Tag Archives: female bonding

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Books on Letters between Friends

Image resultImage result for dear ijeawele

About So Long a Letter

About Dear Ijeawele

In March and April I read these two letters between female friends. Both of them touch of womanhood and issues of feminism which although books are written almost four decades apart, are still so relevant and applicable to the plight of women. All in all, they are both great books so I will talk about the common themes that struck a note with me.

  1. Maintain your identity that is separate from your role as a mother, a wife, a sister-in-law. Maintain that single identity and I would even venture to say, keep pursuing those interests you have and love to do.
  2. Make your partner a full partner. From Dear Ijeawele, this is quite obvious and self-explanatory. From So Long …. it’s not quite obvious but I like Aissatou (the friend)’s response when her husband married a second wife, she held him immediately accountable and  left the marriage. Many called her names and wished something else of her but she held him accountable and did what she had to do.
  3. Both authors talk about centering marriage in the right place as a nice to have/do but not the penultimate accomplishment. Marriage is neither good nor bad, but how we aspire to it could be.
  4. Both writers caution each other against assigning certain roles to male or female children and the assumptions we make or impute. The future is not one where boys (girls) can do certain things that girls (boys) cannot. Also the language that we use when we explain the roles and responsibilities to kids also matters a lot.

The entire letter is an ode to female friendship which I totally loved and would therefore recommend both books. You can easily get through both in a single sitting or weekend.

How I want to make Adult Friends

five women laughing

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I have a friend who is a maverick at making friends. One on one, she seems incredibly shy but I love her attitude to making friends and how deliberate she is about it all. So when I think to myself that I would like to make friends, I always think of some kind of organised activity that brings people together on the regular.

When I think of this though I always wonder how I would go about starting one because it involves putting myself out there in some way or another which is not exactly my thing. But, if / when I get over this hurdle, these are some things I would like to do:

  • Listen to a key podcast each month and then meet and discuss
  • Start an article club – pick a Longread article and then chat about it
  • Pick a cuisine and then assign various parts of the meal (starter, protein, desserts, salad) to different people and thus have a supper club or a cookbook club if you are fancier.
  • Good old Book club
  • Board games with a group of friends, I really have mine eye on this one.
  • A cheese/ wine tasting club.

Do you live in Joburg, would you be keen to do any of this with me and meet some new people?

Gifts for New Moms

As friends of mine are in that phase of having babies, I enjoyed this post and felt inspired to copy a list of things I would take with me when I next go to visit as in that moment you are often at a loss of what is appropriate.

  1. Time – to listen, help out with her errands, carry baby, fold laundry or cook. Just time.
  2. Easy to warm and eat with one hand food. Also drinks.
  3. What food did she miss during pregnancy that she can now eat? Stock up on that!!
  4. A cozy gown as the new mom will be nursing or up in the cold of the day or night.
  5. Comfy chill at home shoes/ other clothes.
  6. Hand cream/ hand sanitiser because new baby = washing hands often.
  7. A beautiful mug or water bottle as she might be drinking a whole lot more if she is breastfeeding.

When you had a baby, what would you have loved OR what great gift do you get new moms?

I Got You Friend

I miss my gal pals the most when I see stuff like this that we could do together .

I particularly think of the things that I have missed out on with my better female friends: baby showers, bridal showers, high tea, being able to do random things together, road trips, dinners, first homes, come meet my new guy, the new baby, watch a new show together and laugh about it – just a lot of stuff. Yes, IRL I have friends and people I do this but it’s also different.

From the blog post:

I particularly love #2,6, 9 and have done #3 – adult baking dates are awesome – 10, 13.

The comments as usual provides such gems and so here is my to do with a friend list.

  • Volunteer together at a cause that’s meaningful to either or both of us.
  • More concerts – I watched John Legend with a pal and her cool mom and it was awesome!
  • Coworking sessions. Yes to these.
  • Sit together and read dates.
  • Sleepovers with no husbands or kids.
  • Pottery / learn something class.
  • Try and commit to an exercise class together.
  • Talk about podcast episodes we both love. Tried to get so many pals into this that I am glad I can do it with my sister and partly with The Mr.
  • Watch TV shows together and make comments in between, ideally together or even if separately, concurrently.
  • Same day road trips and do stuff along the way or at the destination.
  • Supper club where each person brings one.

In fact, I decided to have a little snacks and games afternoon at my place next month! Done!!

For my sisters

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a girls’ girl and I firmly believe in the strength of women and the beauty that is women’s friendships. This is hardly surprising as some of the best lessons in life I learnt from my four older sisters – who are family and as I have gotten older, my friends.

From my first sister, I have learnt about kindness and generosity – genuinely giving things from the bottom of your heart and not expecting anything in return. Maybe its because she is the first born and long accustomed to having to share with the babies, but she is  the kind of person who would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it. From her I have also learnt the importance of tithing and giving that 10% of your income to God – this from the time when she gave me pocket money to now when I earn a salary. She is also very funny and never once treated me as a baby. My best memory of her was when she left for University, at an institution four and a half hours from Nairobi and she would write letters home to me telling me about school. Obviously part of it was to me, but some parts I had to relay the information to my parents. But what stood out was she wrote to me not as the 7 – 11 year old I was at the time, but as an old enough sister.

From my second sister, I have learnt the soft professional skills  –  my CV and cover letter are modelled along hers, she has sent me all sorts of articles on how to conduct myself at the office, how to behave at interviews, how to speak to my boss and make certain requests, verbally and via email. I have also learnt how to laugh and just savour the moments with her being able to listen and laugh at anything I tell her, often making the story more than the humorous event. She is truly my biggest champion with my two best memories of her being the day an older girl bullied me and she matched out a friends house (having heard her small sister cry) and slapped her across the cheek. SCORE! Also in Primary school, she used to sign my school diary and check my homework on behalf of my parents and a particular teacher did not like this and called her stupid just as I was stupid – I rushed home and reported this and first thing Monday morning, she was at school coming to do battle with him. My best moment was watching him slink back to class after being chastened in her presence. DOUBLE SCORE!!!

My third sister and I can laugh.  Growing up, we spent so many hours just cracking up and laughing and annoying the other three who often did not get it. We have the same sense of humour and often, just need to say it once when the other would double up in laughter with tears rolling down and sides hurting. I owe the direction that my post-graduate studies took entirely to her, she got me to send in my application in time, she went to the school, followed up with them continuously until I finally got admitted. For two years, she stayed on at work until 7/ half 8 in the evening to pick me up as I did not drive at the time. On a lighter note, she also taught me how to make rice and we all know much how I love the stuff. She also greatly inspired a lot of my musical and reading interests with us jointly reading and discussing so many books over the years.

The sister whom I follow has an uncanny sixth sense – she can read someone and however long it takes, her initial instincts will be proven right. And so I tend to depend on that at times, I can go in and get to know the person but also allow for the fact that she will be right about them eventually. She is also entirely protective and of all my sisters, she definitely makes me most feel like the baby of the family. She also taught me how to drive and through her son, has shown me what it is like to bring up a child and how it is to have someone to be responsible over.

Do you also have sisters? What have you taught them or what have they learnt from you?