December 2003 Archives

Birthday dessert



My Birthday Dinner at Giraffe

birthday dinner.jpg

A cool picture of the author (hahaha)



I had a wonderful birthday surprise last night. Mark and I had sworn off surprises (if you know how miserably previous surprises have failed, you understand why). This actually worked in Mark's favor, as I was expecting nothing. Also, we have a dinner the night of my birthday, so in my mind my birthday was set. Well, we have some friends who are engaged, and the fiance is currently away, so the fiancee had planned to set up all these pictures and send one a day to him - of her totally dejected without him. She and Mark told me that Giraffe, an Asian restaurant here, was one of their favorites, so it would be perfect to take a picture there of Mark and myself totally engrossed in each other, ignoring her ... her missing her other half... I went for it. She even made sure I was going to be really dressed up - it would make the picture better. Again, I bought it. When we ran into a few friends at the restaurant, that was normal - you can never go somewhere in Haifa without running into other Baha'is basically. I had no idea - other than I thought their responses to the question of 'may we join you?' were odd. Then, when Mark told me it was my birthday he brought out this beautiful diamond necklace (see photo) that he'd bought out in Oregon (thank you, Beth and Ramine!) for me to wear (he'd given it to me previously, but it's a 'special occasion necklace' and he wanted to make sure I had an occasion to wear it!). So, I had a fabulous evening last night - and we even managed to do our laundry last night, too! Amazing.

One of my friends from Fiji sent me this email (he arrived at the same time I did, back in July) today. It's so beautiful I wanted to share it:

what a beautiful day will it be tomorrow when you wake up and realize that you are another year richer in character, friends, wisdom. what great opportunity time gives you as you follow its path as it slowly unwinds. anyway I will stop this nonsense and say what I sat down to write. have the most fantastic day of your life from tomorrow onwards and happy birthday to you. may you and your family be heaped with blessings.

eminoni raivoka

Learning to Pray

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Ive started saying my prayers in the Shrines differently, and its really exciting for me. In my mind, when Im praying for someone I picture them. So, Id picture my parents, then move on to Nae in his apartment the locale helped me. But I found I was still getting distracted. Id start thinking about the person, or just wander off. So, one day I thought I have to make you sit still so I did, in fact I made them sit down and pray with me in my mind. Now I do it with everyone and I go through all of the Dornbrooks and all of the Fojases, as well as some friends. Ill have a whole family sit down with me and pray. It makes me pay attention to how Im reciting the prayer in my head, too no more just rote reciting of the prayer. I say it like I would if I was saying it out loud. In fact, for families w/ small children Ive even started singing the prayers to them (again, silently). And its interesting sometimes people do things in my mind that I dont expect them to do. Yesterday, I was saying a prayer for Rachael and because I had her sit down in her living room, Eric sat down, too, with her. And afterward, they both hugged me - just spontaneously. I didn't think, oh that was nice, I'll hug them. Its allowing me to be more respectful of all of the people for whom I am praying seeing their nobility. By the way, I hope no one minds that I pray for you. I'm not praying, like, oh I gotta' save that sinner... prayers are for your assistance, in whatever way they can help you in your life, your struggles and your joys.

Whose life isn't hectic?

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Well, I apologize to everyone for not writing personally to you all. It has been fairly hectic lately. I've been working on a translation this week that probably qualifies as my first real professional translation - somewhat more academic than I'm used to seeing. It was a challenge (and I still need to proofread it), but I enjoyed it and besides, it's makes it all that more satisfying to see the accomplished work.

Also, the woman I am replacing will be leaving soon. Thankfully, I came early enough to get a very thorough training from her, but I will still really miss her when she leaves. Mark and I are hosting her going-away dinner this Friday. Then Saturday morning is a breakfast for some visiting friends, and Saturday night is a "French Speakers" dinner... Plus, in 3 weeks we're moving - ahhh!

Mark got his first haircut here last weekend - we found this little place [in the "Hadar"] and this guy was a real work of art. First his apprentice made a feeble attempt at cutting Mark's hair. When the barber was done with his other customer, he came over to Mark, shaved a bit of the bottom, then cut some more of the top, then shaved a bit more off the bottom, then cut a bit more off the top... and whenever he had the scissors in his hand they were moving - like Edward Scissorhands or something, continuously snipping - even if they weren't actually cutting any hair! It was very entertaining, and he actually got a pretty good haircut, too.

We have just kicked-off what is called the "Extra Year of Service", where we volunteer in offices/departments other than our own, in our off time. Then, in February all of the hours are compiled and given as a gift to the Universal House of Justice [for whom we work] as an Ayyam'i'ha gift. Mark and I are volunteering in the Archives. It'll be fairly routine work, but then the Archives is an exciting place to be. And besides, once we move we will be about 3 minutes from the Archives Building! :-) so much for purity of motive...

I would like to make a request: I have my recipe box here, but none of my cookbooks. I do go on the internet for recipes from time to time, but I'd love to get recipes from you, too! I am especially looking for ways to make tofu yummy (please, no dissertations on the impossibility of this task!), vegetable casseroles, and especially heart-healthy dishes, especially desserts. Mark and I both need to make an effort to keep our hearts happy. Anyone have a recipe for Indian Satay w/ tofu? I had one in my 1,001 (low-fat?) Vegetarian Recipes cookbook that we loved. Also, as "winter" descends on us, I'd love bread/biscuit recipes.

Well, my dear ones, you are constantly in our thoughts and prayers. Please, please remind your children that we love and miss them. Take care of yourselves and have a wonderful week as you gear up for the Christmas holidays. I've been surprised to see as many Christmas trees as I have here - not a ton, but you do see them here! And Happy Birthday to Trang!

Our Israeli Thanksgiving



Just an update on life

It's been about a week since I last wrote, so... I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. We had a nice Thanksgiving with some friends on Friday, as Thursday evening was a Baha'i holy day. It was nice to have something familiar - including the food, though we missed our family. However, we did buy some beautiful pottery made my our host's mother!

Things are a bit hectic, somber ... different... here as one of the Hand's of the Cause, Mr. Furutan, passed away last Wednesday. For those of you who are not familiar with that term, he was one of the few remaining people who had done an enormous amount of work to bring the Baha'i Faith to the world when it was still unknown to most of the world. He was 98. In any case, hopefully this will be our one and only funeral while in Israel.

We took a bit of a walk through Haifa this weekend trying to find the main post office - oops! the lady told us 18 instead of 19 Palyam Street, oh well. We found an awesome bead shop - yay!, yummy ice cream, and had some great pizza on the way home.

We'll be moving in a few weeks, at the end of December, so if you don't hear from us for a bit - don't despair!

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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