writing

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)

To Be Creative Means To Be In Love With Life

Image (2)Image (5)
Stewed Black Boy Peaches are one of my most favorite foods and they’re truly perfect for crumble.

Filling:
10-12 Black Boy Peaches, peeled and chopped random
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp pure vanilla essence
2 tbsp runny honey

Crumble:
1 cup gluten-free jumbo oats
1/4 cup of buckwheat flour
1/2 cup of chopped raw nuts of choice
1/2 cup of raw seeds of choice
1 tbsp cinnamon
a pinch of each ginger powder, nutmeg and cardamom
1/3 cup of pure maple syrup or runny honey
1/3 cup of melted coconut oil

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

Place the filling ingredients in a pan with 2 tablespoons of water and cook on medium heat with the lid on. Once the peaches have softened remove the lid to allow the liquid to reduce – we want a fairly thick consistency – I believe the secret to a crunchy crumble is a relatively “dry” filling so that’s what we’re aiming for.

Once ready, transfer the peach mixture to a deep oven-proof dish.

In a large bowl, combine all crumble ingredients together until nice and sticky then assemble on top of stewed peaches.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Enjoy!
Image (7)Image-2Image-1 (1)
A super easy rainy day craft idea for little monsters featuring the fatal potato (far left).
Image (4)
Clever little zine I came across on my lunch-break at work.
Image (3)
Happiness is picking up your library requested books! Thanks for the book suggestion Rick, already LOVING Deep Work. Image-1
Oh my sister and I were so naughty today. We went to Le Panier Boulangerie !
Image (6)
Another kids fun activity idea: we made wands from felt pipe cleaners and used detergent to blow bubbles.
Image (1).png
Yummy healthy snack idea. Raw chocolate energy balls. Recipe HERE.
image16.jpg
Do you know what this is? Check out my new Savvy Tokyo article HERE to find out more.

Holiday Updates

So Ozzy turned four!!!! And the reason he has 5 candles is because Lifa reckons you’re supposed to put the age +1 for the next year ?? Crazy man. I’m pretty sure that’s wrong. So much so that I’m putting it on the blog!! Aha. I love you guys. Is it also OK if I say Aki is due soon?! Forgive me but I cannot wait to see my niece! Auntie Anisa is waiting. Are you going to name her Anisa? Oh man, you are, aren’t you? :P 15590631_10208368554160604_7537979040880994346_n
Remember Yuko and her family? She’s the lovely Japanese lady who was constantly cooking for me. Well, in less than a week, she and her family will be visiting. Yes, all the way from JAPON! Can you believe it? I sure can’t! God, I love humanity. What a blessing. I hope we can be good hosts and show them everything. I’m also excited for YOU to enjoy along with me.
image1210
What else?
I watched Paterson the movie. And I watched it only because of its female lead: Golshifteh Farahani. You guessed it, she’s a Persian lady and one heck of an actress, I believe. Unfortunately, the movie was hella boring (to put politely). It did however, inspire me to restart writing poetry.
image-2-png-10
I was telling a friend about the age difference
Between me and my lover
Feeling insecure about
Well
Basically being old
When I saw a young girl scurry past
She was one maybe two years old
And we were wearing the exact same jelly shoes
image-png-36
I had been asking my mother to accompany me to The Berry Shop for quite some time
When today of all the days she suggested it herself
It was cold and rainy and my outsides were freezing
But still we sat and ate ice-cream
and we talked
or rather she talked and I listened
and slowly slowly
my insides were warming.
Strawberry cake on white background
Last but not least, my latest Savvy Tokyo piece on Japanese Christmas Cake HERE.

The Best Book For ESL Teachers

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.
img_1002

Misc

Currently in Oslo, Norway and leaving Europe in about…2 hours! So, here are the last of my Euro pics. Thank you for journeying with me. I couldn’t of done it without you. Happiness is only real when shared. Yeah! Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
This one’s for my Japanese followers, a Japanese restaurant in Geneva, Switzerland.
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Pacifica in the south of France.
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
I was so lucky to have access to an abundance of English literature at my auntie’s house. I had missed it (English literature) very much in rural Japan.
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Little train in the old town of Antibes (France).Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Morning walks by the Mediterranean Sea. Hashtagtakemeback. Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Probably the number one thing I will miss from Europe. This and romantic balconies.
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Nice market finds.
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Last dinner I prepared for my Spanish family. Mexican from a Persian-Kiwi! Go figure.
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Imposter in Nice (France).Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset
Street art in Antibes (France). Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Norwegian wood. Caio Europe!

Because You Are Alive, Everything Is Possible.

Been reading a bit of Thich Nhat Hanh. I love him. Even if I can’t pronounce his name. Very inspirational. Just like Antibes. No wonder so many Artists were drawn here (excuse the pun). This light is magical.
Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset
People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.
Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset

Smile, breathe and go slowly.
Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset

If you love someone, the greatest gift you can give them is your presence.
Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset

You must be completely awake in the present to enjoy the tea. Only in the awareness of the present, can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup. Only in the present, can you savor the aroma, taste the sweetness, appreciate the delicacy. If you are ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future, you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of tea. You will look down at the cup, and the tea will be gone. Life is like that. If you are not fully present, you will look around and it will be gone. You will have missed the feel, the aroma, the delicacy and beauty of life. It will seem to be speeding past you. The past is finished. Learn from it and let it go. The future is not even here yet. Plan for it, but do not waste your time worrying about it. Worrying is worthless. When you stop ruminating about what has already happened, when you stop worrying about what might never happen, then you will be in the present moment. Then you will begin to experience joy in life.
Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset
Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

I Want To Buy Everyone This Book

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!Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset
Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset
It’s a simple and generous rule of life that whatever you practice, you will improve at.Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset
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)