Tag Archives: friendship

Happy Anniversary /Ode to Marriage

Today marks our third-year anniversary and I am not sure what it is about marriage that makes each year feel tougher and harder than the previous one yet the returns are just as fulfilling. I love being married and I love my husband and even after all these years together (nine this year) I am still remarkably happy that we are together. He is certainly my person.

What have I learnt so far?

  • Communication, yes, it’s great and truly the key. Half of communication however is being mindful of how you deliver the message. It is possible through how and when you say something to break the other person or get a response that you were not prepared for. True Story.
  • Regarding in-laws, that can be managed. There is a happy coexistence that you can attain. A fine line between respect for them and firm boundaries for your relationship. Also, one of the ladies that spoke to me before I got married reminded me that I can never be the best daughter in law and so I should not work on that but focus on being respectful.
  • Marriage is better when you have a crowd with whom you experience it together. This calls to mind mentors, other happily married couples of all ages and even people that are dating and hoping to also settle down. Being surrounded by happy couples in different seasons of life keeps you connected and encouraged to strive more within your marriage.
  • The move to the Mother City was also beneficial because it helped us build a firm foundation for this new phase of our relationship and to help the “crowd” around us begin to see us as a unit and to respect that.
  • Though we had known each other since our early twenties, we only got married in our late twenties and in the last three years we have spent a lot of time integrating our single lives into our new entity. In true us style, this has involved a lot of “business” meetings to plan, dream, forecast and review our future plan. Although we are closer now than when we started we are still not done. Urggh.
  • My husband is my best male friend and probably someone outside of my family that knows me best BUT having said that, I still believe it is important to keep other friendships going strong in your lives and to continue to meet new people and maintain old friendships. This is important because of the “crowd” I spoke of earlier but also the fact that when we interact with other people it draws out another side of you and also allows you to miss your partner that you look forward to seeing them.

Having said all the above, it is a fact that marriage is work. You only reap what you put in. Also, that both of you must work on it or the other party eventually gets worn out and might lash out. Each year has brought us something additional to work through / focus on and that has been interesting and kept us both connected.

What will I work on this year?

Firstly, on the words I use. I know that as a wife, I can either build him up / tear him down and I have to be very careful not to do the latter. Secondly, in the Love Dare  the authors speak of  guarding one self against spending time in your mate’s depreciation room. This is basically the place where we keep stock of all of his bad traits and all those things you do not like about him. I also have a depreciation room that he could dwell on but that won’t take us anywhere if we both fixate on it. Lastly, to work on making more couple friends and hanging out with those we currently have.

In closing, one piece of advice we received that I always remember is that marriage is what you make of it. Just as no two marriages are the same, you can get out of yours the things that you want and that works for the two of you despite what other people out there might feel/ have to say.

So here’s to many more and loads of love.

 

I Hear Myself Everywhere

I consume a lot of stuff online or on television and I know that the stuff I like best is anything that I can read and feel in some ways that it represents my inner voice. Like what you ask?

  • Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. In many ways she is my inner voice from when I was 16 until now at 32 – she is what the inner me wants to be.
  • Cup of Jo. This blog is what I wish that my own little corner of the internet would grow up to be.
  • Call your Girlfriend. This podcast reminds me of conversations I would have with my best gal pal and sans the cursing. As the tag line promises, it is the podcast for long distance besties which we happen to be.
  • Julia Braverman and her family because I REALLY loved the show Parenthood.
  • Tamar and Vince. Something about this show reminds me of the Mr and I . I also say that Tamar is the inner last born I always wish my family allowed me to be.
  • Randal and Beth Pearson from This is Us is another portrayal of how I think the Mr and I relate to each other. If ever there was a couple on TV that I would happily squeal #Relationshipgoals it would be them.

And you, who/ what represents that inner voice?

 

 

Sunday Reads

 

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.

    10 things that make me smile

    1. Discovering a lovely brand of tea.
    2. Sleeping in on a Saturday morning during the BSF break.
    3. A wonderful chat with my sisters and friends.
    4. I read my first Bessie Head (Maru) this week and it was lovely.
    5. Successfully parallel (flash) parking in one attempt.
    6. Trying a recipe and immediately knowing you will do it again.
    7. Enjoying Season 7 of My Kitchen Rules.
    8. Seeing my nephew and niece as they start to interact as siblings.
    9. Really enjoying the study of James. Quite challenging but very interesting.
    10. Discovering a great podcast and then going back to download all 80 episodes Smile 

    Words we Need

    shelf friend

    When you become an option. You are not first pick of friends. When your friend starts dating someone and you are put up on a shelf until they have no other people to hang with.

    I sometimes feel this way with a close group of female friends and so when I saw this word on Urban Dictionary, it totally made sense.

    As I also have friends who I treat like this, the lesson was more about making sure that I do better with these people in my life Smile Incidentally, I also read a post yesterday about increasing your social network and yesterday as I left for home,I bumped into a friend of a friend I had met a couple of weeks back and it turned out that she lives a few streets from me so we drove home together.

    Lesson to self? Be more open minded and look for ways to get out of my comfort and involve people that would typically be on the fringes or in this case, who would be classified as shelf friends.

    So what did you expect?

    This morning the Mr and I had a little fight. I had to take my car for a service – something that in my horror, totally feels like a dentist’s visit what with the information asymmetry, pain (actual and to the wallet) and the fact that there is a specialist whom you trust but then again, information asymmetry. At the root of the fight though is that ugly word: Expectations.

    Any one about to be married, or married for a day and an hour will long have heard the mantra that expectations kill a marriage and that the counter is communicate, communicate, communicate. Our little fight had me reassessing all the different expectations that I had regarding marriage and an assessment of all other expectations I have held since our marriage started.

    1. I expected a partner that would take charge of cars and who would directly engage with mechanics and basically inform me when I needed to do any car-related changes.
    2. Ergo, any fixing of stuff around the house. I would highlight any issues and he would oversee to the fixing – whether directly or outsourced, I am ambivalent. To be honest, a lot of the technical stuff I was happy to delegate away.
    3. All newly weds are told that they need to set time for date night or else … Consequently, I too came into marriage with this (fear-driven) expectation and very early on we both figured out that given the pace of our lives it would be infeasible to designate a specific evening to always hang out. Having said that, when one of us is hectic, there is no expectation to do stuff but when things simmer down, we often hang out.
    4. My family has a habit of starting to plan for Christmas from as early as August/September. His family? Not so much. Initially this made me feel slightly helpless. Besides the family tradition, my personality is such that, you can never be too prepared OR start preparing too early. What we now try and do to incorporate both our idiosyncrasies is to have a lose discussion in September and refine it in the following months. This is certainly imperfect (according to me) but it definitely helps somewhat.
    5.  I thought that I would hate meal planning. Turns out, I love it.
    6. Sometimes as wives we expect that our husbands will become our best (female) buddy. That’s not the case and surely it’s not the reason that we fell in love to begin with. So keep your buddies and work on building a friendship with your husband too.
    7. Before the wedding I had heard of brides that often felt a bit sad after the wedding because things had gone back to “normal”. Did I feel the same way? Emphatically, NO!! After the energy and time spent planning the wedding, I was only too happy to settle for normal.

    I must say these lessons are over and above learning how selfish I am, how much space and time alone I require. All of that. Marriage is certainly not the penultimate goal, neither is it my most defining relationship but I must say I have learnt a lot and it has been very fulfilling for me.

    Sunday Reads

    So we would like to date you

    IMG_3726

    One of the things that I thought would happen with marriage is that we would automatically become part of a group of other couples and we would often hang out and as the babies came, they would all grow up together. Why is this important for me? Well, I believe that as a couple, it is important to have a community that you can learn from and you can be open with. Not the entire world but some people that hold you both accountable and keep you both encouraged in this game of marriage.

    Two years later, I can’t really say this has been the case.

    If I think about our friendship cycle, we have either had that one couple that always invites us over to theirs and that we have occasionally hosted or the ones we always invite to ours/ out to dinner but upon our initiation and not theirs. Very binary. We are both really puzzled as to how  other couples go about befriending other couples. Where are the best kinds of places/activities to meet and interact? In the past, we have invited people for dinner or lunch but it has tended to revolve around food. Another possible place is church but our local church has less than 40 people (clergy included) and is very old. Where else?

    Who would our ideal couple be? This has been the toughest bit in truth. As we have no kids this rules out the flexibility of having another couple with one or two kids in tow to pop by at random. With single people, we have observed that they sometimes project third wheel vybes when we hang together. Which means that we either chill with our single pals separately or host few people sporadically. Our ideal couple would be similar in age, committed to being married and fairly authentic – separately and jointly as a couple.

    So, have you got a couple pal? How did you meet and what is the benefit to you to dating/being married and having a crowd of witnesses?

    Every woman needs a friend …

    little girl centre

    • Who lifts them when they are down.

    • Who can lovingly reproach and correct you when needs be.

    • Who challenges you to be more than you are or do better.

    • That you can call up on short notice and they will take your call or make the time.

    • With whom you can dream up big ideas.

    • You trust fully.

    • Who accepts and loves you as you are …

    Is goodbye possible if you have their number crammed?

    lulu

    When we first started dating, the Mr had this theory about how girls shed friends in their 20s. Shed. His word, not mine. And always, I would scoff at him and state how I am too loyal a friend to ever lose a friendship. See, I know of myself that I am a particularly loyal friend. Loyal to the point of abuse or pain.

    As a result, I am fairly ready to make amends and walk a mile in someone else’s shoe, try and be there for them, and basically to be the type of pal that I would want to have and the type of friend that they also talk of wanting in their life. As a result, I often struggle with when to let go of a difficult/ trying/ unfulfilling relationship. To be honest, I always start with never, you can try a bit more, come on, give it another go.

    However, I currently find myself  pondering over this issue with a friend that I have known for over 10 years. In truth, the struggle was to allow myself to walk away and I am now at that place.

    The best part of this friendship has always been the fact that we are two peas in a pod, kindred spirits in a sense. She and I have the same outlook in life. She has that gentleness in her that I know I can trust and that she will never take advantage of me. Which I totally loved and will always cherish about her. Having said that there has always been this doubt of my motives, what I say or don’t say and this has been the undertone of our entire friendship and led to many instances of not talking to each other or a lot of misunderstandings/conflict. This has been tiring and taken an overall toll on the friendship particularly now that we live in different cities and often rely on texts and emails that often don’t generally convey true meaning.

    Another element of a great friendship is that as both parties get older, there is natural room for both parties to grow, experiment and come to terms with themselves in the new phase and both parties have to allow for this to naturally play itself out. Friendship cannot be rigid or imposing or it naturally dies away. As we have gotten older, I have also struggled to embrace all her choices and some of the decisions she has made have made me quite uncomfortable and I am struggling to be the friend she needs in this phase of her life.

    More than that however is the fact that our friendship is steeped in the past. We are not generating new memories, we are hanging onto old memories but none of us is invested in going forward. In fact, if we did not have friends in common, we wouldn’t really know what the other was doing or what they were up to. I honestly think ten years has been great but we truly don’t need each other that much any way and so although painful, its probably the right thing to do.

    Making friends as an adult is tough

    {sisters} #PardonMyFro #freelancer #digitalart #blackgirlmagic #illustration #afroart #naturalsisters:

    This post on friendship has been doing the rounds which got me thinking about friendships in general. I love this quote:

    What I’ve been telling my daughter is this: Yes, pray for and hope for new and closer friendships. That’s a good thing to want. But also don’t be so idealistic that you don’t see the opportunities for friendship right in front of you. The person in your life that you least expect might end up the answer to your prayer.

    It looks like taking the initiative when we’d rather wait to be invited. It looks like pursuing that person already in our life instead of waiting for someone who might not exist. It looks like looking out for who might need a friend more than me. It looks like keeping healthy boundaries when we feel particularly vulnerable about all this (I’m looking at you, social media).

    It looks like continually keeping our eyes peeled for someone who fits our bill, but it looks even more like keeping partial solutions at the forefront of our mind when we desire companionship.

    In turn this got me thinking about my friendships and I would like to reflect on this over a couple of posts.

    Friendships can be tough sometimes

    Image result for an african city

    Source

    Since leaving home, I have had two kinds of friendships. Those that require little maintenance and those that we have to continuously work on to maintain.

    And that’s been fine.

    For the most part.

    However, something I struggle with is when to let go of a friendship. I find that I become consumed by the memories and the fact that we have experienced so much together and that it would be such a pity to let x be the reason that we part ways. When do you just leave and let be?

    Sunday Reads

    1. These are my best friend goals for when we are 70-plus.
    2. All night after care facilities for busy parents. Very sad!!
    3. Vanilla coconut ice cream.
    4. Another pasta recipe.
    5. You don’t need a sandwich maker to make these cheese sandwiches.
    6. Such memories we all have about meeting our MILs for the first time.
    7. This is a whole post on the pressure of being a young adult now.
    8. So scary but very fascinating.
    9. A to-do list if you are looking to change your name post marriage.
    10. I am voting for jumpsuits as the official bridesmaid wear!
     

    Sunday Reads

    1. Quick lunch/snack recipe: Chickpea “tuna” salad 
    2. Cooking with lentils & beans
    3. Don’t really like vegetarian burgers but these lentil meatballs sure look yum!
    4. This article made me realise why people do not share the names of their babys before birth, but clearly once they are born, the name is not safe either!!
    5. Pics of the beautiful Cape Town.
    6. Beautiful pics of the Festima Festival in Burkina Faso.
    7. Some non-traditional baby gift ideas.
    8. Breaking up is hard. Breaking up in the day of Facebook, is something else altogether.(NY Times Article)
    9. A better way to think of your to-do list.
    10. Get Tested. Be Faithful. Remain Faithful. Otherwise, always use protection.
    11. On buying friendship in Japan. Read this and thanked God for my genuine (free) friendships.
    12. This lady did what I always say to my single pals about putting themselves out there in order to meet a guy!
    13. Sad that the recently legalised Marijuana business in the states has a colour preference.
    14. How do you feel about motherhood?

    null

    Friday Tunes

    At my first job, we had a dedicated “DJ” that would send us Friday Tunes to stop us hanging ourselves get us all into the weekend always with the title “Friday Tunes” and this post is definitely meant to be a shout-out to those good old days.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJr80jXCepc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f2qkejlPjo

    Enjoy and have a super duper weekend!

    March Goals

    In keeping with my 2016 theme to be more rooted and connected, this is what I hope to do in March.

    1. Reach out to close friends via calls, emails or messages to talk about what’s really happening in our lives. I mean group communication and Facebook is great but not all the time. Also, to get into the habit of praying for friends and family.
    2. Do more outdoorsy stuff and enjoy the last of the Cape Town glorious weather.
    3. Cook more and enjoy that time.
    4. Get data and finalise topic for school.
    5. Read more African literature (more on this later).
    6. Host a high school friend and her family for lunch.
    7. Hang up more pictures around the house.

    Will post at the end of the month how it’s all going.

    Some recent pics

    Of the mountain from my office

    Recently went to Paarl with a couple of friends, gorgeous weather and lovely views!!

    Enjoy xoxo!

    Sunday Reads

    1. Interesting to read that Chartered schools do not do any better for children in more suburban areas.
    2. Planning an upcoming Cape Town city centre adventure.
    3. Cooking with sweet potatoes
    4. Celebrating love, marriage and all things in between. Also, check out their podcast, season 2 is coming up.
    5. How to help a friend going through a rough time.
    6. On meeting your biggest idol!