Tag Archives: life lessons

Sunday Reads

  1. Interesting take on development in Africa through the tale of the seed industry in Uganda.
  2. Even I got punished for speaking an African language at school.
  3. More women than men in Lesotho are in school.
  4. Technology is definitely making life easier for refugees.
  5. This seems like a simple DIY even I could do.
  6. As Christians we do not look to our circumstances but the hope of Christ and His promises!
  7. A mistake is just a moment in time.”
  8. Be ambitious for life and not just work. Yes!
  9. Ten places to visit in Nairobi.
  10. Six hot podcasts on and by Africans to listen to.
  11. Yummy lemon cake.
  12. What is a PhD?
  13. Awwwww at this cute child‘s response to her mom. Oh dear for this old man.
  14. Lime zest and cardamon mandazi.
  15. Some really inspirational girls!

Sunday Reads

  1. This article on that tragic election.
  2. This lady trying to make sense of that election (1,000 comments but good).
  3. An education on the for-profit education sector in Kenya and Uganda.
  4. Extra-judicial killings in Kenya. HEARTBREAK!!
  5. Undertaking a life audit/ preparing for your 2017 New Years’ Resolutions.
  6. Why it is important for adults to give back in their community.
  7. I am definitely a sampler. I used to be a compartmentalizer before I got married and had to force diverse groups of friends to meet 😦
  8. Simple items that you can turn into a gift by framing them.
  9. Yummy vegetarian meals.
  10. Debunking the myth of a biological clock.
  11. Who are the middle class in Nigeria? PS: This is not a direct economic answer.
 

Where did July go?

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Cooking Sukuma Wiki (Kales) for the first time at 31.5 years old

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Sunset over Stellenbosch

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Dinner at Asara Boutique Hotel, Stellenbosch

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Trying to finish gloves before the worst of Winter is behind us.

Also read this book, didn’t really like it … 😦

LOVED THIS BOOK!

Finishing this up now too …

More great Seth Godin

The Saying/Doing Gap

At first, it seems as though the things you declare, espouse and promise matter a lot. And they do. For a while.

But in the end, we will judge you on what you do. When the gap between what you say and what you do gets big enough, people stop listening.

The compromises we make, the clients we take on, the things we do when we think no one is watching… this is how people measure us.

It seems as though the amount of time it takes for the gap to catch up with marketers/leaders/humans is getting shorter and shorter.

Source

 

Did my parents know the answers to all of life’s lessons at my age?

Adulting never gets any easier the longer you keep at it. I recently got thinking on three things in my life where I certainly needed my parents to come through and tell me what to do or how to do it.

  1. Finishing high school and having to decide what career I wanted to pursue thereafter. Then having to visit the different Universities and make my application and everything else. Coming on the back of completing high school and being told everything I needed to do, this freedom was quite sudden and frankly overwhelming. However, I oddly always knew what I wanted to do and so all I had to work on was finding a school to study Economics.
  2. Dealing with my first job. So many different things. One,  I put in an application for a Work permit and this took over seven months to finalise and eventually I had to decide whether to stop working while I await my permit or go back home and either look for a job or start the application all over again to come back and coninue with my old job. Two, dealing with a difficult boss and having to decipher honest feedback against being bullied. The hardest lesson ever that I had to go through. Three, deciding to quit and wishing I could ask my folks to take care of me again.
  3. Moving house across cities. Urgggh!! I thought of my mom for months in the build up to it and for weeks after and secretly begged that she would offer to come help me.

And this is only up until now. I cannot imagine having a first baby, bringing up kids, losing loved ones, sickness, marriage stuff. Oh dear me, please can I just go back to being twelve!

22. On relationships, what I know to date

“I met John in India while studying in a Hindi language program. He did all sorts of exciting things. He was from San Francisco and worked for all these super lefty politicians. In his twenties, he pretended to be a teenager so he could go back to high school and write an article about it. He did philanthropic work in African rain forests. Life with him was like a long vacation. Every day was an adventure. He’d literally wake up every morning and say: ‘Today’s an adventure.’ We dated for nine years. But he didn’t want to get married. He didn’t want to have kids. And even though he wanted to save humanity on a macro scale, he just wasn’t that warm. I never felt like I could come home in a way. So eventually I ended it. I met my current husband online. He was ‘all in’ from the very beginning. He doesn’t live in a rainforest, but he feels like home. If my sister sends me a picture of my niece wearing huge sunglasses, he doesn’t roll his eyes. He laughs even harder than I do.” Source

Last evening I was speaking to my high school pals and we got talking relationships. In particular, one of the ladies was talking about a friend at University that dated this guy for three/four years and then then she called things off because he just wasn’t ambitious enough for her liking. Fast forward to three years later and his bit jobs have gotten him loads of recognition and he is now doing that much better than when they were together.

What I know?

  1. Sometimes you can be with a great guy, but he is not good for you but could definitely be great for someone else. And that’s OK. The guy in the HONY story sounded great, but he was not good for her and she has much better now.

  2. Also, someone can be great for you but the timing is off and you break up only to pick up the pieces years later and get on and your relationship advances.

  3. You can always see if your partner has potential – I believe that certain traits that are indicators of success or stability (emotional and mental, included) can be determined in the course of dating.

  4. In a bad situation, no external person can tell us what to do. We may get advice but at the end, the decision to stay or not must come from the individual.

  5. Slight contradiction to four above, I still tell people if something is off. My personal motto is better a broken engagement than a broken marriage. So I ask and I prod and heartily welcome it from my friends.

What I know for a fact is that relationships are not linear and they do not develop in this way at all.

They take time.

They are nuanced.

They vary from pair to pair and time to time.

And that is even in a committed relationship, people change as do the couple’s needs and it is important to be frank about these and keep re-committing or choosing to stay put.

20. And now for an announcement

Seems like October is the month when I announce or detail changes in my personal life and this year is no different!

The Mr and I are headed to Cape Town and while a part of me feels meh! about it, I am also looking forward to it because I feel it will be a lovely time for us in this phase of our life. So packing, moving and getting used to a new city!!

15. Some fashion advice I live by ..

That I have gotten mainly from my dad and my stylish first born sister. Also, stuff that I have picked up over time.

  1. Always be comfortable in whatever you wear. Otherwise you get awkward and it shows.
  2. Dress appropriately for whatever the function / occasion.
  3. Fit, fit, fit …. pick the right size of clothes. Always.
  4. My sister always says wear a belt with any pair of trousers/skirt that has belt hoops.
  5. Carry a handbag (When I was nine, ten, eleven, she would already try and impress this on me and I would look at her like huh? and now look at me!)
  6. From my dad, don’t mix black and brown. I NEVER DO!
  7. If you wear something chunky at the top, balance it out with something fitting on the bottom.
  8. I NEVER wear skirts with shoes that show my toes. Just eeks me out!
  9. I prefer round toe heels because  feel like they are kinder on my toes.
  10. In general I am a very conservative dresser – not too loud prints, very dark tones, sensible and comfortable shoes.

Any fashion rules you live by?

On adulting

I Can't Adult Today shirt | A Girl Named PJ

Been talking with a friend the past week about being a grown up. I guess both of us are at a crossroad making us feel a bit vulnerable.

I read this blog today (also the source of the pic) and I just screamed internally! Finally someone that gets this adult business.

  • How did my parents manage to adult so successfully? Did they ever feel the sheer panic at some of the decisions they made? How did they hide it when/if they did?
  • How did they know that it was Ok and how did they not panic when they went ahead to have five children and therefore have to make life adult decisions for them too?
  • It’s so weird because I know I am an adult (hello, 30!), I do adult things and have adult responsibilities but most times, I feel out of depth and scarily much like a 16 year old.
  • At 16, I was so driven by the desire to finish high school and weirdly, not so much about growing up because I felt I had all the freedom and some as well as  money and I was cool. Just get out of high school.
  • And then now, it’s like decisions galore and every time you ask for help, people throw it back at you like, what do you think and all I want is do this and then that.
  • So frustrating sometimes y’all. But however much it is, I sometimes look back and think, I haven’t done too shabby with myself and the few decisions I have made for myself so it’s not too bad. Not at all.

Let’s just say I am not successfully adulting today!

*PS: I love how adulting has become a verb in this post but I really saw it on Facebook earlier today so I can’t even claim this genius!

Theme for 2015

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@Banksy

My theme verse for this year is:

I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

This is the year for me to step out in faith and step out of the proverbial experience and open myself up to new experiences in life, greater depth in my relationships, loving more and living fully AND being present. The only way I can proudly say ” … be it unto me …” is if I review every experience as it unfolds and choose in that moment, what I shall do or not do and why.

In line with this, I also saw this quote from Seth Godin:

Fear is not the enemy. Paralysis is the enemy.

I have been too scared about so many things and this year, I am trying not to fall into that trap because when I ventured out, even a little, the returns were so much better.

What’s your theme verse? Word? Or quote for this year?

(2014 Theme)

I wanna be friends with this little girl in the centre

little girl centre

Source

She seems so confident, so unique and happy in her skin. Like how we all are as kids and then we grow up and find out that there are no quick guide books on how to do life and all things grown up. A couple of friends and I were speaking about this yesterday and we all lamented the fact that we are almost 30 years and still trying to figure stuff out and no one had any firm or definite answers on life. Urggh! How did the other grown ups looks so well put together?

Theme for 2014

Last year I spent much of the year trusting and waiting for the Lord that it is only fitting for my verse this year to be a continuation of that and of the lessons picked or learnt.

Isaiah 43:19

  • This verse speaks to me because it urges me to forget the past things and look at the new things that God promises to do for me and mine.
  • While He will do that, I need to look out and be ready to receive and recognise it or it will pass me by and I will chalk it down to luck, goodwill or something I could have done.
  • Also, that the new stuff will be exceedingly abundantly above what I can imagine or think of.
  • The new and exciting thing are not limited to one area of my life only and will traverse every part of it. And I think its fitting for me in this year!!

So I am just going to hold on, learn, look and wait to receive.

What about you? Have you got a word, a theme verse or some guiding principle for this year?

Fear no more!

The thing that holds you back from learning and growing!

A promise daily from God that we must fear not/ be not afraid!

The emotion that in the last year I had to work double hard to overcome, not give in to the critics BUT be bold enough to step out of my comfort zone.

Today, what is fear holding you back from achieving in your life?

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?

Strength to pick up the broken pieces

We all deal with failure or loss in one way or another. What I have learnt in the last few years. (In no particular order)

  1. Acknowledge it. Ride that boat, allow yourself to grieve and mourn and lash out and just acknowledge that its happening to you.
  2. Think back to a previous success and recall how you made it through. What lessons did you learn that you can apply now.
  3. Make some kind of a plan. With me, it helps to come up with some kind of a plan and to have actual steps to overcoming and getting out of the present darkness.
  4. Get on your knees and PRAY. Over the years my Bible has all these different dates against verses that have encouraged me and sustained me through past difficulties and the thing that helps me is the faithfulness of God. In times past, I have been through darker periods and always, without fail, HE has come through for me.
  5. Talk to others. It doesn’t have to be the whole village but you have to have some trusted people that you can let your guard down with and draw on their experiences and help yourself.
  6. Guard against unhealthy lifestyle practices. I am scared of falling into the “comfort eating” trap and so I closely monitor my eating patterns, opting to drink a lot of water, juice and healthy drinks ; eating fruit and fibre and highly balance meals and just watching on the junk and oily foods.
  7. Get active or you won’t sleep at night and will just keep mulling on the upset or set-back. Do something so physically demanding, you will be forced to sleep through the night.

How do you deal with life’s setbacks?

on friendship and its dynamics

So I have a friend, who is dear and loved by me, but of late I feel like I have allowed the relationship balance to tilt so that all I become is a listening and/or sounding board for her stuff and mine just bounces back. I feel really bad for saying this but I have thought about it long and hard and questioned the feelings of hurt and I arrive at the same conclusion.

I read this post recently, and it struck a chord with me.

I feel like last year I had a lot of stuff happening in my life, the permit, starting work and the paper, oh the paper. And maybe I bent my friends ears with them having to listen to me and encourage and comfort and so this year, I knew, that a lot of it would be about listening and doing the same. I suppose that’s the thing with friendship – its a cycle, and the roles keep changing between all the players involved. And I guess, I would do well to roll over and read this new script for the moment.

Sadly, I really dont mind doing any of this, I just wish, that she would listen to my stuff and just acknowledge it some of the time.

Guest post

Andy Shaw is a 28-year-old comedian from Pennsylvania who has been writing the WildARSChase blog for three years, now at http://andyshawcomedy.com. He loves 90s pop culture, is a vegetarian, and would love to travel the world if someone would be kind enough to loan him some money. He’s also on Twitter @wildarschase.

I’ve been a lot of things in my 20s.
* A college graduate
* A fiance
* An ex-fiance
* A new employee, twice
* An amateur, then a paid comedian
* A reality show blogger
* An uncle
But I’ve never been a father. Sure, some might count owning a puppy as being a dad, but since you can put a puppy in a cage and not a baby, I’ll assume it’s different.
Being a father is something many of my friends have experienced in their 20s. And by many, I mean all. Or at least it seems that way. Just recently, there was a rash of people I know announcing pregnancies – on Facebook, naturally – with the same frequency that a bank teller announced “Next customer in line.” It was like God was handing out pregnancies like free checking accounts.
I will assume one day I will get that life lesson of being a father. Hopefully, it’s when I’m ready and not when I say, “You’re HOW late?”
And when it’s time, I hope there’s a handbook. I mean, there is a daddy handbook right?
Because I have no idea how to fix plumbing or teach a kid to ride a bike or yell at my daughter’s boyfriend for keeping her past curfew. If there’s not a how-to book, then all these dad friends of mine must be really good at on-the-job training.
As much as people in their 20s think they know everything and have experienced everything, it’s so very far from the truth. The only truth is that it’s the first extended period of doing things on your own.
I can’t say anything really prepares you for being a parent, other than watching reality TV and thinking “OK, I’ll just do the opposite of all that.”
The strangest thought, though, is this: Our parents worried about the same exact thing. They had no idea what they were doing, and did it anyway (which may explain a few things).
So for now, I’ll ride out the twilight years of my 20s, wait until that stork arrives, and until then, pretend my puppy just broke curfew.

football and funerals

Thinking of adding a new category for some of my posts, lessons from South Africa for the reason that a large part of the blog was about moving towns and coming back to school and integrating into both spaces. My greater focus was on the academic bit of things really and not much about the society and the culture.  I suppose with school done I am now forced to broaden my take on things.

I remember the first advert I ever saw about funeral cover and how the first few times it was not immediately clear to me the very nature of the product being sold. It turns out that in this country, you can make monthly contributions to some very prominent and financially robust companies (except for that football team that also provides these benefits!) with the understanding that they pay out at your death to cover funeral expenses as well as provide you with different benefits. These range from cash back given on contributions made, payment of funeral expenses (note: NOT medical bills or expenses), financial support to living beneficiaries for a stipulated period.  Now juxtapose this with Uganda where people are buried a day or two, at most, after death. What with the lack of mortuary facilities and really, the person is dead, what more? It is also interesting to note that you can begin to make contributions any time from 18 until 64 and thereafter, I suppose your chances of dying increase enormously that no one would take you on. Once you start making these payments though, you can continue until the day you pass away, whether at 70 or 99. Prices on these premiums range from R20 per month to a “steeper” R80. It was also interesting that most of these benefits are open to locals, or foreigners with permanent residency arrangements in place. I don’t know, I just thought it all bizarre then, now, it’s fairly normal and I never ask myself what, what, what? Or bat an eyelid at a funeral society (chama) formed to specifically raise funds and pay out in the event of a members or a dependants death. Mhhh… how time changes us all!

last year 2

Looking through older posts, I found this here. And while it might be later than before, here goes 2009 in words….

1. What did you do in 2009 that you had never done before? Still thinking….
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions and will you make more for next year?  I still don’t do resolutions but I hoped to finish my Masters by end of the year and of course that has been pushed out alittle…
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My high school classmate, three more of them this timeJ

4. Did anyone close to you die? Yeah, a friend from Church

5. What countries did you visit? Uganda, Kenya

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? Time to relax and not be rushed about school deadlines, time to serve at my church, the opportunity to travel.

7.  What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? April 14th
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Getting a job, and having the guts to end a friendship that was a little toxic

9. What was your biggest failure? Losing a close friend, Still

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Thank GOD, no

11. What was the best thing you bought? Nothing really major

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration? BLANK

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? A little depressed F.W.K.

14. Where did most of your money go? Air time and lunch

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Finishing school, going home in December, the Confederation Cup and 365 days to kick off

16. What song will always remind you of 2009? BLANK

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? HAPPIER
b) thinner or fatter? THINNER
c) richer or poorer? POORER

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Really said the things I meant rather than hold it all in.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Second guess myself and think of only the worst case scenario

20. How did you spend Christmas? Walked in the rain, spent all afternoon looking for a place to have lunch, had a laugh with the family….chatted with S

21. Did you fall in love in 2009? Yes

22. What was your favourite TV program? The usual suspects….Greys Anatomy, Brothers and Sisters

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? NOT hate but some people there IS less affection, yes!
24. What was the best book you read? Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet, That thing around your neck, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Melanie Fiona, DBanj,

26. What did you want and get? Flowers, a duvet cover, driving lessons

27. What did you want and not get? A KINDLE but thank God for the I-Pad

28. What was your favourite film of this year? Don’t really know, can’t wait for Precious

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 25. Was at school all day then I chilled with family and loved ones after…

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Doing better in school…

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?  Skinny jeans and tight tops, Skirts and

32. What kept you sane? God, Coffee, Laughter, chat, custard donuts

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?  Can’t really think

34. What political issue stirred you the most? JZ and all his sheenanigans

35. Who did you miss the most? Unique. Family

36. Who was the best new person you met? No new people, L.K. and them

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Love is a risk.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. BLANK

21 for life

It seems at 21 I knew it all or I came very close to knowing a lot of it. Was skimming through some of the stuff I wrote from back then and other than these quotes below that meant something to me then and now, If I’m honest, I really learnt a lot from my younger self….tihiii. ENJOY

  • “Love does not dominate, it cultivates” Goethe
  •  Many waters cannot quench love: many rivers cannot wash it away.
  •  If you are far from the one you love, you love the one who is near.
  •  The one who loves least controls the relationship.
  • “I’d rather be with God in the dark than alone in the light”  Corrie Ten Boom
  • “We have to change our patterns of reacting to experiences for our problems do not lie in what we experience, but in the attitude we have towards it” Akong Rimpoche
  •  The pain of waiting is nothing compared to that of regret.
  • “It is impossible for us to break laws; we only break ourselves upon them” Cecil B. De Mille
  •  God will not do by miracle what I am to do by obedience.
  •  “The greatness of a man’s power is in the measure of his surrender” William Booth
  • Vision: the ability to turn a picture of the future into passion
  • You can’t trust your affections, but you can rely on love and character.
  •  “It is possible to have a fulfilled life even if there are many unfulfilled desires” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • “Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you”    Aldous Huxley
  •  “Your greatest need is to be delivered from the wrath of God- and that has already been accomplished for you through the death and resurrection of Christ. So why doubt that God will provide a much, much lesser need?”   C. J. Mahaney
  • Decision, we make them. Then they turn around and make us. And sometimes they break us.
  •  God doesn’t play dice –   Albert Einstein
  •  “We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are” Anais Nin
  •  “If you don’t care to be crucified emotionally in a dating relationship, leave the saving and changing of others to the Lord” Josh Harris