ots more incidental paperwork and such has kept me busy with the end of the school year. More than I'd wish. But that's not all. Mari left to visit family in Hungary today, and to wander some in Europe and beyond after, so we had dinner last night to hang out for a few last hours. I'd intended to finally introduce her to Dante's Kitchen
, but she only had a two-hour window open, so after showing me how to take care of a few chores with her apartment that she wants me to handle in July, we just strolled over to campus to grab some paninis at La Divina Gelateria
, which has been our sort of standard fallback. I actually wasn't sure whether we would find them still open, with the lighter Loyola and Tulane crowd around, but the were, until eight. So we ordered and then cleared out, moving to eat in the courtyard in the student center, which, she told me, was very reminiscent of a courtyard at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where she had done some work on the path to becoming Loyola's professor of Jewish Studies. It was kind of hysterically random conversation: a sort of salad of talking about food, digestive systems, and dating, which one would never thing to put together, but which somehow worked.
Then, having issued their invitation after me, Tim's wife Minoo (with whom Mari has especially become good friends) called up to say that they were going to deliver Mari some of the Khoresht Fesenjan that they'd whipped up for her, anyway. We were already in Mari's office by that point, where she was going to be for the next few hours, so we went out in front of the University on St. Charles to await delivery. They pulled up, with Professor Moazami of the History Department in tow, who, like Minoo, is also Iranian. They insisted that I then join them, even though it was already pushing 9pm, and so I said farewell to Mari, as I was about to anyway, went back to her place to retrieve my bike, rode home, and then walked over to Tim and Minoo's place, which is also in my neighbourhood. Despite the fact that I had just finished supper, Minoo insisted that I try her dish, which is a classic piece of Persian/Iranian cooking – a sort of chicken stew in a walnut/pomegranate paste called khoresht e fesenjan – and which Professor Moazami insisted was an excellent version thereof. I was trying to figure out exactly what I was tasting in the sauce, and so Minoo opened up a couple of pomegranates for me and Professor Moazami. I had never actually seen a pomegranate before (having really only probably encountered them as a decorative motif in the Hebrew Bible), much less tried to guess which part of it to eat, but I quite enjoyed it, even though it was the sort of thing that you had to struggle with so as not to make a mess. So we talked Persian food and agriculture, and a bit about the logistic unlikelihood of an American-Iranian romance, where I was relieved to hear that she doesn't suffer any kind of political nonsense in being able to travel and see family, despite the tensions of U.S.-Iranian relations. Further talk about finals week, student honesty and (alas!) occasional dishonesty, stories of where we had lived, and such filled out the rest of the night. But it was grand to just relax with talk, good food, and great people.
And then, having gotten a late night's stretch without work hanging over me, I shamelessly read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
again, without a lick of guilt. Granted, I'm opening up A Formcritical Study of Selected Odes of Solomon
now, so I'm getting back to it pretty quickly, but still. Good times.