Three Random Facts

  1. I am convinced someone might one day want to write my biography so I am cataloguing my life in this blog, journals and keeping significant letters and cards.
  2. I sometimes cook like I am presenting a cooking show online. This involves preparing all the ingredients in advance and sometimes explaining what it is I am doing.
  3. I play back all voice notes I send to try and determine whether I do have a good voice for radio. I am not sure I do.
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Book Review: Always Another Country – Sisonke Msimang

Always Another Country: A Memoir of Exile and Home by [Msimang, Sisonke]
 Buy here

I read this book over the December holidays and was sooo excited, I am not sure what happened and it’s almost four months later that I am here gushing about it. Urgggh!! Please see below my thoughts under the different themes, page numbers are provided in brackets for you to follow.

General

  •  This is a book for us women, refugees, blacks (6) and I totally totally agree.
  • I love that our time in Nairobi overlap – when she returns from Canada. I know all the landmarks she mentions of Nairobi. It felt so good to read a book about a place that I knew and know of so intimately. Double yay!!
  • I thought it was odd that she kept referring to her folks as Mummy and Baba??? So odd coz those are two different languages in my head and I would have gone with either Mummy and Daddy or Mama and Baba.
  • I wondered also why she protects the names of her own kids but not Simon’s eldest two. Not sure what that’s about is it maybe that they are adults and the other two are minors?
  • The things said to them about a male child being preferred to daughters. And how this is often blamed on the mother in a way that gives the husband carte blanche to stray in the name of looking for a son (pp 7 – 27). I know this reality all too well and all I think is Biology lessons are important for all.
  • It’s so subtle but her talking about not participating in the street games and fights as much as the local kids do coz it could turn on you:

“I had to choose how I would distinguish myself and I knew that it had to be safe.”(9)

  • The plight of house girls and domestic workers – all too relatable ( 50).
  • Having read Pumla’s Rape, it resonated with me how she spoke about the incident of being sexually attacked: her response and that of the adults around her (52 -55). Also, in the light of #MeToo, I thought it quite bold that she opened up about this incident.
  • The urgency for them to receive their citizenship. Yeah, I get that (67 – 68).
  • I remember the following events but was probably too young to consider their true impact on history: Chris Hani, Mandelas release, the IFP-sponsored murders and the election.

Growing up Foreign

  • Being called an African monkey. While that did not happen to me, I know about being called a refugee almost as though it was a dirty swear word.
  • And the rules that their mom had them follow because growing up in another country with parents working full time, there is not a big social infrastructure to support the parents. So rules are key or in young people speak, rules are bae.

“… the immigrant child knows that outside is one thing but home is another country.” (83)

“The immigrant child knows that the key to survival is in the inflection points. … The key to survival is in blending in first, in learning how to be just like else as a first step to freedom. You have to know how the inside works before you can stand outside and make everybody laugh.” (90)

“The immigrant child doesn’t make any noise. … She is preparing for the day when she will have mastered the art of being normal so that she can stand out.” (90)

Sisterhood

  • How she always talks of her sisters, so beautiful and in some way the story is as much about them as it is her. Yay sisterhood.

Race

  •  I understand when she talks of her discovery of her race in the States. The same thing happened to me in RSA.
  • Being foreign in South Africa has shown me that White ones are still preferred to Black ones. Sad but fact!

Moms: 

  • On discovering that your mom is not just a role – mom, wife, friend, daughter – but actually a woman with dreams, feelings and thoughts quite apart from me even. GASP, SHOCKING.
  • How their mom almost became like an older fourth sister but their dad remained a dad. I find this to be the truth with us too.

“To know your mother as an adult is to finally see that she has lived many more years as a woman than you have been alive. To be a grown woman who loves her mother is to understand that it is no easy thing to raise children so beautifully that they don’t worry about you until they are grown up and ready to carry the complex burden of that anxiety.” (304)

  • Class: I enjoyed reading about her relationship with her nanny especially when they were both pregnant. I thought it was the most honest tale by a middle class Black woman that I could totally relate to.

So please go out, buy the book read, it, share it and enjoy it.

Now, to make friends with her in real life?

Sunday Reads

 

Some Light for the Day

For some reason I have been thinking of these verses over the past couple of days and wanted to share them with you:

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died,and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3: 2- 4)

  • Our lives are hidden in Christ, who is over and above all things. He reigns supreme and our lives are hidden in Him!!
  • Sometimes I get so caught up in petty things and take my eyes off the things of eternal importance. Help me Lord to focus on you and kingdom business, not the petty here and now.
  • We have eternal assurance of our salvation, when Christ comes, we shall be caught up with him and all the things of this earth will be written away. I so long for this day and want to pray for you friend that whatever your struggle or uncertainty that you will lift up your eyes and look to Him who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than all you think or imagine.

Strength and light!!

 

 

I so need one of these random gift registries

Registries That Should Exist

What else would you add?

 

Belated Sunday Reads

Where are you going. You cannot leave with so many pieces of me still inside you. How will I ever put myself back together again.

Nikita Gill

Recipes

Decor Dreams on a Monday

I love this styling   In the Details

Source

What do I love in this image?

  • The black and white colour scheme.
  • The fact that there is so much under the stairs, but it is not busy.
  • I’m not a huge carpet fan, but this one works so well.

Urgggh, I wish I had a stairwell to try this look.

Transformed by God, for His Purpose

Romans 12:1-2

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 

We recently read this at BSF and here are a couple of thoughts that I would like to share with you.

  1. Our response in sacrifice, follows God’s mercy to us, former sinners who now believe in Him, receive righteousness. and therefore belong to His family This is the right and reasonable response. Have you consciously made this choice to belong to Christ’s family?
  2. A living sacrifice signifies that it is a voluntary choice, continuous and implies a death to self. All Christians are called to die to self daily, take up their cross and follow Christ.
  3. Something holy is something consecrated and set apart. What we offer to God is different from what we offer to anyone else. This particular thought struck me because we live in a very secular world and I struggled to think of those holy things that I only set aside for God.
  4. The verse speaks of either the pattern of the world or a renewed mind. It is truly binary. God will not be mocked and we cannot fool Him by adding on anything to His word. Off the top of my head, I think of ancestral worship, superstition, witchcraft, modern/ humanistic thoughts. None of that compares to God, it is the world or Christ’s way.
  5. Ultimately,  we all struggle with discerning God’s will. What is God saying, what does he mean, what should I do …? All of this is never easy or obvious but this verse makes clear that it is found by abiding in God’s presence and dwelling in His word, only then  will one know His good, pleasing and perfect will.

Be Blessed!

A few book recommendations from Cajetan Iheka

Love the book recommendation, have read 2/6 of them. Yay!!

Ufahamu Africa

In our last episode with Cajetan Iheka, when we talked about his book Naturalizing Africa, he shared a few book recommendations. In case you missed the titles and authors, here they are listed and linked:

  1. American War by Omar El Akkad is a futuristic novel that looks at America within a second civil war context, in which the south (the Confederacy) is winning.
  2. Homegoing, is a work of fiction set in both Ghana and the United States, written by Yaa Gyasi, a Ghanaian-American author.
  3. Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue is about the Cameroon financial crisis of 2008 and its impact on an American executive and a driver in NYC. 
  4. Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor is by Rob Nixon.
  5. A Critique of Black Reason is by Achille Mbembe.  
  6. Oil Wealth and Insurgency in Nigeria by Omolade Adunbi was first mentioned by Kim when she…

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(Belated) Sunday Reads

Recipes

Sunday Reads

“To all the little girls out there,
we will set fire to this world
that steals your childhoods
and stops you from being
everything you want to be,
and build you a better one from the ashes,
the kind of world that treasures you
for all your powerful capabilities.”

– Nikita Gill, Women’s March 2018

Recipes

15 Best Reads in 2017

I read some really interesting books in 2017.

  • On Black Sisters Street: Chika Unigwe – I read it in the context of the current mass migration tales and I helped me imagine the kind of backstories that some of the migrants are fleeing from.
  • The Woman Next Door: Yewande Omotoso – Great read. As I read it I kept thinking it would make for a great TV mini-series.
  • Rape: Pumla Dineo Gqola– Eye opening. Educative. Informative. Heavy topic, well written.
  • When Breath Becomes Air: Paul Kalanithi – I cried after reading this one. It made me think of legacies and the things that drive me.
  • Small Great Acts: Jodi Piccoult – I love her writing and as usual, there was a deep ethical question to ponder.
  • An Elegy for Easterly: Pettinah Gappah – I am not a big short stories fan but I love the author and the stories did not disappoint. Must admit to the fact that I kept thinking back to these stories during Mugabe’s exit.
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City: Matthew Desmond – I love these kinds of books that delve into one deep topic. It was interesting to also see how eviction has interlinkages with so many other issues: unemployment, poverty, crime, food shortages.
  • The Mothers: Brit Bennett – I enjoyed this read, it was an easy read but raised so many questions for me – especially on the role of faith in our lives.
  • The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Pearce: Jeff Hobbs – Forgetting whether it is the author’s story to tell, this book broke my heart. For anyone that wants to read Hillbilly Elegy, I would rather recommend this one.
  • Stay With Me: Ayobami Adebayo – Loved, loved, loved this one. Definitely recommending it to one and all.
  • Who Will Catch Us As We Fall: Iman Verjee – Great story on Kenya post-2007. Faultless.
  • Lyrics Alley: Leila Aboulela – This book made me dream of visiting Khartoum and The Sudan.
  • Beneath the Lion’s Gaze: Maaza Mengiste – It helped me understand so much about Ethiopia. Definitely a must read.
  • Kintu: Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi – A book from home. I initially thought it would be too ambitious and then under deliver but no, it was a great book to read. Get it.
  • Pachinko: Min Jin Lee – I have a thing for dynastic reads and this delivered exactly what I love: joy, sadness, tears, laughter and triumph.

Sunday Reads

Recipes

Guest Post: Motherhood: the first 12 months

Show some love today for a regular guest poster here on the blog for Simple Girl blogging over at (Simple Girl Writes) who defines herself as Slightly Neurotic, Cheerful, Blessed, Wants to be a back-up singer in the next lifetime, Sh*t scared of pigeons and chickens, Econometric nerd extraordinaire, Just a simple girl

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Mummy and her Little Madam 🙂

Technically my little one is now just over one year  (13 months to be exact) and I honestly can’t believe that I’ve been a mother for a year. WOW – we made it 🙂  (albeit with a lot of bumps and bruises along the way and don’t forget the many, many tears)!

I’ve never really liked children. I know that may be a shocking way to start this blog post but I always thought that I was a better aunt especially to little ones over the age of three. But babies? Yoh, I was not present for the diaper changing, constant burping, bottle feeds and anything else associated with newborn babies. So when I found out that I was going to be a mother, my biggest worry was whether I would genuinely like my child. Of course I would love my child – that goes without saying but I was honestly worried about how I would cope given that I knew nothing about handling babies and whether I would genuinely like the experience.

I was pronounced a mother on 28 November 2016. When I finally got a chance to look at the little human that I had been baking for nine months, all the fears and trepidation I had did not miraculously disappear (contrary to all the lies you are told at the baby shower) – but rather completely enveloped me.

Yes, I was that woman.

I was scared and completely nervous about being a mum over the first four months. I was completely overwhelmed by the responsibility that comes with raising a child. The sleep deprivation and hormones did not help. And let me not start on the struggles faced with breastfeeding. It didn’t help that I also did not receive proper support regarding this and went into it completely blindsided. People take it for granted that every woman will have sufficient (milk )supply and the right technique for baby to latch. Needless to say, I struggled with breastfeeding. We had incorrect latch and minimal supply (a teaspoon worth of milk was produced after pumping for at least an hour). Breastfeeding completely humbled me. I remember hysterically crying after another (well-meaning, I’m sure) relative called to give me a lecture about the benefits of breastfeeding and that regardless of the pain and difficulty I faced that it’s just something I must do if I want to give my child a good first step to a healthy life (yes, those words were actually said). The judgement you face from other women when they hear or see that you aren’t breastfeeding is real 😦 I still haven’t gotten over the guilt over my failure with breastfeeding  – this despite having a happy and healthy little girl. Lol, I actually think I am quite scarred by the experience, especially people’s reaction to my attempts. Baby steps I suppose.

But the past year hasn’t been all gloom and doom. The first time she smiled at me, first time I saw her sitting up on her own, the first time I came home from work and received a massive toothless smile and of course the first time I got a wobbly hug after someone took her first steps were literally the best moments I’ve had in a while. Those were the days I honestly felt like a mother and realised that this little person knows that too.

What I have learnt over the past year is that it’s ok to not be in control of everything and to ask for (and accept) help. Once I learnt to let a few things go, motherhood was not as scary anymore and I was able to enjoy being a mother. I luckily went through this emotional roller coaster with probably the most understanding partner I could ever have asked for. This coupled with the support from the grannies and aunties also helped (especially when all the nanny drama started – that’s a story for another day).

But honestly, I think motherhood (especially with your first child) is made to appear all shiny and sparkly and perfect (like floating in a field full of candyfloss perfect). And in my experience, I was rather running through a field of thorn trees 😦 Yes – It does get easier and becomes quite enjoyable but it’s not always easy to start off with. I just wish someone had told me that so that maybe I could have prepared myself a little bit more for it.

When I think of motherhood now, I’ve learnt to be kind and patient (nothing like a few weeks with minimal sleep to test your patience). That Googling if the colour of baby poo is normal at odd hours of the morning is ok. I also know that I’m a lot stronger than I ever thought I was. Importantly, I’ve learnt to humble myself and to be willing to do just about anything  (including crawl on the floor if I have to)  to get that amazing laugh (now with eight whole teeth!) from the little madam.

I’m constantly amazed by my child at her sheer resilience to reach all of her developmental milestones (regardless of the many bumps, tears and falls on the way). I’ve also fallen completely in love with my husband again and again while watching him interact with his child – their bond is love in its purest form, it is beautiful to watch. So here’s to the first year of being a mother – it hasn’t been rosy and perfect but hey, aren’t those imperfections what makes for an interesting ride?

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The Little Madam Herself …

Thanks Mama, please check out her past posts here and here.

Thanks so much for this post, I already shared with you how much it means to me that I can guilt/bully/ ask this of you and know that I can depend on you to be honest and vulnerable with me. It is much appreciated. As someone that has witnessed you come into your own as a mother and wife, I am so delighted to witness this growth and wish you and your family many more joyful and blessed days ahead.

Sunday Reads

This definition of her: to go from her father to her husband, to be pretty, docile – a man made tragedy. Her soul was made of larger, more powerful things, things that create or desecrate armies and galaxies. This is why when she loves she changes kingdoms, and when she hates she destroys legacies.  Nikita Gill, Jasmine, A Princess That Belonged To Herself First

Recipes

Books Based in New York City

I love New York, I just love it and so I wanted to share a couple of books that remind me of the Big Apple.

 

  • I have shared before that I did not really like Open City and I thought he was just showing off.
  • I LOVED Behold the Dreamers. I felt it was more relateable.
  • Everyone is raving about the Leavers but I felt it would have been a better short story but it gave me a glimpse of Upstate New York.

Do you love the Big Apple and have you read any books based on this city?

Merry Christmas

I loved the Collect from our Service today and so I thought I would share it with all.

O Christ, light of the world,

born into human pain and joy;

let our celebration of your birth

make us bold witnesses of your love;

to the glory of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

Be Blessed. 

Sunday Reads

Recipes

 

2017 in Posts

*this list is based on views

  1. Having a baby, what would you like to do before baby arrives?
  2. The status of rape in South Africa
  3. Thoughts on Upile Chisala’s book.
  4. Poems for my daughter(s)
  5. Happy Anniversary love 🙂
  6. A conversation with my oldest nephew
  7. Expectations and Marriage
  8. Lessons from the book of John
  9. Wh!at do you cook for guests?
  10. How I love thee!!

Ambition Over Time

Over the past couple of weeks, I have spoken to close female friends about the nature of ambition in women. In this time as well I have looked back at journals I wrote when I was in my late teens and possibly into my early twenties and that young voice was so clear about all the things that I had to achieve by a given age. It’s amazing that I did not envision life happening and how determined I was that my goals would happen when and as I planned. Years later, I somehow feel like I ticked off some of these things and yet so many others I did not. Does this mean I have sold myself out? Am I less ambitious now? What’s happening to me?

What do I know for a fact? I am still driven. I still love to excel and push myself. I enjoy making plans and looking to improve and exceed my own expectations.

  • The most significant difference as I have gotten older is that I am now more pragmatic and better able to understand that life is what happens between the achievement targets.
  • That comparison is the thief of joy and anytime I look at others’ accomplishments, I come off looking worse and feeling horrid about myself.
  • That dreams and targets can change as I also grow and experience life. And that’s OK too.