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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Adventures, Explorations, and Life: A Look at 2016

2016 has been an eventful year. We lost many celebrities such as David Bowie, Prince, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Alan Thicke, and many others. However, this year I lost my dear friend, Dr. Niama Williams. It has been weird not sending her e-mails or cards for different events this year; it has felt weird not telling her about the many adventures I had this year and the many successes I had as well. I know she's watching from Heaven, along with Nan and my other relatives, and smiling. However, it still doesn't minimize the loss and the amount of time one has to get used to these changes. I miss Dr. Ni.

2016 has been a politically eventful year as well. In April 2016, London elected its first Muslim mayor: Mayor Sadiq Khan. This was a very happy moment for me and for many Londoners as well. In June, I sent him a letter congratulating him on his win and how much I admired him. I also sent him a copy of  As Far As The Eyes Can See, which was published in June 2016. I wrote a few poems about him and thought he'd like a copy of the book. I hope it was received, and I hope he did have a chance to read it, but I know how busy he has been. He's making many significant changes in London and is doing a lot for Londoners.

He has also been working hard to promote London as a cultural place after a majority of Britons voted for Brexit in May 2016. We were all shocked by that decision, and it seems like this was a foreshadowing about what was to happen in the US in November 2016 because a majority of people elected Donald Trump as president, sadly. Many of us are still shocked that people chose a xenophobic and sexist man to lead the US and to act as our image to the rest of the world. 

However, it seems like a populist movement of "go back from whence you came" has defined 2016 politically. France has its problems with Le Pen, and the French are hoping she's not elected in May 2017. Even German Chancellor Merkel fears for her re-election since many Germans are dissatisfied with the Syrian refugees. German Chancellor Merkel wants to take more in. We can only hope other countries don't follow the lead of the UK's and US's decisions to elect the "go back to whence you came" parties.

On a personal level, I had a great year, as outlined in my newsletter I linked to. I also want to link to other monumental moments I blogged about throughout the year:

Other monumental events:

Jared loved my gift. I framed the picture he took of us in Asbury Park. :)


Christina loving her gift of the photo album I made her.

Thankful for my coworkers.

My supervisor and I at RTI, rocking our ugly sweaters.

My travel display I put up in the library, June 2016.

Reading for the UMTL Diwali Event, October 2016.

Discovering the Kawaii Cat Cafe.

Ice skating!

Last night I took some time to learn yoga and meditation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I even had the opportunity to listen to some raga (sitar) music. It was well-needed relaxation.

It has been such a busy year! I look forward to seeing what 2017 has to bring. Hopefully, the world will also see some peace in 2017 and that the refugees will find homes as well. I have a lot planned for 2017 myself.

Thank you, dear readers, for following me this year, and I can't wait to share 2017 with you all! I also can't wait to read your blogs in the upcoming year. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Cooking My Way Through 2016

I've cooked a few dishes this year, mostly Middle Eastern dishes. It has been a fun year experimenting with different cultural foods and it has been great learning how to cook. Let me share with you some of the dishes I made this year.


In January I made date bars and whole fried fish. Whole fried fish is one of my favorite recipes.


My parents went on a cruise, so I fended for myself for a week. I made Imam Biyaldi, spiced lamb, Moroccan chicken, and a few other dishes. I only took pictures of the Imam Biyaldi, lamb, and Moroccan chicken.

I also made couscous to go with the Imam biyaldi.

Moroccan chicken before it was fully cooked. It was a crock pot recipe. Was pretty good, though I think I'd add more sugar to it or salt.

Spiced lamb.


In July, I made the spiced lamb recipe for my dad. He really enjoyed it too.

But first I made Moroccan mint iced tea.


In August I made Shirazi salad and salmon.


In September, I made beef ribs.


I made a kosher version of Nan's Italian Wedding Soup. It had been four years since I last had it.