Thankful Thursday 14 February 2019

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This morning when I woke up, dad handed me a Valentine’s Day card and it had me feeling so verklempt. The card’s inside was beautiful and I added it to my Happiness Box. I gave him a big hug and thanked him. He’s hoping to retire in October 2020, has five years worth of vacation, and is taking three days per week off. He took me to Starbucks and the train this morning. I gave him a big hug before I left the passenger seat, then sent him a text message that I appreciate all that he does for me and I love him.


I gave people at both jobs something for Valentine’s Day. The library recipients weren’t in today, so hopefully I’ll see them next week. My library manager is undergoing chemo and she’s been tired – I’m hoping it’ll cheer her up. I’ve thought about sending her a little smile box or something to her house. Everyone at my full-time job was grateful and I made the morning of two women in the collection’s department. One was having a really cruddy week and my Valentine/candy put a smile on her face. The other one was surprised and expressed the same gratitude as well. 🙂

One of my library co-workers gave me this cute children’s book they were discarding. I love snowmen and said, “that book looks cute!” She handed it to me and said it was mine. I felt grateful too.


What are you thankful for today?

An Afternoon Stroll and Evening Tea

Yesterday started out as rainy and gray; I even bought a train ticket because I felt that I wouldn’t be able to walk anywhere. Last month when I walked the three miles from my full-time job in Miquon to Manayunk, I picked up a free local magazine that was featuring a Persian tea house. Safa sounded neat and a must try place – it’s easier to get Middle Eastern food gluten-free than some British tearooms here (who would have thought since Celiac disease affects the British and Irish more than any other population) – for a Friday evening. I was planning on going straight into Philadelphia, having dinner at Simply Banh Mi and checking out the Art Museum.

WELL, to my surprise, the sun popped out from behind the clouds at around noon and I decided to take the 3.8 mile, hour and a half walk to Safa Teahouse in Manayunk. I’m glad I did because the walk, although blustery and cold, was beautiful. The sky was a clear blue and the clouds really illustrated the sky. The leaves were blowing around and the sun glittered on the Schuylkill River. The Canadian geese were enjoying the water too. I love walking the trail and I’m glad the sun decided to come out.

I’m also glad the sun came out because it gave me an opportunity to go to my new favourite tea house. Safa Persian Tea House was amazing and that’s an understatement. Amin and his mother were friendly, helpful, and hospitable. I had an eggplant dish with carrots and celery instead of the pita and it was to die for. I also ordered fig tea, which was sweetened by saffron rock candy, then Garden of Eden tea. I also sampled a saffron ice cream with rose buds. Yum! I have a little crush on Amin, he was so friendly and I liked chatting with him. His mother took a photo of us, which I added to my Happiness Box. *InLove2*

I can’t wait to go back to Safa Persian Teahouse! I might have to write a few pieces for my portfolio.

Thankful Thursday 7 February 2019

February already, can you believe it!? It feels like time continues to fly, but I’ve been learning to slow down a little and enjoy life.

I’m thankful for my friends and family for the support they have offered me through the years. I’m thankful for the friends who listened to me for the past few days.

I’m also thankful for the photography club at my full-time job. I sent my photos from the Chinese New Year Parade from the mall to the leader, he loved them and gave me some suggestions for better photos in the future. I told him I’m attending China Town’s parade on Sunday, outdoors, and we discussed some different shooting options. I can’t wait to try them and I’m thankful for his help!

What are you thankful for?

Chinese New Year | Year of the Pig | 5 February 2019

Happy Lunar New Year! This morning, I gave one of the managers a Year of the Pig card. I also left two gifts for coworkers, wishing them joy and prosperity. I placed a gift card in each red prosperity envelope. I also gave Jackie a bag of herbal tea; Grace a cute little teddy bear.


Grace emigrated to the US a few years ago from China and she was pleasantly surprised by my kind gesture. She gave me a hug, wished me a Happy New Year, and I asked her about her celebration last night. She We Chatted with her family in China, celebrated with her boyfriend, and she was all smiles as she described the celebration to me. That made me smile too. The manager sent me an e-mail, thanking me.

Jackie is Vietnamese and the Vietnamese celebrate the Lunar New Year too. They call it tet. At 11, Jackie came downstairs to visit me, thanked me and gave me a Vietnamese dumpling (totally gluten-free: tapioca starch, tapioca flour, coconut and peanuts) her grandma made, wishing me a Happy New Year as well. Just like Grace, she was all smiles as she talked about her celebrations and we will meet up for lunch sometime soon. This made me happy and grateful as well.

The Year of the Pig is off to a great start! May the year bring you all blessings and prosperity!

Lunch & Learn & Ice Skating

Today I took a half day from my full-time job (I made up the time last week) for the Jewish Federation’s Lunch & Learn. The feature today was Israeli journalist Eldad Beck, who was born in Israel and later moved to Germany. The topic was Europe and the relationship with Jews. Before the talk, I found a seat and asked one gentleman if someone was sitting next to him since many people were reserving seats. His response? “The only person sitting next to me is you.” He was really nice, and we started talking. I told him what I did for a living and what I hoped to do. He said, “you sound like you would be a perfect journalist, which the person on the other side of you, is one.” He introduced me to the journalist and both gave me their cards. They were great to chat with and want me to keep in touch. 🙂 The Israeli consulate was also in attendance.

Since the topic was Europe and the Jews, specifically how nationalism is on the rise all throughout Europe (and sadly, in the US as well). I knew it was, but never realized how dire the situation really was. I love learning about current events and history. I find joy in knowledge. I also had the opportunity to meet Mr. Beck afterwards and have a chat with him. He agreed to a photo for my Happiness Box.

After lunch, I decided to go ice skating even though today was 60 degrees. A 55 degree increase from last week! I lasted a half an hour on the ice because I wanted to avoid injury. There were a few melt spots, but still skatable. I was hanging out near the sides and when I skated near one of the ledges, I saw a man watching me. I said hi and he said hi, as he was switching his Face Time off. As he was doing it, he said, “say hi to my friend!” I overheard him speaking Arabic, I asked if they spoke Arabic and he said yes. I had a brief conversation with Omar’s friend in Arabic. It was too funny and Omar was surprised that I could speak it. I introduced myself, he introduced himself and explained that he works for one of the tech companies. I asked him where he was from, Algeria, and I smiled. He agreed to a selfie too – I seem to meet friendly strangers while I’m out and about. 🙂

A Chinese New Year Celebration at the King of Prussia Mall 2/2/2019

I want to start with a little back story. On 3 March 2018, I met up with Claire for the first time in 2.5 years and we wanted to meet up for tea. In college, we loved going to the Lincoln Room and when I called to make reservation, I reached the voice mail and it said that the tea room wouldn’t open until the spring. I’m friends with the former owner and she suggested Tranquilitea Temple. On the snowy March day, Claire and I met up for tea. I took off from the library, we were without power in King of Prussia, and I decided to go to the Exton Mall before meeting up with Claire at noon. At noon, I took Lyft to Claire’s house, picked her up, and Lyft drove us to the Tranquilitea Temple in West Chester.

Claire and I fell in love with the place. We were in heaven with all of the teas around; we picked a tea that smelled delicious to us and we opted to have tea in house. It wasn’t a typical tea room, but you could sit in the West Chester location and enjoy tea. We sat for an hour and a half just catching up and having fun. We also befriended the owner and signed up for a newsletter. We had such a special day at the Tranquilitea Temple and at a pho kitchen in West Chester.

In July, the newsletter announced that a second location was opening at the King of Prussia Mall. I don’t go to the King of Prussia Mall often because it’s for tourists and it’s expensive. However, a few weeks ago I received a newsletter about a free tea tasting and Lion parade from 3-5 PM at the King of Prussia Mall on 2/2/2019. I decided to go — even though I will be attending the Chinese New Year parade next Sunday in China Town, Philadelphia, I wanted to go to Tranquilitea Temple too.

I’m glad I did because I had a blast trying different teas, learning origami, and trying a chopstick contest. It was an epic fail for all of us – trying to pick up skittles with chopsticks was challenging. I’m surprised I managed to pick up two! The origami didn’t go too smoothly either, but with some practice, I think I will eventually get the hang of it. The staff were kind and friendly.

The owner of the West Chester location is also the owner of the King of Prussia location and was there. I gave her a prosperity envelope and she gave me a big hug. She was surprised, thanked me, and wished me a happy new year. I gave prosperity envelopes to other staff members and some people walking around the mall; they were all pleasantly surprised and wished me a Happy New Year.

The Suns were the performers, which are also the performers in the China Town parade – they will get prosperity envelopes next weekend. Since you can’t set off fireworks in the mall and feeding the lions lettuce would be too messy, they had a dragon dancing around and scrolls that read “Happy New Year!” I loved seeing the dragon dancing around and it was neat seeing the lions and dragon riding the escalators – Chinese New Year visits the mall and East meets West! It was a neat celebration.

Since Claire had a near fatal car accident in 2008, she hasn’t really been up to going out. She now has seizures and I understand her hesitation. She had a grand mal seizure after I left in July and I haven’t been pushing get-togethers as much. I’m hoping we can meet up for a little bit in 2019. I was thinking of her during this celebration and maybe next time Tranquilitea Temple has a tea ceremony, I may ask.

Library’s Valentine’s Day Hoopla | 1 February 2019 | Photo Entry

Last night was the library’s Valentine’s Day hoopla and it was a blast. We had fun playing hoola hoop games, a relay race involving unwrapping a Hershey kiss with oven mitts on, dressing people up as Valentine’s Day cards and voting which was the best, a white elephant game, and much laughter. I am grateful that I work with a bunch of kind, sweet women.

I’m also grateful for the co-worker that picked me up from the train yesterday, took me Target to get the goodies for the party, and dropped me off. We ended up having a snowstorm and it was helpful. She only lives a block away from me, so she took me home last night and also said if I ever need a ride to the library when she’s working, she doesn’t mind. I am blessed, I am beyond blessed for all the kind people in my life.