, I’m sure she has characteristics I would have to try to get over; such as not knowing how to make loobia polo. My baggage is the stress I can put on a relationship by not knowing how to say “I am sad.” I end up going quiet or getting upset. What is worse is at times I don’t even know why I’m upset. My girlfriend then gets frustrated because I’m in a bad mood and I won’t open up. I have managed to string together sentences blaming her and the 1979 Revolution simultaneously for my own issues. I’ve also been a big enough jerk to blame her for lack of caring when she asks “what’s wrong?” An oxymoronic jackass.

I’ve read in the odd female magazine, yes I’ve looked inside Cosmopolitan and the Oprah one,

….that most men do not know how to express their feelings or that we’re afraid of our emotions. I find it funny that those articles are always written by women who do not have a) any clue about being male & b) testicles. [Read more…]

Meet Nima: He’s Meeting Mommy Joon

Hey joonies,

It’s about time we got some quality Peeersian men on this blog. So please meet Nima –  no golden doodool complex here, just 100% Irooni man. Read his post and offer your most invaluable joonie advice:

I’ve been seeing this Persian girl for close to six months now. This week, I have the pleasure of meeting her mother for the first time. Her mother, who lives out of town, will be here for a couple of days, meaning that I have no alternative choice.

I wish I could say that I have to take my baba to the pharmacist, which he loves visiting, but she knows my parents are far from this city. I am meeting her.

Nothing short of a hysterectomy is getting me out of this one.


A few background notes:

In case you didn’t realize that I still refer to my dad as “baba” in my 20s, I am Persian. My girlfriend has never “tasted home cooking” before, and this may be due to her mother’s insistence on keeping away from indecent Irooni boys.

Nevertheless, my coarse chest hair would exemplify my Persian-ness. [Read more…]

Persian Dad Wisdom for the Job Hunt

So it looks like I get the joy of writing another end-of-the-week post–and I know on a Thursday, the last thing you want to hear is some NASEEHAT — patronizing advice– so I’ll make this as painless as possible.

Math was always my Dad’s thing. Math and Soccer.

and since I didn’t turn out to be some Brandi Chastain or Mia Hamm, my Dad really tried to amp up my Math skills. He would buy me the next year’s textbook for me to prep over the summer. He tried to push me to “proof” my geometry when I was in 5th grade. Basically, he made himself available in anyway when it came to ARITHMETIC, but I dreaded every single tutoring session with him, because it either ended in tears or some sort of fight.

My dad had a low tolerance for stupid mistakes, and he made it pretty clear that most mistakes were stupid.

I would beg my Mom to help me on my Math homework before my Dad got home. but somehow I always ended up on the couch, in misery as my Dad demanded I do my homework, the extra credit, and assigned me more problems that he would grade.


So by the time I left High School, I was ready to kiss MATH goodbye!

When I was picking a major in College, my dad wanted me to do Engineering, Math, Stats… you catch my drift… and I was quite content doing anything but.  He threatened to not fund my education, so we met halfway…


Long story short, that didn’t quite work out later on (and my dad won’t ever let me forget it). But I did end up taking a whole sequence of Math classes, Stats, and some other sh!t with numbers. Now that I look back, I am so f#cking glad  I did.

and I’ll never admit this to my Dad, but he was right. People who know how to work with Numbers usually get hired faster and get paid more. For a reason. [Read more…]

Nothing Tastes As Good As Skinny Feels.


2012 is winding down, and I almost can’t believe it. How does time fly? New Years is always an appropriate time for reflection (cliche but inevitable) and I’ve been thinking more about myself, 10 years ago… It might be because my Pandora is set to 90s music? But when you’re 18, you can’t really reflect on what it was like when you were 8.  Now I’m at that age, where I remember what it was like 10, 8, 5 years ago. I remember why I thought the way I did, and why I did the things I did. And with all those memories– I can’t help but feel weird. Is that what happens when you get old– your younger self starts to become a bigger shadow?

Jeez, can I please not get old? #fountainofyouth

Anyway, the more I think about Saaghi circa early 2000s, I realize I haven’t confessed something that really haunted/dogged me for most of those years: My Body.

It’s no secret that Persians are very vocal about weight — “topol” (chubby) is a word that’s just tossed around, almost endearingly, but for a 13 year old girl– that word is damaging.

At least that’s how I felt about it. As a kid, I was never aware of what my body looked like to others. But when I hit puberty, and I had chipmunk cheeks, I was growing boobs, and I was all sorts of awkward–well, I became very aware of what my body looked like from the outside.

People’s comments only reinforced my insecurities and by the time I got to high school, I had also eaten my insecurities. [Read more…]

The Green-Eyed Frenemy


I am so hungover from my Company holiday party that its painful to even use my brain, so I’m sorry if this post is a little… elementary. Can you believe it’s already December? and I have no vacation plans. Oh, adulthood has even sucked the joy out of the holidays.

Do you know what else sucks the fun out of the holidays?

Having to see all the people you usually try to avoid.

Its true– at the family parties, mehmoonis, etc– everyone is there, because there is no excuse for missing the occasion. People are home from college, people have off from work, there’s enormous amounts of food; essentially, its like being held hostage at an All-You-Can-Eat buffet.

So basically, holidays sometimes turn into an Annual Review. I hear about everyone’s life:  where they’re at, what’s going on, who they’re sleeping with, where they last vacationed, etc. It’s an exchange of information from the span of one year compacted into one conversation. And what happens is you’re forced to pause and evaluate yourself, especially in comparison to who you’re talking to.

That brings up a lot of feelings. And sometimes, its jealousy.

And you know, I feel bad. I think jealousy gets a bad rep. People think its the ugliest word, and being a “jealous person” is not taken to be a good thing. But its actually a pretty basic instinct, if you think about it.

Jealousy is a part of our nature, like sadness and anger. And if its natural, there has to be some good that comes from it? [Read more…]

Texts from Daddy Joon


SO while I’m usually this tree of grandmother-ly wisdom (ha) and hardcore feminism (out of bras to burn). Today, I’m going to be that awkward Persian Girl with an embarrassing Persian Father.

A lot of my friends love my dad. They think he’s hilarious, and it looks like, from some of the comments, some of you joonies think he’s kinda funny too.

Well, it’s all fun and games til it happens to you.

1. Texts From Daddy Joon: [Read more…]

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