Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Another one for the Jordan Year

So there I was with an E on my transcript. You hear about it, you see victims wandering campus, heck, you even see them laugh it off but never in a ga-zillion years did I think that I of all people would be confronted with the ugliness of it all. That was pretty much the first two weeks of 2018.

The first semester of my first year, at least what was left of it, given all the lecturer's strikes, I buckled down and put in the work. It wasn't all doom and gloom, while a majority of the senior student body were having a wild time writing their research paper, I had a silver lining around what was possibly a big, dark, grey academic cloud; a dutiful and available research supervisor. His name, Commissioner Lawrence Mute. I couldn't be more grateful for the support that I got especially when left, right and centre I would hear tales of rumored supervisors, never seen in the flesh, sent emails with not even an automated response back or plain and simply put difficult members of faculty.

My Jordan year was also the year that I was going to meet Miss EvelynFromTheInternets. I had just been watching her for just over a year on Youtube, following her on Instagram, subscribed to her mailing list,in a nutshell I was, still am, make no mistake, a fan who stans. When she made the announcement that she would be gracing the motherland with her presence I kept my ears pealed for the moment that she would announce a meet-up. Tell me why, literal hours before the big meet, I would be ridden with a flared up case of sinusitis, the worst part, I distinctly remember uttering the words, 'Nothing and no one will stop me from meeting Evelyn from the Internets'. How does the saying go again? We plan, God laughs. I bet I had Him in stitches.

Fast forward to February, everything was going just fine. It was the first week of Lent, usually the hardest, this one was going to take things a notch higher. I had this incident at work where I legit resigned. For obvious reasons, I will not go into the details but, being the firm believer that I am, of course I questioned why? Why did God let all that happen to me? For the most part I still do. However, all things work together for good,and the good in this, despite my dignity being kicked to the curb, let's just say that this little piggy is now hardcore, tougher than nails.

The highlight though, was writing my last exam. It was a Saturday evening when I walked through the gates of my neighbourhood listening to Migos Stir Fry. Did I have a smile on my face, possibly, you know a thug doesn't smile. A grin is the limit and when we are feeling special maybe a smirk but a toothy smile, never. But when I got into the crib,(who am I?) I. Was. Beaming. Sure, writing the last paper doesn't mean that you dip, far from it, in fact but it sure does make everything feel different, taste different, put a little prep in your step. There was just something in the air that evening. All the all nighters, which were a truckful that last semester, early morning classes, assignments were behind me.

Here I was with all this free time; I felt unstoppable. As it turns out feeling unstoppable and being unstoppable are two different things. I intended to fully immerse myself in the Nairobi night life. Not really but if there was a concert I wanted to go to, I could, why? I had the money and the time. Right? The first concert I intended on going for was Thrift Social where Oshun and Shekinah would be performing . Here I was, time, money but not even an ounce of energy to go. This went down the day after my last exam, it would be the symbol of my undone academic shackles, it also sounded very possible in my head three weeks prior. Needless to say, I instead settled for a Tuskys Combo meal and a Netflix binge session of On My Block under my covers.

I didn't disappoint myself all the way though. The next month I got to see Chronixx live in a night that could possibly be the best of my life.

This illusion of free time went down when my sister's wedding preparations were in full swing. The month of August, each weekend had one occasion or the other. Just when I thought I could relax and put my feet up, the preparations went up another notch. Bridesmaid fittings, fabric scavenging in the CBD, food tasting, family events. I was ready too call it, except as a bridesmaid you can't.

For the most part, though busy, things were going swell, swimmingly even.

Then, our grades were taking suspiciously long to come through and with a looming Kenya School of Law deadline we were getting worried. It was also around this time that the unit I failed and resat, my grade mysteriously went missing. Since I graduated only a few weeks ago, the spoiler is, the grade resurfaced alright, and I am just as confused as you as to how one minute there's no grade and the next its all smooth sailing.

Things were looking up. The graduation list dropped and  there I was, in a division that I did not intend to be in but I have since made hella peace with.  My sister getting married in a few hours, my grandfather set to be canonized. Did I say things were looking up? I mean we were all cloud nine surfing.

Then disaster struck, I got an abdominal infection on the eve of my sister's wedding. We were on the verge of losing one of my most favourite little people on the planet earth, my county governor had this 'bright idea' to ban PSVs in the CBD which saw me walk a whole 11 km just to get around in a single day and lost one of my favorite people on the planet earth. Grief hit me like a hit and run; fast and merciless.

I basically finished the year as it started, with a tonne of questions racking my brain, with no answers.

I turned 24 this past Saturday.


Have a good one!


Friday, 4 January 2019

Jordan Year Memoirs

Happy New Year!

No,   I am not on some new year new me mumbo jumbo. If you are, more power to you, what can I say, different strokes for different folks. I came to the riveting discovery that committing to something for 365 days? Not going to happen but if I break those days down into teeny tiny bite size pieces, of say a month or a few weeks at a time, we, are in business.

This is not one of those posts where I lay all my 2019 plans on a universal platter, there's a high chance that, that is coming soon though, instead, I choose to take a walk down memory lane of my Jordan year, the big 2-3.



The day before, 4th January, it's as  vivid as they come. I worked the morning shift that day,  I also thought that I would be able to do a business errand in the second half of the day. That didn't go quite as planned, regardless, it went and that is what ultimately matters. On this day, though the dreaded exam results notification came through. An exam sat in December 2016 which I  was 100% sure of dismal performance, dismal performance, certainly not a fail, surely not a fail. My anxiety was, well, it was up there, even that is an understatement. In my wisdom at the time, I decided not to ruin the eve of my birthday or worse, my birthday, of course I left having to look at the results until I absolutely had to.


I then came to the conclusion that I was being ridiculous, I needed to woman up, rip that band-aid off and confront my reality. Of course only in a controlled environment where I would feel warmth and love. Where is that you ask? Home  with a pack  of greasy fast food fries in tow. The plan was simple, I would get home, settle myself in , turn the t.v on to serve as white noise, a distraction, company. Just something to lessen the blow. And so the time came. The wi-fi back at home chose the opportune time to pull a fast one on me, what could have been a touch and go job was lengthened by having to buy data. Long story short, theatrics out of the window, my worst nightmare was my reality, sure as day, there it was, an E . A few days later, it finally hit me and I bawled my eyes out on the phone to my mom, only after binge watching Dear White People.

(I've decided to make this a series, fingers crossed I commit)

Have a good one!

Monday, 15 October 2018

Purpose

This evening I had a Mia Thermopolis moment. Let me explain.  Mia, for non-diehards of the Princess Diaries series is the princess of Genovia. She wasn't always a princess, she was your typical nerd, dork,whatever you may call her; she had that big poofy hair, thick framed glasses and named her Mustang, 'The Stang'. As you would expect she wasn't the most popular girl in high school, so much so, once while siting down to have her lunch, somebody sat on her. So besides being a dweeb she also was, invisible. So invisible in fact, she told her best friend Lilly, "Somebody sat on me again," this incident was borderline, a norm. I wouldn't describe myself as a nerd, dork or dweeb, neither would Mia,but tonight when waiting for my bus, the air humid and wet, I could feel the 4c hair on my scalp awaken  its inner frizz which only spells trouble come tomorrow mornng. Life isn't an all the way bust but it's getting there. Three very giddy folks decided to have a whole conversation not beside me, not behind but smack dab in front of me, complete with shrill laughter I am convinced that I might as well be her 2K18 update. Whatever happened to social cues? If that's too much to ask for, maybe let's scale down to good manners. Everyone has those right? However with each passing day I can't help but reel in the presence of my self awareness which has been on a recent come up. To get myself out of that uncomfortable situation I simply took a step to the side, and wham! no longer a problem .

On the real though, let's talk about purpose. I never can help but feel just a tad bit jealous of people who have it figured out. People who have sieved their wants from their don't wants and are tirelessly working towards their wants no matter the cost. See, today I had to troop my little self to school to follow up on some not so fun stuff. I met with a friend who was in the same shoes, probably even larger, but that is besides the point.

Now this individual is confident. So yeah, we all want to graduate and get out of this so-called world class institution, who doesn't?  But she couldn't be stressed over the elephant in the room, Kenya School of Law. Her resolve? She isn't going, its something she thinks she will do much later in her life.

At this point, you are probably thinking, so what? Well, hers is a resolve of purpose. She said she prayed to God for purpose and sure enough she can't help but sit firm and upright on her decision. Besides purpose she's married the drive that comes with that , throwing herself in to her newly found passion.

I can't help but wonder, at what point is God, at least in my life, going to bless me with a crystal clear sense of purpose? Has he already and now we are both posted up just waiting for me to take the plunge? Is there a period that I should have been praying for purpose, so that it struck just at the right time? When was this time? Shouldn't there have been some sorta grace period between the grand revelation that I simply don't enjoy this field and the  resolve? 

All this mental back forth just to amplify that I am still going to be that predictable human who will take the path that offers the widest safety net.

Thanks for listening!

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Second thoughts

In true human narcissistic fashion I went through my own blog and wouldn't you know it, last year I had a whopping 38 blog posts go up. Ironically, that may have been when  I was at my busiest. I had assignments coming at me left, right and centre most, if not all  of them being group assignments which are always "double the fun",work, exams, sit-in tests. Life was a continuous ball of stress yet somehow I refused to go down without a fight. By somehow, I mean there were a bunch of unprecedented school breaks, code for, lecturers' strikes which had me sitting around with a lot of free time in my hands.

Fast forward to 2018, we sure are nowhere close to 38 posts, I don't even think we are in the double digits. Explanation? I had this grand post-fourth year plan; I would be writing every day, delve into the world of Youtube with a couple of hair related videos, possibly booktube, embark on a couple of crafts sewing, knitting,embroidery the whole nine yards. Now that I think about it, the free time that I had as a first year in university and the free time I have as a possible university graduate, though still ideally free time, could not be more different. For one, I now have a job and there just isn't as much leeway as I had once imagined. The long and short of it, I haven't been quite the spot I imagined I would be, possibly because I didn't factor in my new normal, plain and simple I am a self confessed lazy bone and for a scalding hot minute, nearly all my devotionals have had the verse,"Be still and know that I am God" which is, I don't know, God trying to get me to pump the breaks on my plans and have a little sit down with Him. It is getting a little hard to discern which voice is which, am I holding myself back  and masking it in all manner of excuses? Is there a greater purpose to this lull?

For now, I do know that for sure that this period of nothingness, dare I call it idleness is making me question a whole lot especially around the great career debacle.

It is safe to say that for a long time the legal world, at least to me lost its pizzazz, in fact I can hardly remember the last time that it had that je ne sais quoi, that thing that would make all the all-nighters, all the frustrating group assignments, all the hot afternoon lectures worth it. I started going through the motions sooner than I intended, as hard as it is to admit maybe this law degree was not written in the stars for me.

A great source of my drive was my grades, if they were good, I knew that even the Chief Justice had nothing on me, I was a power house. If they were bad and trust me, I have seen a fair share of bad grades I thought of throwing out the  whole damn degree, all of it. Mostly though, they have been mediocre, on the real, who aims for mediocrity in the first instance? On the flip side there are units that for sure, I knew I would come out on the other side with either a very strong E or by the mercies and graces of the Lord a D but have come out unscathed with a C. Worse still, I have been reduced to praying for Ds because just the thought of failing a single unit and having to restart from square one with course facilitators who are far from fine and dandy, is enough to have me laying prostrate on the ground begging for academic mercies.

So my passion is at an all time low, my grades are barely hanging in there, by my standards at least, the only legal experience I have is a two month compulsory stint at the law courts, could things be looking any worse? The answer is, well, yes.  If all goes according to plan and the first Friday of December sees me donning a cap and gown, then the obvious course of action is Kenya School of Law of course I am jumping the gun here. I first have to have all my results, then apply to Kenya School of Law, get accepted, then on February 4th it all begins again.

The reality is, my world is not going to shatter into a million little pieces if everything doesn't  go according to plan, don't  get me wrong now, graduation 2018 just has to happen and if everything else falls into plan ... I'll be a happy camper. However, everything else outside of my field of study couldn't be glistening any brighter and chile, 2018 is the year of shooting your shot, not only in the DMs but also on the career front. I am sending my resume to positions that spike my interest in Naija Twitter spirit,"Whatever e hit, e hit" though I have gotten nothing but auto-response emails, there's something liberating about non conformity, veering off the tarmac and roughing it. Of course there can only be one happy ending here anything outside of the positive will be heartbreak.

Only the course of time will tell,

Thanks for listening!

Thursday, 9 August 2018

'What is your relationship with money?'

asked Fran, one third of The Friendzone trio.

Sometimes you are living a perfectly normal life, going about your daily grind, feeling alright maybe even good, for the most part and then its mid week,the Friendzone podcast latest episode goes up and that wellness section often has you questioning if you are in fact living life right.

Side bar, The Friendzone goes down in my books as one of the best podcasts on my radar. When I first started listening to it, it was out of the excitement of having an Apple device which as consumerist as it sounds was a 'life long ' dream of mine. 'Life long' because we all know Apple products haven't been around a lifetime and the prestige associated with the Apple brand only cropped up with the dawn of these fangled things, apps; Instagram, Snapchat, Musical.ly (for the children) and the reality on the ground these only became 'it' things in the second decade of the 2000s. I guess its safe to say that, life long would be pushing it.

While we are on the topic of podcasts that are on my radar, while maintaining that The Friendzone holds down the number one spot, to flush out earworms and get you on some wholesome vibes; Jesus and Jollof is hilarious, Dax Shepherd Armchair Expert is a good listen, Oprah Super Soul Sundays? Come on, you see the name Oprah, you give it a try, Where Should We Begin? is straight up juicy. Of course there are a tonne of other podcast that are out there, whole genres in fact on crime and life behind bars for instance , that, at least for me, have since shone a whole new perspective on a bunch of things over the past year.

On one of their past episodes, in Fran's wellness section, she posed a question to the listeners and of course Dustin and Assante. What is your relationship with money? It was either that or how do you view money or what is your view on money maybe even your attitude towards money. Dustin and Assante pretty much had the same answer, they view it as a means of getting by, no more, no less. They don't glorify it, they don't associate with problems, its just a means that allows them to meet their wants and needs. Interestingly, I said, of course I wasn't on the show, but if I could I would prefer not to think about it, its a rather uncomfortable topic for me especially when we have to label it with hardcore, rigid numbers.

If you think about it, money is all about labels, quite literally price tags with numbers that I often think I can't afford, it  tends to define a person and their choice of life be it the type of education they have, the clothes you wear, the car you drive, where you live, no matter what you look at, more often than not, you will find money playing the background. I look at it as a restriction, the more you have the better placed you are. Of course, the less you have...

What is the point of all this wittering on and on about a cringe worthy topic? Turns out, women, are more likely to have a skewed outlook on money than men. Quite frankly, that isn't surprising after taking Gender and the Law this past semester. Looking at it from a gender and labor perspective relating it to the world today, which is a far cry from yesteryears, women and men's pay are not equal, women in most developing nations are often the bread winners and even where households have more than a single income, women, are often the ones tasked with stretching a coin as far as it can go.

Image result for money tumblr quotesMaybe then, women do have a right to have a bit of an attitude problem towards money. Fran, however, is on to something, changing your whole perspective on your outlook towards money could be a game changer. So I guess for me the first step would be separating self worth from  money, after all is said and done it is first and foremost a means to an end not vice versa, there's so much more in between, dare I say more worth my while than thinking about that pesky constant, money. Once it plays its role, that's as far as my financial thought process will go. Creating all the theatrics around it,only does more harm than good to my mental health, and who in the hell wants a musty brain? I sure don't.



Have a good one!

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Let's Talk

This past Friday I was feeling rather down on myself. I hate to start this post on a Debbie Downer but I need an outlet and this is it. I think reality just hit me like it never has before. It got me thinking, when I was eighteen if someone would have told me that within five years a lot of drastic changes would happen; my mom retiring, my dad following suit soon after, my sister getting married, logically, I guess I would have believed them. I mean technically speaking, the only way is up, progress if you will;  you work then you retire, you go to school, graduate then if all goes according to plan, first comes love, then comes marriage...you know the drill.

What I don't understand is why inner me is acting sidelined by all this. There was no blind spot,  no sharp left turn yet here I am feeling all, well, unprepared. I feel entitled to be figuring out the unchartered path of my twenties but my current and future responsibilities just, will not let me be great.

See, the way I am looking at it is once my sister gets married, life changes significantly for the both of us. She will have her share of responsibilities and so will I. Once shared house bills, in my case will fall solely on my shoulders. Given, the refuse and trash collection, security and water bill all come down to 1300/-, not too bad if you are holding down a stead hustle with a steady income. Kenya, though is the land of the unexpected, I know this year for instance one of those bills went up by one hundred shillings. I get the whole inflation argument, however the gag is late last year there was a ban on plastic bags, now some refuse collection companies may be providing bin liners as part of the package deal, while others are operating  under the assumption that provided the liners are not biodegradable, its bye-bye bin liners and hello creativity of the consumer on how they will line their bin. Pray tell then why the bill should go up by a hundred shillings. Yes, this purely could be a rant stemming from bitterness that gives bile a run for its money, from a person who pays a bill that is under a thousand shillings, an expense no matter what angle you look at it from but I am not exactly getting ,'a world class service in return' .

Do not get me started on the water bill. I see Nairobi Water personnel faithfully coming to read the metre, I see them cornered by residents in my neighbourhood, my mom included asking why they even bother with the monthly rounds yet only provide a few hundred litres of water tops to a neighbourhood with a few hundred homes. And that isn't even the half of it, because we are human, with basic human needs, need I mention food, water and shelter nearly everyone has been forced to dig even deeper into their already empty pockets, I am speaking for myself here, and outsource a water supply. Water companies are making an absolute killing in some parts of Nairobi all at the expense of desperate taxpayers.

There used to be talk of feeling the pinch and darned it, I never thought I'd see the day that the pinch would have its way with me.#Adulting.

This year I started it on a high of sorts. Sorts because my festive season was spent with my nose in books, studying for exams, writing research papers and gearing up for a semester which little did I know would be the hardest yet, riddled with strikes, moody lecturers, failed units(yes, that did happen), untaught units, name an academic misfortune and you can count your lucky stars that somebody in a public tertiary institution was on the receiving end. I did look forward to the fact that it would all be over soon, all of it, school come mid-June and work in December.

I refuse to let go of this plan, rather, refused to let go. I was literally holding on to the work plan by a split hair strand. When things got tough at work at least in the first quarter of the year, my happy place would be just the thought of December and pressing send on that resignation letter. This plan was leak proof, probably even air tight, I had even slotted in a month's worth of rest before I joined KSL. Man, I was dreaming big, this may have been my idea of a perfect world.

The more familiar I get with the year, the more vivid the realities of finances become. Now that I think about it, I've been tooting my horn a little bit too much and a little bit too loud about how financially,  I got this. I've got a bit stashed here, a bit stashed there enough to tide me through the 18 month process of becoming an Advocate of the High Court. I may be dead wrong.  January me didn't take into account that a lot of variables would change absolutely everything. Present me on the other hand is almost certain that a rush decision is definitely going to have me singing a different financial tune.

Now, my mind is bouncing of the walls thinking of a future that with the wrong move may have in a bit of a pickle. Since venting out these frustrations, I don't think the problem is the money, the responsibilities or the new normal that will be my everyday routine if everything goes according to plan, I think it's the anxiety leading up to these things.

There are a couple of solutions; wait it out, see how things pun out, after all I've got an okay thing going for me. The only problem with this solution is that I have just about had enough of myself not looking forward to clocking in, feeling like I am shortchanging myself and sometimes even overlooked. The next best thing then clearly would be, buckling down and besides doing the bare minimum of bookmarking jobs that tickle my fancy, go the whole nine yards and send out applications. Pretty taxing I'll admit and I can think of a whole load of cons to this solution but I don't want to be one to shoot down an idea even before its taken flight considering the circumstances.

Its not all black and white, and I doubt if it ever will be. Unfortunately, I can't say that I feel even a little bit lighter but I do know that the problem is anxiety, the only thing I can do, deal with what can be dealt with now and as for the future we will figure it out when we get there.


P.S The Notebook quotes are still coming , until then

Have a good one!
  

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Book Review: The Notebook



I thought that I would be on a roll since I am in this uncertain in between of not having any academic tie-downs, I thought that the blog posts would be dropping on the daily, well, I thought wrong. I am not sure what it is, but its been just over a month since I wrote  my last exam, of course, it didn't hit me until I walked through the gates of my neighbourhood that the reality of what seemed to be a far-fetched wrap was here. Now a little older, a  little wiser, I didn't expect anyone to make a national day out of it neither did I expect a firework charade or something of that calibre, however its only dawned on me that making a time, occasion or celebration out of it would have been instrumental in marking a smooth transition into all this free time I have.

Enough about me and my over-the -top thoughts  we haven't had a book review on this space for eons. Excited though unprepared, but excited, lets?

Nicholas Sparks has his works strewn all over Nairobi, at least by the outdoor book vendors. Last Friday this couldn't have been more apparent. I got to town insanely early, too early for my shift at least and I was determined to kill as much time as time would allow for. Even after running errands that I thought undoubtedly would keep me busy as can be and ordinarily would have taken long, wouldn't you know it, the one time I did have the time to wait in line, the service on  the other end of the line was on a record breaking high, efficient as can be. I was still determined to clock in at my prescribed time, any earlier? Uh, I think not. What better way to waste time than reading blurbs of books with no intention of making a purchase. I made my way to my little oasis, 'Lit. Street' as I like to call it, not really, but it does have a cool ring to  it and as lack would have it(it was also the end of the month) there was a sale and a good one at that, 50% off. I managed to score A Raisin in The Sun, some book about Chinese women and radio interviews during the height of Communist China (the title escapes me for now so we are just going to have to bare with that spectacularly vague description)  and The Notebook which though not on sale I just had to have.

Related imageIt is coming across that I am a die hard Nicholas Sparks superfan when in reality I find him rather cheesy. But, answer me this would you ignore the guy that tinsel town seems to be head over hills in love with, writer of Dear John, The Last Song and of course The Notebook all cult classics in their own respect? Thought so.

I had watched The Notebook a handful of times at the on set of my teenage years, I hardly remember it although I like to think that I have alternate recollections of it. With such a 'solid' foundation I was only reading it for formality purposes, or so I thought.


The book begins in the sunset years of one elderly man who has since transitioned into a senior citizens home. Despite knowing that it is only a matter of time before he and life can part ways he finds purpose in poetry not as a poet himself but as a reader of poems of poets of the yesteryears. His true purpose however lies in reading a story found in a notebook that is heavily centered around a 1940s summer love,the lives of these lovers after and a love never lost to his love, everyday as long as he can help it.

Right out the gate, besides being quite the page turner, picked up on Monday finished on Wednesday, my eyes welled up quite a bit so yes it was a beautiful read. However, it was a rather fictitious read, a bit, too good to be true. In the book the only gaps in their love were the rich girl-poor boy conundrum, unfortunately I was looking for an argument, some discord here and there, it was all just a little bit too fine and dandy for me, not too sure what that says about me as a person, should I lay off The ShadeRoom for a minute since I am always scouting for tea? But that is beside the point.

Yes, I realize that the years spent apart were meant to be the, go figure, gap in the relationship and there is a lot that changes within those years; deaths, new love and lust, forgotten passions.

I might as well throw it in there that my teenage self was all the way giddy because  I knew that once the rain would come the sex scene would come with it or as Nicholas Sparks would say, make passionate love. It is a good three maybe three and a half pages long, would I say it hisses steam? Yes.  I have read steamier, we probably all have, but something out of the 1940's and 1950's I mean a millenial description today would probably be scandalous then.

If you ever have an uneventful couple of days ahead of you like a long weekend or that period between Christmas and New Years where you really don't know what to do with yourself, you thought it was a bit too early to be talking about Christmas yet we are on the eighth month of 2018 huh? This I would a 100% per cent recommend to curl up to and just entirely lose yourself in especially in the Kenyan winter that was/is, you and I both don't know what the Mother Nature has up her sleeve for the Nairobi weather.

Since I enjoyed this book as much as I did you can bet that a couple of quotes are soon to follow,



Have a good one!