Iranians love America (just like our president), and since Americans love Oprah, ergo, Iranians love Oprah. Most of us watch Oprah just to be able to disparage Americans for being so fikcing stupid; many of us watch her to sigh in sympathy and realise joyfully that even in people in America have the same sort of problems, more or less, as the people in Iran- noisy teenagers, unfaithful husbands, cancer, etc etc.
So once settled in Halifax, one of the first magazines which caught my hungry eye in the racks and racks of delicious magazines and journals was “O”, Oprah’s magazine, with a big picture of her jumping on the cover in a satin frilly red dress. And the headline for that issue was “The Power of No”.
Of course, I didn’t need to buy “O” to know what The Power of No was about- like refusing to constantly keep putting yourself out for people and doing favours and errands that you really don’t want to do, blah blah blah. I had my own power of No pretty much down to a fine art, but basically to my family. Being a freaky career woman obssessed with working with refugees basically meant that I was well-practised at saying No to these people: my husband, my mother, and my kids. Once in my office though, I had a different face: who worked on the most complicated thankless refugee cases? The newcomer. Who worked on heavy quarterly statistics which never ever matched? The newcomer. Who organized missions during the new year vacation when everywhere was closed? The fikcing newcomer. Who came back home too exhausted to play decently with her children? Yes- you guessed it, the newcomer. Who was always too tired? The newcomer. Who always made a fuss about every single vacation because she didn’t like taking too many days off? The newcomer.
So now I have decided to channel my own inner Oprah, and practise saying no to outsiders, yes to my family, at least for a short while, until school starts and my priorities shift again. I worked in this Canadian office for a month during July- just a routine admin job. Then they asked me to stay another month. No, I said. I want to stay with my son who hates daycare, so my husband can go to language school.
So here I am, spending the days pushing Yousef round in a very big heavy pushchair, babbling to each other about ants, cars and chocolates, feeling his soft bronzed body and smooth golden hair, and wondering what it will be like to say goodbye to him in a couple of months. I cook lunch, do the laundry, and wait for the others to come home. I have become a housewife for a month.