Last night on Shahs of Sunset, Asa Soltan Rahmati and her mother, Zinat, traveled to Turkey for a family reunion. Golnesa "GG" Gharachedaghi, Mike Shouhed, Mercedes "MJ" Javid, and Reza Farahan went as well. This was not your normal screaming at friends and falling down drunk Bravo program. It was interesting, educational, and heartwarming — but I spied buckets of booze and body shots in the previews for next week.
Phewww! Close one, Bravo. You almost went all classy on us!
So, while packing for Turkey, Asa called everyone to check in. Reza makes a crack about white people and flashes a wad of cash. GG and MJ each obsess about the other. Asa says everyone needs a good dose of "persianity" after a rough summer. She adds she cannot wait to look like everyone else in Turkey. Just better looking. So not joking – she said it.
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Twelve hours later, they're pouring champagne in Turkey. #BravoStyle
Asa and Reza make an honest attempt to end GG and MJ's season long feud over dinner. MJ says she didn't appreciate GG calling her a big fat tub of lard at Leila's house. Mike reminds MJ she called GG a slut whore bitch – to GG's mother. NOT THE MAMA! Yes, the mama! MJ insists she only did it because of the dirty and low class things GG did to her at Del Mar. Mike says she needs to apologize to GG. MJ deflects and preaches about accountability. Asa points out that accountability is a two way street.
GG apologizes to MJ for Del Mar, adding that they need to learn to coexist, at the very least, while in Turkey. MJ says she's sorry — for talking to Sean a thousand years ago. She does not mention calling GG's parents. MJ admits talking to Sean was catty and out of line, adding, "I suffer the consequences that went down between you and me from that day all the way to the present." So MJ is sorry SHE's had to suffer? Whatever. GG seems satisfied – emotional even – and accepts MJ's apology.
They're all besties again. So sweet. So convenient. #ScriptsByBravo
The next day, Asa, GG, Reza, MJ, and Mike tour Istanbul, ending at the Blue Mosque. The architecture is breathtakingly beautiful. Then there's Asa, the Priestess, channeling the ancient history in her caftan. Snark aside – I'm happy for her. Mike admits he's not feeling an emotional connection to the land. Reza gawks at people wearing veils and calls them freaky. Reza also refers to every other thing as "OG Shit" because he's
cool obnoxious like that.
MJ, Asa, and GG huddle together during the call to prayer. They're in tears. MJ shares, "For the first time in my life, there was no shame attached to being Muslim." Reza turns away and covers his mouth – I honestly don't know if he's hiding a laugh or holding back tears. Mike walks away. He feels alone and scared, like a child who lost his parents in a crowded public place. Mike, whose family was persecuted for being Jewish, explains "This is what my parents were submerged in when they were fleeing for our lives. My poor mom suffered."
Reza tells the others that Mike's offended. I don't agree – there's a difference between feeling offended and feeling uneasy, IMO.
Mike approaches and says he doesn't want to go inside the mosque. He's not judging anyone else for their feelings – he's happy for them! – but the call to prayer makes him feel uncomfortable. Asa doesn't understand. GG respects his decision. Mike urges the others to go inside the Blue Mosque without him. Reza says, "I'm not down with what's going on up in that bitch. I just want to look at the architecture."
Now inside, Asa's surprised to learn that men and women must pray separately. Only men are allowed to enter the main hall during the call to prayer. How does the Persian Priestess not know this? She YELLS across the room, to get Reza's attention, and he snaps her picture. HAHA. It's a shame that Reza, who called the mosque that bitch, can roam free inside but Asa cannot.
Later, Asa and Zinat shop for food for the family reunion. Their time together is heartwarming. Asa's mom longs to visit Iran. "I'd love to go back – visit my mom and dad's grave, see my old friends. Lots of things I'd love to see."
Asa's brother, Arta, Zinat, and Asa nervously prepare for their family's arrival. Arta's awful quiet – possibly a side effect from growing up with Asa, who NEVER stops talking. Asa and Zinat shake out their anxious energy. Not so much Arta. I like his style. Reza, MJ, GG, and Mike stop by to show their support.
Asa's family reunion is lovely to watch. I cried. "When I hold my sister, I smell my parents," shares Zinat. "I felt them. They are in the room. My parents are watching us." I adore Zinat – and the kids are precious. I felt a connection with a little girl with pigtails and a bag of Gummi Bears. Yummy. A girl after my own heart!
With a bag of dirt on her chest and a smart phone in her hand, Asa covers her face and lies on the floor to get in touch with Iran.
Asa explains, "If you are Iranian, you are poetically just a little bit sad. Iran has become this perfect place – a Garden of Eden – that we had to leave. Thirty years ago. We can't go back. It's probably a very different place now, but in our minds and in our hearts, that's how we fell about it because last time we were there it was paradise."
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Photo Credit: Bravo