Tag Archives: family

My City is Better than Yours

When I moved to Cape Town, I did not expect to like, or GASP love it, as much as I did Johannesburg. Two years on, I feel like I am cheating on my first love but here goes a list of things I love about the city.

  • Franschhoek and the annual literary festival
  • The Book Lounge
  • The Mountain View
  • Camps Bay – I don’t do this often because it gets touristy and it’s a big contrast to the daily inequality but occasionally, I do note its’ beauty and appreciate that.
  • Wine Farms
  • Unstuffy Markets – Mojo Market, Old Biscuit Mill and Oranjezicht. For some reason in Joburg, peeople need to dress up and then get to markets and look like they just walk up like that, URGGGH!!
  • An Evening BSF Class
  • The Promenade
  • Being able to walk around to most places
  • A main street that means not having to get into a mall unless you want to, Yay!!!
  • Off-street Parking
  • Kalk Bay
  • A gorgeous CBD
  • Love the pace of drivers and their general chill
  • It’s a very outdoors and family-oriented place
Advertisements

Hosting Long-Term Guests?

This blog has slowly become a firm favourite. I thought this was a whimsical post but it definitely gave me ideas of how to prepare our guest room when we have visitors.

What do I currently do?

Growing up, my mom always made us pack a towel a face cloth and other personal items we might require when we go visiting. I have slowly learnt that not everyone packs these so I  have since had to include guest towels when I prepare the room.

I also ensure the guests have a set of keys and boy does knowing that there is extra toilet paper help a tonne.

I also stock the house with food and then on the second or third night when the guests arrive, I take them along to the shops so they can shop for food and personal effects that they might need that I do no have in the house – it certainly helps guests to feel at home. This and knowing where the breakfast cereals, tea and coffee is in the house.

From this post, I have since learnt to include the following items for that home away from home feel.

  1. A luggage rack, I read this and the simplicity but indulgence of it made me happy.
  2. A mirror so that guests can prep themselves once they get up.
  3. A box of tissues.
  4. Clearing out shelf and hanging space and providing a few hangers for use
  5. Stocking up the sugar bowl – I don’t add sugar to my tea/coffee so it’s an

    issue to remember that other do.

    How do you prepare yourself to host guests?

    Belated Sunday Reads

    We mentally compress our networks when we are harassed, bullied or being threatened by job loss. We close ourselves off, isolating ourselves, creating a huge blind spot where we can’t see our resources, allies and opportunities.

    Book Review: The Book of Memory

    Image result for the book of memory

    The story that you have asked me to tell you does not begin with the pitiful ugliness of Lloyd’s death. It begins on a long-ago day in August when the sun seared my blistered face and I was nine years old and my father and mother sold me to a strange man.

    Memory, the narrator of Petina Gappah’s The Book of Memory, is an albino woman languishing in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in Harare, Zimbabwe, after being sentenced for murder. As part of her appeal, her lawyer insists that she write down what happened as she remembers it. The death penalty is a mandatory sentence for murder, and Memory is, both literally and metaphorically, writing for her life. As her story unfolds, Memory reveals that she has been tried and convicted for the murder of Lloyd Hendricks, her adopted father. But who was Lloyd Hendricks? Why does Memory feel no remorse for his death? And did everything happen exactly as she remembers?

    Moving between the townships of the poor and the suburbs of the rich, and between past and present, the 2009 Guardian First Book Award–winning writer Petina Gappah weaves a compelling tale of love, obsession, the relentlessness of fate, and the treachery of memory.

    The book reminded me of the book, We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo particularly when she talks of the Harare township where Memory grew up. The characterisation of township life was totally believable and reminded me of my experience growing up. The book also does a good job of personifying the life behind bars and the dynamics of womanhood and female friendships.

    Overall, Gappah is a lovely story teller, she builds it up slowly and steadily then lets it slow down later. I loved the pace. It totally sucked me in and I read it over a day or two. Then at the end I just hugged the book and smiled. The story continually switches between a flashback to the past and present time. Despite this, it was still easy to follow the broader tale.

    Common themes raised in the book include: language, memory, family (siblings, mother-daughter, husband-wife), religion, colonialism(or race as a subset). Various questions I had though while reading the book include:

    • In light of the decolonised free education in our lifetime protests currently happening in South African universities, is the best education White/ Western and in a foreign (ex-colonialist) language? To what extent has this changed? Would you/ I feel comfortable to take our kid to a native school ala Spilt Milk? I am not sure. In terms of decolonising language, the best book I have read on this topic so far is Decolonising the Mind by Ngugi wa Thiong’o.
    • The book also touches on Africa’s complicated history with the White Man. Was Lloyd African? Why because he spoke the language and understood the culture / had allowed himself to be immersed in it fully? If we contrast Lloyd and Alexandra the sister, who is more African?
    • Colonialism and the White Mans’ burden also comes across when we look at the motives of Lloyd in adopting Memory.
    • That duality of existence that I find so intriguing about South Africans and now Zimbabwe. That deep belief in ancestry and mainstream religion or a more modern life. I grew up raised in a predominantly Bible-focused culture and so this duality is totally alien to me.
    • Do we trust our memories? Is it ever as we think or are there things we remember that as we have gotten older we have to come realise are not as they were. As the last child in my home, I have some clear memories of myself as a child but to be honest, I know that a lot of them are mainly based on what I have been told and not necessarily what I particularly remember. What are your earliest memories?

    In closing, I am not sure why they did not translate the Shona bits which made me wonder who the real audience is here. It was quite frustrating for me a non-Shona speaker.

    The Promises of God

    Today is not an easy day, but I will choose to focus on the following truths about God:

    1. He is the Creator and Sustainor of Life. He made all things, visible and invisible for His pleasure.
    2. God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He will change His mind.
    3. Our greatest need is for salvation, and that He has already finalised on our behalf.

    Yet, I will focus on God. Even today.

     

     

    2016 Theme Verse

    Source

    So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,  rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)

    In the last couple of years I have started to look at a theme word and then gotten a verse for the following to keep me grounded. As 2015 drew to a close, I started to look at the last couple of years and the word that came to mind was “centred” or “rooted” as it felt like the previous years had been in some kind of flux. An alternative word was abide which always calls to mind being at peace and being deeply connected to something or someone as it were.

    I love this verse above because besides so many other things it connects being established and rooted in Christ while at the same time talking of gratitude which was something else that I felt about 2015. God has been so good to me and mine in this year that I want to begin another year reminded of this and almost saying to myself to count my blessings, each and everyone of them every day.

    So I look forward to a calming year with my focus on my Lord and Saviour as well as a spirit of gratitude!

    10. Interviewing an 11-year old

    As a follow up to this interview with my 9-year old nephew, enjoy!

    What’s the best thing about your life right now?

    Having family because what would you do without family? (totally unprompted; also he now has two direct cousins – my sister has a nephew and a niece)

    What don’t you like about your life right now?

    Getting too many responsibilities Sad smile 

    What are you most looking forward to learning in the upcoming year?

    How to be an awesome soccer player (He is currently the captain of the B-Soccer team)

    Describe yourself in three words

    Kind, loving, naughty, funny, short-tempered

    In ten years I will be …

    21 years old. At University, studying to be a pilot, doing FUN stuff

    Most important friendship trait? They must be awesome and loyal.

    Favourite Activities

    Swimming, Soccer, playing PSP, Amazing race, Ice cream, Reading (but not his favourite)

    Favourite Food Spaghetti and meat balls/ mince meat

    Favourite Colour Green, Blue

    Favourite Book Diary of a Wimpy Kid

    Favourite PSP Game Naruto Ultimate Ninjas and Heroes II: The Phantom Fortress

    Favourite Movie Star Wars I

    Favourite Song Mama I made it Casper Nyovest; Classic Man – Jidenna

    Favourite Artist Chris Brown

    Favourite Footballer Pique– Barcelona

    Why is the sky blue?

    It is a reflection of the sea (apparently this question gauges maturity)

    What do you know how to do that you can teach to others?

    Being a good centre defender and how to kick the ball far.

    If you could be a sound, what would it be?

    Music – rap.

    What is the funniest thing that has happened to you in the past week.

    Walking by the pool with my eyes closed and falling into the pool with a shirt and my swimming trunks. (Horrified mother walked past and warned him against this behaviour)

    If you could choose a new name for yourself, what would it be, and why?

    Max. It sounds cool.

    How would you change the world if you could?

    Every child would be born with a Play Station

    Enjoy xoxo

    My Crazy Happy List

    I was challenged to do this post by a friend (snarky things these private blogs) so I will cite the initial source Karen.

    “Grab a pen and paper, and list everything you love to do that fills you with joy and/or grace.  It can be shooting photographs, or cooking, or taking a shower, or running a mile, or singing or whatever.  Write deeply profound things, or silly little things, like organizing the junk drawer in your kitchen.  Write until it exhausts you.  Just write whatever fills you with joy or grace.”

    In no particular order here are my favourites:

    1. Listening to Talk Radio and Podcasts.
    2. Reading. A good book, a great article, a lovely post. Even bad stuff, I will read as long as people write. I like the fact that reading allows a third dimension to come in and you can start to hear, smell or imagine stuff beyond what’s actually on the paper.
    3. Sitting with family to have easily six conversations running concurrently and speaking a mish-mash of all the different languages we speak or appropriating words to mean something new altogether.
    4. Chatting – whether on Gmail or on Whatsapp. I love the connection it gives me and the fact that it helps pass time.
    5. Getting a good work out and pushing my body really hard.
    6. Road trips with my Mr – gives us a chance to really talk and connect as well as listen to each others Music (his mainly).
    7. Cooking for family and seeing their appreciation S/O to my nephew who is so complimentary when you hit the happy spot. Also, getting a new cookbook and trying a new recipe and having it come out tasty and adding it to my repertoire of meals.
    8. Browsing in a bookstore or being in a Library. BOOKS, YUM!!!
    9. Journaling and my journals. I have journaled more on than off since I was 11 years old and have kept each of them.
    10. Writing lists. Anyone that knows me knows that I list everything for private and professional stuff. To-do lists, shopping lists, meeting notes, books to read, places to go, stuff I like – LISTS are my thang
    11. Reading an applied Economics paper that answers a really practical and useful question and actually getting it.
    12. I make a mean cup of tea.
    13. Friendship – catching up with a pal and connecting whether on silly or deep things. Just connecting.
    14. Getting my hair done. Ok, I will say that again, getting my hair done.
    15. Going to Church and being in a room with other believers.

    What about you, what’s on your crazy happy list?

    Fare thee well!

    C360_2014-07-14-12-51-39-898

    Drove to Durban and back this past weekend with the Mr for a family funeral and took these two pics half an hour apart just as the sun came up.

    Even in the saddest of moments, we are always reminded of God’s beauty and His power. RIP Uncle ..

    Book review: Happiness like water

    Happiness like WaterChinelo Okparanta

    As promised here are my thoughts on this book.

        • For some reason, it is ridiculously priced at Exclusive Books and that’s if you can get it. I ended up getting it from Amazon at half price.
        • A part of me wanted not to compare her to that other famous Nigerian Writer and I tried most of the time.
        • The stories are divided into two parts – stories in the first half are based in Nigeria and the latter in America.
        • The predominant themes to her stories are religion, migration or identity, family dynamics and unexpectedly lesbianism, which begs the question, how many lesbians are there in Nigeria? (This scares me because of the traffic that will be lead to this blog ala this.) But in light of the recent anti-homosexuality bills in Nigeria and Uganda, it does raise the question of how difficult it is to be gay/lesbian in Africa. Culture notwithstanding.
        • She writes very simply but poignantly. A lot of the time, I had such strong feelings after most stories. Which to me is not necessarily a bad thing because I have to react to my stories to truly enjoy them otherwise it’s just not worth it.
        • I loved “On Ohaeto Street” because the description of where they lived reminded me so much of the estate I grew up in back in Nairobi. Very beautiful intro to the book. As with any short story, I was left wondering whether they got back together again?
        • The second story very touching as the wife had to go through the VERY public and then an equally private shame. Interesting also that it had to be the wife with a problem conceiving and not the guy. Like no one ever considered it could be him.
        • I also loved “America”. Quite a lot. I felt of all of them, this had the most potential to be drawn out further but maybe if it was, it wouldn’t have that same feel to it. Possibly. But reading this story, I did ponder on the issue of brain drain and how it was/is to some extent today that you haven’t quite made it in Africauntil you have gone overseas and studied/lived/worked. You can be great BUT and that’s a huge BUT.
        • As an eternal foreigner “Shelter” made me so sad. To be in a bad way and stuck in a foreign country without help or family. Worst nightmare.
        • Tumours and Butterflies” almost made me wail like a sick kid. I was probably quite emotional on the day I read it but it gutted me. Parts of you feel sorry for the mom that she is a battered lady, then you wanna feel sorry for the dad because he has Cancer and then you see him treat his daughter like that and you wanna get in there and beat him up. I thank God I am not a battered wife but her decision to side with her husband over her daughter I cannot even contemplate!
        • The title of the book comes from the story “Grace”. I felt like this story dragged on unnecessarily. However, is Happiness always fleeting … “maybe it is all about being on the verge of joy and similar small moments.” To me happiness is fleeting and joy is perpetual.

    I loved this book, which is rare because I cannot be paid enough to read short stories. But this one, I would certainly give a proud 4.5 out of 5.

    Happy reading!!

    19: Stuff I like (to do)

    1. My faith and sometimes looking through my Bible and reading a section that in times past inspired or encouraged me
    2. Chatting with my sisters about ALL things under the starts
    3. Random Whatsapp/ Gchat conversations with a friend
    4. Pilates on Tuesday morning
    5. Getting into a book so much that you feel like you and the characters are one
    6. A hot cuppa at just the right time
    7. Catching up on blogs I love
    8. Music and Podcasts
    9. Browsing through a bookshop
    10. Cooking, baking or trying out a new recipe
    11. Yoghurt

    What inspires you?

    Little things Wednesday

    Via

    • This is what little things is about!
    • The freedom not to dot my “i” when I write stuff. Take that Standard 3 teacher, I can write as I wish!
    • After three weeks of doing this, I can finally say I am enjoying the running. (Oh it helps that my partner and I got a better route to follow)
    • Enjoyed a few beautiful videos of my two-month old nephew.
    • Cheers to beautiful weather this past weekend and spending the day with my sister and 8-year old nephew.
    • Test drove this little baby. Not looking to get a new car any time soon but I have loved this car for so long, I wanted to know what it felt like to drive.
    • Great food and company for dinner at The Good Luck Club in Illovo. Slowly becoming one of my favourite places to meet people and hang out.

    What little things caught your eye this past week?

    The end

    After the loveliest month ever, it is finally over, drut! and on everyone’s lips is the vow to go to Brazil in 2014 and to enjoy this fever, it really is contagious and this coming Monday will feel like the beginning of Black Monday. It’s been a blast, and I got to watch two matches, one in Polokwane, Algeria- Slovenia and at Soccer City, Ghana- Uruguay and the emotions that that match was. I think each city needs to host something of this magnitude at least once, and since Kampala had CHOGM, it’s only fair that Nairobi host something next *she turns and smiles coyly*.

    My five year old nephew is so obsessed with being male its amazing the number of things he can spin into male and female or male is better and female is not… I think its age appropriate for boys and girls of that age but it’s so darling to behold. This article goes a little into how children are enculturated into the different gender roles: dolls for boys and cars for girls? Novel or realistic? And I guess depending on how we answer that, we can then determine roles in marriage. Do you split roles down the middle or do you believe that women should do certain roles only and the same for men, or? I guess roles play a bigger than we think. Just read about the Anglican Church and their meeting to decide whether women ought to be ordained as bishops or not. For me, it’s somehow so straight forward, God called us all, Jew or Gentile, free or slave, male or female..For there is now no condemnation..and we are each called to serve God daily in our walk with Him, and so obviously not all of us will be called into full-time ministry BUT some of us will get the calling and some will be female, Gentile or enslaved (to sin- as we all are) BUT after He calls us, no one on earth ought to say this or the other. However, what of the few who are so ritualistic and who might be led astray by their ordination? What about those ones then? It might be clear cut to me, but its also not just about it, much as I’d love to make it.

    This coming weekend is one of partying and joy, my cousin graduates today afternoon, my mom and dad turn 64 and 66 on Saturday and Sunday respectively and so although far from them, wish them all the best and much, much love 🙂

    A lovely weekend actually

    Because I really did.

    I am the kind of person who likes to make little to-do lists and then go ahead to do them and then derive such pleasure from them.

    So this weekend, I met up with a friend to read up on some school work and I was pretty pleased with myself as the weather was twelve shades of nasty, cold and rainy and unbeknown to us was the fact that the library was set at single digit temperature and we were literally freezing our seats off. I had a couple of readings to do and so I did those and made notes that I later typed off. Two ticks off that list!

    Then yesterday, I practiced a little of my driving and that was nerve-wracking but going good..This we did, on the way to my sisters lunch. She turns 31 tomorrow and so we took her out and had the waiters sing her happy birthday, something I am sure she wanted to kill us over greatly enjoyed.

    The weather is horrid…Can’t do cold AND rainy! But I hear that the cold front is going to pass soon.Yeah, you better or else….

    I laugh at those who take the day off…WICKED LAUGH…