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Saturday, October 31, 2009

inspiration of the month 2


Tea for the day: Thai iced tea. What tea would you like to have?

I did not expect my week (and coming weeks) to be quite busy, I hope you Tea Mates can forgive me!! This week, in my campus, was Spiritual Wellness Week and we had different events going on in our university's Sacred Space (will tell you more about what that is later). I have so far gone to two of the events: Chakra Night and Zen & Art of Japanese Tea Ceremony.  I hope that in my next posts, I will tell you more about these events with a focus on the concept of a "tea ceremony", so stay tuned!

Anyhow now that it is the end of the month, I think I should carry on the second ritual of this blog ;-) (click on the link if you have no idea what I'm even talking about right now!).  So here's a random quotation which is among my favorites, would love it if you also share your own (it doesn't have to be related to tea!!):


“A woman is like a tea bag, you can not tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water”

Nancy Reagan 


 (Translation: do NOT underestimate the burning power of women!!) xD 


From your Tea Mate,

Reema  B. :-)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

solution to the milky rice pudding disaster!


Tea for the post: chamomile and mango tea. What tea would you like to have?

This post's going to be a short one, 'cause I finally remembered to tell my Mom about my milky rice pudding disaster  I had days ago and asked her what may have possibly gone wrong. I thought I'd update you with her reply (click on the link to see which blog post of mine I'm referring to and to find the ingredients of this dessert) ;-)

It seems that I had apparently added too much milk at the time...and I'm assuming that the temperature in which I was stirring in was too high. Therefore, no pudding was even forming!!! I just ended up stirring and stirring for an hour or two and and it was just plain warm liquid!

In the end, perfecting such simple food and desserts requires trail and error...there's no particular, rigid measurement of recipes to follow.

Hmm...I just remembered that one of our Tea Mates (A Woman Made of Dust; better known as WMD) wanted to try this out herself...I wonder how did hers turn out. So WMD, or anyone of you who has attempted it, if you are reading this post, please do post a comment here in reply and let us know how yours turned out!

From your Tea Mate,
Reema B. :-)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

my black books of ideas


Today's tea: soothing green tea. What tea would you like to have?

I always thought that writers are the bravest and strongest people. I think this because "good" and/or sincere writers are willing to even relive their pain in the process of writing about it. I on the other hand tend to have a hard time doing that, especially if I've already gotten over the shameful or painful event and I am not even willing to relive it ever again.

I always loved writing, especially poetry and short stories (though I've only actually written one short story which I really liked, but I do love to think of and imagine different plots in my head!). Unfortunately though, I haven't been writing too much of such things these days.

However, besides keeping this blog, I do keep 2 Moleskine notebooks. In one of them, which is the pocket sized one, I write down the most random thoughts, reflections, meditations, or anything I may have found profound or inspiring. In the other larger Moleskine notebook, I write down "entrepreneurial" ideas and/or any "pioneering" career goals I may have. In this same one, I also write down the skills and hobbies I'd like to learn and develop, cooking recipes, languages I'd love to learn, etc.

I actually like to journal in this unstructured way, without actually writing down particular dates and all...without the "dear diary" formality of it, without pressuring myself to write in either of the journals all the time, without caring about how my handwriting looks, the grammar, and whether what I write even makes any sense or not... just writing from my unconscious.  I feel like by doing that I unleash more of my creativity. Lord knows, but even if I don't actually do those "entrepreneurial ideas" and/or die before ever doing them, I'll at least be leaving behind treasures of ideas for others to either apply them or simply be inspired by them and create something even better out of them.

Speaking of ideas, I remember the day in 2005 when I went to the Mary Baker Eddy Library which is near my university in Boston. I especially remember the "Hall of Ideas" part of the library/museum. In that hall, there would be a public demonstration. In the beginning of the demonstration, you would hear music and diverse quotations from famous and great people about the importance of "ideas" and spreading these "ideas". There was this one quotation (I think it was said by Mother Teressa, I don't remember it exactly) that said something like this: no one can ever kill or imprison and idea. You may do so to the person, but never to the idea. Once an idea is spread, it just continues growing infinitely.

To me at least, I think that no one ever "owns" an idea. Once an idea is spread, it becomes everyone's idea, since each person interprets it his/her own way, applies it (or doesn't) in his/her own way, and may even develop it his/her own way. The idea can even be shaped in such a way so that it can be applied more flexibly by the whole "team". I think it would be selfishness to not share an idea which, as you can infer from what I been blabbering about now, can have so much potential for changing for the better. We just need to hush our ego a bit and simply let that drop of water of ours send a ripple effect throughout the pond. To be honest though, I at times forget that myself and my ego ends up getting the better of me.

Enough about ideas lol....let's go back to the topic of journaling: what is your version of a "journal" and/or "diary"?

From your Tea Mate,
Reema B. :-)

Saturday, October 17, 2009



Tea for the day: Lipton....not too legit I know but I got too many Lipton tea bags which I'm trying to finish off! >,< You see, when some family members came to visit from Dubai, they decided to bring loads of Lipton tea bags along with them. When they wanted to go back to Dubai, they decided to leave me with left overs! Anyways...what tea would you like to have?

 I am having an Anthropology midterm exam, a Statistics in Psychological Research quiz, and a Social Entrepreneurship full case study write-up about Banco Compartamos all due for this Monday! Those three classes are back to back on Mondays so I need to get all this done by this weekend! Feeling kinda nervous as I have barely touched my Anthropology book and do not have the slightest idea about the sorts of questions our Prof. will ask....

On Tuesday, I have a Learning & Motivation quiz...then I'm done for this week and the next! Hopefully I'll be able to blog more often after Tuesday....

*sigh* too much negative energy in starting this here's some positive energy to light it up!

I have this friend from Saudi who is among the first friends I've made in my university in Boston. Her name is Fatima. She's so  much fun to be with but I must warn you that she is quite a crazy girl! (Or rather "hyper-sane" according to her definition; she was inspired to use this term after I once told her about how a certain anti-psychiatry movement were hypothesizing that schizophrenia could possibly be a form of "hyper-sanity" (more than "sane" to the extent that other sane people find them insane!).

Whenever I am with this girl I become as crazy as her! Our conversations would be filled with "sound effects" and "meh" or "maw" or "neh" whenever one of us defeats the other in an argument or is simply *sighing* after being made fun of a lot (and yes she is the one who invented these "words" (except for "neh")...if that's what you want to call them...!). :-D I tend to make fun of those particular words by either making a 'meow' sound for the "maw", or a goat sound for the "meh". In addition to that, either of us ends up inventing our own terminologies either intentionally or not (and inevitably making fun of the other :-p). We also take a lot of random pictures of each other (sometimes without the other expecting it! However, I tend to enjoy taking random videos of her because it annoys her and it always ends up becoming into an AWESOME video!)

Last Friday night, I was having dinner with her and she wanted to tell me that her stomach was hurting. Apparently, in her mind, she had mixed up between the words "tummy" and "stomach" and thus ended up saying: "My "stummy" is hurting!" :-D This is among the many things I make fun about her! But in this case however, I decided to turn this into a Facebook status which I'm sharing with you here: (note that Fatoom and Fatooma are among the many nicknames given to any girl called Fatima. Also note that the number 6 used in her name is part of Arabic chat language which uses numbers sometimes with apostrophes to symbolize Arabic letters not found in English):

From the book of Fatoom Madness Quotations: "My stummy is hurting :-(" (sorry fa6ooma, I just had to share this eventually!! :-p)

She just commented on this Facebook status today. I told her that it's gonna be a serial called: The Book of Fatoom Madness Quotations, making her so famous free of charge! She then said that I should make it into an actual book. I said that I'd go tomorrow to buy a pocket Moleskine notebook just for this very purpose....Lord knows, but it may end up getting published...and the book will function as a way to combat stereotypes about the Middle East and Muslims! :-p She replied: "Sounds like a great project" (unlike me, she rarely uses exclamation marks!). I told her, however...although she'll get some of the profit, most of it will go to me because I'm the one who came up with the idea! :-D She said: "But the opening of the book should be 'MAW!' and I should review the book before it is published" :-D

What do you Tea Mates think of the idea?? :-p

From your Tea Mate,
Reema B. :-)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

where the hell is matt?


Tea for the day: iced peach and apricot tea from a cafe which a friend of mine took me to. What tea would  you like to have?

This week and the coming week are gonna  be kind of busy so I doubt that I'll have enough time to keep my blog updated. Since I wanted to let you Tea Mates know that I'm still "alive", I thought I'd share with you a beautiful inspiring video.

I first saw this video last year. I was doing one of my 5 daily prayers in the University's Sacred Space. There, I met a girl who was practicing yoga and somehow (can't remember how) we ended up having a deep conversation. She then shared this video me through

Although the dude here can't dance well (as if I know how to even dance myself!!! :-D), I really feel touched by the spirituality and beauty in sharing his passion of dancing while traveling all around the world and inviting others to join in the random dance! I especially love the music, the music in this particular video is called Praan by Gary Schyman (I believe it is sung in the Bangla language). The meanings behind it is just beautiful, click here to see its translation in the info section.

From your Tea Mate,
Reema B. :-)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

milky rice pudding disaster!!! >,<


Tea for the post: Stash Premium's Fusion Green & White Tea. I'm also munching some Pepperidge Farm Milano Milk Chocolate Cookies...mmmm.....(though not too good a combo with green/white tea lol). What tea would you like to have? (You better pick one that actually complements the flavor of Milano cookies!).

There's this friend of mine whom I haven't seen ages (though we ironically live adjacent to each other!!). So this friend of mine invited me over to her dorm and decided to make me dinner. I thought: "Hey I haven't actually made milky rice pudding (my country's version is called farnee) in a while...why not make some as our dessert?" I've only made farnee twice in my whole life; the first time, it was too grainy, the second time was perfect but was missing the crushed walnuts as topping.

The ingredients of farnee are quite simple (particular measurements typically depend on your preferences and is more learned through trail and error):

  1. Milk
  2. Rose water
  3. Sugar
  4. Basmati Rice
  5. Water
  6. Crushed walnuts (to be sprinkled on pudding as a topping.)
Some people add cardamom. Some also use crushed pistachios or almonds instead of walnuts as topping. In addition, some add other extra stuff. But I prefer to follow my grandmother's simple way since I believe that her farnee is the BEST farnee I've ever had and will ever have! :-p

Unlike the rice pudding I've encountered in the US, our farnee should not actually contain rice grains. In addition, ours contains rose water which adds both a refreshing smell and flavor. Below are the directions involved:
  1. Wash the rice till the water looks clear
  2. Soak the rice for 30 minutes or an hour
  3. Blend the rice (covering it with water)
  4. Using a coffee filter (or any kind of filter or piece of cloth with super tiny holes) filter out any residue from the blended rice. (see picture below, on the left)
  5. Blend again and again until you see that all the residue is gone while you're filtering after each time you blend (steps four and five are what make this dessert a bit difficult to make....because sometimes if you haven't filtered out the residue well, you may never be able to tell until after you've actually make the rice pudding and eat it! That is when it'll feel quite grainy and weird)
  6. Heat the milk and stir it along with the blended rice, small table spoonfuls of rose water, and sugar in a pot.
  7. Keep stirring the mixture in low heat until you feel some friction and the mixture starts to look creamy and thick (see picture below this list on the right)
  8. Pour in small bowls and sprinkle with crushed walnuts
  9. Allow to cool before placing them in the fridge
  10. **Enjoy**!!

The above two photos were taken during my second time making this dessert in which it was perfect! (I think this was because mom was supervising me at the time!) Although I am sure that I had followed these directions well,today in my third time making this dessert, it turned into a complete DISASTER!!! 

First if all, the timing I started was quite wrong. I should've started way earlier in the day. Second, I was using one of my suite-mates' blender. When I first poured the rice into the blender all the water and rice literally spilled all over the place!! The owner of the blender told me that I forgot to put the blades in. I did that. Again, after a second attempt, the same mess happened and I lost some rice. I had to re-soak again and add more rice. I found out that I had forgotten to put a plastic seal in which its absence caused the second mess. After finally blending and filtering, I did the rest of the steps. But for some reason I cannot understand, the mixture wasn't thickening!!! I kept stirring for an hour or so and no result although the mixture was steaming! Eventually, I had to give it up since I was late to go to my friend's place....

I hope that I get to find out what actually went wrong....hopefully, the next time I contact my mom, I'll get my answer...once I do, I'll let you Tea Mates know so that you can get it right yourselves ;-)

Oh and one more thing, I just bumped into this blog post written by an Emirati woman. If you'd like to see how Gulf Arabic food is like (which as I mentioned in my previous posts is very VERY rare to find in restaurants around the globe) please do  take a look at this:

From your Tea Mate,
Reema B. :-)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

too much time in your hate

Today's tea is...actually pure water!! :-D It's kinda late at night and I'm not in the mood of sipping any tea at the moment. Anyhow, what tea (and I really do mean **tea** this time) would you like to have?

This week, I was on Facebook and saw that someone had invited me to join a group. It was an Islamic group (and although I am Muslim myself,  I'm usually cautious about joining Islamic groups on Facebook, as many of them seem to be extremist or fanatic groups that portray Islam in stereotypical ways to outsiders...or at least that is simply my own personal experience).

Anyways, in checking out this group, I noticed a wall post that was telling others to report a certain group that was offending the Holy Koran by having it written on toilet paper (and to actually use it as so!). I checked out the referred link and was indeed appalled to actually see that this was true. The creator of this offensive group had even created a blog preaching hatred against Islam and Muslims. Skimming through her blog, I can see that she (and like anyone who spits fireballs of hatred) is obviously full of ignorance about Islam. Yet in a sense, I can't fully blame her for she has obviously only tasted the few "bad apples" who've spoiled the rest of the "apples".

Enraged, I reported the group and shared the link with some of my other Muslim friends on my Facebook account so that they can report it as well. I was (and still am) quite disgusted at how there still exists in this modern globalized world people who are not willing to keep an open heart and mind. I always wonder whether such people who preach hatred toward any race or creed actually have a life to begin with....they have too much of time in their hands to take all that time and effort to create hateful blogs and groups and to "bark" hatred in online discussion forums or chat rooms.

My brother, who saw me send the chain message, told me today that what I just did was wrong and that I am only "burning blood". In other words, that I am now causing our fellow Muslims to have reason to hate. He also told me that the reason why such people even create these kind of outrageous blogs and Facebook groups is to provoke us Muslims and to get more attention by having us forward and spread their message to begin with.

I guess my brother is indeed right, and I do regret what I've done. However, my intention was to repress their so-called messages...but in doing so, I have actually spread it further. This is why I am not providing you a particular link to this facebook group or blog for you to see for yourselves.

In typing this post now, I have suddenly remembered a particular verse in the Holy Koran that describes the attitude of the true believers toward the ignorant who speak to then mockingly: "And the worshippers of The Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility and sedateness, and when the ignorant address them (with bad words) they say: 'Peace'." (Surah Al-Furqan, Ayah 63).

Indeed, I have done contrary to this particular verse (and other similar verses) in the Koran!! I hope Allah forgives me...but I also hope that we all learn from this mistake that I've done, whether you be Muslim or not.

From your Tea Mate,
Reema B. :-)