blogging

I Am Growing Flowers…

in the darkest parts of my heart, for if light ever enters, it would know where to start. ~Noor Unnahar
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On Sunday evening, S and I went to The Tannery to watch one my favourite musicians, whom I first stumbled upon busking in Queenstown some 5 years ago (he busking not me) at live music venue, Blue Smoke. Of course, Graeme James was absolutely phenomenal – people like him make me wish I was at least slightly musical. On the contrary, S and I were not in top form.

You see, since his arrival, things have been pretty difficult. Getting used to one another’s presence after six months of separation takes work. Funnily enough, and I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing this, Lifa (my Israeli brother with the beautiful Japanese wife) contacted me with a very resonating message a couple days ago:  “Are you guys still madly in love?” he asked, followed by: “When Aki came to meet me in Israel she suddenly wasn’t sure anymore…I would blame it on me coming late to pick her up from the airport but you know…doubts started and all. Eventually we passed that but what I’m saying is that surprises can happen.”

In my case, there have been no doubts, none whatsoever at all. Just disappointments. Allow me to explain: for 6 entire months I had looked forward to his arrival. So much so, that I had booked and cancelled 3 different cafe’s for our first place to go to after the airport (I couldn’t decide which would impress him the most). Next, I’d planned our weekends, and week nights, and basically, every minute of which I was not at work. We’d missed out on so much, now that he was finally here, I wanted us to do it all! But as the old yiddish proverb goes: “man plans and god laughs.” At first S was extremely jet-lagged, then poor guy fell sick due to climate change, then I became sick (both physically and emotionally) due to overly attached girlfriend shenanigans (haha). And, it’s also winter, which means everything is just that much harder to begin with. So, with my grand schemes down the drain, and my expectations unmet, I found myself rather disappointed.

And this is where we chose love. Realising that if we wanted to be more than picture-perfect happy, we needed to put in the effort. So, as kindly as we could, we communicated our feelings, and as selflessly as we could, we acknowledged one another’s. It was an arduous process. It is an arduous process. I can’t say I’ll ever master it. But what I can say is that it was the rain (and shine) which made our relationship blossom. For the sincere way S offered me solace, made me fall in love with his beautiful soul all over again. In the words of Abdu’l-Bahá: “where there is love, nothing is too much trouble and there is always time.”
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Is Someone Getting The Best Of You?

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I had the loveliest Saturday with my also lovely friend, Sam last weekend. We went to the Saturday Farmers’ Market for a Posh Porridge breakfast but when we saw that they weren’t there and on holiday, we had Bacon Brothers instead. Yep, I ate bacon. And not just any bacon but NZ bacon in say over 4 years of not having eaten it and oh my was it delicious. And, I’m not kidding you, I was full for 1.5 days. Rick, I can’t wait for you to try it. NZ bacon > American bacon.
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Super easy Easter crafts. Top, chooks made with pom-poms and egg cartons. Bottom, a carrot made with an empty yarn cone donated by a student’s thoughtful mother. Image (2)Image (3)
Sorry mom, forgot to move the towels (again). #PUGLIFE
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Making tissue paper flowers for the upcoming Ridvan celebration at Bahai Children’s Classes.
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“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.” ~Alfred MercierImage (1)
Below, what I sent S for his birthday (ie. a present also for myself): a Sydney weekend getaway! EEEE we are so blessed. And how about you my dear followers? Is someone getting the best of you?
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This Is How You Get Unstuck: You Reach.

image-3“You are the finest, loveliest, tenderest, and most beautiful person I have ever known—and even that is an understatement.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald) Friends, I find nothing more romantic than these letters. I could easily quote these lovers for the remainder of this post but I’ll resist. A side note: often when I take such photos of my breakfast and things on this decaying picnic table in our backyard, my tootsies make an appearance forcing me to impatiently start over, this time standing in the most awkwardly unnatural position so as to hide them. image-9
Speaking of F. Scott and Zelda, four months ago, I had the absolute pleasure of visiting Hotel Belle Rives where the couple stayed in the year 1925. Unable to speak French and unaware of Antibes’ transportation systems, I decided to walk there from my accommodation. An hour later, I arrived sweaty and in my gym gear. To my surprise, I was welcomed by the gentleman porter with such hospitality as if I were Zelda herself!  This left me speechless. In a dream-like state, I walked around the bar, snapped a couple pictures and vowed to return again before my stay in Antibes was over.
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Once back at my accommodation, I emailed the General Manager, expressing my gratitude to the incredibly hospitable porter. He, Lucas, replied by inviting me and a friend back for coffee, croissants and a private tour of the establishment. I don’t know if it was the ambience or what, but here Anita’s mom and I drank the best coffee we’ve ever drank ever.
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The photo above and the photo below are of the views from the hotel’s best room (unbelievably dare in the summer). Lovely Lucas said I could honeymoon there on mate’s rates. I wonder if he’d also cover my plane ticket? (hehe).
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Back to reality (below) which is pretty darn good with no room for complaints: I helped and will continue to help for the long weekend, my beautiful friend Mandy sell her handmade ice-cream and sorbets. It was a dream job and nothing less.
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Some beetroot salad and avocado before eating sorry I mean selling ice-cream. image-4
“All these soft, warm nights going to waste when I ought to be lying in your arms under the moon – the dearest arms in all the world – darling arms that I love so to feel around me – How much longer – before they’ll be there to stay? When I get home again, you’ll certainly have a most awful time ever moving me one inch from you -”
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Sea salt caramel and popcorn, vanilla bean, blueberry, mint, Greek yoghurt and cherry compote, peach and lemon sorbet (vegan), rhubarb and strawberry sorbet (vegan), coconut keffir raspberry (vegan), coconut and dark chocolate (vegan). image-5
Bliss.#UtopiaIce

Figure Out Who You Are Then Do It On Purpose

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See! We and Prince of Persia really DO share the same tablecloth! PS if there’s one advice I can give for making perfect pancakes, it is using a non-stick crepe maker. THIS one in specific. It has been and continues to be, my most prized possession – after the yellow rose Soroosh gave me on our first date. image-5
My dear friend and follower, Randy yesterday commented to say she misses Akiko, Lifa and Ozzy. Well, lookie here! Look who is thinking of me! Thanks guys, my heart is bursting.
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The Origin (95 Westminster Street) is a new entirely vegan CHCH eatery. And, it is hands-down, nothing short of amazing! The food and the coffee, oh my. You’ve been warned. I can’t wait to go again. In fact, I’m gonna go today. image-6
image-1-1Bet you’ve never taken a #muffinselfie. Or have you?
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Oopsie. Must use bigger oven. Of course, my mother told me off for this. I did not try to argue that it was her who suggested and by suggested I mean forced me to use the toaster oven for my baking experiments in hope of using less electricity in the first place.
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Combine the following in a large mixing bowl, 3 free-range eggs, 1/4 cup runny honey, 1/2 cup natural yoghurt, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 ripe banana, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar. Mix well, then gently sift in 1 cup buckwheat flour, 1 cup almond meal, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cardamom, 1 tsp baking soda, a large handful of chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, then mix thoroughly. Drop the mixture in to 12 greased muffin tins. Bake at 180 C for about 15 minutes or, until an inserted fork inserted comes out clean. Yummy yummy.

The Best Thing To Hold Onto In Life Is Each Other

Today I went to the Lyttleton Farmers’ Market with my mother. And she tried everything. She ate olives and smoked salmon (not together). She tried a piece of a Brussels waffle, a chunk of a cookie and a slice of apricot. At one point, her eyes failing her, she reached INTO a bowl of creamy hummus, which she mistook as the creamy interior of a clay bowl and picked at its garnish! Eventually God saved me (and the testers) for her precious legs began to hurt and her head started craving coffee. After our coffee break which also turned into our lunch break because all the sitting and relaxing made her empty stomach super hungry, I suggested we visit the beach. At the beach, we took a 20minute trail by the water and all I thought about there and then was how badly I wish Soroosh were with me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be ungrateful or anything but this long-distance thing is killing me.
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I Devour My Favorite Books

“Reading and eating are natural companions, and they’ve got a lot in common. Reading is consumption. Eating is consumption. Both are comforting, nourishing, restorative, relaxing, and mostly enjoyable. They can energize you or put you to sleep. Heavy books and heavy meals both require a period of intense digestion. Just as reading great novels can transport you to another time and place, meals — good and bad ones alike — can conjure scenes very far away from your kitchen table. Some of my favorite meals convey stories of origin and tradition; as a voracious reader, I devour my favorite books.” (Dina Fried, Food and Fiction)

The other day, as I scanned the library shelves for something new to read, I came across Heidi Julavits’ The Folded Clock which I judged entirely by the cover only and thus ended up issuing. Thankfully, the old adage proved utter bullcrap because this book, with its pretty blue patterned cover, is a, dare I say it, complete beauty! I love Heidi. I wish we could be friends. On second thought, her success would probably frighten me. This is because over the span of a couple pages,  I’ve become a huge fan of her writing. Why can’t I write like that? (I’m not fishing). Heidi’s prose is so human and so refreshing. You see, The Folded Clock is a diary which means we are given access to Heidi’s frank, funny, and surprisingly relatable musings. Her thoughts (often irrational) hit close to home for me. Unlike some authors I’ve read, Heidi isn’t pretending. She writes what her overworked mind (much like yours or mine) thinks.
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“I am a jack-of-all-trades. I edit and teach and at times desire to be a clothing designer or an artist (one who doesn’t draw or paint or sew) and I write everything but poetry and I am a mother and a social maniac and a misanthrope and a burgeoning self-help guru and a girl who wants to look pretty and a girl who wants to look sexy and a girl who wants to look girly and a woman in her middle forties who wishes not to look like anything at all, who wishes sometimes to vanish.” (Heidi Julavits, The Folded Clock: A Diary)
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The Importance of Food Presentation by me.
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I just wanted to say I liked The Berry Shop before it was this busy!
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Soroosh’s mom taught me this salad. I think it’s so tasty. Recently, I made it for my family and they also agreed.

1 pound boiled chicken, chopped small
3-4 large stalks of celery, chopped (leaves included)
1 cup red grapes, halved
½ cup roasted walnuts, chopped
handful of fresh mint, torn
2 gherkins, diced small
1 cup greek yoghurt
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix until just combined.
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My family’s favorite foodie place in all of NZ is ZAB Thai Food Takeaway (except for my dad since he can’t handle spicy food). Oh man, it’s so good. It’s so good that I considered not posting about it. You know, in case it gets super popular and it becomes not good anymore. #padthaigamestrong

Speaking of strong food games, HERE are 8 Japanese foodie Instagram’s y’all should follow!

Reviews

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I’m not ashamed to say that one of my favorite hangouts is the supermarket. And that on Pay Days it’s the first place I go. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a glutton, I’m just…a lover of health-foods. So, I tried this pourable organic bush-honey yoghurt (though it doesn’t state that it’s pourable, it just is) and I loved it. It’s sorta expensive but I think it’s worth it. Yay for local food.
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Jennifer Niven’s All The Bright Places was the second book I read for my A Book A Week New Year’s resolution. Described by The Guardian as the new The Fault in Our Stars, the last chapters had me bawling! It is a teenage love-story about suicide. 4.2/5
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Speaking of bawling, LION had the entire theatre in tears. What a touching film! I definitely recommend it. To anybody and everybody. Did you know that in India alone, over 80,000 children go missing each year? I don’t know about you but my mind can’t even begin to fathom such statistics. Watching Lion helps put a small part of this catastrophe in perspective. At the end of the film, I was overtaken with a lot of thoughts and emotions but mainly that, children truly are the light of the world and that, we all have a role and an obligation in the bigger picture.image-8My handsome and cool boyfriend suggested I take it easy for week 3 (mainly because I was running behind) and read a children’s book. Margaret Mahy (NZ represent) is a genius. Here’s a little treasure for you, too:

My  Sister
My sister’s remarkably light,
She can float to a fabulous height.
It’s a troublesome thing,
But we tie her with a string,
And we use her instead of a kite.
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My daddy has an Afghani friend with a traditional bread oven. He usually makes white bread but my dad requests unsalted wholemeal. Since he’s the only customer of this sort of bread, daddy has to buy the entire batch in bulk. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you daddy’s friend’s details because I don’t even know but I thought you’d appreciate the photos and that smile anyhow. image-1

Every Fear Contains A Wish

Follow your fear. Do the work. This is where you will find big magic. -Cheryl Strayed
image-1-1image-14Made breakfast for mom and I (daddy is still in bed from working late and always sacrificing for us). It’s simple, entirely plant-based and yum. Why don’t you try it as well? Simply blend: 1 banana, 1 small mango (pitted), 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, 1/4 cup water, and a large handful of spinach leaves then top with fresh fruit and all-natural granola.image-15
Vegan pasta made from authentic ingredients from the Mediterranean Food Company.
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That night CHCH had the most incredible sunset!
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Self love is teddy bear toast.
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Mama’s delicious Persian food: a chicken dish and rice flipped from a rice cooker. Also, leftovers of my pasta. And, the torso of mom’s cooking’s no1 fan: my brother-in-law, Andy.
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Bought myself a new top to interview in. I especially like the flower pattern.

Trust That All You Did Not Receive, All You Need Will Come To You In Time.

Dear readers, I apologise for my absence. I’ve been busy. Mostly catching up with old friends, helping out here and there and working on articles, job applications, short-stories and poetry! Gosh, I get myself so busy. And you? What’s new? Won’t you write to me? I’m getting sick of my own writing!
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Look who it is!!! Come to visit their one and only beautiful daughter (Anita not me hehe). image-1
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Mediterranean Food Company. If you haven’t been you’re missing out. The pizza is GOOD here and also the Mediterranean groceries! Including a large variety of sweets and gherkins from Turkey and of course, everything your stomach desires from Italy: fresh and dry pasta, olives, cheese, tomato sauces, and much more. image-3
Mmm salted chocolate and pistachio torte.
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Walking in Victoria Park with my bestie.image-4
Why she is my bestie.
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Taking photos of Christchurch’s new Adventure Parkimage-6
More to come once I sort my shizz.