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Easter in North Sulawesi It’s totally uneventful. I’m not certain that is good or odd; We are having a full house in Minahasa Lagoon and I’m so busy, it was a complete surprise to me that today is Good Friday… I really even missed the fact it’s now spring!

Gosh all mighty! Time is flying past me. Q has a very exciting week (he thinks it’s stressful) making big changes in his life. I’m still working on my TCM book, but it is in the final stages; Possibly my best work yet. Even for anyone having no idea about Cooking or Traditional Chinese Medicine it’s a valuable collection of healthy teas and light cooking that require no culinary background nor medical knowledge. I simply collected a few tips that actually are randomly available by nature… (not if you live in a city  -mostly on the 23rd floor…)

Last week at a market in Bali I had a déjà vu that stranded me in my action; I stood affront an old lacquered box, on of them flashy red bamboo boxes you can find in Asia. It was square shaped, 40cmx40cm and merely 10cm high. The inside was black shiny lacquer and the outside hat pretty little white flowers on it, pulled together by a patient hand dotting each one on the red surface. It was not just the beauty of this old box that caught my attention; it awoken a long forgotten memory in the back of my brain. When I was nineteen years old, in the old town of St.Gallen in Switzerland during my last year in the culinary school, I visited a flower store. I can’t remember what attracted me to this place the first time. Soon I became acquainted with the owner who was not shy about his flirtatious attentions. It did not bother me the least; He had an affinity for drying little red roses which he carefully assembled in old China boxes. I asked him why not white ones. He said they are difficult to dry. I would be sitting there regularly and watch him, even greeting walk-in clients and foremost share with him about the learning-agony a young chef in a stressful kitchen experiences. One day he gave me a present. A square box filled with 500 dried white roses. I cherished this present, although stayed away from his shop afraid in my spooking mind; I’d owe him now a favor. He died a few years later, one of the early fatalities to AIDS.

As I stood there, I wondered where that little box was – but foremost, I finally fully appreciated the fact that someone had given me such a wonderful present and actually never asked for anything in return. I had the same euphoric feeling I remembered from way back when.

Yes, sometimes it takes a long time for us to register what others do from a kind heart. Within, I am finding hope that all I do might one day reach the heart of others. We all have a duty to be kind and share compassion, regardless if we are understood correctly or not. Here, far away from all the turmoil of Los Angeles, I have found a few duties to be rewarding. I’m still helping a family building their home and supporting my God-children. The oldest now goes to school. My curricular activities are keeping me sane and very happy; I can’t say that about work. Heck, I’ve gotten a lot done and in the end – I sleep well when going to bed.

Politics is keeping me edgy; Does anyone ever consider that with the evidence presented to the Senate five years ago,  Obama’s should have voted for it? Truly, with the security of the people he represents the fact clearly alarmed about a serious threat to National security. Sure now, many of us feel that the false and blown-out-of-proportion-information is possibly no rectification to kill 4000 US soldiers in a costly and loosing war. But way back when, (when it was called an invasion) I too felt the need for action. I did not like Cheney’s force! I’m against war in general. That makes me politically wishy-washy the most… Certain is, Hillary can run the US machine more efficient than Obama and within manifests my support for her.

Hopefully by July 08  the www.TCMchef.com site will be active and catching your interests.

Happy Easter! Raphael


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