Friday, December 14, 2012


Back when I was doing the posts for Armenia, I had contacted Robyn Kalajian, the main writer for a husband-and-wife blog called The Armenian Kitchen ( and told her how much I enjoyed the blog. I had used the recipes they had listed as a basis for my Armenian menu – which was wonderful! Last week, she sent me an e-mail saying that she nominated Worldly Rise for the Leibster Award. (In her acceptance post, she had mentioned that the word “leibster” is the German word for “beloved.”) In essence, I’m gathering that it’s more of an award of recognition for the blogs that you find meaningful and/or interesting and/or simply enjoy reading. I’ll take that. That means that there are people out there who are reading what I do, and I suppose that’s the whole point of it all. Essentially, all writers want to be read.

In order to accept the award, I had to in turn nominate five other blogs that had less than 300 followers. It almost posed a problem, and I struggled, but I came up with four. I’m sure that’s enough. I don’t have much time to read too many since I’m writing and researching all the time. Oh yeah, and my family and full-time job seem to vie for my attention as well.

My college friend, Tony Bird, has a blog called “Your Friend Tony” ( that I enjoy reading. He went to high school in the next school district over, yet we have many mutual friends weirdly enough. However, I met Tony through a friend of mine while at college – we were all English majors of varying sorts.  I like his perspective on things, and I like his nerdy-dry humor (maybe because it’s similar to mine).

I went to college with Heather Pechin, where we were both music majors. (Don’t be confused: I majored in both English and music, but only graduated with a degree in music.)  I’ve enjoyed reading her blog “Pechin’s Pizza of the Week” ( While it’s not strictly about pizza, she does cover an array of food and local eating establishments. The best thing I learned from her was making brownies and putting Andes mints on top of the batter before baking. It was the best idea ever.

While I was researching food from Bangladesh, I came across the blog “Rownak’s Bangla Recipes” ( I used several of the recipes listed on her blog. My favorite by far was the sweet buns, a braided roll with sweet butter on the inside.  It was definitely a favorite in my family. It’s a great collection of recipes and some stories about them along with some tips in preparing and cooking the meals. I really enjoy it!

I’ve been told my blog is the sister-blog of “Travel by Stove ( I actually come across it whenever I start a new country, and I always try to read it to see what she’s already done (she’s a little ahead of me). I tried to make mine a little different from hers so that readers can get the whole sense of each country through both of our blogs. I like her writing style (probably because it’s not that much different from my own: witty, intelligent people spot our types of humor from miles away), and I don’t feel so bad that I came to the table (no pun intended; well, ok, maybe just a little) not knowing much about all the dirty details of cooking and am accident-prone with my fair share of mistakes. I’m glad there are two of us in the world who aren’t afraid to admit it in a humorously, well-written way.

And as promised, without further ado, I have to state eleven facts about me:
      1.    I met my husband on an Amtrak train. I took a day trip to Chicago from Indianapolis, and on the way back, we sat next to each other, and started talking. And less than a year later, we were married and have been for the past eight years. And now we have two kids, that I’m pretty sure are only here as a study to see how quickly we lose our sanity. (Just kidding, I love my kids.)
      2.       I really don’t like prime numbers. You know, those numbers that are only divisible between one and itself. I don’t know why; they’re the “odd” one out (yes, the pun was intended). If I’m changing the volume or something, I try not to stop on a prime number. I read somewhere once that Christina Applegate hates odd numbers. I don’t know if that’s exactly true or not, but I’d like to think that there might be two of us weirdos out there.
      3.       I played the French horn for 10 years and have played the piano for the past 20 years. I have sang and did percussion for many years along the way. I also own an mbira from Zimbabwe that I bought earlier this year, and I play it as a means of stress relief.
      4.       I have studied Japanese for almost 20 years and can read a substantial amount of Portuguese and Spanish. I had taught at Mori no Ike (Japanese language camp of Concordia Language Villages in Dent, Minnesota) for three summers.  I spend a summer in Tokyo, Japan in 1998, and I spent a month in southern Brazil (Curitiba and Porto Alegre) during September 2003.
      5.       We’re car show people: we have a 2000 Chevy S-10 lowrider truck that has won various awards for my husband’s custom paint jobs, and we’re currently restoring/customizing a 1964 Chevy Bel Air.
      6.       The farthest north I’ve traveled was Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; the farthest east I’ve traveled was Montauk Point, Long Island, New York; the farthest south I’ve traveled was Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil; the farthest west I’ve traveled was Maebashi, Gunma, Japan.
      7.       Capers really are the best thing in the world. And so is black olive tapenade and avocados. My idea of great breakfast items include: a) cold pizza, b) cold jerk chicken, c) pumpkin pie (or any pie for that matter), and/or d) biscuits and sausage gravy.
      8.       My husband and I are huge fans of house music and techno music. But not so much into that dubstep mess.  I’m also a fan of reggae, reggaeton, hipster rock, indie rock, punk rock (gypsy punk, Irish punk, skateboard punk), hard rock, classic rock, rockabilly, 80s hair bands, psychedelic rock, Japanese rock, MPB (musica popular do Brasil), Arabic groove, Cuban groove, gypsy groove, jazz, big band, blues, classical, R&B, hip-hop and any kind of fusion between them all.
      9.       When I was in college, I was able to have lunch with the great Peter Schickele. I was also able to shake the hand of and receive a kiss from the late great Les Paul.
      10.    I love office supply stores or educational supply stores. And even though I passed the seventh grade, I’m still fascinated by the pens that contain four different inks. Really one of the best inventions ever, just behind the microchip and the transistor.
      11.   I have an interest in the meaning of place names and names in general. My first name Beth means “house of God” in Hebrew, but my real name Harriet means “home ruler” in Old German. My last name Adams means “son of Adam” in English (but may also come from the Hebrew word for “earth”), but my maiden name Campbell means “crooked mouth” in Scottish. My husband’s name translates to “Crown Nobleman Son-of-Adam” (from Greek, Old English, and English). My daughter’s name translates to “Variation-of-Mary Ruddy-complected Son-of-Adam” (from Latin, Gaelic, English). My son’s name translates to “Fearless King Son-of-Adam” (from Swahili, Arabic, English). 

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