37 for 37

28 06 2011

So today is the day when my age stops being a square number, and becomes a prime number!  In the prime of my life?

37 things for 37 years:

  • Friends.  I’m sure its on every birthday list, indeed on every gratitude list.  I have great friends.  And through this time of illness they have outdone themselves in generosity, thoughtfulness and care.
  • Friendship.  The theology, ethics and spirituality of friendship continues to capture my imagination and practicing friendship is so much fun!
  • Godparenting!  Andrew and I have the great joy of having some lovely godchildren in our life.  Spending three months living with Amos has been very lovely.  Lots of stories, laughing, tickle-monstering and making block towers to have them knocked down.  Very good medicine.
  • Gluten-free Carrot Cake cupcakes!  A lovely birthday cake courtesy of the talented and lovely Amanda.
  • Quinoa.  A very scarce commodity in China and so good in so many ways.  Am loving it in soups, under veges, stuffed in peppers and in very delicious cakes.  Try this for delicious spiced-apple goodness or here for a more decadent chocolate-cardamom cake.
  • Wool.  I love knitting.  I love making skeins of yarn into useful or pretty (or even useful and pretty) warm things.  Lovely New Zealand wool available from here, here, here and here (some of which featured in birthday packages which was very exciting).
  • Living in Beijing.  It has been funny to be in New Zealand for several months.  It is so familiar but it is no longer home.  And in less than three weeks I get to go home to Beijing.  I’m a bit daunted by the idea of the heat and the state of the air but it still feels like I will be heading home…
  • The Congregation of the Good Shepherd.  There is a lot of grace in being called to be a co-pastor of that congregation.  I am loving working with such a diverse community of people and being part of what resources their “discipleship” in Beijing.
  • Being a co-pastor.  Job-sharing is great.  Job-sharing with the talented Andrew Coyle is the bee’s knees.
  • Steroids.  To be fair I used to be pretty freaked out by the idea of them.  But having Lofgren’s sarcoidosis has acquainted me pretty closely with high doses of steroids and their medical super-powers (and side effects too to be fair).  I’m grateful that they are doing their job and bringing me slowly but steadily along the road to wellness.
  • Pain relief.  Also a very good thing as Lofgrens comes with quite a lot of arthralgia.
  • Osteopath.  In a similar vein, so grateful for a very lovely osteopath whose gentle and attentive care keeps the body in better shape than it would otherwise be!
  • Wheat/rice bag.  I’m not too fussy about which grain is filling them, but those heat packs are also essential in the daily regime.  Love those fuzzy flannelette covers too.
  • The Great Wall of China.  Because standing on it is amazing!
  • Terracotta Warriors.  Also astonishing.  And I got to go there because I live in China now!
  • Okra and paneer.  My birthday dinner of choice!  Fortunately Andrew is here to do the paneer-making and unlike Beijing where okra is a very pricey luxury, at Vege King we can purchase all the okra our stomachs’ desire!
  • Skype.  Great for keeping in touch with friends and family and really great for three months of unexpected separation from my beloved.
  • The internet in general.  Especially the internet where it works quickly and doesn’t need a VPN and isn’t endlessly bumping you off.  But even the internet where it is slow and erratic and ringed by the Great Firewall!
  • Ravelry.  For free patterns and inspiration and all that crazy knitting stuff.
  • Google Reader.  For organising all those RSS feeds: the knitting ones and the gluten-free ones and the lectionary ones and the feminist ones and the China ones.
  • Yoghurt.  Especially The Collective’s Russian Fudge yoghurt.  And the Black Doris.  Or cherry and pomegranate.  But the Russian Fudge is pretty awesome in its tart yoghurty caramelly way.  Perfect with quinoa cake – see above!
  • Purple shoes.  Comfortable, warm, stylish.  An excellent accidental purchase (I was really trying to buy some probiotics at the time!)
  • Dark Chocolate.  Fairly traded.  For the iron content, of course.  The daily square of post-lunch chocolate is a bit of a ritual in our Beijing life.  The fairly-traded part of the equation is much easier to manage in New Zealand.
  • Our Chinese teacher.  So patient, so encouraging, so optimistic about my ability to learn a new language!
  • New Spiritual Director.  The previous one was fantastic but after twelve years together and with a move to China on the horizon it was time to find someone new.  Today might be the first birthday that’s featured a spiritual direction conversation but the gentle conversation, with the very grounded no-bullshit undertone was a grace-filled part of the day
  • Braeburn Apple and Rhubarb tea.  There’s at least one box for a suitcase going home.
  • Facebook.  Even when you have to tunnel out through the Great Wall its a good way to be in touch with home and friends and a lovely way to receive birthday greetings!
  • Warm socks.
  • Brooches.
  • Podcasts.  One about China: culture, politics, media and more is the Sinica podcast from the Popup Chinese team.  Link here.
  • Tap water.  It has been a little disconcerting to be back in Hamilton and freely drinking water out of the tap.  The water in Beijing is not dangerous – just rather overtreated!  (Though to be fair we’re not entirely sure that the water we buy isn’t also just tap water some of the time)
  • Music.  Old favourites.  Holiday music.  Easter hymns.  Traditional Chinese instruments being practiced in parks.
  • Tiantan.  The Temple of Heaven.  My favourite place to be a tourist and to people watch in Beijing.  Perfect place to see a community choir, games of mahjong and Go, dancing of many kinds and extraordinarily flexible senior citizens.
  • Lotus Root.  In stir fries.  Or with a lot of chilli as served at Samadhi. Also the satisfaction of our first successful purchase at the market and edible dinner produced with said purchase.
  • Turnip Rice.  A speciality at a restaurant across the road from where we live.  Served in a wooden bucket with a little paddle.  So tasty!
  • Granny Smith Apples. Crisp out of the fridge.  Fossicked out of a satchel for an emergency pick-me-up.  With berries in crumble.  All good.
  • Grace.  Couldn’t live without it.  Experienced in abundance in my 37th year.



One response

28 06 2011
Lilian Nattel

37 wonderful items. happy birthday, dear! the hardest part of being in beijing for us was the constant care about water.


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