Saturday, 16 December 2017

22 things I learnt at 22: #1 Finances

Hey guys,

I guess I might as well state the obvious, long time no see. I wish I had a logical explanation for my going from an all time high; reading a book a week  and writing every day to disappearing of the face of the blogosphere. All I know, one minute I had written four posts back to back, the next,I may have had an assignment due, then we were in this class is on, no class stage  which made for a  perfect excuse as to why I couldn't keep up with the whole writing  everyday endeavor.

However in a few days, 22 to be precise I will be turning 23. Some vlogger, probably Lily from LilyLikescom said that 23 feels so much  older than 22. She literally took the words out of my mouth. 21 sounds grown, 22 is just a number but 23 is the near end of the early twenties. 23 carries a certain je ne sais quoi about it; most people are university graduates if everything went according to plan, making their own paper, sometimes have left the nest and are full on adults by societal standards. Granted, I feel some type of way turning the big 2-3.

22 was, well, bad. Let me rephrase 2017 was just a dead end. This I judge based on the amount of time I spent in the classroom. There was a point in time I would ask myself why we gauge milestones through academia. I thought it to be shallow, tunnel vision surely not everything revolves around just the one  thing, education. Then 2017 happened;January-March lecturers' strike, a few weeks in July another lecturer's strike, August Kenyan general elections and waiting on the Supreme Court judgement, October my university was closed indefinitely, guessed it another lecturers' strike. A few hundred thousand shillings spent on tuition and this year I can say I have nothing to show for it except one measly, half-assed semester.

Since I had all this "free time" on my hands I had my fair share of  lessons outside the classroom. This is what this series is all about, the lessons learned this year and the years prior in my 22 years of existence. 22 things might be pushing it, I'll say and committing to 22 articles from now through the festive season and into the New Year is really shooting for the stars but a girl has gotta at least try.

Lesson numero uno.

Get your finances in check.

This year marks my second year in employment if I haven't drummed that enough into y'all. Who would have ever known that the second year is so different from the first. You've got a year's worth of experience under your belt and aren't the meek church mouse you once were. When I first got into the scene I was scared stiff of spending even a shilling worth of my hard-earned cash. That year, I lived like I was still unemployed and just stacked up paper in my account. This fear is what allowed me to have some level of comfort when I would make it rain at Mr. Price, of course, only for items that were on sale or during their end of summer sale. You can take the girl out of the cheap skate scene but not the cheap skate out of the girl.

Somewhere along the line I got a little too credit card happy. If you put the sign 'SALE' on your door, no doubt I would be your first customer, getting in with the sole intent of just having a look around, running my hands over a couple of items here and there, you know, the old in and out, no strings attached, no damage done. Except what was meant to be me just poking my head in, almost always ended up with an impulse buy.

I did the only thing I could, I pumped the brakes on myself. Rather, I found a way around my spending habits.

For one, I set up a savings account. The best one hands down, this is free intel by the way, KCB Goal Savings Account with 8.3% p.a interest rate.  I would like to say that it was a seamless process but you know me, would it be a story if there wasn't a mishap somewhere? Circa August 2017. Side note, I realize I use the word circa with reckless abandon, it adds flavour to all my pieces so just lean with it and rock with it. Circa, August 2017, Kenyans are all jittery with the upcoming general elections and this was when I figured I would make my money moves. All in one day I opened a Savings Account , a Central Depository Account and a few days later bought bonds issued by the government.

For the Savings Account, one word cost me. I intended to open a Goal Savings Account, KCB on the other hand opened for me a Jiinue Savings Account. The expectation was that I would go into KCB, I would tell them I want to open a Savings Account, they would then spell out the options I have and I would choose the Goal Savings option. The reality, I said I wanted a savings account and a savings account is what I got. Just. Not. The. One. I. Wanted. . One word cost me a significant chunk of my Saturday going from desk to desk trying to make sense of this mess.

If you take away anything from this post, take this, it is a Goal Saving's Account you want to open, not just any old raggedy savings account that just so happens to be on your list of options.

Now you have a savings account, now what? Me, I put a thousand shillings in there per month. The ideal situation is having it deducted from your pay directly. This way there is no room for excuses, you can't spend the money if you don't have the money.  It doesn't get any simpler than that.

On to my Central Depository Account. That process went a lot smoother. Actually I lie. I filled out the forms in August and nearly three weeks down the line they must have been in the same spot they were left before we headed to the polls. So I had to do one of the most least liked things that comes with adulting, getting on the phone with customer service. Revisiting the whole ordeal gives me a migraine. After showing them my true colors, over the phone, you would think that KCB would step up their game. I had one simple request, once all the particulars were met send me an email. I even got a call that the next morning your girl would have a notification that it was all systems go. Yet, another one of my precious Saturdays was spent in the banking hall going from desk to desk dealing with yet another mess.

The gag is, I may have to make a trip to KCB sooner than I expected why? Remember the wrong savings account that's where I wanted the dividends to go. Except that account no longer exists.

Even with all the hurdles, remember, I am either investing or stacking up my coins. It goes without saying, that you should be on a similar path as well. My rule of thumb, never ever just let your money sit there. The argument is if your banking it then it's doing 'something',I hate to break it to you but nearly all current accounts earn interest below 1% , in my books that's not a profit to write home about. My take, invest.Investing is as easy as turning a Ksh. 100 note into a Ksh. 200 note, and wouldn't you know it you are on a promising path.

It doesn't matter how much you start with, so not having a consistent cash flow is no excuse. After all everybody has a humble beginning, of course some more humble than others, regardless it still counts as a Bawse move.

Thought I was done making money moves? You thought wrong. I thought I would get myself some bonds. That was much easier. At least that's one thing the government is doing right. All the details to the how are on the M-Akiba website. The one thing I will emphasize though, the line you wish to purchase the bonds with needs to be in your name. My phone number is registered under my Mom because at the time of registration I was either under age or my ID was not yet out, either way if your number is not under your name, sis, that's not going to fly.

Within a span of weeks I had met all my 2017 financial goals. Would I do anything different?

I should have been on the program as soon as 2017 began. Lord knows I put this off for far too long. I would have also written these financial goals down and stuck them somewhere out in the open, that way they'd be a constant nag. For sure that would have gotten the show on the road ages ago.

Have a good one!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Compromise/Dealing with rejection

Good afternoon or whatever-time-you-are reading this, I am Edwina  Mapenzi and I have your daily strike update. Daily is pushing it, but just flow with me. Cue whatever music score that comes with a news bulletin. No news from my campus as yet except these snide, "There's class next week" emails but a couple of campuses have had their exams postponed indefinitely. My major concern is a great majority of comrades are pretty much done with coursework, while we, and when I say we, I mean the university that was closed for the better part of October, hint, hint have barely scratched the surface. What kind of tomfoolery is this?

There is still a smidgen of hope that I cling to so firmly, my knuckles are going pale. Of course its amount, less than yesterday's but it still lingers. I stand my ground, a lot can be covered in five weeks, give or take.

Today let's talk about dealing with rejection, a big, fat, no just hurled straight at you as if to mimic a bulls eye. The older you get you realize there are more variations to rejection than just the traditional no.

In my teens, it was mostly boys. Their No stung the most. So powerful was their sting the whole school had word about it, sometimes the grapevine went all the way down to the school administration;principles, vice principles, everyone. Of course, while nearly everyone in my circle had boo-thangs I wouldn't dare to so much as dream of having a 'little friend'. Not with the reins my mom had fastened around me so that's a No I am no expert in.

If there is a No I remember a little to vividly for comfort, would be the rejection letter I got from Africa Leadership Academy(ALA). I think I still have the print-out lurking somewhere in my room. I still remember the first line going something like, "With the competition pool so stiff this year, we have had to make some hard decisions..."They had the audacity at the end of that email to tell me to continue to strive to be the change that Africa needs in the  future, now how was I supposed to go off and do that if they weren't going to have me on board. This is pure bitterness talking by the way. Of course, as the years went by, the wound has healed and whereas even talking about it would have me feeling like an emotional wreck, now I go the extra  mile and even laugh about it.

The night I got the email, I distinctly remember waking up in the middle of the night, a school night for that matter and trying to distinguish whether it was indeed reality or just a really poignant dream.  Of course I bawled myself to sleep and woke up with a headache, I felt the pain of rejection as a heaviness in my throat and chest, a stiffness in my legs and the zoo in my stomach. I put in the work, yet I would have nothing to show for it.

Getting to the second round of the application process, high key, still remains one of my greatest achievements. Ironically, in as much as seventeen-year-old me wouldn't dream of saying this, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

That just goes to show that there is life after rejection. Of course, in the moment being buried alive is a pretty viable option. Once you get over that hump like I did, you realize rejection besides being a part of life is a rite of passage.The next year I reapplied and got rejected in the first round. Not the happy ending you were expecting at least, not the conventional type but this time round I just moved on as if nothing happened.

Over the years, I have been rejected from so many things I would run out of fingers just counting them for you. Some sting less than other but all of them have come with a valuable lesson in tow.

Right now, I am looking at things from a whole new angle. For instance, whereas I think I have arrived when it comes to the writing game, I may have only just punched the ticket. This may just be the Universe implying that there is so much more to learn before I get my big break,a break that I will be undoubtedly ready for when the time comes. It could also be the wake up call that reminds me that feeling ready and being ready do not mean the same thing. So whereas I feel that I am ready to take on the world, the world may just show me whose boss when push comes to shove. Or, where I think I can be a sponge no more I haven't quite swelled up past capacity.

Here I am wanting the sun, moon, stars and whatever else the solar system has up for grabs yet I can hardly handle what's on my plate. Up until yesterday I mistook complacency and satisfaction for settling. When in reality it's just appreciation. Sure, I don't smile from ear-to-ear when I go into a work neither am I just an absolute delight to work with, although I don't believe that for one minute, but its comforting to know that I have a firm base of financial support. I have to focus, keep my eyes on the prize of graduation and not just moving the  tassle from one side to another but graduate with the best attainable grades. A little birdie tells me stability will be a major boost. But I still wouldn't be mad if I got that Google internship, *nudge,nudge*.

Then comes that pesky word, compromise. It gives of the vibe that you are taking an L and it sure as heck feels like it as well. So, what, I got rejected from the school of my dreams, the experience of being with such vibrant young minds, as corny as it sounds, is a worthy compromise. No feedback from my dream jobs, I still tried anyway, no what-ifs here. Paths of unchartered road still lay ahead, if I am being Positive Patsy all good stuff just waiting to be discovered if I am being a realist, the good,the bad and don't forget the ugly.

Where do we go from  here? Embrace the space and keep trying. You can only get so many No's until eventually that one Yes comes all the way through and the feeling it comes with is inexplicable. For now, why don't you say we cushion the blow of the No!

Have a good one!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

I prayed and I stopped and I started again

Strike update; in as much as we are in academic limbo there's still hope. Today, we are smack dab in the middle of November, I am no academic registrar but we can still work some semester dates around the five weeks left of 2017. If last year they had the bright idea to schedule exams up until Christmas Eve, surely, a repeat of history wouldn't be so much trouble. Understand that I am not coming from a place of academic enthusiasm but more from a frustrated stand point. In five weeks, classes that are taught through group presentations, which by the way I have come to loathe while we are on the topic, can tear through a great chunk of the course work. The old school lecturers, who want to teach the syllabus from A-Z, if they are going to work day and night as affirmed by the union, five weeks is more than enough to ask for all the make-ups imaginable. Sure, make up classes aren't music to my ears but my frustration supersedes any type of comfort at this juncture.

On to today's post.

If you aren't already on the 40's series that Biko has got going on, your missing out. Yesterday's was about this one guy barely in his forties who seems to attract death to every one he loves; first his first born son, then his wife, his mother, second wife, another one of his son's . Biko asked him something along the lines of his relationship with God, how it has affected him,how he kept the faith.The simplicity of his answer was quite striking, "I prayed and I stopped and I started again. At some point you just let Him do what He deems best. "

A few posts ago, I had mentioned how with the lull that has followed my "countless" applications, picking up my Bible for my Daily Devotion is not as easy as it was. Up until now, I didn't realize how self-centered I sound.Here is a man whose lost two wives, two children and a mom yet he is still reminded of the presence of God in his life, then there's me. I get no response from a couple of job applications and I have pretty much subjected God to playing second fiddle in my life.

Looking back on the past couple of days I can barely remember when I sat down for some purposeful time with God. Earlier this year, I discovered the difference  it makes to write down your prayer as opposed to just having it sit pretty in your heart. For one your head space remains centered and you are able to decipher what you really want God to do for you, besides, pen and paper have always been really humbling. It requires from you time, energy, effort and focus. Looking at my Bible journal the last prayer I wrote down was in the first quarter of 2017.

There's a sense of desertion I feel. All of 2015 I religiously prayed, read my Bible and went to church. I was your model Jesus freak. I was also broke and employed which may explain my borderline desperate relationship with God. At the time, I didn't know it but I was pretty happy, even in my unemployment and financial disparity. May I reiterate that my academics were looking up, relationship with God was A1, I had nothing but time, organic free time on my hands which I used to read countless books and write three times a week on this space. My health was good but this was also the year that I got hit by a bad case of tonsillitis, so bad in fact, it shut my airway around the throat area, I still remember the look on the doctor's face of sheer disbelief that I could even swallow. Other than that life was looking up.

When I had finally met my financial windfall, it's just an alternative way of saying that I got a job and  subsequently a steady pay in my heart I knew I was deserving. I had done my bit; prayed, fasted, read my Bible the works and finally God had come through for His faithful servant. I am afraid that also came along with a share of entitlement and over confidence, so much so, I was under the impression that no bad things were supposed to happen to me, God was forever indebted to me. The level of conceit was undeniably well above and beyond the roof.

Like the tower of Babbel it all started to go south from there. The debut Working Girl chronicles pretty much sums it up and so does Surviving College from late 2015 up until now.

Round about this time my pattern when it came to relating with God mimicked the title of this post, "I prayed and I stopped and I started again" except this process was on repeat, on again, off again. I would flat line for weeks on end, maybe even months then out of the blue you'd hear the unexpected beep of a pulse. Sometimes the beep would be consistent and other times it would be a lone beep and all that would be left would be its echo.

More than that, I think I lost the one essential ingredient, faith. The guy in Biko's post went on to say that, "At some point you just let Him do what He deems best". Call it optimism, I call it faith from a deep founded trust.

Over the past two years I have let anxiety take center stage. When I do pray, I only let go and let God just a tincy wincy bit otherwise I am as clingy as they come. By nature, I am pretty worried over even the smallest thing. However now it's amplified to a whole new level, stewing within on the slow cook option.

In my current state of mind, which unnecessarily works overtime overthinking the simplest of things, given all the feedback I haven't gotten the future according to me is pretty bleak. An average life is what seems to be in store; settling for an okay job in a sub-par, by my standards, law firm, settling for someone who is not even my type(for some reason, this is the one that aggrieves me the most) and just falling into the rest of the protocol that's expected because of the surrounding circumstances.

Maybe, on the other hand, it's just your classic glass half full, half empty type of deal. Maybe all the feedback or lack thereof is a subliminal message to embrace where I am now. Maybe there is a sneaky opportunity for growth or this is a much needed lesson in learning satisfaction. Maybe the constant clamour for the next best thing is not so much ambition as it is greed. Maybe I have my heart set on the wrong thing and should divert my devotion to appreciation, acknowledgement but less desire. Maybe I should just let Him do what He deems best.

I feel that I can now return to my devotion with the right soulset, less expectations at least played down expectations for starters and these can be my stepping stones from here on out. The goal is to keep at it, if I stop then, I start again.

Have a good one!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Make, share, make, share, make, share, make, share

Update on the strike, it's still on. We are also in that limbo stage; is class on? Has it been cancelled? When are assignments due? Do they still stand or I'm out here breaking my back over nothing? Thank God for class representatives and their zeal of confirming whether a class is on or not.While I am on the topic of industrial action, maybe just maybe, if the initial strike(January) had lasted longer, even six months but the union had had a take all deal; the 15 billion, negotiated the 2017-2021 CBA and the allowances and arrears, we wouldn't be in this ridiculous pickle of on again, off again nonsense.

 This whole year academically speaking, has just been a wasteland. It sucks that a few hundred thousand people have to bare the brunt of the government's transgressions. My understanding is that a CBA lasts four years, how long does it take to be implemented? That's a mystery to me given all the industrial action we've seen this year alone, need I remind you, doctors, nurses, lecturers, tea farmers. Regardless, within those four years negotiations and implementations only happen in the last year of the existent CBA. Of course, only after a jibe is thrown towards the government, the jibe being full on strikes, complete with a three week notice.

Answer me this, there is 60 billion readily available for free secondary education but not 5 billion for striking lecturers?

But that's an aside. On to today's piece.

Yesterday, I came home from work and began my usual night routine. I  changed from my 'work clothes' it's really just jeans and a tee and into my PJs, there's no better feeling like it. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to have my laptop on. You guys already know my poison, Youtube. I watched a bunch of suggested videos and then of course shifted base to the big dawg himself, Casey Neistat. Yup, I may have graduated from just having a slight obsession for Casey's content to whatever is above a slight obsession.

The click bait is what got me. I honestly thought that him and Candice were getting a divorce. Turns out, spoiler alert, they were on their way to therapy, couples' therapy and were thinking about starting a podcast where they would talk about their marriage and call it, 'Therapy'. If you ask me, which by the way, he did source for feedback, I really wouldn't care for it. If I so happen to be bored out of my mind or I am looking to pass the time or  on an expedition for white noise while doing a major school assignment then maybe I'll give it a listen. But, being a religious listener and tuning in once every week, I hate to be the wet blanket but no, not my cuppa.

Once I got past the click bait there was a video within the video. A collaboration with one of his friends, Shantell Martin and Samsung. Casey, Casey, Casey racking up dream sponsorships left, right and centre. Shantell of course is no rookie to master collaborations having done one with the G.O.A.T himself, King Kunta, K-dot, Kendrick Lamar. Is there even the slightest possibility of topping that?

Shantell is an artiste. Her instrument a pen. What she creates isn't your usual, it's more  contemporary,modern, urban. The type that some may have to squint and tilt their head to the left to make sense of it. On first impression, it looks like large scale impressionable doodles. Her work is on murals, shutter doors so long as it's a white background she can make it work. It's the type of thing, because of its simplicity makes it stand out especially in a world of color.

So anyway, in the said video she asks, what's the point of making art? The point is to make, share, make, share, make, share, make, share. She moves to New York after finding her groove in Japan, which was her runaway destination after being told not to apply to art school because she probably wouldn't get in.

She knows she's an artist. She has successfully curved a distinct niche for herself, so successful is her artwork it's easily identifiable to be hers. This, was a process and with all processes come time, over time she's built her art, her name and all through the simple process of make, share, make, share, make, share, make, share.

Then there's me. I make, make, make and make. You notice the difference?

I have never wanted to label myself as a writer. The title is pretty heavy, reserved for heavy weights like published authors, Jackson Biko, Magunga Williams, Sharon Mundia, Caroline Njung'e people who make and ultimately, share.

Back story to how this blogging thing came about. I had just finished my Diploma circa, two years after high school. I spent countless hours on Biko's blog, was it High School? He referred to us, his readers, as  Gang. Not so long after, came the rise and rise of ThisisEss, she stood out for a couple of reasons, her looks (might as well have that one be the first one out of the gate), quality pictures, she went all out and hired a small time photographer at least back then he was, Victor Peace and  her way with words. Come at me all you want, so yeah her style was good and Victor was a big help as well, but come on, the story behind the outfits and even none fashion posts still had us hanging on to her every word.

I figured if they can do it then I sure as heck can, yup, so did everybody. In that period alone I can bet nearly everybody with an internet connection had gone on a rampage living links to their websites and blogs anywhere and everywhere you can think off. The sharing line was far from blurred, it was full on crossed, a good majority of folks were just leeching over other people's success and that was the last way I wanted to come off. Instead I made, made, made, made and occasionally shared.

The most I shared was on Google Plus which is barely sharing considering, who even uses Google Plus. At some point I spread my wings on to Pinterest which was an unsuspectingly bringing in a healthy number of readers.That, was the epitome of my make and share process, no more, no less.

I would like to say I have upped my game since then, but I have done just the opposite. I am not sharing on Google Plus, Pinterest, nada. In the past, when I would do my version of self-promo, my friends would actually follow the link to this blog and read an article or more, I guess because I am on a lot of their mailing lists so Google is just out here touting my business. I say that with shock yet what did I expect them to do, eat the link, smell it?

Today, I took yet another dive into the deep end. The post that went up yesterday, I put it up on my Instastory for all and sundry to have a read. As dull as the story was, I didn't even sneak in that the link was in my bio, it was a baby step. Am I proud of it? Not really but I made and I shared.

As I write this article I have since come to the conclusion that I have or had a flawed perception of sharing. Blatantly put, if you weren't a whose who in my books then it was just you looking for some self gratification. Now sharing emotes all sorts of reactions it can be inspiration, entertainment, new discoveries sometimes irritation Njoki Chege for a while took the cup at the latter. Sharing can gas you up and take your creation to a whole other level. Imagine if Kendrick just kept his bars to himself in some room up in Compton, we wouldn't have T.P.A.B not even Damn, that's a parallel universe right there

I guess I'll take a shot at this, I already have the first half down, sharing is just a matter of pressing a few buttons and bada bing bada boom we are in business.

Have a good one! 

Monday, 13 November 2017

What they don't tell you about working in your late teens/ early twenties

I remember it just like it was yesterday, nineteen year old Edwina, fresh out of her first year of university. Exams were done and dusted and just in case you were wondering, those were my stronger academic years, my results were above average and I was basking in the glory of my academic success. The long awaited long holidays were finally here, four months of no school. I was ready as the last few months leading up to this were one hell of a roller coaster.

Hit the rewind button one time. 4 months of no school sounds good when you say it, when you see it written down on paper and when you can nearly smell it when you are writing your last paper. What it actually means though, your parents aren't sparing any expense towards you outside of the bare necessities, so that means you are tethered to one spot, home. The same four walls day in and day out. Unless of course you have a stash of a few shillings to ferry you from point A to point B then just ignore that scenario I painted out up there, or better yet your parents are how do I say, liberal? Regardless of whether school is on or out they make it a priority, no, their priority to make sure that you are well taken care of, inclusive of wants and not just your basic needs.

Want to take a wild guess of where I was not too long ago? If it isn't obvious by now I was the miserable, same four walls day in and day out chap. Oh, the misery.

These were also the pretty naive years of course more naive than I am now, at least one thing has changed and I believe my mantra at the time was, "If I don't like something then do something about it". So what did I do you ask, I went on a job hunt. Every morning after my sketchy morning routine I would sit cross legged, put some Mtv Base on and watch Too Fat for Fifteen while scouring the internet for part time jobs, internships, volunteer programs anything that I could sink my hands in. That year,I found two internships and one job, the current one I am at now.

 The Jeffersons had nothing on me, I had moved on up and I was finally going to get a  piece of that pie.

Except my vision was clearly blurred, the irony. What no one told me about joining the workforce this early, was the sacrifices I would have had to make. I was purely geeked out over the money that I would be making. A regular flow of income, my money, not my mom's, not my dad's, not birthday money or graduation money but money that I went out, on my own and got. I was imagining shopping trips, buying my dream phone, going for live concerts, oh, the joy.

I've talked about the sacrifices here before so you can go to town on that article.

However, the more I sit behind this desk the more jealous I am of all the cats who I see on the other side who still look to and can rely on their parents for financial support.

One time, I was on the bus on my way to work just minding my own business, when I looked out the window to see one of our regulars, early twenties guy comes to my place of work when he is on break from school. I am  horrible with cars but the seats were a cream, maybe, off white luxury leather seats and the body may have been of a Mercedes but with me all cars are a Mercedes. Sitting back left, earphones in and just looking on to the distance. His life, so far removed from mine. He was probably in an Uber, I was on a bus. He had his afternoon to himself, I would be working a six hour afternoon spilling over into the evening shift. Our worlds couldn't be further apart. It bothers me that I am jealous. There's a small part of me that thinks I'm as deserving of that lush life  as they are yet I'm stuck here.

Yet another pity party is thrown when when I log in to my Instagram Saturday afternoon and I catch what my agemates were up to Friday night, you know when the feeling's right. Hair did, freakum dress on, turn ups before the turn up and that's just before they hit the club. These guys work the regular and favourable 9-5 or are creatives so when the weekend peeks its head around the corner they were born ready for it and its shenanigans.

Sure, I could take the risk one Friday to paint the town red and party into the small hours of Saturday but I like to get a decent amount of sleep before my 9 a.m Saturday morning shift, think responsibility trumps lituation.

Go out Sunday then, that sounds like a logical enough course of action, right? Look, I work a six daysout of a seven day week I think I deserve just the one day to stay in and be a bum. The truth is I read the week's paper while taking a late breakfast, like a sixty-something year old whose learning the ropes of retirement.

The two times I tapped into the last of my energy reserve for the week was for Blankets and Wine which you can read about here and here. Although I come out beaming complete with an adrenaline rush it takes nearly a week to recover from a mere few hours of having me a grand old time.

If that doesn't do it for you, more times than one I have opted out of going for a concert because I had no one to go with. An aspect of independence has developed or been introduced, probably introduced. You got the job and have now acquired a new found financial status that none of your peoples are on, congratulations, you played yourself. In as much I am a strong, independent black woman who need no man in her life and all that mumbo jumbo, that is not to say that company will get old. As liberating as it is going for concerts alone going with friends just tears past the roof.

Your heart has to be in the right place, so does your mind, if you are embarking on this thing called employment. The most valuable lesson that has come with the jealousy and sense of entitlement is allow yourself to feel, the faster you feel even the slightest pinch of jealousy feel it,soak in it a while then move on. I always like to take comfort in the hopes that my work is not all in vain but my future kids can have the life I coveted so much, then they can be the envy of the kid behind the desk.

Have a good one!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Three weeks in

If I had to say, the business, my business, Summer Oddity is three weeks old. Three weeks and not a single sale made. Yesterday, I was on the brink of tears in my weekend safe haven, the kitchen sink. I can hardly begin to describe the pent up frustration that nearly erupted last evening.

It wasn't so much the giving up in the business that wore me down but it was the jab it was taking on my character. Quitting just three weeks in would undoubtedly define me to be a pussy. The investment I made was okay, decent...arguable but not so much that would see me facing some sort of financial strain.

When my sister offered to buy one of the pieces, which was a kind gesture, it still is, but the plan was to run this as a legit business not a lemonade stand where your parents are your first consumers in a bid to give you that gentle push, I felt insulted. In the back of my mind I knew and know that I have faith in me.

Besides my character being compromised, if I made a premature stage left exit, it would also be giving up on a dream. Not my dream, it's not owned, it's more a frequent daydream. It's no secret that I have a slight problem with Youtube, I watch too much of it but it's not all a lost cause. I do take away something from some of the videos I watch, a lot, a whole lot. I know that at one point in my life New York is a destination that is on my bucket list, thanks to one Mr. Casey Neistat. I want to hit the dollar pizza spot, experience Times Square, figure out SoHo, live in the city, within the city, in the summer with it's sewer smell that engulfs the Big Apple and  in the winter with Snowmageddon.

 I've  also learnt a thing or two about thrifting, in fact, the amount of 'Come Thrift with Me' and thrift hauls I watch are unhealthy. I did discover though that there are high end thrift stores. They fit my aesthetic; a wavy, punk look in some and others just scream lush and opulence. I like to call it dignified thrifting. A cool space, solid ground, changing area, curated selection, security. So, yes, I am just describing another fashion retail store but with only unique finds. Read that to mean, you wouldn't see every other girl on the streets with your exact outfit. More than that, if you need to find a basic, like a plain black tee or an over sized cozy grey jumper maybe even an ugly dad sweater or a pair of mom jeans, you know where to find it, an in  and out job. Now imagine a shop like that in Nairobi. Yeah, the feasibility is wanting but the thought gives me literal chills, chills of pure excitement.

Calling it quits this early in the game would be tantamount to giving up on this dream. If I couldn't run an Instagram store who is to say a brick and mortar store would be any better?

Then, the panic started to set in. This time next year if all goes according to plan I should be picking up my cap and gown, adding graduation to the list of my accomplishments. That also means that I would have to quit my job, i believe the more accepted term is resign from my job...long story, but three years was the goal I set for myself and wearing out my welcome is not an option. May I mention that the joy of quitting this job reaches above and beyond the moon; it will see the return of having the last half of my day all to myself, no more anxiety just pure bliss.

Bliss with a healthy helping of financial uncertainty. Back to the scrub life of only buying the bare necessities and being cooped up in the house out of circumstance. I have been there, it's not pretty and there won't be a repeat of that piece of history if I can help it. Panic settled in quite fast, just the thought of having to stay at my job longer took a lot out of me.

With that revelation I immediately swooped into action, mentally at least. The logical course of action would be to get me a smartphone; in case you are wondering I have been robbed twice of my phones and since then I foster a deep bitterness for smartphones, phones in general. I am going to go ahead and throw in the towel and purchase a phone and try a couple of things different; follow more people (that's the only thing that is working so far), posting at different optimal times, posting a story or two and do all of this until I have the perfect pattern going. I also plan to document this "adventure" with a diary just to have a medium to unleash my pent up frustration, learning what works and what should be kicked to the curb.

While being my own cheerleader I need to constantly remind myself that I have nothing to lose.

Have a good one! 


Saturday, 11 November 2017

Sorry Not Sorry

If you're reading's too late. That's another dry Dad joke for you, what I actually meant to say was, if you're reading this the strike is still on. Update on week two of the strike; it's lasted two weeks. Duh, however that's how long the last trike lasted which I believe was the shortest period yet, at least out of the three strikes this year. The longest  lasted roughly three months, between January and was it March?  The dons are talking big, they are in for the long haul. On my way to work, I was  deep in thought as to what I should do over the supposed  "long haul", quotes because between you and me I don't see it lasting very long. I could be wrong. I do see it having an insane ripple effect like having the school year spill over into a good chunk of the festive season, say, the third week of December when everyone is getting their Christmas spirit on. More than that, I am almost sure that that means first thing next year we will be neck deep in exams anywhere within the first three weeks of January, which means that the one week off for Christmas break will really just be code for study leave.

The expected course of action is, well, to get some studying in, group work compiled and out  of the way and begin and finish the dreaded research paper. I should probably make myself some sort of schedule if at all the intention is to realize these academic goals.

On the other hand, I really shouldn't exclusively box myself into academics, even with my situation as dire as it is, gradewise. Besides writing everyday,  I would like to, drum roll please, read a book a week. In the words of Stephen King, "To be a writer, you must do two things, read a lot and write a lot". What good would it be to write a bunch of posts if I'm not putting in the work towards them.Mine would just be tunnel vision, using the same idioms, vocabulary, writing about the same thing from a different perspective. If I am going to get my 10,000 hours in, it might as well be 10,000 quality hours.

However today's post is something that has been on my mind since last evening. I would love to tell you the genesis of it all but it involves me eavesdropping on a conversation, maybe I heard right, maybe I heard wrong or maybe I'm just making a mountain out of the slightest of molehills. Either way, I took away a couple of valuable adulting lessons.

It's always important to take a step back and look at the problem from the offended party's point of view. I am still learning that apologizing isn't a sign of weakness. When my name popped up on the eavesdropped upon conversation you best believe I was up in arms ready to defend myself but the more I listened the  more I realized that, it's never that serious. Not everything is a fight.

Saying sorry and being sorry is not the same thing. This may sound  harsh but you don't always have to be sorry but it's more therapeutic for whoever is offended to hear it from you. More often than not, once you understand what the offense  is, you will be sorry giving sincerity to your apology.

You don't have to empathize if it's not any fault of yours. Morally speaking and from the Christian point of view, it's expected, but the reality on the ground is everyone is bogged down with their own dose of problems. Let me speak for myself here when I say I am on to the next one even before there is a next one, I guess this is my wake up call to sometimes stop and get a strong whiff of the coffee.  I still hold my stance, just because you are going through it doesn't mean you have to drag as all along with you.

But the most important take away and the most fitting way to wrap it up would be a quote I saw from tumblr last night,

Self care isn’t always pretty , it’s not always candles and a bathtub full of roses , sometimes it’s forcing yourself to get out of bed and dragging yourself , sometimes it’s the pep talk you give to yourself or the quick cry in the corner . sometimes it is convincing yourself to do all these things you should be doing but you have no will whatsoever , sometimes it’s cutting some ties no matter how precious they were , sometimes it’s the bitter medicine you need to give yourself .
Self care isn’t always pretty but it’s so worth it .
—  Kriti.G

Have a good one!   


Friday, 10 November 2017

Stranger for a wife

The plan is, so long as the lecturers' strike is on, ol' girl over here is going to write everyday. Come what may, rain, sunshine, flood you get the picture. As such, I am writing this at work with a few minutes to spare before closing time. I wasn't playing when I said come what may.

I've been thinking, if there was one person I would like to write about me, it would be Jackson Biko of Bikozulu, Mantalk in the Saturday Nation pull-out, that article on Msafiri which my dad makes a  point of picking up even if he already picked up the same issue on an earlier flight. I bet he has more under his belt besides the three I've mentioned, like that short-lived premier East African men's only magazine, Adam, but that's enough to have me swooning over anything he writes.

He is doing this 40s series, hyping himself up for the road ahead, his forties. Some, scratch that, all of the articles have been brilliant; he's had a guy who was comfortable with his wife bringing the bacon home, a lady who would host prayers in her house at three bloody a.m all in the name of praying  for a husband, another lady who was living among cannibals for nearly an entire year and lived to tell the tale-there's really no describing it, it was the most heart-wrenching thing I have ever read- the most recent in the 40s series is about a 44 year old man  whose trying to figure out this thing called sexuality.

Biko, besides having a way with words, he has this unique ability of figuring out people before they figure themselves out. Just a table between him and his subject and he peels the layers to your very being.

In his most recent article, about the bi-guy? Something struck a cord with me. All his articles strike a cord with me, I am just hella lazy to pen my sentiments on them. The line went something like, when you're a few years old, sitting in your backyard, newspaper in hand  the kids have made nests of their own and a stranger for a wife or was it a wife for a stranger...either way, that tore my heart into pieces.

Earlier in the interview, Biko asked the guy whether he was happy in his marriage, whether he loved his wife. I don't remember his answer but there was no straight forward, 'Yes!' there was a lot of she is a good mother, a good woman, how his kids make him happy but none of the  'I love my wife'. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the motions of life; birth, school, graduate, get a good job, get married, have kids and whatever comes next. I am afraid this is where this guy is stuck except of course the road he travels is ridden with far more roadblocks, speed bumps, potholes than yours and mine combined at and this is a road followed by many.

The idea of finding someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, a companion, someone who completes you as whimsical as it sounds, to me, it's a tall order. Yes, I am writing this at the peak of my twenties which Wendy Williams calls your selfish years where you should be "dzipping and dzoing it" but think about it, a question that pops up a lot on reality shows is, "Is this someone you see yourself spending the rest of your life with?". Well is he/she? Will you stick around when the weight piles on for one reason or the other be it carrying your children or letting yourself go, when I have that week before my period when I'm super catty or when I am just going through it. Will you hang in there if I am having trouble wrapping my head around this thing called submission or when my spendthrift ways catch up with me, when menopause hits. Can you keep up with my ever complaining ways for the rest of your life (which I am working on by the by) or my silent treatment because I am unfamiliar with this whole wearing your heart on your sleeve trend. And these are just my current shortcomings, looking from the inside out.

So, imagine dealing with that not for a prescribed time, but your entire life. If that isn't enough, as years go by, things change, people  change whose to say that you will like this person and what they have become that far down the line.

It takes two to tango. The stranger dynamic is pretty straight forward, you only cease to be one if you introduce yourself or in the case of couples reintroducing your new found self to your significant other.

But then again, what do I know I am just a naive twenty something who thinks she has life figured out. Food for thought though, sleeping in the same bed back to back, living in the same house, breathing the same air with a person who has been demoted from love of your life to simply having the title of father of your children, husband because the state says so and the guy who you split the bills with. There is no way we will retrogress into housemates.

There was this series, Parenthood, that I was super in to not too long ago. In it's second to last or last season the matriarch of the family was rediscovering herself. I feel like she had taken a turn for the artsy type life, painting and what not. At some point, she wanted to go on a trip to either an exotic or oriental destination. It was just as Biko had painted it; their kids had left the nest and they spent their days being grandparents. She had nothing holding her back from going on this trip but the most fetching thing about it all, is her husband felt some typa way about her going , you want to know why? Well, if you've read this far I guess you do . It was because she didn't ask him if he'd like to go with her.

That's what I want, I want you to want to spend time with me well into our sunset years.

Have a good one!


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Starting an online business

I have been looking for inspiration for a post for a pretty long time. That's the only downside to this whole writing without planning it out. Some days a post just wants to flow out of my thoughts, through my fingertips and on to your screen but I just don't have it in me especially when an epic idea comes when I am neck deep in weekend dishes or when I am in pursuit of a cheap thrill; watching t.v, re-watching a movie watched one too many times or binge watching a series as if my life depended on it. Now that I think about it, procrastination needs to take the back burner if realizing my 10,000 hours is still in the works.

After much thought, today's post is going to be about the very thing that has taken over my thoughts, the start of my online business.

It all started on a whim. I was doing some guilt ridden, unnecessary thrifting after getting off of work one Saturday afternoon. As I was digging through a pile of dresses it came to me; I always tend to lift something out of a pile and think to myself, "It's nice, I wouldn't wear it, but, it's still nice" in the back of my mind I knew that someone would buy "it". This thought became more frequent and developed over time. The price in the thrift market is often rock bottom, to good to be true even, people would pay much much more for this. Eventually, I thought, wouldn't it be something if I could get in on the action and resell these clothes. I only entertained the idea for most of last year  and the better part of this year when I decided to just do it. There was no better time than now. Actually,  the better time would have been the very moment that the idea came to me but it's too late now, onward ever.

Four Saturdays in a row I have been hard at work thrifting some pretty stellar finds. I have always found shopping fun especially when you are past the student budget phase and making a little more on the side. It was fun for the most part until when I remembered that I wasn't buying the clothes for me, sad and vain.Who said taking one for the team would be easy.

Over the past month the clothes have accumulated, now, we, myself and my sister cum business partner have stock. Two weeks ago we officially took the plunge and started our Instagram store, Clothes were ironed, pictures were taken and uploaded so it would just be a matter time before the orders would start trickling in.

Let me tell you, whoever came up with the phrase, "just a matter of time" I am baying for your blood. The one week mark is about to be crossed and nada, zilch, zero orders.

Over the past few days I have been a serial follower, following anything and anyone . That has paid off, its paid off alright with a few hundred followers and a couple of likes but not even a single order. Can you tell my frustration is mounting?

That in a nutshell is what we've done so far. We are not waving a white flag yet. If I took anything from my Marketing and Entrepreneurship class in my formative years of college was you only throw in  the towel once the business turns three years old. Basically, I just need a little bit of fight in me, scratch that, a lot of fight in me.

Up my sleeve I have a myriad of tricks. The execution is going to be another thing. From my observation of other Nairobi based Instagram stores they've got the followers, we are on the road to building a following at least that's the one thing we are doing right. They, tend to post frequently, rather have a pattern of posting. The weekend seems to be a pretty good time to put new merch out and get the orders coming in. That, may be it, getting a controlled amount of our stock out at peak times and then the results ...orders, orders and more orders.

I am enjoying the ride as I go, not in the traditional sense but still enjoying it. However, right of the bat I have made a couple of stupid mistakes. For one, the moment that I got the first batch of stock is when the sales should have started, Instagram account should have been up and running and a strategy gotten down to a T. Instead, I let the excitement get the better of me and continued injecting capital into a then theoretic venture. Money has been spent, so has time and I may have in my hands clothes that I don't even care for.

Another thing I have learnt is pricing. Pricing things for more than double the price you got it for is a no-no. Even potential clients know the price is too high. Tripling the amount of money invested sounds pretty riveting, no doubt, it is and would be a dream but humility never hurt nobody so I guess this is the part where I come down from my high horse and slash prices to an all time low they have never been before.

Timing is everything, last year as I walked home from work in my dimly lit neighbourhood(someone should really look into that) is when the name, "Summer Oddity" came to me I was so excited went home and created a pinterest board that would fit the aesthetic of my dream store. That would have been the opportune time to jump in both feet with the little money I had in my name and just go for it. By now, I would have had a solid client base and a steady cash flow. Kids, those are the consequences of what-ifs.

But the mother of all mistakes was entering an already saturated market. If you are in Kenya and you're on Insta in the search bar search "thrift" the number of stores that pop this point it's just false hope and faith pushing me through.

As sick as it may be, regardless of the mistakes, I am enjoying the lessons that are coming with this new venture of mine. The whole point was to challenge myself, meet another one of my financial goals that I set this year and a valuable lesson I have learnt with this whole adulting situation stacking up your money in your current account as much as you may consider it to be something, interest rates are pretty low, having your shillings and cents just sitting there is doing more harm than good; there's a thrill that comes with venturing into the unknown, making a calculated loss or the joys of an eye-balled profit.

 In the meanwhile, follow us Summer Oddity on Instagram, make a purchase, make my day!

Have a good one!

Thursday, 2 November 2017

When are you most happy?

Once upon a time I was watching Oprah's Super Soul Sundays, to be honest I probably watched a snippet of it. It was the episode with Pharrell Williams, Oprah asked him how did 'Happy' come to him, you know, the song. He gave a simplistic answer, in the shower. They then go on this intellectual rambling about how the best ideas come in the shower, Pharell being the the genius he is says it's because of sensory deprivation.

He probably read up on it, I haven't since, but I had the idea to write this post and the idea, though it didn't come in the shower, it came as I was washing Sunday  dinner dishes. Which, is better than nothing especially considering the Nairobi water situation in this great city in the sun.

For the past few weeks, I have been putting myself out there, applying for jobs in writing and even went as far as applying for a Google Business Internship. Weeks have passed and there has been no feedback, no email,no phone call, nothing. I've got to put the tough guy moniker a side and be real with myself, shots have been fired at my ego and the wounds left behind are becoming septic.

I can't help but think that I am the problem, was my CV too long? too short? no umph factor? or I just don't got it anymore. I am still keeping the faith, that it's all a case of speaking too soon, I haven't seen nothing yet, the best is yet to come, I put in the work. However as the days go by, it's becoming harder to keep my optimism up. It's even getting harder to pick up my Bible every morning. I figure what's the point? I am keeping my end of the bargain on this walk of faith, well not all the way but I am entitled to a grand gesture of gratitude. Yes, I am aware of how cocky that sounds.

Why do I feel like this? Simply put, dissatisfaction. I have enough, no, more than I could ever ask for but counting my blessings isn't exactly serving the purpose it used to. It came to me on Sunday evening that I have all the wrong reasons for wanting what I want, mostly running away from something, dodging the problem by all means. Of course, I am not about to air my dirty linen in public, well, not yet and dirty linen isn't the best description but I did put my finger on it.

Focus on the negative has never helped anyone and I have the funny feeling that I won't be the first to turn that around.

So, I asked myself, When am I most happy?

When I don't have school or work or both the next day

When I discover a new band/artiste/song/album

When I  post on this blog

When I'm just about to hit the sack

When I'm eating junk food, fries all day, everyday

When I wake up in the middle of the night, look at my clock and still have 5 hours of sleep to go before my alarm goes off

When I get off work early

When I get validation; a call back, response to an email, a compliment,a like, comment, DM

When I'm working towards something I enjoy and the thrills and what-ifs that come with it

When I wake up early and seize the day

When I cross out the last thing on my to do list

When I find just the write piece to fit into my room's aesthetic

When my Dad sends me money on a whim

When my Mom washes the dishes for me on Friday nights

When I'm home alone

When I have another semester under my belt, that's closer to graduation

When I close my browsers tabs for a unit I was studying for or an assignment I was working on after submission

When I'm having lunch with the crew

When I will figure out the same page me and God are supposed to be on

When I find a worthwhile series

When I'm watching 80s movies

When I'm roasting the sister or just being downright outrageous

When I have freshly washed hair

When my eyebrows have the perfect arch to them

When free time is free time and not procrastination

When I find the perfect thrift-find

When I find something in stock that I could have bet was already sold

In my imagination

When I'm having iced/creamed cake

When my hair will grow past my mid-back if it's even mid-back given my recent trim

When I watch an animation or throwback cartoon

When I do something unlike me like smile at a stranger, make eye contact with a neighbor, say hey to an acquaintance, make small talk

When I come up with blog ideas

When I'm proved wrong only in certain situations

When I remember something funny

When I'm watching Dj Shiti on Real Househelps of Kawangware

When I make a new friend

When it all makes sense

When it will all come together

When I will find my purpose

When I figure out why God said 'no' to something I prayed about

I guess the answers to the question is away of putting things into perspective for yours truly,  helping put my priorities right and soul search a wee bit. Not, just jump into all things shimmery and shiny without so much as a thought of where I am from, where I am going, why I am going there. This must be God's ingenious way of telling me to figure out the why and He will figure out the how. A life with purpose not just a hapless paper chase. Appreciating and marinating my present state and not making a quick get away with every chance I get, there is a lesson in everything and trying to fast-track the process must be taking away from it as a whole.

The long and short of it, I don't have to  like where I am at but there is a reason behind it. I could appreciate the situation but again, I don't have to like it, some good has come of it after all and I just have to sit here and wait for my big break.

Have a good one, I know I will!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Letters to God: A prayer for the Kenyan republic

For a long time now I have been trying to get in on the action that is Kenyan politics. Around or just before the August 8th elections, your girl was out here trying to be a civic educator with the First Time Voter Chronicles series I had going on. Now that I think about it, it really wasn't an effort to get in on the action of the Kenyan political scene, it was more, me trying to get my head wrapped around Kenyan politics because for the first time I would be voting. It is pretty safe to say, in fact, I will just go ahead and say it, it's the excitement that got the best of me. Deep down I could really care less about the political scene.

A few days ago I wanted to write a post titled, "Why I am not voting". But as the days have gone by the answer has changed to be simply, I don't care. And boy, let me tell you it feels good to get that off my chest.

I can almost hear your judgemental sentiments seeping through the screen, except let me reiterate the fact that I don't care. We have all been sucked into a political cycle where politics is taking centre stage. It has become the only thing on the radio, the t.v, the internet. Dare I say we are the  ones responsible for creating the monster that is Kenyan politics by giving it a listening ear and more than that an eager listening ear . We tune into the news where we can hardly get any legit information on the state of the nation. I constantly ask myself why I allow myself to give the press time of day and get sucked in to the drama.

The politics this year alone has sickened me to the very core. I am so sick in fact I don't think I will vote again, ever. It scares me to say it but August 8th may have been my first and last time voting. On the ballot is either a person who I barely know, money hungry or just undeserving of my endorsement. There might be that one God sent candidate who would tick all my boxes and genuinely love this country more than they love the pay and power that comes with their service, but how often do you hear about this lone ranger?

Last night it all came to a stop, for me at least.I had since resolved to put a lid on all of it, well, what I can. Talking, listening or watching it only feeds my frustration and I have just had enough of this negative energy. In the words of Cardi B,  "and I'm quick cut a n*$%a off so don't get comfortable ". For a few hours, between last night and this morning, the detox from Kenyan politics was showing immediate results, I had my mindset back.

They weren't lying when they said God works in mysterious ways and wouldn't you know it God eased his mysterious self on to my daily devotional. This was his subtle way of letting me know that shutting it out is not going to solve anything and unfortunately He couldn't be more right.

Yesterday the long awaited announcement was made. As if it was a mystery or worse a closely contested race *rolls eyes*. Neither the winner or his closest rival was my cuppa but it is what it is.

Back to the game changing devotion which this morning came from Isaiah 11:2-9. Israel had had a rough couple of years, my Sunday school memory has done a runner on me but I do know that at some point King Saul was not a good dude, King David was fighting war after war and King Solomon I am almost sure was the one who gave the okay for idolatry. Not a 5/5 rating, but look at Israel now.

Verses 2-5 is what stood out most  and that's the prayer and energy I am  sending to the president elect, deputy president elect and Kenyan governance at large. I pray for leadership, the Spirit of the Lord, wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, fear of the Lord, delight in obeying the Lord, not to judge or make biased decision based on hearsay, justice to the poor and fair decisions to the exploited.

As a nation we are humbled only during election season and that is when the importance of God is pronounced. That's pretty embarrassing, that our sincerity and desperation for peace and calm is near negligible four years after we have made the grand decision.

Lord hear us.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Slay Queen 101

I have got the perfect vibe going, for the most part at least; my orange lamp is on, a scented candle burning and a fire album going, Brent Faiyaz, Sonder Son. The scent from the candle isn't yet in the air and I have assaulted the heck out of Brent's debut album it only dropped nearly a fortnight ago and since then, not a day has passed without me listening to it over and over and over again. Since we are on the topic, three tracks you just have to listen to Needed you, Stay down and Talk 2 U, the album is a masterpiece so much so there is not one song on there that doesn't hit the spot even the interlude, give it a listen and thank me later.

Anyway, before the creation of the dreamy vibe I have got going on here I was making my usual commute home when it started raining. The moment the rain hit my brow, the brow that I had taken valuable time filling in this morning is around about the time that panic hit. Brows are everything in 2017 so I had every reason to put a little prep in my step as I made my way to my stop.

The only good thing about an unexpected downpour is that paths usually occupied by fruit and veg vendors clear out real quick. Getting from point A to B becomes a straight line and not the maze out of Pacman.

Lucky for me, I made it just in time, the bus was nearly full up and I was able to score myself an okay seat, a seat with a view of a slay queen. I would say in her natural habitat but come on, maybe an Uber would make the cut for a "natural habitat".

She was serving slay from head to toe, slay in the slay queen respect. Box braids tied into a high bun with a side part and of course to add some sauce into the mix, hair beads in subtle quantities, careful precision was applied just to make sure she is not doing the most.  A pair of large gold hoops and since they happen to be all the rage this season, of course she had to cop herself a pair. I live vicariously through anyone who can wear large hoops or any jewelry that can dangle from your earlobe just slightly grazing your clavicle or hardly touching it. I recently made the discovery that I have a short neck and although it really isn't much of a problem to anyone who cares to give a listening ear, picture me wearing a choker but you thinking it's a scarf because the distance between my head and shoulders is near negligible. Yeah, so that's hardly true but it sure does feel that way.

Back to the slay queen. She had a wide neck red top on which was borderline off-the-shoulder but not quite and a low back, nearly mid back but again not quite. It may have been a body suit, maybe just a form fitting top but if I know slay queens like I know them, it was a body suit. So here she is, just a body suit on , top half at least sitting right next to the bus' door. As convenient as that seat seems to be, that door flings open at every stop letting in ridiculously harsh cold air. Now I don't know about you, but comfort at least at a bare minimum level is a big plus whenever I am in a vehicle and gusty winds every few minutes, do not fit the description .

The lower half was not much to write home about. Skinny pair of jeans just a shade or two lighter from the classic wash and cream flats. How could I forget a classic red lip.The whole way she stayed glued on her phone, chatting away via Whatsapp, maybe checking her Instagram or doing what slay queens do.

When we got to her stop, the rain was still coming down. Even that didn't phase her, she was prepared with a mini umbrella. For me anytime there is so much as an unexpected shower even my umbrella seems to be working against me, the winds are way to strong for my umbrella's small, weak frame, to some extent it's is practically useless because the rain hits me from all angles not just above and despite every effort to keep myself toasty dry you can hardly tell the difference between myself and someone who didn't have an umbrella. Slay queens, I have made the logical conclusion, hail from a far distant land probably planet as even the rain seemed to recognize who she was, it didn't engulf her but respected the barrier that was the umbrella.

If there is even the one thing you take away from this, to be a slay queen your get-up has to scream slay on first impression, from the very tip of the ends of your hair to the sole of your feet.Be smart about it, top half is where the money is at. Have an agenda that keeps you constantly glued to your phone, who cares to look out your window or people watch when your phone is blowing up with tonnes of notifications. Now that you have the physical aspect down you will command an air of respect not only from us mere mortals but even nature's wrath overlooks your presence if you just so happen to be on its path.

Take this post with a grain of salt, slay queens this is their time, are they here to stay? Only time will tell. They happen to be a trendy phenomenon and I happen to be a people watcher. If you are a slay queen, rather consider yourself to be one because there is no association that I know of that gives the title keep doing what your doing, you are appreciated.

Have a good one!    


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Senior year

As I type this I am on the verge of having an emotional breakdown. I am always the first person to be on an influencer's case when they stop putting out content abruptly; when I just started getting into Anita Nkatha it just so happened to be around the time that she was approaching her third and final year of uni', at some point she went ghost on her channel which had me reverting to watching her older videos. A few months after, she came back on to her channel, explaining the whirlwind that was her senior year. Now, another one of my favourite Youtuber's, Tara Efobi has gone ghost as well. I can almost bet my life on the fact that senior year is taking it's  toll and she may be back with a couple of videos the moment the festive season is in full swing.

Where am I going with this? For a minute now I didn't believe that senior year would be as tough as pretty much the whole world has been painting it out to be. Let me tell you, I was dead wrong. Today the reality of it has hit me and hit me hard.

Yes, I am neck deep in assignments even as my university remains closed indefinitely. Nearly every unit I am taking this semester, there is a paper or group assignment due. I had this grand scheme of things where this break would be the very definition of productive. I started off strong. Each morning last week I would wake up and work on a bit of an Insurance Law assignment and wouldn't you know it,by Friday that was one thing off my checklist.

And then it happened, that pesky draft proposal deadline. Friday to Sunday saw all my energy heavily directed in that direction and nothing else. Out of precaution and being, there's no better way of putting this, fed up, I submitted it on Saturday. My supervisor got back to me on Friday with prescribed changes he would have liked to be made to my proposal, yet, your girl sent the draft proposal over a week ago from Friday. The expectation I bet was to be on lock down between Friday and Sunday at 5 p.m., just slaving away at a paper that is worth just under 50% of the whole grade and fitting all the  intricacies of life somewhere in there. Is it just me or is that just a little bit insane? This is a genuine question, I am checking  on myself, just to make sure I haven't gone bananas.

One course of action I have taken as at now, closing my email tab. At this point it's just an anxiety trigger. Each email I hope is a response from my supervisor answering a couple of the concerns I raised, and each inbox notification is yet another tease.

There was a throbbing ache somewhere in my face, I had on one of those headaches at my centre forehead and a looming deadline for a research paper outline which is the source of my emotions just being up in the air. Of course, I am at work so all these emotions can only be manifested on the inside. I have also chosen to cope by watching a couple of Youtube videos, a brief get away or procrastination, you call it.

Resorting to Google how a legal research paper outline is done or at least even a sample of it, has been a dead end to say the very least. Now, I am in the process of texting friends and even that is not looking up from where I am standing. The deadline is tomorrow, I might as well guess my way through and see where that takes me, I'd rather warrant a load of corrections other than not submit at all.

Other than that, I think I will get back on track with my grand plan of getting all my other work done instead of keeping a steady pace on a project that only seems to be on the same spot or worse, going backwards. Surely, I have got to have something to show from this unexpected "vacay". 

The woes of public universities.

Have a good one!  

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Google Business Intern Application Experience...Hardly

For some reason I always feel the need to recap the weekend like a few hours of Monday blurs the memory of the days prior and this post is no different. Except, is it?

So the better part of  Saturday evening was spent bumming on the couch, t.v in the background as white noise. I stole an occasional quick glance at the t.v, catching a  glimpse of the latest season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, WAGS, The Middle and a movie, Cool Runnings. Okay, so maybe, it wasn't just white noise.

 I spent a greater chunk of my time reading and re-reading a job description for the Google Business Intern position.I am not particularly sure where the uncertainty stemmed from. Come to think of it, that is a straight up lie, it's Google, known for hiring Ivy League alum and then there's me, just another individual who likes to dream big, think of the unthinkable, go beyond borders.

This may sound utterly ridiculous but at some point while watching KUWTK I knew for sure that I was destined for the  good life. I am fully aware that this is consumerism at its best but hear me out, who wouldn't like to jet set between destinations on a whim, own a private jet because of the convenience,, know people, have people know them, have a walk-in pantry, home gym heck, I'll take a gym membership for starters and a home with a view. If wanting the finer things in life is wrong then I don't want to be right!

Once the episode ended and I was back to reality,the irony, is when I realized it's not so much about the material things, the fame and the status that comes with it. I am a self proclaimed homebody, jet setting as thrilling as it sounds would largely take away from this. For me all these things are just a representation of success, my shallow representation of success, but success nonetheless. Although the line is thin and blurred, it's the success I crave, not so much the privilege that comes with it like having whole restaurants closed down to exclusively serve me and my posse.

The more I scrolled and re-read the same information over and over again, the more daunting it became, the more real it became.

 I got wind of the internship through the MyNetwork, Daily Nation pull-out a local Kenyan daily. The truth is, I was frantically looking through it to see if there was any word on the content creator position I had applied for a few weeks ago. Ridiculous, I am sure,but come on, you apply for the same position thrice; once last year and twice this year, get no feedback whatsoever, besides letting the desperation mount, child, imma give it room to spill over. I always give a quick skim through their careers section and when all my hopes were dashed after my little search, that was the page I turned to.

Yesterday, I took the plunge. I did my research finding resumes that have made the Google cut in the past, taking notes from here to Timbuktu all in an effort to be the very embodiment of a Googler. The first agenda on the table was formatting my resume to fit in to one page.That took me a cool four hours, I say cool but mark my words there was nothing cool about it. It took half an episode of Churchill Show, one episode of the new season of KUWTK, a couple of sitcoms, some movie with Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence bits of it at least and a good chunk of a Femi Kuti documentary and then Eureka! a one page resume was born.

The thoroughness and hard work that went into this one is one for the books. After the upload came the basic info., no big deal there and then, there it was, transcript request. There is no sugar coating this, I am not a star student, never have been and anytime a job application process requests for this just makes me more aware of how true this is.Whatever happened to the "grades shouldn't define you" battalion, oh  yeah, that's right, they just marched past carrying the star students along with them.

The lesson here, if you take a way anything let it be never, ever get a grade you have to explain and just to clarify if you are making Bs and anything above that you are in the all clear my friend. I am at that point in my life where I would give anything for a do-over. If we are being honest, it all started with this work-study situation, for a while I tried to find the perfect balance and in the process my grades suffered a great deal. The damage is done and there really is no option but to soldier on.

A little piece of my Google Business Intern dream died when that transcript request popped up but I had to or should I say have to keep the fire burning.

Crunching my resume down to one page as I previously mentioned was no easy fete as I had already mentioned but these American kids, they are quite the force. Valedictorian, programming languages, members of philanthropic organizations, and besides just being a member of their clubs/societies/organizations and what not, some of them are presidents, others founders of clubs that attracted up to 200+students, all this while holding leadership positions of multiple student organizations. If you thought I was done, think again. Besides their load of coursework, they have projects they are working on out of their own initiative on the side and don't get me started on their awards and accolades; scholarships worth thousands of dollars is the order of the day.

Compared to them I am nothing, but the little I had, which I really never thought to be little until  I started going through their resumes, still went on.

During the course of the day I went through my newest prized possession, my resume, my one-page resume. Only, I realized I left out something crucial  and had a  typo, well, of sorts. Of course I am not going to rat myself out here lest someone actually follows the link to this website that was so obviously placed smack dab in the center header.

Let me save you the trouble and say it, it's all downhill from here.

Next course of action, go home, make the necessary corrections, mope around for a while, you know just marinate in my feelings a while and pray for a miracle. Of course, when these things happen I always figure that there is a reason behind it. There must be. Maybe it's not the right fit for me or this is God's special way of letting me know that there is an underlying issue that I am refusing to acknowledge and getting away from it is not the answer or this is just my wake-up call to proof read my work a thousand times over. You can bet your bottom dollar that I will spend days, weeks, months even trying to figure out the why.

Is it crazy that I am still hopeful?

Follow the link to apply if you dare, at least one of us should get it.

Have a good one!

Friday, 13 October 2017

The Return of TRL

I was just having a pretty basic Friday until I logged on to my blogger account and apparently the TRL/106 and Park article I put out this week is quite the hit. It was also unintentionally timed to come out exactly a week after its premier. What are the odds?

Let's just say since the last TRL episode aired nearly a decade ago, a lot has changed. Obviously they've got different hosts and  on first impression I have gotta tell you, I am not impressed. You read that right.

 The guy, I guess he realizes this is  an opportunity of a lifetime and he is milking it dry, if we are going to be honest I think he is doing a little bit too much. Back in the day I used to associate male hosts with a sense of suave, I am sorry I have to do this but I will have to draw comparisons; Terrence J from 106 and Park embodied that and so did homegrown talent, MTV Kenya VJ Emukule Ekirapa, might I say that he was awfully easy on the eyes. Damn, I miss him.

The girl, she is too focused on being cute with her thigh highs, hoodie and sleek little pony. For female hosts, I always drew from them an ultra cool vibe, sure the looks,clothes, hair extensions,nails and make up were a big help but do I have to say it? We are in the 21st century and women still have to prove that they are just as equal as men, if you are successful at this you end up being given just about the same respect as your male counterpart and sometimes the level of respect you enjoy even surpasses his. For a hot minute, we couldn't even say Terrence J without saying Rocsi as a suffix, until he went along and built a name for himself post 106 and Park. Please understand TRL defined generations at some point and judging by the first episode, maybe it was the premiere jitters that were taking a toll, but she has got to step it up.

Of course, MTV did what nearly every other network is doing...bringing internet stars on to prime time television. Apparently the assumption here is, once their viewers get wind that their favorite Youtube star, Viner, Musical.lly star is going to be on a show, they are counting their chickens before they hatch, see they come as a package, with their fans. Even before the show airs, they are already assured of above average ratings. I have never been a big believer in this new approach to television. I am also a seeing-is-believing type of girl, give me the stats, show me some consistency, even some projected consistency, then you'll have me.

They managed to rope in Liza Koshy who I happen to be a huge fan off. Her puns are a gift from the most high. As for being a co-host, that's up in the air. It's a whole different environment I have to get used to her in and I can already tell, it's going to be a totally different Liza up there. In as much as I am okay with that, I 'm really not.

Did I mention that I am having to watch clips of TRL on Youtube? Let me be honest I do not know if it's airing internationally which would mean I would be able to catch it on MTV Base. If it isn't airing, well this is just one of those things that have changed. Before Kenya saw the digital transmission age, digital television was a luxury. Plainly put, the average Joe was not going to fork out a couple thousand shillings to get access to pay t.v. when it was available free. My access to TRL was at my high flying cousins' place whom we used to spend ages at over the weekends. This was before MTV went ahead to create MTV Africa and what not. In the event that it will only air in the US and probably neighbouring Canada, there is a problem. Producers, just go back to the drawing board and figure that out. But I could be wrong, maybe they did do their homework and it just turns out no one beyond the land of the free would even so much as throw a glance in the TRL direction.

Predictably, they reached out to the Migos. For a literal second there, the crowd was hype, phones were out, of course you have gotta flex for the 'gram and snappers. As their performance continued, that crowd was just not feeling it. The one person who was about it just so happened to be black, was the only one with hands up in the air, jumping up and down. I have never been to a hip hop concert, but from the vlogs I watch courtesy of Amber Martin people know the lyrics word for word and let's not even get into the level of hype. These guys were just standing there. Ah,  a classic case of the culture divide.

The line-up also included Ed Sheeran and the rambunctious DJ Khaled who of course had to tag along... you guessed it, Asahd. Is it me or does this line up just not gel? Not Asahd though, it's safe to say we all have a soft spot for the youngest mogul in the game.

So what could have been done different?

The episode aired after the Las Vegas shooting, they had a fifty-something second long clip acknowledging the incident. This is just one of the reasons why, TRL needs to bring the heat. In no way shape or form am I insinuating that they should they have made the show about the shooting but there is more they could have done. A moment of silence in Time Square would have been a start. I realize a lot of networks are treading on dangerous grounds if they so much as even mention the phrase, 'gun control' so, what if TRL took a stand against 'gun violence'. TRL thrives on live performances and with live performances come concert goers. This would have been a statement that shows TRL is bringing everything and the kitchen sink,while paying much needed homage to all involved in the shooting from the live performers to the victims.

If it was my line up, I was thinking more along the lines of Lil Chano, Khalid, Logic, Major Lazer, Dua Lipa. Yes, the feminine touch is nearly negligible but give me a break, brainstorming on this without a team behind me is more of the challenge than I thought.

What's  done is done. I hate to say it, but I don't see a long shelf life for this edition of TRL.

Have a good one!