My new friends teach me one word each day.
Sanjob. Squirrel (not hamster).
As we walked across campus, my roommate G told me how surprised she was at the number of hamsters we have in America. We had a lively conversation about pets in Iran and America, until I finally realized that we weren’t on the same level. Since my Charades skills for “squirrel” weren’t working (sorry, Rachel), I pointed to one in a tree. “Squirrel!” “Squirrel? Not hamster?” “No. Squirrel.”
At dinner that night, our new Iranian friend H taught me sanjob. Be sure to pronounce “job” like, well, job, ’cause otherwise you sound like a foreigner.
That night, G and I got on Google Images to finally look up “squirrel.” We also looked up hamster and mouse. Did you know that if you combine the words for “date” and “mouse,” you get “hamster”?
Jee-guh banavsh. Purple scream.
A purple scream is apparently the sound I make when I let a goal in during fusball, a sound for which Iranian women are famous. G and H laughed so hard with me as I tried and tried and tried to pronounce the guttural “guh” sound for “scream.”
We settled with banavsh, purple, as my word for the day.
(I have to think and speak quickly: apparently my Southern drawl makes for a poor Farsi accent.)