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Week One – Part 1/2


Day 0-1, 20.1.-21.1.2015, Berlin-Kyiv-Tehran

At 14.50 I flew with an Embraer 190 from Berlin-Tegel to Kyiv. There I had a stop-over of two hours, until I continued with the exact same air plane as before to Tehran. I have never experienced such an empty plane: Not even 2/5 of the seats were reserved and I was the only one from „the West“. Apart from three Ukrainians all other passengers were Iranian.
Having arrived in Tehran at Imam Khomeini Airport (IKA) at 1.30am, I had no problems with the entry at all. Then I sat down reading for three hours until Anahit, with whom I was appointed, arrived from Moscow respectively Istanbul. We chatted till 6.30 and then took a taxi into town (650 000 Rial – 13€). The view was amazing, since the sun just rose and let the snowy mountains shimmer in a soft pink.
After having finished the bureaucracy, we exchanged money. The course was 1€:40 000IRR, I exchanged 450€, so for a short time I became a multi millionaire. Then we drove to the dormitory, brought our luggage on the rooms and took a nap for two hours. Still tired we walked to Tajrish to buy SIM cards and food on the basar. Before going exhausted to bed, we drank a tea opposite the dorm where one of three young girls surprisingly didn’t give anything on the hijab obligation.

Day 2, 22.1, Tehran

After a long sleep until 11 am (7.30 UTC), I met one of my two room-mates Roman. He’s a 42-yo Austrian and doesn’t know any Farsi. This fact was going to qualify him to be in the same class as I would be in. He’s a super cool guy.
We went to the bakery which is fortunately just across the street and offers fresh bread any time of the day. After breakfast we met with Zari, whom I met for the first time four years ago. We walked all the way – it was a long walk and made a detour via our language school. At Zari’s we ate dinner and chatted. After having walked back to the dorm again we went to bed quite exhausted.

Day 3, 23.1

At noon Arne arrived, who is the last room-mate. I didn’t do much. I walked to Tovchal (or Tochal) cabin station with Roman. It is the starting point for skiers and snowboarders who can go up to 4000m. In the evening two friends of Arne, Maren and Renate, came over and prepared a simple German potato salad.

Day 4, 24.1

It was the first day of school. We had to be there at 8 o’clock. On the bus we took, Kazim talked to me. It appeared he had worked in the Iranian Consulate in Frankfurt 50 years ago. He could still speak very good German and insulted the „dirty mullahs“, what fortunately was understood by nobody else.
During the class it snowed non-stop. The classes are Saturday to Wednesday from 9 till 12; with a break from 10.15 to 10.45. At first the teacher taught us a part of the Persian Alphabet and made Roman going crazy because of her beauty. I got to know a funny Chinese girl, Zhihui, who’s always in a good mood, laughs a lot and likes Indian and Pakistani guys very much.
After class I met with Zari again. When I returned to the dorm, I made my homework: One line for each new learned word (there were 30) to practice writing. Although I could still write the letters quite well, it took a long time.
Though in the end I still went running. Since Velenjak – the quarter where the dorm is located – is at 1200m height, I was exhausted faster than usual and of course I ran a great detour. In addition even in the evening the air is still polluted, so running outside is rather bad for one’s health in Tehran. Unfortunately the pavements are in a bad shape from time to time as well, being interrupted by constructions. That’s why I usually ran on the street since there were not that many cars at 11pm. Still I was horned at a couple of times. But I don’t care: Only because of some little obstacles I won’t let a part of my free western lifestyle be taken away from me.

Background picture: Tehran at night, view from the dormitory in Velenjak, 2015 all rights reserved

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Wie alles begann

Das Jahr 2014 war einmalig und vielleicht das bisher beste überhaupt. Es lag auch daran, dass ich meine Zeit, in der ich beschäftigt war, auf einen bestimmten Zeitraum konzentrieren konnte und dann entsprechend viel Freizeit zur Verfügung hatte. Reisen zu Russlands neuer Errungenschaft – der Krim – sowie eine 700km-Fahrradtour durch Deutschland, Trampen durch Südwesteuropa und spontane Ausflüge nach Schweden und in die USA sprangen dabei heraus.
Aber natürlich konnte es so nicht weitergehen. Deshalb hatte ich mich Ende Oktober für den ersten von sechs Sprachkursen (Farsi bzw. Persisch) in Teheran (Iran) beim Dehkhoda Lexicon Institute beworben.

Erst als ich am 22. Dezember nach Hause getrampt bin, habe ich die endgülitge Teilnahmebestätigung bekommen. Einen Tag vor Silvester gab ich also meinen Pass ab. Am 7. Januar holte ihn dann mein Papa ab – inklusive Visum! Ich buchte sofort den Flug nach Teheran über Kiew mit Ukraine International Airlines für den 20. Januar – in Teheran am IKA würde ich dann am 21. um 1.30 in der Früh ankommen.

Aber ich musste natürlich noch irgendwie meine Sachen aus meinem Raum in Karlsruhe räumen. Zum Glück hatte ich nur ein Bettsofa, einen Schreibtisch, einen kleinen Tisch und eine Art Regal. Verkauft habe ich das Bett und das andere auf den Sperrmüll geschmissen – hatte ich eh kostenlos bekommen.

Am 14. Januar habe ich dann Abschied von Karlsruhe genommen, brach mit viel Gepäck per Bahn Richtung Berlin auf und ließ zwei großartige Jahre mit neuen Freunden und schönen Momenten zurück.

Ach ja, und das Ganze ist kein Urlaub; ich mache das nicht aus Spaß und Langeweile – jedenfalls nicht zu 100%.

Wenn es zu irgendwas Fragen oder Wünsche gibt, schreibt einfach eine Mail (blog@johannes-nickel.de) oder einen Kommentar oder abonniert den Newsletter.

Hintergrundbild: Indianerbrunnen mit Bierkasten, Werderplatz, Südstadt, Karlsruhe – 2015, all rights reserved