hope

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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UPDATES

A lot of goodbye dinners and lunches are happening. Not long now! 1 or so weeks.

Top to bottom: the old couple returning my muffin tray with fresh lavender and rosemary, Yasu and I’s friendship going strong, dinner with Oz, Lifa and Aki, vegetarian lunch with Ashleigh sensei, and dinner with Fukuda sensei, Imai sensei and Imai Sensei’s daughter, Non at my favorite Indian place (had to go back even after saying goodbye). Anyways, Non! Non is eating chocolate naan (strange I know) with a smiley-faced chicken curry (even stranger). Too cute. I wanted to eat her. What a name!
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In Light Of The Terror Attacks…

I’d like to share some prayers and writings from my religion, The Baha’i Faith, whose chief objective is the “oneness of humanity and freedom from prejudice.”

“There is nothing so heart-breaking and terrible as an outburst of human savagery! I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity. 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. Thoughts of war bring destruction to all harmony, well-being, restfulness and content. Thoughts of love are constructive of brotherhood, peace, friendship, and happiness.” -Abdu’l-Bahá

“Religion should unite all hearts and cause wars and disputes to vanish from the face of the earth; it should give birth to spirituality, and bring light and life to every soul. If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and division, it would be better to be without it… Any religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion.” ―Abdu’l-Bahá

“My hope is that the white and the black will be united in perfect love and fellowship, with complete unity and brotherhood. Associate with each other, think of each other, and be like a rose garden. Anyone who goes into a rose garden will see various roses, white, pink, yellow, red, all growing together and replete with adornment. Each one accentuates the beauty of the other. Were all of one color, the garden would be monotonous to the eye. If they were all white or yellow or red, the garden would lack variety and attractiveness; but when the colors are varied, white, pink, yellow, red, there will be the greatest beauty.” ―Abdu’l-Bahá

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Tuesdays with Morrie

I’ve never had the blessing of a constant elderly person in my life. This is because, when my family migrated to New Zealand from Iran, me and my grandparents became separated by seemingly infinite miles. Growing up, I envied my friends and the close relationship they had with their nana and pops’ – in particular, Kiwi grandmas! Compared to the old people in Iran, these women were so healthy, care-free and always occupied with baking biscuits and pavlovas.

When I grew older, learnt English and became exposed to literature and media, my yearnings intensified. The grandparents in the books I read and the movies I watched were almost always offering kind and valuable guidance to their grandchild. Where was my life-changing, my eye-opening advice?

Eventually, I must have reached a point where I let go of the resentment and accepted my life, for the absence stopped bothering me as much.

Reading Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie, reminded me of that intense longing I had consciously (or subconsciously) buried inside. Tuesdays with Morrie is a light read, a short book (I read it in one sitting) but SO full of love. Love, guidance and wisdom. From an old man to a young man and ultimately, everyone.

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“The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it.”
(p. 42)

“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” (p. 43)

“ . . . If you’ve found meaning in your life you don’t want to go back. You want to go forward. You want to see more, do more. You can’t wait until sixty-five.”
(p. 118)

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