love

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
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
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
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Major touristing at Christchurch Museum.
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
After a warm coffee at Sign of The Kiwi Cafe, we are not cold, we swear!
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

Waiting for the food…
Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset
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)

We Will Love

How is it July already?!
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
The best way to spend a Saturday morning in Christchurch? Utopia Ice with your lover.
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Followed by a romantic stroll through Mona Vale , of course. Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset
Is it just me or is this the weirdest thing ever? A duck in a tree?! Now you don’t see that everyday (or do you?)
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Another angle…Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Even in winter there are roses!Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
His and hers, Nandos.
Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset
Soroosh’s super cool photography.
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
My favourite dinner is breakfast. And my favourite person doesn’t mind (yay).
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Packed his bento like a good Japanese wifey <3

Love Is A Believing Creature

All photos by Soroosh:
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
(Lake Tekapo)
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
(Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown)
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Okay, this one’s by me hehe (notice the Dr. Pepper? #Merica)
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
(Millenium Hotel, Queenstown)Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
(Hyde Park, Sydney)
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
(Castle Hill Koala Sanctuary, Sydney)
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
(City Centre, Queenstown)
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
(Skyline, Queenstown)
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Celebrating our one year anniversary at Strawberry Fare, Christchurch, followed by a hilarious night at Scared Scriptless.

I Am Growing Flowers…

in the darkest parts of my heart, for if light ever enters, it would know where to start. ~Noor Unnahar
unnamed (4)
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.”
unnamed (3)

What Do You Treasure?

unnamedunnamed (1)
I was SO nervous!
unnamed (2)
Finally in Christchurch *love heart eyes*
unnamed (3)
First stop, Black & White Coffee Cartel where a little printed sign advised us there’d be no avocado (two words which should never be together) this season. Alas, our bagels were delicious and S particularly liked the NZ bacon nomnom.
unnamed (4)unnamed (8)
Next, one for the bucket-list. Though rather simple, I had always dreamt of visiting the Riccarton Farmers’ Market with bae. It is truly one of my most favourite places in Christchurch.
unnamed (5)
If tea is a hug in a cup, porridge is a cuddle in a bowl, I say. Alll better. Full tummies and grateful hearts. I got the rsf, V, and df option and S ordered the spiced apple, toffee sauce, and walnut crumble porridge.
unnamed (6)
When S sent the above photo to his family group chat, his brother asked if that was an egg atop my porridge…Hehe nope! Just honey and yoghurt.
unnamed (7)
unnamed (9)
Things have been pretty surreal, neither of us can actually believe S is finally here. Last night we dined at Tutto Bene. The food was good and the company even greater. We had a lovely French waitress and S mentioned the wonderful paradox of having a French waitress, working at an Italian restaurant in New Zealand serving a table of Persian, Kiwi, and American diners. How beautiful is that? Unity in diversity.
unnamed (10)

To Be Human Is A Powerful, Profound Thing That Deserves A Lot Of Patience.

Image (5)
This sweet card was made by my even sweeter five year old student. Did you lovely people have a memorable Mother’s Day? This year I decided not to make a big Facebook announcement for my mama, instead I wrote this (incase you and I aren’t Facebook friends):

I don’t want to post a generic message about how I love my mum and how lucky I am to have her (which I do and which I am) this Mother’s Day. Instead, I want to acknowledge all of my friends who either live far away from their mothers (I know from first-hand experience how hard that is) and those whose mothers are no longer with us. I wish you calmness and strength <3
Image (3)Mum’s breakfast at Untouched World – a lovely modern cafe with high-quality ingredients and a romantic fire.
Image-1 (1)
Absolutely in love with my Dr. Seuss preschool teacher uniforms because I absolutely love him! Who is/was your favourite childhood author? (A question posed to me by Soroosh the other day to which I actually replied Paul Jennings).
Image (2)
Kids say write the darndest things!
Image (1)
“Stained glass” butterflies made with black cardboard paper, coloured tissue paper and pipe cleaners. Super easy, are instructions needed?
Image (4)Image-1 (2)
New favourite CHCH eatery! This $12 split pea soup (topped with caramelised onions) served alongside Bellbird bread and carrot butter from Gatherings was 10/10.

Use The Power Of Intent To Clear A Path For Yourself

Image (2)
As you may have heard, NZ received a lot of rain as of late. My prayers and sympathetic thoughts to those whose lives were greatly affected. Fortunately for us, our household just further glimmered. My parents and I spent even more time than usual together and I made “healthy” French toast for them. It’s actually very simple! For the three of us, I soaked 6 pieces of gluten free bread in a beaten mixture of 3 free-ranges, 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, and 1 tsp cinnamon, then fried them in a hot pan with a little coconut oil until nice and golden. Last, I topped them with fresh fruit, honey, and plain yoghurt (not pictured). Image-1 (1)
Image (4)
Never enough herbs in a Persian woman’s garden.
Image-1 (4)
Can you see what I see? On the last day of term, we made an Easter egg hunt for the little munchkins. Image (12)Image (13)
And… one for the big munchkin who really shouldn’t be having one in the first place.
Image-1 (2)
Another day, another green smoothie. These are also super easy to make. Simply blitz together in a high-powered blender: 2 frozen bananas (frozen bananas make your smoothies colder and creamier), 2 large handfuls of spinach (stalks and all), a big dollop of natural yoghurt, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Top with favourites.
Image (9)
I found out the hard way that jandals were not appropriate wear for yesterday’s Saturday Farmers’ Market. As I walked into a muddy puddle and splashed gunk all over myself, I overheard a father telling his little girl not to worry about getting dirty as she, in her pink gumboots, was appropriately dressed – I couldn’t help but take his comment as a personal dig to my existence.
Image-1 (3)
Giant delicious organic apple from the organic apple people at the Saturday Farmers’ Market (sorry I don’t know your company name). Image (8)
For as long as I have been coming to Sumner, I have been in mad-love with that itsy bitsy yellow house bursting with character. I sent this photo to Soroosh expressing this, and he replies: “I like the modern house next to it.” BLAH Image (1)
sumner
Image (7)
Almost finished writing back to my Japanese students ^.^
Image (14)
Mojgan joon, I wish you were here to accompany me on my walking adventures. Alas, I think of you always – the coming Autumn leaves further remind me of my unforgettable time with your beautiful family in beautiful Nashville. Image-1 (6)
Image (10)
Last but not least, a picture sent to me by my dear mentor and friend. AKA Soroosh’s father. Guys, I am so impressed and inspired by him. Rick is a man of so many talents. But most of all, he is joyful, he is understanding, and he is compassionate. Also, big-ups for food-presentation and food-photography, and your recently written article HERE.

There’s Nothing New Under The Sun. It’s Never What You Do But How It’s Done.

Dear Ashida Sensei,
This one’s for you!
Thank you for reading my blogs. I miss you and I miss Japan very very much, too!

Yesterday, I received a jam-packed envelope containing letters from my ex Junior High School students in Japan. Ashida Sensei, thank you for initiating them. I have always admired you. You once told me that you teach because you feel an obligation to open your student’s minds to the outside world. At the time, I thought your statement was beautiful. Today, with the heartbreaking circumstances of our world, I understand it as incredibly necessary, too. Thank you for selflessly shaping our future. Funnily enough, lately I have been receiving some negative opinions (and unfortunately from those dear to me) about my work. The education of children is not adequately valued in our society. These attitudes have left me unhappy, thinking that perhaps I should have studied something different, something more reputable like medicine or law. Fortunately, other positive forces in my life have rescued me from the quicksand of such negative thoughts. One beautiful lady in particular pointed me to the following quote by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the eldest son of Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith:

Among the greatest of all services that can possibly be rendered by man to Almighty God is the education and training of children… It is, however, very difficult to undertake this service, even harder to succeed in it. I hope that thou wilt acquit thyself well in this most important of tasks, and successfully carry the day, and become an ensign of God’s abounding Grace; that these children, reared one and all in the holy Teachings, will develop natures like unto the sweet airs that blow across the gardens of the All- Glorious, and will waft their fragrance around the world. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. pp. 133-134)

So, “the education and training of children” is not only the greatest service of all time but also one that is very difficult to do and to succeed in. Don’t get me wrong, I am not tooting my own horn. Rather, I wish to acknowledge the true importance of a teacher’s work.

I would like to finish with my favourite Japanese Proverb:

Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.
Image (1)