For those of you that don’t know, Yasu was my upstairs neighbour when I lived in rural Japan. However, we never actually spoke to each other – I didn’t know she existed, and she was too shy to approach me – you know, scary foreigner alert. The day Yasu moved out of our tiny apartment complex, she left a letter on my doorstep:
Ms Anisa I am Yasuko from upstairs. I wanted to always talk with you. But I will move on April 30 to next village. The new address is Nishiawakura village. If you don’t mind, could you hang out with me sometime? I am really bad at English, but I hope we could be good friends.
And the rest is history. During my last six months in Japan, Yasu and I became inseparable. And when I eventually moved to the city, she came to visit me. Recently, Yasu spent 10 days in New Zealand. Here are the highlights:
Here I am stealing S’s car for our upcoming roadies.
Castle Hill desu.
Yasu hugely appreciated NZ cheese!
This scenery reminded us a little of our old home in Higashiawakura (see below).
Another day, another picnic, Hanmer Springs Desu.
Yasu 2.0 coming soon…
Remember the plums I foraged with my friends Willem and Unity? Well, the genius that is Mandy from @Utopia Ice turned them into a deliciously mouthwatering, finger licking, summer-perfect Plum & Earl Grey sorbet. Ohh yeah.
Merry Christmas y’all! You know, my family and I never used to celebrate Christmas (for various reasons like not being Christian and just never having done so whilst growing up in Iran) but ever since my sister married a ChristmasCelebratingKiwi, we have had a lot of fun with it – mostly as an opportunity to eat get together.
Here are pictures from our flat dinner – so beautifully decorated by even more beautiful Ashleigh.
*Love heart eyes*
This is a $45 lamb from Pedro’s House of Lamb “perfect for two” (crazy right?) Actually it fed four, and we had leftovers! I totally recommend it especially for a lazy cooking day. Also, because it’s like no1 on TripAdvisor!
Next, the family lunch. Here is my contribution: a healthier ambrosia. It’s very easy, simply mix two pottles of organic yoghurt (one boysenberry, one plain), fresh berries (blueberry, strawberry, boysenberry), chopped pineapple, a cheeky handful of chopped marshmallows and broken dark chocolate, and 1 can of drained boysenberries in juice not syrup. That’s it! Refrigerate for an hour or three to serve cold.
Mama and papa to be!
My Christmas presents from the family: a grapefruit, a pug fridge magnet (I’d like to take this opportunity to say I loved pugs before everyone else did), and melon hand cream. I am blessed!
Do you know these suckers are $7.99 per kg here? Just ridiculous.
Here are my beautiful parents. My mama is actually wearing my dress – gifted by kind-hearted Mandy of Utopia Ice. Just so much love all around! All I am is a concoction of the love I receive!
We cooked turkey for the first time, it was dry. My sister made Persian salad Olivieh (far right). HERE is my healthier version – no offence sis.
Last but not least, some well deserved me time. Have you tried Dubba Dubba Moroccan cuisine? It’s right down the road from me (Bush Inn). This is their chicken salad. I was actually surprised by how good it was! Good being healthy, filling, and yum. Definitely returning.
And, the best part of Christmas. Receiving such love from my students. Anisa sensei is very happy today.
Except for the fact that my heart aches for this stupid smile everyday. Honestly, life is too short and too unpredictable to be separated from your lover. God please never again. 5 weeks left…
Let me tell you something, Iranians LOVE foraging, it’s in our blood!
Foraging (barefoot – Willem made sure I make note of that) in the Red Zone, only to be made into delicious plum sorbet by Utopia Ice!
Sam and George’s most beautifully simple yet elegant wedding at Trents Vineyard.
Guest appearance of Rudolph the green/white nosed reindeer when the red pom poms ran out when making Christmas cards for each one of our littlies.
Merry Christmas from the Teacher/Entrepreneur flat!
It has been 3 weeks since S has left to the States to witness his charming older brother marry an angel of a woman, and spend some much awaited time with his loving family. I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been easy for me. But you know what? So far, it hasn’t been impossible either. I’ve kept busy (I’ll keep busy), and I’ve taken it one day at a time (I’ll take it one day at a time).
A month ago, daddy making a Kiwi speciality: whitebait fritters, for S.
Can anything beat breakfasting with your love?
Forced S to hike Rapaki with me. He said the view was almost worth the pain.
“You must learn day by day, year by year, to broaden your horizons. The more things you love, the more you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you are indignant about, the more you have left when anything happens.” ~Ethel Barrymore (Shoutout to the lovely lady customer who said she reads my blog!)
Great fun making my famous pikelets with my kiddies (1 cup plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 free-range egg, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup milk – mix until smooth then cook tablespoon-full amounts in a good quality non stick frying pan or with a little oil in a not so good quality one – about a minute each side)
The night of S’s bitter departure sweetened by dessert from The Villas.
Wearing my boyfriends sweater. (“I imagine a line, a white line, painted on the sand and on the ocean, from me to you.” ~Jonathan Safran Foer)
Mandy, Sebastian, (and we can’t forget Levin!)’s astonishingly good ice-cream (not gelato) is back in Sumner. Except this time, it’s housed in the most dreamiest location ever. At 15 Wakefield Avenue you’ll find a tranquil courtyard filled with happiness. Happiness being a large wooden swing chair, flamingo cushions, strawberry plants, Belgian waffles (yes, real Belgian waffles), of course ice-cream, and much more! With 16 ever-changing flavours to choose from, Cantabrians, this is the place to spend our ever glorious upcoming summer days.
Before you ask, my favourite is dark chocolate, coconut, and cacao nibs (gf, df, V) so see you there!
Tuesday: 11 to 6
Wednesday: 11 to 6
Thursday: 11 to 6
Friday: 11 to 9
Saturday: 11 to 9
Sunday: 11 to 6
You are powerful beyond what you imagine. Just let your light glow.
Cheater cheater pumpkin eater!
Japan is that you?! (If you haven’t already, I totes recommend checking out newly opened Japan Mart at Riccarton Westfield.)
Self empowerment no53279 buying flowers (and cacti) for yourself.
Reason 437698 I LOVE my job: so many 5 year old birthdays!
Robot art by Jella, age 5.
So incredibly proud of Mandy and Sebastian for working crazy hard to make their dream a reality! Utopia Ice is officially opening shop in Sumner village next week!
Sorry for the radio silence my friends. I have been working on a children’s story! It is one from my childhood and named after my dear mother. I am in the process of having my manuscript assessed before sending it to a publisher so please please pray for me! Worst case scenario, I’ll publish it on my blog for y’all to read.
Last night S and I dined at Francesca’s Italian Kitchen as per a good friend of ours’ recommendation. She said it was excellent so we had to try it for ourselves. And overall, it was pretty spectacular!
Several things stood out: the slow-cooked beef (housemade) gnocchi (probably best in town), the tolerable noise level (I am so used to dining at Italian restaurants where I can’t even hear myself), the artsy pasta guide on the inner bathroom doors (who doesn’t like a good read whilst on the toilet), and the physical location of the place (I love anything close to New Regent!).
And of course it wouldn’t be a review if I’m not a slight bitch about it so… We ordered polenta fries as a starter, they were forgotten, and brought to us midway through our mains (yeah, yeah, first world problems). Speaking of polenta fries, they were good but not as amazing as The Bicycle Thief’s. In my opinion, those are much better. As for the pappardelle ragu, I think Cafe Valentino does theirs better, and the pumpkin brûlée, well, it was pretty unique in flavour but also highly diabetic. In other words, too much sugar (you know, even for a brûlée).
Despite the grumble, I’d rate our experience an 8/10!
Treated myself to some well-deserved me time the other week! And although lovely, I did feel bad about using so much water…Do you know if a bath uses more water than a shower? It must, mustn’t it? Alas, as a once-in-a-while treat, I did feel amazing, and I slept like a baby.
Petal carpet love!I moved out of my parents’ again! How do you like my new room? I used to be an avid Frankie Magazine reader. However, after the original creators left, I’ve become a dedicated fan of The Lunch Lady which ironically, is their (Frankie’s ex-creators’) new publication.
PMS is a bitch and so was I this day. I made S walk 40 min to the grocery store for a sweet craving (I wanted naturally dried apricots) but when the supermarket didn’t have them (what supermarket doesn’t have apricots?!) I spent 15 indecisive minutes only to buy checkout chocolate. Oops! Sorry S!
And, one of my most memorable days yet…yes, that special! S surprised me at work with a picnic lunch of my favourites! Sushi, chocolate (the same one I had had that my moody night at the supermarket hehe), berry smoothie, and last but definitely not least, Dr. Feelgood frozen pops. This time we tried jelly-top Passionfruit and White Chocolate and I gotta say, it’s my favourite flavour yet!
Yeah baby! Find them at Fendalton New World in Christchurch and probably everywhere in Auckland. Thanks Dr. Feelgood, I adore you!
I love my boyfriend because he agrees to pancakes for dinner.
“Practice gratitude relentlessly. As you practice gratitude you will attract more thoughts and feelings of gratitude. In a shot time your entire being will be saturated with it, and you will experience a happiness that is beyond what you can imagine. This is what is ahead for you when you choose gratitude as your way of life. And if you can really live in this highest state of gratitude, you will never have to ask for anything. Everything you want will be given to you before you even ask, because gratitude is the magnetic substance that opens every single door in the Universe.”
~From the Secret Scrolls by Rhonda Byrne
“Love, like everything else in life, should be a discovery, an adventure, and like most adventures, you don’t know you’re having one until you’re right in the middle of it.”
My picture perfect man <3
Fish’n’chips, Kiwi as!
Balancing out the grease and chocolate…
S gifted me this beautiful ring for my 25th birthday, it spells love in braille and was handmade in Ohara, the rural Japanese village I lived in for one and a half years *love heart eyes*My latest Spring project with my little munchkins. Are you blossoming?
who knows if the moon’s a balloon, coming out of a keen city in the sky—filled with pretty people? (and if you and i should
get into it, if they should take me and take you into their balloon, why then we’d go up higher with all the pretty people
than houses and steeples and clouds: go sailing away and away sailing into a keen city which nobody’s ever visited, where
always it’s Spring) and everyone’s in love and flowers pick themselves
Love is…cooking together. Love also is, I presume, Italian!
All above photography by my love, Soroosh.
Hi there my dear followers. How have you been? How are you Lavanya? Are you still in Brisbane? And you Jose and Bea? How are the kids?! Has their English improved significantly? And auntie Pouneh, how is the new fluffly member of your family?! Yuka, I still can’t believe you have a girl! And Lifa and Akiko, your family is my inspiration! Fukuda sensei, Ashida sensei, do you still visit my blog? Hiromi and Olivier, how I wish to return to your idyllic home! You too, and your hard-work and dedication, inspire me! And Blogger friends, Randy, John, Josh, Teck, how are you?! Is the world treating you kindly? I think of you all, I think of you all fondly…