Kilzer says she got two-hour facials from Zubeidat Tsarnaeva three times a year for about five years. During this time, especially toward the beginning, the apartment was "often crowded with her two sons" (though it's not clear how long they lived with her).
"It was definitely not a glamorous place to get a facial, as the 'spa' was set up in her living room, and during these years the family expanded," Kilzer writes. "T he staircase was crowded with their shoes, the house filled with noises of arguing, cooking, etc. She would often apologize for this."
Kilzer says that the daughters, who are around her age, always "struck me as nice and normal," but found their arranged marriages at such a young age "disturbing," especially because they resulted in domestic violence.
During this time first one daughter and then another were set up in arranged marriages, and started having kids. This was something I found slightly disturbing, as one was just my age (18-19) and didn’t seem to be happily married. Within two years that daughter was beaten badly and eventually filed for divorce, something which was at first against her mother’s wishes ... Her younger son, Dzhokar, was most often in the room or the room next door looking after his sister’s child while I was getting my facial.
Kilzer continued to visit the family's home to receive her facials, despite the fact that Zubeidat's increasing religious fervor made her somewhat uncomfortable.
Between 2008 and 2012 I got to know her pretty well. During those 2-3 hours I spent a lot of time asking her about her personal life and her family ... she had become increasingly religious while I was in college. She often mentioned Allah, and the lessons of the Koran ... She was often fasting. She told me that she had cried for days when her oldest son, Tamerlan, told her that he wanted to move out, going against her culture’s tradition of the son staying in the house with the mother until marriage.
During one spa session, Zubeidat revealed interesting information about her family immigrating from Russia to the U.S.
She told me that she and her husband had been lawyers and political activists in Russia. They had fled the country after 'something that her husband did.' ... During this facial session she started quoting conspiracy theories, telling me that she thought 9-11 was purposefully created by the American government to make America hate muslims. 'It’s real,' she said, 'My son knows all about it. You can read on the internet.'
Kilzer also has memories of the brothers:
I think I only met Tamerlan twice, and he wasn’t friendly. Zubeidat certainly mentioned arguing and fighting with him, and being worried about him in general after he got his girlfriend pregnant. I never met her husband.
Ultimately, Zubeidat's "increased religious zeal and offensive political suggestions" stopped Kilzer from ever returning to the home for facials.
While Zubeidat was very good at giving facials, I can definitely say that her increased religious zeal and offensive political suggestions about 9-11 in part influenced my decision to not return to her home since January 2012 ... She was also very close with her sons and showed many signs of strong political leanings herself.
Read Kilzer's full blog post here >
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