Author: anisakazemi

There’s a sunrise and a sunset…

…every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them. ~Jo Walton
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You know all that Jazz about joy eventually (emphasis on eventually) springing from adversity? Well, lovesick when S was away, I started running around the neighbourhood at dawn every day. Here are some recent photos of the sunrises I’ve witnessed. I would say, it’s probably one of the best decisions I’ve made for my health (mind, body, spirit). I hope you too will experience it. The first times aren’t easy but then you get better and then it’s not so bad, and each time you’ll feel it’s definitely worth it.

Yasu Highlights

For those of you that don’t know, Yasu was my upstairs neighbour when I lived in rural Japan. However, we never actually spoke to each other  – I didn’t know she existed, and she was too shy to approach me – you know, scary foreigner alert. The day Yasu moved out of our tiny apartment complex, she left a letter on my doorstep:

Ms Anisa
I am Yasuko from upstairs.
I wanted to always talk with you.
But I will move on April 30 to next village.
The new address is Nishiawakura village.
If you don’t mind, could you hang out with me sometime?
I am really bad at English, but I hope we could be good friends.

And the rest is history. During my last six months in Japan, Yasu and I became inseparable. And when I eventually moved to the city, she came to visit me. Recently, Yasu spent 10 days in New Zealand. Here are the highlights:
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Here I am stealing S’s car for our upcoming roadies.
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Hotel Anisa.
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Castle Hill desu.
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Akaroa desu.
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Yasu hugely appreciated NZ cheese!
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This scenery reminded us a little of our old home in Higashiawakura (see below).
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Another day, another picnic, Hanmer Springs Desu.
Yasu 2.0 coming soon…

What Happens When You Find The One But The Circumstances Aren’t Ideal

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When you think of “the one” you picture the perfect person for you. Someone who ticks all the boxes, someone who completes you. What you don’t think about and what I never thought about (only in hindsight do you realise these things, you see) are the circumstances in which you meet Mr. Right. Why do we never picture the circumstances? What if when you finally meet, and they’re everything you’ve ever wanted and more, the circumstances aren’t ideal? It could be anything, a disapproving family member (on either side), a jealous ex, being at different stages in your lives, a child or two, or living in different continents, all as examples. What happens then?

Well, to be frank, at first it down right sucks. “A bunch of fucking bullshit”, in other words. But then you adapt. For adapting is what you and I were born to do. You fake a smile and pretend it’s all okay, I mean, you have each other right? Isn’t that all that matters? Unfortunately, no. Because when the circumstances aren’t right, let alone ideal, things get difficult. Fast. Oftentimes a huge strain is put on your relationship and you find yourself wondering if all the bs is even worth it at all.

This is when you choose to push through. This is when you keep your faith and hope. For what the fairytales and the “happily ever after”’s don’t tell you, is that happy relationships are difficult. As President Roosevelt once said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well”.

Perhaps it is the tests and difficulties we encounter which give our relationships their true value. For the more bs we pass through, the more I find myself rooting for us to be successful. What I’ve learnt since finding my person, is that as much as I fret and burn, some of our circumstances I’ll never be able to control. But what I can control, I will attempt to.

In the words of the Persian mystic Rumi, “Gamble everything for love, if you are a true human being, If not, leave this gathering. Half-heartedness doesn’t reach into majesty.”

You Make Me Feel Like It’s Gonna Be OK

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Remember the plums I foraged with my friends Willem and Unity? Well, the genius that is Mandy from @Utopia Ice turned them into a deliciously mouthwatering, finger licking, summer-perfect Plum & Earl Grey sorbet. Ohh yeah.
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Merry Christmas y’all! You know, my family and I never used to celebrate Christmas (for various reasons like not being Christian and just never having done so whilst growing up in Iran) but ever since my sister married a ChristmasCelebratingKiwi, we have had a lot of fun with it – mostly as an opportunity to eat get together.
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Here are pictures from our flat dinner – so beautifully decorated by even more beautiful Ashleigh. Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset
*Love heart eyes*
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This is a $45 lamb from Pedro’s House of Lamb “perfect for two” (crazy right?) Actually it fed four, and we had leftovers! I totally recommend it especially for a lazy cooking day. Also, because it’s like no1 on TripAdvisor! Processed with VSCO with kk1 presetProcessed with VSCO with kk1 preset
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Next, the family lunch. Here is my contribution: a healthier ambrosia. It’s very easy, simply mix two pottles of organic yoghurt (one boysenberry, one plain), fresh berries (blueberry, strawberry, boysenberry), chopped pineapple, a cheeky handful of chopped marshmallows and broken dark chocolate, and 1 can of drained boysenberries in juice not syrup. That’s it! Refrigerate for an hour or three to serve cold. Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset
Mama and papa to be!Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset
My Christmas presents from the family: a grapefruit, a pug fridge magnet (I’d like to take this opportunity to say I loved pugs before everyone else did), and melon hand cream. I am blessed!Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset
Do you know these suckers are $7.99 per kg here? Just ridiculous. Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset
Here are my beautiful parents. My mama is actually wearing my dress – gifted by kind-hearted Mandy of Utopia Ice. Just so much love all around! All I am is a concoction of the love I receive!
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We cooked turkey for the first time, it was dry. My sister made Persian salad Olivieh (far right). HERE is my healthier version – no offence sis.
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Last but not least, some well deserved me time. Have you tried Dubba Dubba Moroccan cuisine? It’s right down the road from me (Bush Inn). This is their chicken salad. I was actually surprised by how good it was! Good being healthy, filling, and yum. Definitely returning.Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset
And, the best part of Christmas. Receiving such love from my students. Anisa sensei is very happy today. Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset
Except for the fact that my heart aches for this stupid smile everyday. Honestly, life is too short and too unpredictable to be separated from your lover. God please never again. 5 weeks left…

Permission To Ramble

To feel multiple feelings at once
To change your mind

To say something without knowing for sure
If that’s what you think

To be full of contradictions

To take up space

To be heard
To have opinions
To be silly
To be serious
To ask for what you need
~Nikita Zook
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“I cry at random things, like a flower, or someone giving me a present, or my sister giving me a nice hug.” ~Naomi Harris (Foodies, this is Posh Porridge from the Riccarton Farmers’ Market.)
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Leighs Construction Outdoor Cinema (click for deets).
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Attended my Xmas work function in a (heavily reduced) local-brand Tuesdays dress.
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Rapaki Track desu.
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Let me tell you something, Iranians LOVE foraging, it’s in our blood!
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Foraging (barefoot – Willem made sure I make note of that) in the Red Zone, only to be made into delicious plum sorbet by Utopia Ice!Processed with VSCO with kk1 presetProcessed with VSCO with kk1 presetProcessed with VSCO with kk2 preset
Sam and George’s most beautifully simple yet elegant wedding at Trents VineyardProcessed with VSCO with kk1 preset
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Guest appearance of Rudolph the green/white nosed reindeer when the red pom poms ran out when making Christmas cards for each one of our littlies.
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Merry Christmas from the Teacher/Entrepreneur flat!

One Day At A Time

It has been 3 weeks since S has left to the States to witness his charming older brother marry an angel of a woman, and spend some much awaited time with his loving family. I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been easy for me. But you know what? So far, it hasn’t been impossible either. I’ve kept busy (I’ll keep busy), and I’ve taken it one day at a time (I’ll take it one day at a time).
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A month ago, daddy making a Kiwi speciality: whitebait fritters, for S.
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Can anything beat breakfasting with your love?
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Forced S to hike Rapaki with me. He said the view was almost worth the pain.
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“You must learn day by day, year by year, to broaden your horizons. The more things you love, the more you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you are indignant about, the more you have left when anything happens.” ~Ethel Barrymore (Shoutout to the lovely lady customer who said she reads my blog!)
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Great fun making my famous pikelets with my kiddies (1 cup plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 free-range egg, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup milk – mix until smooth then cook tablespoon-full amounts in a good quality non stick frying pan or with a little oil in a not so good quality one – about a minute each side)
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The night of S’s bitter departure sweetened by dessert from The Villas.
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Wearing my boyfriends sweater. (“I imagine a line, a white line, painted on the sand and on the ocean, from me to you.” ~Jonathan Safran Foer)

 

Hashtag It’s Not Gelato: Utopia Ice Is Back In Sumner

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Before you ask, my favourite is dark chocolate, coconut, and cacao nibs (gf, df, V) so see you there!

Hours:
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 11 to 6
Wednesday: 11 to 6
Thursday: 11 to 6
Friday: 11 to 9
Saturday: 11 to 9
Sunday: 11 to 6

Don’t Fear The Light That Dwells Deep Within…

You are powerful beyond what you imagine. Just let your light glow.
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Cheater cheater pumpkin eater!
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Japan is that you?! (If you haven’t already, I totes recommend checking out newly opened Japan Mart at Riccarton Westfield.)
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Self empowerment no53279 buying flowers (and cacti) for yourself.
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Reason 437698 I LOVE my job: so many 5 year old birthdays!
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Robot art by Jella, age 5.
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So incredibly proud of Mandy and Sebastian for working crazy hard to make their dream a reality! Utopia Ice is officially opening shop in Sumner village next week!
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Sorry for the radio silence my friends. I have been working on a children’s story! It is one from my childhood and named after my dear mother. I am in the process of having my manuscript assessed before sending it to a publisher so please please pray for me! Worst case scenario, I’ll publish it on my blog for y’all to read.

Much much much love,
Me.

Restaurant Review: Francesca’s Italian Kitchen

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Last night S and I dined at Francesca’s Italian Kitchen as per a good friend of ours’ recommendation. She said it was excellent so we had to try it for ourselves. And overall, it was pretty spectacular!

Several things stood out: the slow-cooked beef (housemade) gnocchi (probably best in town), the tolerable noise level (I am so used to dining at Italian restaurants where I can’t even hear myself), the artsy pasta guide on the inner bathroom doors (who doesn’t like a good read whilst on the toilet), and the physical location of the place (I love anything close to New Regent!).

And of course it wouldn’t be a review if I’m not a slight bitch about it so… We ordered polenta fries as a starter, they were forgotten, and brought to us midway through our mains (yeah, yeah, first world problems). Speaking of polenta fries, they were good but not as amazing as The Bicycle Thief’s. In my opinion, those are much better. As for the pappardelle ragu, I think Cafe Valentino does theirs better, and the pumpkin brûlée, well, it was pretty unique in flavour but also highly diabetic. In other words, too much sugar (you know, even for a brûlée).

Despite the grumble, I’d rate our experience an 8/10!

There Is A Stream Of Love Supporting My Dreams

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Spring means Subway picnic dinners.
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Treated myself to some well-deserved me time the other week! And although lovely, I did feel bad about using so much water…Do you know if a bath uses more water than a shower? It must, mustn’t it? Alas, as a once-in-a-while treat, I did feel amazing, and I slept like a baby. Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset
Petal carpet love!Processed with VSCO with kk2 presetI moved out of my parents’ again! How do you like my new room? I used to be an avid Frankie Magazine reader. However, after the original creators left, I’ve become a dedicated fan of The Lunch Lady which ironically, is their (Frankie’s ex-creators’) new publication. Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset
PMS is a bitch and so was I this day. I made S walk 40 min to the grocery store for a sweet craving (I wanted naturally dried apricots) but when the supermarket didn’t have them (what supermarket doesn’t have apricots?!) I spent 15 indecisive minutes only to buy checkout chocolate. Oops! Sorry S!
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And, one of my most memorable days yet…yes, that special! S surprised me at work with a picnic lunch of my favourites! Sushi, chocolate (the same one I had had that my moody night at the supermarket hehe), berry smoothie, and last but definitely not least, Dr. Feelgood frozen pops. This time we tried jelly-top Passionfruit and White Chocolate and I gotta say, it’s my favourite flavour yet! Processed with VSCO with kk2 presetProcessed with VSCO with kk2 preset
Yeah baby! Find them at Fendalton New World in Christchurch and probably everywhere in Auckland. Thanks Dr. Feelgood, I adore you!Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset
I love my boyfriend because he agrees to pancakes for dinner.
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“Practice gratitude relentlessly. As you practice gratitude you will attract more thoughts and feelings of gratitude. In a shot time your entire being will be saturated with it, and you will experience a happiness that is beyond what you can imagine. This is what is ahead for you when you choose gratitude as your way of life. And if you can really live in this highest state of gratitude, you will never have to ask for anything. Everything you want will be given to you before you even ask, because gratitude is the magnetic substance that opens every single door in the Universe.”
~From the Secret Scrolls by Rhonda Byrne