Life is so much more interesting with a library card.
Love my weekends in Sumner. Forever grateful to Mandy for the dreamy job.
Many thanks for the sweet bag Leyla-joon, I am using it everyday.
Is it too late to say sorry? Accidently/accidentally tomato/tomato
Beached as bro.
Day 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.
Tried this before? Coconut yoghurt with turmeric and mango. It has been surprisingly hot. I have been enjoying eating outside in the sun and in the space of a few days, I have gone from no job, well 1/2 job (freelancing for Savvy Tokyo) to 2 and 1/2 jobs. The first is to do with the education of 5-10 year olds. That’s pretty much all I can say without breaching privacy rules. And the second is serving delicious homemade organic gelato, vegan sorbets, and coconut ice-cream for the freakishly talented Utopia Ice. Hashtag life-as-a-wannabe-writer.
Plum and earl grey. Yes, earl grey! CHCH friends, you know where to get your ice-cream fix this ice-cream-weather long weekend ;)
FINISHED. This one is my favourite (so far). I really related to Heidi. She, a real writer, me, a wannabe writer – let’s just say reading it, I had numerous: “for real? ME too!” moments.
Today my mom, my sister and I (dad, God bless him, was working as usual) had a Persian breakfast for lunch. Persians eat bread and feta cheese (here sprinkled with cumin powder) with vegetables like cucumber and tomato (the avocado is a personal addition) with herbs and nuts. And sometimes watermelon makes an appearance, too. Washed down with black cardamom tea. Until the age of seven, all I knew of breakfast was the Persian kind. When we arrived in NZ, I was introduced to cereal for the first time. Also sliced bread. We never had that in Iran. Our bread was huge and round and I had to line up for it with my mom. It would come out of a large round oven filled with little stones. Sometimes, if we were lucky (or so I thought back then) our bread would have one of these stones attached to it. This was my childhood. Walking down the street on my tippy toes, scanning the bread my mother held for lucky stones.
“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.
“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)
The Importance of Food Presentation by me.
I just wanted to say I liked The Berry Shop before it was this busy!
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.
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!
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.
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
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.My 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’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.
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.
Cheese testers galore in Geraldine.
Isn’t my daddy hilarious? This one’s for you, Lifa!
Central otago peaches and cherries, banana, momma’s homemade muesli and unsweetened organic oat milk.
Guys, this is Queenstown in NZ and it is one of my absolute favourites. True, it’s super touristy today but it’s so so lovely always. Thank you Delaram and Andy for organising this trip.
My 2017 resolution (gosh can’t even write “2017” without thinking “wtf”) is to read a book a week. Apparently that’s 52 books in total. Today i finished A Crack In Forever by Jeannie Brewer, a love story: honestly sad, truly sweet, overly sexy and incredibly hard to forget.
What A Crack In Forever taught me during its last tear-gushing chapters is to seriously appreciate each and every moment for a loved one can be taken away at any moment.
I couldn’t yell it at my Japanese co-workers so I’m gonna write it here: people don’t learn a language through tests! I say this from experience. English is my second language. Until the age of 8.5 I could not speak a word of it. In fact, I loathed the damn gibberish I couldn’t decrypt. So much so, that I remember crying to my mother, to take me out of NZ and back to our home in Iran where were my close friends. And, look at me now! I run this silly blog where I write in English! I hold a University degree in English literature, and I spent a year and a half teaching the very language in Japan to hundreds of students. The secret? Learning through action. Through doing. Through activities and through games. Through entertainment! Through watching the TV show F.R.I.E.N.D.S. No one wants to practice grammar! Ain’t nobody got time for that (or the patience)! People want to converse, to do, and to connect. Which is why I LOVE this book right here. I’m writing a post because I want to personally recommend it to all of my friends. And no, I am not on commission.
So. Whether you’re a legit ESL teacher, a part-time tutor or a helpful friend wanting to teach your helpful friend some England, this light and thus easily carried book is full of fun games and activities to spice up your lessons. For more info click HERE or HERE.
Dear Liz Gilbert,
My sister and I watched Eat Pray Love on opening night. We loved it (as in actually loved it – not just saying “loved it” for exaggeration) because we both adore travel and because we both enjoy food. Of course, we were very fond of its message too. Soon after, we read the book. Your book. Since then, the answer I have given (still give today) to anyone asking, “So. Who is your favourite author?” has been/still is, you.
It was midway through my last year of university, when assignments were becoming lethal that I listened to your famous Ted talk. You talked of creativity in a way I had never heard before. Suddenly, the pressures and anxieties around writing the perfect essay were out the door. Instead, I showed up to my study table, I made time and I worked and I worked and I worked until my muse/genius/inspiration was convinced I was serious and in Maya Angelo’s words, spoke, “Okay. Okay. I’ll come.” And it did. Just as you’d promised it would. And it got me through. I passed and I felt invincible. If only I had though of creativity in this limitless way before.
One week ago, I bought your latest work Big Magic at the Geneva airport bookstore. I am in love and I don’t know how to thank you. It is liberating, humorous, inspiring and above all, real. I aspire to write like you, in a manner that’s both intelligent and conversational, serious and loving, funny and true.
I want to buy everyone this book!
Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.
It’s a simple and generous rule of life that whatever you practice, you will improve at.
But to yell at your creativity, saying, “You must earn money for me!” is sort of like yelling at a cat; it has no idea what you’re talking about, and all you’re doing is scaring it away, because you’re making really loud noises and your face looks weird when you do that.
(All quotes by Elizabeth Gilbert form Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear)
Yesterday I had an idea. One that both frightens me and makes me excited. I thought, why don’t I compile a picture book of my time here? Wouldn’t that be the very best way of closing a chapter? No pun intended. Okay, pun totally intended. What do you think? With anecdotes and recipes and maybe one or two poems (because I hear poems don’t really sell). Not that money is a focus for me whatsoever. I swear to God, all I want to do is create. I have dreamt of publishing a book ever since I was a little widdle head-scarf wearing school girl. Won’t you please help? Any ideas, any contacts, any advice, anything at all because I really don’t know one thing about doing this. Will you buy it? Is it a good idea? What do you want to see in it? Who should I contact? How do I do this?
Eagerly awaiting your comments and messages,
The bookstores, the public libraries and the school libraries in rural Japan don’t really store English-language books. If they do, they’re Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. Fortunately for me, my dear friends and neighbours, Olivier and Hiromi Charles have a small collection of which I’m able to borrow. Through limited choice, I’ve had the opportunity to read some books which I wouldn’t originally judge by the cover and pick up at a bookstore. All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things by Robert Fulghum is not like any book I’ve ever read before. In fact, I believe it is more of a blog than a novel. Each chapter, written in casual first-person covers a random topic of Fulghum’s choice. The book does not work as a whole, rather as well, blog posts, snippets of musings on the author and his/our world. As per Fulghums own advice, there is no hurry in finishing it, it is best read a little bit at a time. Seeing as you’re already here and reading this blog post, I’d say you can enjoy literature in a short but sweet dose (yes, I just complimented my own prose) which makes this book perfect for you. Also, for those of us who enjoy learned advice, life wisdom and killer quotes.
“These are the things I learned (in Kindergarten):
1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don’t hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
7. Say you’re SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life – learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Stryrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.”
I’ve never had the blessing of a constant elderly person in my life. This is because, when my family migrated to New Zealand from Iran, me and my grandparents became separated by seemingly infinite miles. Growing up, I envied my friends and the close relationship they had with their nana and pops’ – in particular, Kiwi grandmas! Compared to the old people in Iran, these women were so healthy, care-free and always occupied with baking biscuits and pavlovas.
When I grew older, learnt English and became exposed to literature and media, my yearnings intensified. The grandparents in the books I read and the movies I watched were almost always offering kind and valuable guidance to their grandchild. Where was my life-changing, my eye-opening advice?
Eventually, I must have reached a point where I let go of the resentment and accepted my life, for the absence stopped bothering me as much.
Reading Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie, reminded me of that intense longing I had consciously (or subconsciously) buried inside. Tuesdays with Morrie is a light read, a short book (I read it in one sitting) but SO full of love. Love, guidance and wisdom. From an old man to a young man and ultimately, everyone.
“The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it.”
“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” (p. 43)
“ . . . If you’ve found meaning in your life you don’t want to go back. You want to go forward. You want to see more, do more. You can’t wait until sixty-five.”