Dark chocolate and roasted hazelnut ice-cream.
White peach and vanilla sorbet.
The mastermind herself.
My attempt at having a non-cereal breakfast: free-range scrambled eggs (2), avocado, and organic gluten-free bread.
This is a non-traditional Persian New Year haft-sin (literally, seven “S”) table. It’s non traditional because I only had 5 of the real S’s. The other two, I made up myself: S for saat (clock/watch) and S for sparrow (yes sis, I realised sparrow wasn’t Persian. Whatever).
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.
Guys! I cannot express my joy in words alone. My dear cousin, after over a month in solitary confinement was finally released from prison alongside 4 other believers. I am so happy for him and his family. I pray for the release of the remaining 9 Baha’is.
After 20 excruciating days of receiving zero information from the Iranian officials of my cousin’s whereabouts, his family were finally allowed to “visit” him in Adel Abad prison (Shiraz) in a booth separated by glass. As it turns out, he is being kept in solitary confinement. In “the hotbox”, “the hole”, “lockdown.” And for what? For practising a religion of oneness. Of love, compassion, and justice.
My heart aches for him. For his parents. Sisters. Wife and two young children. But it’s not just him. Countless other completely innocent souls have been, and still are today, victims of the Iranian government’s cruel cruel wrath.
If I could see or speak to Vargha, I would tell him that I am ardently praying for him. And that so are my parents. And my sister, and my friends and my followers. I would beg him to remain hopeful and resilient. Just as I beg you to count your blessings every day. To make the most of your freedom. To work for oneness. To love and to serve. And to stand up for injustice. To stand up, and to speak out for those who cannot speak out for themselves.
Lastly, to please share news of Vargha and the other Bahá’ís terrible state of affairs with your family, friends, and contacts. For perhaps, if the Iranian government is placed under greater pressure for their wicked injustice, they may hopefully reevaluate such inhuman operations.
Be calm, be strong, be grateful, and become a lamp full of light, that the darkness of sorrows be annihilated, and that the sun of everlasting joy arise from the dawning-place of heart and soul, shining brightly. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá)
It has been quiet here. My mind is in a creative rut and my heart is not in it. I cannot stop thinking of my dear cousin and his immediate family. And of course, the other 13 innocent victims. Yesterday, my mother sent me a picture of a letter my cousin’s 7 year old daughter had written to the Iranian High Court begging for her father’s release. You can read more here and here. It tore me to pieces. How are these violations of human rights still continuing to happen in 2016?
As for me personally, I am spending most days by myself, reading, exercising and watching movies. I am looking forward to new adventures when I visit Laura in Belgium, Monique in Zurich and Anita’s mom (Pattzi) in Nice. See you then xx
The sky is charcoal black today. My dear cousin, a loving husband and father of two little ones was taken prisoner (again), alongside 12 other innocent souls in Iran. His crime? Following a faith thats sole purpose is the unification of all people. Practicing equality, love and justice. Giving eternal love and service.
When asked on one occasion: “What is a Bahá’í?” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá replied: “To be a Bahá’í simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood.”
My heart is broken. As is his immediate family’s and friends’. The persecution of the Iranian Bahá’í community is a serious problem. In this recent article, it was likened unto the apartheid system. The world is a cruel cruel place. Today I feel deeply ashamed. Ashamed at myself for continuously having trivial “problems.” I recently cried to my mother for not having a travel companion. But it’s not fun by myself, I said. Then I moaned about my weight. I’m not as skinny as I used to be. Then my clothes: I want to shop in NZ. European clothes don’t fit and they’re too expensive. Of course she rationalised how ridiculous my concerns were. As mothers so perfectly do. But even so, at the time it didn’t register. I still felt upset. Now it has registered.
My “problems” are nothing, nil, non-existent. I am so immensely lucky. How dare I ever complain. I am so ashamed. I pray for my cousin and all who are bearing a heavier load than they can take. Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í faith says: “Let your vision be world embracing…” To me this means detachment, of ourselves and of our problems or in my case, “problems” for there is always someone worse off than we, on earth. When we forget to look at the bigger picture, our perceptions are clouded.
“When you think things are bad,
when you feel sour and blue,
when you start to get mad…
you should do what I do!
Just tell yourself, Duckie,
you’re really quite lucky!
Some people are much more…
oh, ever so much more…
oh, muchly much-much more
unlucky than you!”
―Dr. Seuss, Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?
20 days to go. I am trying my best to make the most of every day, knowing that when I look back on my time here, I’ll only remember the good and miss it. Terribly. Today, I am appreciating Nishiawakura, the village next to mine. Not only is it home to some of my dearest friends in Japan, it is also beautiful and, bursting with raw talent. From Olivier and Hiromi’s bread to Lifa and Akiko’s woodwork to Naho sensei’s pottery to the fresh herbs and vegetables lovingly cultivated by sweet old couples. Of course, Nishiawakura’s talent is not limited to this image for it seems almost every inhabitant there is making and creating in the hope of putting their unique mark on the world.
I haven’t forgotten my attempt at eating more savory foods. I am trying. I bought more muesli but that’s just because I cannot, for the life of me, love anything else as much as I love my muesli bowls. They bring light to my heart. Also because, every single morning (7 days a week) an incredibly loud and highly inappropriate siren sounds in my village to announce 6 o’clock. It is inappropriate because after living in Iran and Israel, it always freaks me out. I instinctively think of missiles. Though the next village wakes up to musical chimes. When I first arrived and knew nothing about countryside Japan life, each time I heard the loud siren I stressed so much. Eventually I realized it happened every day and at the same time. When my parents came to visit and the siren went off, my panic-stricken mother woke my father and I up. These days, I intentionally get up before 6 when it’s usually dark. And it is when I am making coffee or decorating my muesli bowl when the siren sounds and the sun comes out.
PS that’s not my bike. It is some old lady’s bike. The salad is made of vegetable “noodles” using this little hand rolling device. It is yellow zucchini and cucumber dressed in apple cider vinegar and olive oil. It was my contribution to a home-cooked Japanese dinner I was invited to. The dahl/dal or dhal however you spell it is made of adzuki beans – my humble attempt at marrying the flavors of Japan and India.
OMG. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, merci, arigato. Kisses, boos, chu. Let us celebrate with a Parisian (not Persian) breakfast with croissants and pain au chocolats (from Le Panier) and exotic fruit (including red kiwi-fruit and Tamarillos).