New Beginnings a day Novruz was! So many new beginnings, and while some beginnings start on their own, others rise from the ashes of those that came before.

My new years was a ride of ups and downs. From unseeable obstacles popping out on my path, which I had no control over, to amazing people stepping in to help out. And then having a sudden load of happiness fall on my lap when I received a Google Alert on “food waste” and saw this very blog featured on the list! And in all that excitement, I watched the most tragic event, my computer absorbing its last charge of energy before it left my life forever.

And yes, we know that nothing lasts forever, but we avoid believing in it for fear of the changes it could bring. Even this very period of springing life and budding future comes at the heels of a cold winter, when everything lay dormant, cold and dark. And my computer was a metaphor for that.

It had a very difficult past. It came into my life suddenly and became a dear friend. It had its own share of troubles, from cracked screens, to near death experience, to actual death, and me spending lots of money trying to bring it back to life, because I wasn’t ready to let it go. And exactly two months after it was brought back to life, and came into my arms once more, I had to watch it die in the moment of so much joy and excitement. There’s no other explanation. It is a sign from the universe telling me to let the past be the past, because so much positivity is waiting for me ahead!

And no matter how much energy, money, time and love we invest, some things aren’t meant to last. No tight grips of the hand, or breaking of your back, wallet and mind, will keep that special something in your life. It needs to be set free.

Without much choice, I let go. It took a long time, but I’m finally able to embrace the ‘now’ of life. Realizing that instead of worrying about the future or trying to revive the past, it’s time to breathe deeper, speak softer, live calmer and love harder, because we never know at what moment our end may come.

2014 is going to be an amazing year- I feel it! And I can’t wait to see all the beauty, adventure and happiness, along with some sadness, it will bring my way.

On that note, I’d like to share with you some beautiful Azerbaijani pastries that I mentioned to you in the previous post, that are now accompanied with pictures. As well as, debut my beautiful ‘samani’, which you can see above this post. It grew into a lush green field on my small plate and I couldn’t be more thrilled. If you’d like to see more, then visit the Say No To Food Waste Facebook page.

I’d like to end this post by cheering to life, new beginnings and happy living!

Much love to you all!

Tuesdays of Novruz

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The  celebration of spring, of new life and warm weather!
Living on the East Coast in Washington, D.C., I enjoy a good amount of warm weather, but 2014 started off very cold and snowy!

And while looking at the falling snow cover the streets and dress up the world in pretty white dress is breathtaking, shoveling a pathway from my door steps through this thick and sometimes icy substance is a challenge.

Not to mention that unlike clothes, snow can’t be washed. And like all white clothes it gets dirty quickly and easily. So, am I looking forward to flowers, green grass, blue sky and an opportunity to wear shorts? The answer is YES YES YES!

But, with anything powerful and spiritual, you need to summon it. And after centuries of working on these spells and dances, we, Azerbaijanis, created a whole tradition around the coming of spring. We call this holiday – Novruz, and every tuesday we dedicate our energy to a specific element.

In total, there are four Tuesday’s we celebrate before Spring appears to us on the 20th of March (at least that’s her plan for this year). And not only is 4 my favorite number, but the elements at play are pretty awesome too!

Here’s the list of what to expect.

February 25 –         Water Tuesday
March 4 –               Fire Tuesday
March 11-               Wind Tuesday
March 18 –             Earth Tuesday

The celebration begins with water, because it cleanses the Earth and prepares it for the beautiful spring. Considering all the salt and dirt left from this winter, there will be need for lots of cleaning!

The other Tuesdays are followed by fire, wind and earth to awaken nature and prepare life to blossom anew! And boy, am I ready to blossom, try delicious new foods, watch wild flowers bloom, and enjoy star gazing while lying on the grass.

My personal favorite is starting a bonfire and jumping over the flames to make sure my new year is filled with success and that my dreams come to fruition. But, I won’t join in on ‘papagatdi‘ and will have to experience it vicariously from my friends in Azerbaijan.

The word literally translates to ‘throwing of the hat’, and describes the process of leaving a hat at the doorsteps of neighbors, knocking on the door and running away. The homeowner then opens up the door and puts some sweets into the hat. To some it may sound like ‘Halloween’, but there is definitely no ‘tricking‘ involved, and the treats are left anonymously. And the children leaving the hat do it as smoothly and as swiftly as possible, so it turns into an entertaining game both for the one sharing sweets and the one receiving them.

I will also be planting ‘samani’ which is made of sprouting wheat seeds. To watch it grow you must sing to it: “Samani, protect me, and I will grow you every year.” So be sure to catch the udpates and my samani growing skills on Facebook.

If you have any questions about the holiday, or how to grow your own samani, feel free to contact me.

With warm wishes,