The French Class: Part 3


Zima and Lamur

One of the sweetest girls in our class was Zima from Iran. She was stunningly beautiful with classic features, perfect skin, big dark kind eyes, and black hair. There was another girl in the class from Iraq named Lamur who looked like her sister. We didn’t get to know her as well because she was pregnant and often tired so she didn’t join us on many of our exursions.
About a week after the French class started I was shocked to go home and after a phone call from Maurice to turn on the TV and see the second plane crash into the World Trade Center. I spent the rest of the day, and all of the rest, watching CNN in disbelief. The first two people to come up to me when I walked into class were Zima and Lamur, both telling me how sorry they were. This from two people who I assumed had every reason to hate America and Americans. They couldn’t have been sweeter. Maybe politics isn’t real life.
Lamur was in her 8th month of pregnancy. Of all of the women in the class, she spoke the least English. One day she came into class and I asked her why she had missed class the day before. Tears filled her eyes and she said she had been at the doctor. Through her French and English I understood that she was worried and afraid of delievering her baby, a son, in a hospital that didn’t understand her language. Not only was there the fear of the unknown in delievering her first baby but just the fear of no one there to listen if she had a question or a problem, other than her husband. Victoria and I did our best to reassure her about having babies as we had been there. She pointed at her back and mentioned the French word for pain. She was talking about an epidural that the doctor had told her she would be given and she was worrried about the pain of that. I, fortunately, had also had this with my second child, and reassured her that it was wonderful, and, in my opinion, the way to go for the hard and painful work of labor. I like to think we helped reassure her a little. She had to quit the class before the end of the semester as her doctor wanted her to rest and because she had a long metro ride to get to the class, often crowded and hot at the time we were on them. She soon safely had her little baby boy and everything went fine.
On our first excursion to a restaurant we went to one Zima recommended in her neighborhood which served Iranian food. We decided we should take turns going to places to eat that served food from each of our countries. We never did find one from Australia, though. Would you believe there are some serving Tex-Mex?
Zima was married to an Iranian, but he had lived in Paris for 20 years and was a French citizen, and, of course, fluent in French. He drove a very nice taxi.
“How did you meet your husband?” we asked on our trip to the restaurant.
“He wanted a wife from Iran and asked some friends in Iran if they could introduce him to someone. They gave him my name and he called and we spent months talking to each other on the phone before he finally came to Tehran and we met. I knew before he even came that I loved him, but when we met we knew we were right for each other.”
“How long did you know each other before you married?”
“For a year.” He came to Tehran for their marriage. She showed us a picture of them together, her in a beautiful dress and him in a tuxedo. She seemed to love him very much and seemed very happy and stable. It turned out that Lamur, from Iraq, met her husband, also an taxi driver, the same way.
I got the impression that Zima came from a wealthy family although I have nothing to base this on except she wore nice clothing, didn’t work, and once gave a beautiful gold bracelet to a classmate for her birthday. She missed her family very much, especially her mother.
I saw a picture of her apartment once and it looked really small. She and her husband were saving up for a small house somewhere in the suburbs.
I didn’t like some of the food at the Iranian restaurant that she took our class to. I’m not a big fan of yogurt and a lot of the menu is based on it, even some sort of drink which Zima loved. It did serve shish kababs with rice which I loved.
When I took our group to the Tex Mex place Zima really loved it. She had faitas, which, though good, still had a French flair to them, and she and I knocked back more than one margarita. Another day for a long nap.
What a nice lady she was. Always pleasant with a greeting and smile for everyone. Her husband was the one wondering how much French we were speaking on all of our excursions. All we knew was that we sure were having a good time.

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