hope

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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A Kindly Tongue Is The Lodestone Of The Hearts Of Men.

…It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning, it is the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding… ~Bahá’u’lláhImage (11)
Ham, cheese, and slaw buns with steamed corn, corn chips, and cookies for a picnic at beautiful Ashley Gorge – can’t believe I’d never been here before. So so beautiful. Definitely taking oosh. Image-1 (4)
“When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love.” ~’Abdu’l-Bahá Image (12)
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Some of the tutors, participants, and wannabe chefs.
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The day I made nachos, I got a lot of moans and groans on first glance from the boys for it being vegetarian. However, once they’d tasted it, they kept coming back for more (yay!).Image (2)Really super weird handling raw chicken but I think I did good. Oven curry (is that a thing? Or am I just super clever?) with chicken drumsticks (duh), carrot, kumara, and red potato.
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Beautiful NZ.

“Where There Is Love Nothing Is Too Much Trouble And There Is Always Time.” ~Abdu’l-Bahá

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“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

“So, I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.”

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

“This is what we call love. When you are loved, you can do anything in creation. When you are loved, there’s no need at all to understand what’s happening, because everything happens within you.”

“Why do we have to listen to our hearts?” the boy asked.
“Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you will find your treasure.”

“You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.”

~Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

A Gratitude List

…look around you. All of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love. -Zooey Deschanel

I dedicate this list to you. I’m sorry for the whinging and the grumbles. I really am happy and grateful…it’s just so easy to be open with you.

1.Working limbs to walk, run, cycle and explore.
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2.Unexpected friends. Like Laura from Belgium who I met through blogging. who came and stayed with me in Japan and who just happens to be blogging about it NOW.

3.My auntie Pouneh – of course for having me here but also for her many entertaining stories, cycling advice and organic salads!
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4.Coffee. I mean come on. Ican’teven without it.
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5.Art. Art and creative people. Literature, music, Sundance! Thank you for making me feel all sorts of feels.

6.My mama, who keeps messaging me to be careful not to get a cold? And that I’m her little girl and very pretty. Oh my heart. My world. Thank you.
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7.Getting paid to travel. Okay so it’s not much (hint hint Savvy Tokyo) but it’s seriously a dream come true. I did it. I blogged for 730 days in a row, annoyed the hell out of you all and eventually landed myself a teeny tiny writing role. Have you read my latest work? You can HERE, HERE and HERE. Cheers and kampai to (fingers-crossed/touch-wood) many more.

Why Is Patience So Important?

Because it makes us pay attention.― Paulo Coelho

I have always struggled with patience. I blame my mother (hehe) because she is very similar. Turns out all I had to do for my toilet-water-wet phone to recover was to wait. I am sorry for the melodramatics. Here are the last photos from Santiago, Spain:
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Bucket feng shui. image3image4
(See last post and imagine)
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Ecological milk. image5image1
Poor Xoel (Maria and Danny’s son). This man invited me to join him and I passed on the burden to Xoel (hehe).image
Pilgrim’s shoe.
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The infamous sandals are back!
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What an absolutely stunning little city. I can’t wait to return. Santiago <3
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Thinspiration.
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Not exactly sure what is happening here…but Santiago sure does inspire.
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Man and friend.
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The Pain Of Parting Is Nothing To The Joy Of Meeting Again

This post should really be split between several posts because it’s so  heartful – is that a word?

From top to bottom: my goodbye party last night, a few of my thoughtful thoughtful gifts…one of which…drum roll please… IS THE RETURN OF MY BENTO! I know! I can’t believe it either. I am SO overjoyed. And last, snaps of some of my loved ones including  a picture story of my new friend gifting me his (second) best watermelon  (I remembered my camera this time).
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Dear Future Lover

Inspired by the ever so wonderful literature of Zelda Fitzgerald.

I don’t suppose I really know you very well- but I know you dream of me often and that the scent of your cologne dancing around your collar bone is my favorite smell and that your one in a trillion smile makes all my worries go away or else, the way you touch my hand, as if it were sacred, as if I were, as if I am.

I know that your eyes are secret islands gradually revealing their treasures day by day, and that your walk is gravitational, in the sense that I yearn to walk with you for as long as I can, and that our lips are the two jigsaw puzzles still clinging together in the pool of fragmented pieces.

What I don’t know is where you are at this very moment and when and how we will meet next. But darling, those are insignificant, compared to the whole, compared to the way my head fits your shoulder as if our bodies were carved by the same sculptor designed to match one another and as if our hearts were planted by the same gardener specialising in companionship – each one of us supporting the other to reach the sunlight first.

A New Admirer

Can you guess the story from the pictures? Well, I’ll tell you anyway. I woke up at 5am because I go to sleep early (read about it here). I had a beautifully presented breakfast (read about it here). I went for a walk and bumped into my new friend (read about him here). He was waiting for me. He took me to his garden. He gave me eggplants, okra, tomatoes and cucumber. He said “good morning” and “you are a girl” and “you are a boy” and “Christchurch”. He was very pleased with his English. I was too. Then he drove me home. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. So if I put on weight from not completing my daily exercises we all know who to blame. I love him.
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This Moment Contains All Moments

Do you remember Yasu? My unexpected friend? Well, her family thew me a goodbye party last night. We ate clam chowder, sushi rolls (featuring pink, green and whie rice), tofu salad and much more. Her mother is such a sweet soul and a very good cook. Last night she reminded me very much of my own mother. She’d made this pork and egg dish which she kept apologizing for. She’d say, “please try this, I made it but I’m sorry, it became too spicy.” Each time someone reached for a helping or she offered it to them, she’d say sorry. I told her my mama was the same. That whatever she cooked she’d end up apologizing for. And even though if it was the yummiest dish in the world, she’d still be saying sorry. Then my father would tease her for having apologized, again. Silly sweet humble loving mamas.

Yasu’s younger sister, Shoko, whose name for the life of me I can’t remember so I have to call her what her two year old nephew calls her: “aka”, surprised me with the beautiful cake pictured. We had a blast. I can’t believe how much they did for me. I wish I’d met Yasu sooner. I keep questioning why our paths didn’t cross earlier. Especially since she had been living right there, in the upstairs apartment! We could have shared so many dinners together – a thought which brings me much joy but also sadness.

After dinner, we did hanabi (fireworks) – an activity strongly resonant with Japanese summer.
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