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O Thou Candle Of The Love Of God!

O thou candle of the Love of God! I ask God to grant thee by His favor and grace that which is thy utmost desire; that the closed doors become opened, the uneven roads become even, thy face shine by the love of God, thy sight become brighter by witnessing the signs of God; that thou mayest attain spiritual joy, eternal happiness and heavenly life.
~Abdul-Baha

Updates

Hi dear dear friends from around the world, how are you all doing? I’m sorry I am no longer religiously blogging… Do you miss me? (hehe). I miss you, that’s for sure! Things have changed in my world. In short, I am now working as a full-time preschool teacher, soon to be starting my postgraduate diploma in Early Childhood Teaching. This means, I am busy busy (like the rest of you) working, and soon also studying (eek!). It is literally mind-blowing to look back and see how God has confirmed me in every step of my life leading to this very opportunity. I am so lucky. There is a Sufi poem which goes: ““God long ago drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot where you are standing right now,” -this could not be more true for me (or you, for that matter). I have always adored spending time with young children, and if I may say so, I think they also like being around me. Sometimes I feel sad thinking that by going down this path I will be giving up on my writing but then I remind myself that everything in our universe is interconnected and that this too shall lead onto something. All in all, I am incredibly thankful. Of course, nervous – the job is definitely not easy, but grateful for the opportunity to grow both in my career and as a person. As for my love life (wink wink) things are going smoothly. You know, S is another reason why I’m not regularly blogging. I used to be this maniac (sometime I still am) who wanted to do absolutely everything and I had to keep reminding myself: Anisa, you can do anything but you can’t do everything! Being around S is changing me. He is an incredibly relaxed being.  I’m not going to lie, at first this drove me a little crazy – I needed him/us/me to always be doing something! Overtime though, I have come to appreciate his way of doing things. Like my brother-in-law once said, true, life is short but life can be very long also. In other words, it’s okay to unwind once (or twice) awhile (yes, this means you too!) xx
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This is funny. So, I always prefer homemade muesli (for every meal if I could actually). But here is S forcing some of his famous scrambled eggs on me. The picture above is last week and the picture below, from my time in Nashville 6 months ago. image-3-png-10
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Major touristing at Christchurch Museum.
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After a warm coffee at Sign of The Kiwi Cafe, we are not cold, we swear!
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Waiting for the food…
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My number one supporters in every single decision I have ever made. You know what I think is good parenting? Trusting. Mum and dad, I love you both with my entire being. Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
An Indian friend of ours once said Corianders is the best Indian restaurant in Christchurch, and we agree!Processed with VSCO with c2 presetBetter than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.
~Japanese Proverb (Sunrise at work)

If You Take A Flower In Your Hand And Really Look At It, It’s Your World For A Moment

The night before I was to be leaving Soroosh in Nashville, he read me a children’s book to calm my nerves. You may know it, apparently it’s quite popular but at the time, I didn’t. The Kissing Hand as the title suggests is a kiss in a hand gently pressed on its recipient’s face.
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I recently received this kiss in the mail. Image-1 (4)
The first time I experienced origami (the art of paper folding) was in Japan where a coworker asked an entire class to make a paper crane, write their name on it and later stand and declare: “this crane was made by (insert name here)” as a way of introducing themselves. I remember silently panicking for the students who wouldn’t know how to do it. Turns out I had no idea. Every student made a crane. And they made them fast!
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You know how they say only in hindsight can you realise the true value of a moment? Well, I remember feeling extremely homesick and out of my comfort zone that very make-a-crane day. However, if it wasn’t for that unique experience, I wouldn’t have been able to pass on the art to my new students today.
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“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ~C.S. Lewis (Coffee. He means a cup of coffee!)
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You know round Saturn peaches? Well, turns out they have pretty inappropriate looking nectarine cousins and here’s one of them.
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More work antics….I love my job!
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Try & Try

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Life is so much more interesting with a library card.
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Love my weekends in Sumner. Forever grateful to Mandy for the dreamy job.image-1-1
Many thanks for the sweet bag Leyla-joon, I am using it everyday.image-12
Is it too late to say sorry? Accidently/accidentally tomato/tomato image-9image-8
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Beached as bro.
image-7Day two of the Bahai fast my eyes wanted to eat all of this (vegan black bean and quinoa burgers on gluten-free bread) but my stomach only allowed for half. Still, it was SO yum! Excuse me while I go ahead and marry myself.

Seize That Loveliness. It Has Always Been Yours.

Lovely words by Yrsa Daley-Ward and lovely times during this year’s Ayyam-i-Ha – a multi-day festival for Bahá’ís (that’s my religion) which typically falls around the end of February and the beginning of March. Ayyam-i-Ha or Intercalary Days is a period dedicated to being social, hospitable, generous and joyful. In addition, it is a time to prepare for the upcoming Bahá’í fast come March (2nd) though more on that soon!
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My vegetable kebab skewers for the non-meat eaters at our community Ayyam-i-Ha sausage sizzle.
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A team-building/unity activity featuring sticks and marshmallows (to be eaten post tower construction) for Bahá’í Children’s Classesimage-1image-1-1image-1
And, Ayyam-i-Ha cards! Here’s one from me to Soroosh.
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My lucky brother-in-law, Andy’s birthday falls on Ayyam-i-Ha. So, for the first time since returning home, I had an excuse to dine out for dinner and to also dress up a little. image-1-2
We went to Mish Mash (a restaurant where nothing matches; the plates, cutlery, and menu items are all different). My sister, brother-in-law, and I loved it. My parents did not. But, that is expected because they’re Persian and picky. Actually, I’mma start calling em’ PP.
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Super delicious and spicy eggplant dish.
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Some prawn and udon edible basket concoction. image-8
Birthday boy! image-1-3
Potato crisps. image-7
Mom and dad’s shared meal: pulled lamb bruschetta. They didn’t like it because their teeth couldn’t bite through the bread (lol) and the whole meal was cold (how it’s supposed to be).image-6
This is honey glazed carrots topped with crispy bacon bits. We also had dessert. I tried to take a picture but by this time, the sun had set and the lighting was terrible. We shared creme brulee and bread and butter donuts. The latter, super good. Like, unreal.

Let Us Have Love And More Love

Soroosh and I had the mutual idea of having a long-distance date this Valentine’s Day. Two average internet connections and two takeaway salmon and avocado (poor guy doesn’t even like either) sushi boxes later, we managed to pull it off on my lunch break (his dinner). And it was so lovely and he looked so handsome and I will always remember it. But you must know (and I want to vent about it) that our long-distance relationship isn’t always idyllic. Like, I really dislike only getting to hear of the parts of his life he deems significant enough to tap out over Messenger. I want to know ALL of the details and especially the so-called insignificants…
Though I must say, it is rather romantic knowing someone on the other side of the world is picturing your face every night before falling asleep in bed. image-png-30image-1-png-4image-png-29image-png-32image-png-34image-png-31image-png-33
Let us have love and more love; a love that melts all opposition, a love that conquers all foes, a love that sweeps away all barriers, a love that aboundeth in charity, a large-heartedness, tolerance, forgiveness and noble striving, a love that triumphs over all obstacles. ~Abdu’l-Bahá

Be Patient Towards All That Is Unsolved In Your Heart. Learn To Love the Questions Themselves.

I’ve had some pretty memorable Valentine’s Days. For my very first V day, I received a giant Winnie The Pooh from my very first boyfriend. I was 12. When we broke up, three months into the relationship (lol), I gifted Winnie to my best-friend’s sister. Almost a year later, when I felt my teenage heart had finally recovered, I desperately wanted the giant Pooh back. He was so big, so expensive but I didn’t have the nerve to ask my best-friend nor her sister.

For the next 5 Valentine’s Days, I received a single red rose from a “secret” admirer. On the 5th year, I caught my dad placing a red rose on our front door step. What a dude! I was both angry and appreciative.

Then there were the two Valentine’s Day’s with my ex – I guess he was my first “real” boyfriend because I actually loved him. Both years I posted pictures of his flowers and his red velvet boxed chocolates on my social media pages. I was so in love! I was the luckiest girl eva! That is until I wasn’t. The next couple V day’s I struggled seeing my friends’ flowers, chocolates, bracelets and other puke-inducing surprises. Bunch of F’in bullshit, I said. So I wrote a blogpost about it. I talked about the destructive affects of our Facebook and Instagram pages and how we all know that our friends only post their happy creme de la creme moments – we know this because we do the exact same – but even with this knowledge, we can’t help but to compare our lives to theirs. I questioned why we as a society feel the urge to publicise our significant others’ romantic gesture.  As if these precious occasions, these special moments would lose their significance if they are not “shared”. I ended my rant with the realisation that it should really be the opposite. That our rarest, most unique and intimate moments should be unpublished. Solely reserved to be shared (as in real life shared not FB shared) and treasured between us and our significant other.

Four months later, I was introduced to the love of my life on the internet. We were/still are messaging every day (but I’ve finally met him, he’s not an imaginary friend!). Soroosh had become a fan of my blog and a frequent commenter. One day he asked me if I’ve ever experienced a unique moment that I haven’t documented? One that I’ve kept sacred just for my self. It got me thinking. It reminded me of that post I wrote on V day. Who was this guy with the profound questions? So I set out on a mission, I went for a walk without my camera and then I wrote THIS. Seven months later, he continues to inspire my day to day. So, before I get too soppy and start contradicting myself, I just want to say that love and happiness or whatever it is your heart desires, is out there. We just gotta be a little more patient. We ought to learn to love the questions themselves. It’ll happen.
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Speaking of lurve, it was my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary the other day. Speaking of anniversary’s, on Sunday I sold ice-cream to a lady on her 50th wedding anniversary day. She said she and her husband married at 17. “What’s your secret?” I asked. She said, deep breaths!
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This gorgeous butterfly is my Valentine’s Day present for this year. I’m not bragging about it because I don’t even have it yet. Soroosh is going to safely transport it with him when he moves to NZ. It is a dried Peruvian butterfly in a simple frame. I think the wings look like different galaxies in space.
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Another note on singledom, I remember complaining to my sister, pre-Soroosh stage when she said, you shouldn’t reserve your love for one person. Why don’t you show all this love you talk about to your family and friends instead? So I had a lovely picnic with my mother yesterday. We drank coffee, we read and we ate cake. All in our tiny backyard, too. The chocolate and raspberry mousse cake is from Le Panier.
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“I am all the time thinking about poetry and fiction and you.” (Virginia Woolf) Yes, you!

Ask Yourself Kindly: What Do You Need?

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I have started doing things a little differently and so far my tummy feels very light and happy. If you’ve talked to me about my eating habits, you’ll know that I don’t like to label them. This is because I personally find living life, gladdening hearts, and making memories just as important as saving the planet and being healthy. What I’m trying to say is, if my new Japanese friend invites me over with utmost glee and sits me down with a big plate of lovingly homemade pork yakitori, well, I’m not going to break her heart and request broccoli. Anyways, I have finally started listening to the digestion experts by eating fruit first thing, on an empty stomach, in the morning. This has something to do with fruit often “rotting” in the stomach and thus causing poor-digestion and stomach-bloating. So, I eat my little bowl of fruit… I wait 15 to 20 minutes then I eat my muesli. Now, to complicate things even further… I’ve gone gluten-free. Of course, becoming gluten-free isn’t for everybody but as I said, so far, my tummy feels very light and happy. Surprisingly, it’s been very easy. Almost everywhere have gluten-free options and at home, all I’ve had to change is my bread and muesli. Bread I bought from the supermarket – super easy. And muesli, I swapped the oats in my homemade recipe to buckwheat puffs. So I dry toast nuts, seeds, honey, coconut oil and cinnamon in a frying pan and once cool, mix with dried fruit and buckwheat puffs (basically popcorn for breakfast – can’t complain). Next I want to try quinoa puffs and buckwheat groats. I will keep you updated anyhow. image-1
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While you work from an office… (hehe).image-5
Vanilla bean and gooseberries with rye crumble, blueberry, Greek yoghurt and mint and cherry, plum and Earl Grey, strawberry and rhubarb, coconut and passionfruit, coconut and dark chocolate. Mandy you a Genius! #UtopiaIce
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Sea salt caramel and popcorn ice-cream. Heaven is real and it comes in a tub. Save me.
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Easy snack idea for the 19 Day Bahai Feast – though I had trouble sticking the feta through the bamboo sticks without them falling apart so my momma suggested I end with the feta by simply pricking it a teeny tiny bit only. image-3
Physical feasting on snacks generously brought by friends after some serious soul-food! In the words of Abdu’l-Bahá, “My heart is in a constant state of thanksgiving.”

Dwell In Possibility

Two years ago, after finishing University, I decided to start a blog. The idea was given to me by over 10 friends! These friends I believe were simply tired of my Facebook spamming. Also, I knew it was important to have an outlet to continue my writing and a platform to build a writing portfolio. So, here we are.

In addition to gaining many supportive followers (you know who you are ) who continue to love and encourage me day by day (often sending me private emails with links, videos and/or career advice), some other pretty magical things have occurred:

1. Two different media companies, after seeing my blog asked me to write for them (finally, paid writing gigs!).
2. I met Laura – a follower from Belgium who stayed with me in Japan and later I stayed with in Belgium. I want to tell you that when I explained my anxieties to my mother of letting a stranger into my home, my mother encouraged me to let go of my fear. How incredible is that? How incredible is she? Of course, I stalked the heck out of Laura’s blog and her Social Media pages before she came but still, I had no idea if she would be sane! Today, Laura is one of my bestestestest friends!
3. I met Lavanya – a follower from Switzerland. I stayed with Lavanya and her partner during my Europe trip. She was and still is, a huge inspiration. Seriously, it was as if God sent me these two angels (Laura and Lavanya) when I most needed them.
4.Yesterday I received an email from Victoria. Victoria is a Bahai from Canada. She is an RHN (registered holistic nutritionist) and has been offering eCourses for three years. She has just launched four new whole food, plant-based eCourses and has asked for my help in promoting them. If you’ve ever struggled with weight-loss, maintaining a healthy diet or you’re just curious about vegan and gluten-free food, I highly 110% recommend you check out Victoria’s resources. HERE is the link for her main website. And HERE is the link for the eCourses. I know how hard it is to publicise your passion but as my friend Kyle once told me, if you keep doing what you love, eventually people will notice.
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New in CHCH: Prince of Persia

My dad is good at a lot of things but I’d say he’s most well-known for his kebab. He lives and breathes it. Seriously, the guy loves kebab so much, if he could, he’d marry it (sorry mom). For this reason, he knows all the “Persian” eateries in Christchurch like the back of his hands. I use quotation marks here because most of these restaurants are a fusion of Persian and Turkish. Newly opened Prince of Persia is actually authentically Persian. Their kebabs identical to the kebab restaurants of our motherland. Their tablecloths the same as the ones in our dining area. The food comparison by the way, comes from my mother, AKA the queen of complaints. This woman complains everywhere. Too salty, not hot enough, too little this, too much that. But at Prince of Persia she LOVES, and I mean licksherplate loves everything. So I highly recommend it. Persian food at its best.

As well as Persian-mom-approved food (try the ghormesabzi, it’s unreal!), Prince of Persia is affordable (starting from $13…), spacious and child-friendly. Visit their website HERE for more info.
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