One of my major obssessions during the last few weeks in Iran was my music collection on my cellphone (along with my make-up stuff, whether I needed to get a new mascara or not, and how to transport my modest collection of gold chains and earrings to Canada safely and with minimun paranoia). The music files on my Nokia handset however were also a major source of worry- had I all the songs I needed to listen to on the trip out? (that was as far as I could think of, back then, in those last surreal weeks of April. Actually arriving with my two kids in Pearson airport. I didn’t look any further) Could I find those songs amonst the +100 titles which fitted comfortably on my new 1 Gig memory? Which ones were they, anyway? My sister was frantically blue-toothing horrible screamy songs which she loved and I hated on my handset, while taking seven hundred pictures of me and the kids.
Fast forward to a few weeks down the line, in a bright white sunny flat overlooking the ocean, mid-May. There is no furniture, so most of our stuff lies on the floors. We sleep on the floor, and eat on the floor. The sleek black Nokia earplugs with which I listen to the music lies on the floor. The Walmart vacuum-cleaner hooves by, and amazingly, for one instant it become strong and powerful, and sucks up the earplugs, clitter-clatter, tearing the delicate wires apart. After that horrific instant, it returns to its usual lacklustre style, failing to pick up anything heavier than a grain of salt.
For a moment I was stunned. Tension was high. I seriously considered this event as an omen, for getting back to Tehran and forgetting about Halifax, Dalhousie, and my dreams. Where was I going to get another Nokia earplug in this little tiny provincial town by the ocean, which doesn’t even have one Nokia dealership? (In Tehran, it sometimes feels like Nokia has dealership inside your local grocery.)
In despair, I visited the local electronic goods shop. The salesman wasn’t too optimistic. Eventually, by stringing together two separate sets of wires, I managed to get another set of earplugs. As the salesman warned me, I can hear the music only in one ear. Apparently, Haligonian electronics simply don’t match with Nokia.
But now, I am hardier. I have tasted the salt air, looked upon the incredible scarlet and gold trees, watched my kids roll around the Lunenburg golf course. I have been to university. It will take more than a sucked-up pair of earplugs, a wavering, shrinking bank account, a ballistic marriage, mice in the apartment, no turkey on Thanksgiving and non-stop autumn coughs and colds to set me back.