I recently read a post about things you would change of your wedding. I loved my wedding and though, mhhh nothing. On second thought, I do know some things I would do differently:
- I would have worn blue or yellow shoes, just because I could.
- I would have insisted the DJ play more Kenyan music.
- As a guest book, I had wanted to buy a new bible and ask people to sign against their favourite verses as a prayer for us the new couple.
- To ensure that all my plans were accomplished and our families could relax and enjoy, I should have paid for a day-of-the-wedding coordinator.
- I still would not have any kids on the line up.
Are there any changes you would have made to your wedding? Why?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I thought that I would hate meal planning. Turns out, I love it.
- 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.
- 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.
Posted in Heart matters, marriage
Tagged about me, about us, conflict, date night, friendship, in-laws, love, marriage, meal planning, planning, relationships, Wedding
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?
For the longest time I have wanted to try my hand at updating an old post.
A colleague gave me John Legend’s Album to listen to the other day and it just made me wonder! Its really nice and it just made me wonder,is any of that stuff for real? That whole chick when I see you, I feel …. or what, do people really do that? Do they really feel that way about someone else? I have caught myself wondering how two people meet, fall in love and STAY that way? Isn’t that just the greatest mystery of all time- My folks have been together for 33 years and I just wonder at the resilience of that whole thing? How does that work? Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely loyal but to what end? This is why I don’t listen to R n B coz for me,it just isn’t about the beat BUT the words as well!
I wrote this post nine years ago, very single and obviously questioning the whole notion of love. It also doesn’t help that I was only 22 years old at the time.I obviously don’t have the answers but I think maturity has brought some comfort and some clarity.
Is love real? Yes, absolutely and definitely. I think at the time, I had never fallen in love or fallen for someone that loved me back, honestly and authentically which accounts for all the doubt and the skepticism.
Love is real.
Love I have come to discover is what works for two people that are committed to one another and who wish to to continue to be committed. Love is in the little things. Love is the opposite of apathy. Love is a process. Before I planned my wedding, I thought I loved my husband but then we went through the wedding planning process and moving cities and all the other countless things we have experienced together and I discovered I love him more now than 8 years ago. Love matures and love develops. Love has to be based on something or it can shrivel and die. Love glorifies God and inspires other people to also believe in God and that they could also love like that.
Love is what works for the two concerned people.
Relationships are not easy. Conflicts are a side effect of all relationships and sometimes it’s all about the perspective we select.
This is a working list that I will probably keep editing and referring to.
- Dinner Date at Home
- Series / movies marathon – Our favourite Series are: Modern Family, Empire, Scandal, Suits.
- Go on walks around your neighbourhood.
- Explore the restaurants in your local neighbourhood.
- Massages at home and professionally.
- Learn a new hobby or activity together.
- Play board games.
- Talk through stuff both the profound and the simple things. Talk.
What do you and your loved one enjoying doing together?
Posted in Heart matters, home, madness, working
Tagged alcohol, apps, Cape Town, eggplant, labour markets, productivity, recipes, relationships, salmon, sandwiches, women
Posted in Heart matters, life, marriage
Tagged arranged marriage, fatherhood, Google, India, Johannesburg, loneliness, love, migration, Obama, Olympics, recycling, relationships, travel
Posted in books, design, marriage, school, working
Tagged Africa, books, cooking, economics, elections, India, parenthood, recipes, relationships, wearable tech, women and work
Following this summary of what is currently on my to-read bookshelf I have a couple of books that I would like to review.
Happiness is a Four Letter Word – Cynthia Jele
I loved this book, it deals with two things that I am particularly passionate about: Johannesburg and female relationships.
- The book is what would happen if Sex and the City had been cast in a cosmopolitan African city. If you would love to see that, check out the YouTube series, An African City.
- The themes are easily recognisable: love, family, beauty, work/ career advancement, marriage, female friendships.
- The book is a really easy read, I started on Friday at 7 and finished the next day by 12.
- Having said that, it is definitely a conversation starter and will have you thinking deeply about some of the issues dealt with for instance, what would I tell a dear friend that was cheating on her husband because she did not exactly marry him for love? Or a friend that rekindles communication with an old ex?
- Only concern and I guess because of my personal views, I feel like the author portrays a very negative view of (Black) relationships and someone that is not acquainted with any Black people might take it as a given that this is how our love dynamics play out. Yes it’s a novel, but their portrayal is definitely very one-sided, what happened to “normal“?
- Would I recommend it? Definitely yes!! I actually cannot wait for the author to release a second book.
Men of the South – Zukiswa Wanner
A bit of a preliminary disclaimer is that I read this book on the back of Happiness and the after-glow it gave me.
- The book’s main theme is love and relationships (gender dynamics, hetero- or homosexuality, family and friendships) and it definitely deals with each of these in turn.
- The book is set in Johannesburg and Cape Town, cities that I can safely say I am familiar with which makes the reading that bit enjoyable when I can understand the physical setting.
- The book provides an entry point to have some difficult conversations for example, being a Black homosexual in a culture where one is expected to get a wife and settle down or what if I earn more than my husband and can take care of him, should he stay home while I work?
- However, I think it attempted to do too much in a few pages and fell short. Hence, it was not as memorable as it could possibly be. I also felt that the first person reportage was not too helpful either.
- Overall, the book was quite predictable and I would not recommend it unless you maybe had a few hours and did not want to be wowed but wanted to tick a book off your reading list.
Rachel’s Blue – Zakes Mda
I tried to read this book and failed to get into it despite trying. In light of my recent advice on how to read more books, I am giving up and will mark this is a non-read on my part. My biggest issue I suppose is that I love it when he writes about various aspects of South African people and the setting of this book was too different for me to adjust my expectations accordingly.
Posted in books, Heart matters, home, life, marriage, working
Tagged being gay, Being Zulu, books, Books reading, Cynthia Jele, female friendship, friendships, Heart matters, home, life, love, marriage, reading, relationships, working, Zakes Mda, Zukiswa Wanner
We all have those days when we need a little boost, each one help one!
Happy Human Rights Day South Africans.
I often talk about female friendships that are in many parts so fulfilling but sometimes so emotionally frustrating. Just today at lunch I was thinking about how fleeting female friendships can also be. In particular I was thinking of all the people that I am not longer friends with.
Of the friend that is a twin who felt the need to lie about her age. PS: her twin said his age honestly. Also, we were in our early twenties when age was not yet a thing.
Of the childhood friend that went through such a demeaning and embarrassing break-up and because we all knew of it, our friendship could never be the same again. We eventually made up and can talk but things are just not the same. Too much history there.
Of an old time friendship that is hanging on by the skin of its’ teeth because … who knows.
While they have such depth and can be emotionally fulfilling, female friendships can at times also change just as suddenly. Sometimes because we honestly outgrow each other or sometimes for no reason beyond the fact that its time to let go and move.
Today’s post is written in response to the WordPress Daily Prompt —-> Fleeting
This year I fired the Mr from Valentines Day and decided to plan a three course in-house dinner for the both of us. #iSlayedV-Day. I totally did. I obviously took no pictures but below is the selected menu.
Warm winter greens with Ceasar dressing, smoked bacon and a poached egg.
Steak au Poivre, Creamy lentils with rosemary and tomatoes and sauteed rosemary and garlic potatoes.
Poached pear with lemon sorbet
I used Rachel Allen’s Entertaining at Home for inspiration.
Posted in books, design, Heart matters, home, marriage
Tagged about us, books, cooking, design, food, Heart matters, home, marriage, recipes, relationships, Valentines Day
- If you would like to incorporate more vegetables into your diet/ be vegan. Here’s how to go about doing so.
- Recipes to enjoy your grains.
- Such a beautiful and poignant story of motherhood.
- And this post on surviving after losing a mother from one of my most favourite bloggers.
- Creative ways to counter the rising pay gap e.g. publish pay info by gender, make an offer that ignores past salary levels, teach women how to negotiate.
- The Mr and I have the same and different takes to this Saturday dilemma.
- I so DO NOT endorse people that believe in presenteeism.
- This is the kind of meaningful stuff I want to do with myself.
- But what is this now???????????? Virginity testing, school only for virgins? Madness!!!
- Because who would not like poached pears with tea?
- Another tea recipe (tea-infused lemon tart)
- What Obama carries in his pocket … (Lemme know what you think?)
Posted in Heart matters, home, life, marriage, working
Tagged cooking, Feminism, gender gap, Heart matters, home, life, marriage, motherhood, Obama, poached pears, recipes, relationships, Sunday reads 2016, tea, vegan, vegetarians, virginity, working
Posted in good, home, life, marriage
Tagged Adele, Cape Town, education, friendship, good, home, life, love, marriage, Podcasts, relationships, school, sweet potato
Posted in design, good, home, life, marriage, school, working
Tagged Alanis Morissette, career, conversation, cooking, design, education, good, green beans, hazelnuts, home, HONY, housework, Humans of, Ironic, life, marriage, Michael Phelps, PhD, productivity, recipes, relationships, school, Sunday Reads, tea, women and men roles, working
I can easily name a handful and a half of women that I would do this with/to!!
Missing my gals (and cheers to discovering a new comic).
Posted in design, Heart matters
Tagged about me, design, female friendship, friends, friendship, Heart matters, life, love, relationships, women
A close friend of mine and I often talk about how women always put others first in their lives and they then become a last priority. Also, how women’s self identity often lies with others: I am a mother, a wife, a daughter and never a broader sense of what they really are like. This was made only too real for me in recent weeks when a friend of mine was rushed to hospital seemingly suffering from stress-related issues that then became physical. This scared me and drove home the idea of self-love.
How do I take care of myself?
I will start by being honest to say that I don’t always put myself and that when I don’t it does make me feel not so great. This is what I rather try and do instead:
Exercise. It helps me to burn that anxious energy but it also forces me to be in the moment and to enjoy or even breath through the pain and after, I am more relaxed and more capable to deal with whatever the issue was.
Prayer & journaling. Writing and praying also helps to start my day on a positive note, it helps me commit my actions to God and to trust that it will be well. I make a lot of lists and more often than not, they are useful because I don’t lose my mind.
Evaluate priorities. I find if you keep doing stuff, people keep expecting you to continue with it and rarely will they report back and ask that you stop. So it’s up to you to really stop, step back and determine whether this activity is still as helpful for you. Same thing with money. Do you need to keep spending all that money? Does that debit order still make sense for you?
NO GUILT. A part of me knows that I cannot do everything and that I cannot be everything to all people but sometimes I finish that sentence with, but watch me try. And when it doesn’t work out, guilt is an easy second feeling and I have to say to myself, no more! None of that around here.
Sampling magazines and books at Exclusive Books. Particularly on a quiet evening when it is not too busy. Every so often, that’s my plan for the evening and boy do I look forward to it.
Catching up with a friend whether via email or WhatsApp. So enriching and often empowering.
Listening to Music. Whether an oldie or a new album. Something about music just makes me so happy.
Tea. Because tea …
A couple of other interesting readings with a more conclusive list of things to start doing today to do better for yourself:
Posted in good, Heart matters, home, life
Tagged friendship, good, health, Heart matters, home, life, music, relationships, self, self love, tea, womanhood
“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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.