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Back to Life

Let me tell you something we (bloggers) don’t tell you; sometimes, we run out of things to say, then we get a sudden epiphany or an inspiration from the people or things around us. Other times, you have things to say but you question its validity. Considering everyone has their own personal opinion on that thing that you’re about to write on, yet you’re putting your opinion out there for it to be judged. It’s a tough hobby this one, but fun all the same because you put your mind out there.

Where the old school people at? Remember Soul II Soul’s – Back to Life? They had such cool rhythms and flows then, that when you think of a word, the lyrics all come flowing, even if you’re poor at cramming lyrics like I am. I just thought of “back to life” and the next thing that came along was “back to reality” and a tune to back it up. Also, made me think of LPs and how cool they were and if they’re available anymore, even on the olx.com.gh’s of this world, they’d make good keepsake’s now. Took me back for a moment there.

Anyhow, I divert. This weekend we did our 1st traditional visit – I was in the clouds, now I’m back to life. You know where the fiancé comes over with his boys and his uncles to book his girl (for lack of a better way to say it), state their intentions and discuss the way forward in terms of dowry and the marriage that follows. It was a new experience and quite interesting too given the . Life is about learning, unlearning and re-learning – that’s one thing I appreciate about it. There are things they never teach you in school and this weekend I got a dose of what they didn’t teach me, our culture and its importance.

I always wondered why folks made a big deal about the culture. I didn’t think it’s necessary at some point, I thought it was just a way of them making the process hard for you, you know like their parents did. At the mention of culture I cringed, because of the stories I’ve heard. Stories about the bride’s family extorting the groom’s family. I always wondered why people in the western world just went ahead and dated, engaged and got married without any internal processes taking place. Maybe I got that wrong, because I’ve never actually been in one or know a friend who told me the story, it’s what I saw in movies.

I won’t lie, I wasn’t nervous at first because I know my family. I know my parents, my aunties and my uncles, but the more I let the thought of “what if the stories I hear come closer home”, I started becoming nervous. Then I expressed my fear to my parents and aunts and I loved how they taught me this lesson.

Like a girl attending a basics class on tradition and culture 101, they first explained to me how theirs went down. They were all so funny, because none of them were even there, their parents are the ones who carried out the process because they were far but had identified their spouses, but for them to go ahead and get married, the families first had to meet, know where each other is from and create a bond. And this is what the introduction, dowry and many other process did.

Every society has a culture. Culture is made up of traditions, beliefs, and ways of life, from the most spiritual to the most material. It gives us meaning, a way of leading our lives. Without which we’ll lose ourselves and the core of who we really are. Culture is just not another adornment or accessory that we human beings can use, it’s what makes us human. Culture helps us to define our relationships and engagements with our immediate family and the society at large. It’s also what helps us grow the bond between the different societies, by allowing them to identify with others of similar mindsets and backgrounds. The meeting and mutual respect between two different cultures and how they merge to become one big family.

This weekend, I am proud that my family finally connected with my fiancé’s family and that by living up to our different cultures, we were united. And truth be told, now that it all makes so much sense, when I have kids, I will make sure that we do the same. It’s something to be proud of, especially when done with respect and love … it depicts appreciation to the parents for raising you and that you still want your family (from both sides) to be a part of you. This was just the beginning of many more to come, looking forward.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

 

 

What Next?

Dreaded question? It could very easily be mine.

One of those that fall under the “best and worst question”, all in the same intensity. Best when I know what’s coming next, like I have it all planned out, with the answers at my fingertips, more like a – bring it on – kind of scenario. Worst when I’m trying to figure it out. Chances are that I haven’t even given it a thought or talked about it yet because I fear the answer is “I don’t know”. I was brought up being told to never say “I don’t know”. I’d rather give you a tentative plan or an “I’ll get back to you”. I can’t recall where I picked up that habit from, and I don’t think it was not home, because I was never harassed for not knowing. Maybe school. Well, at least it helped because I never left any blank answers during exams. I’d rather cook up an answer than admit that I don’t know, then find out later what that was all about.

What Next?

What Next? Is that kind of question that’s hooked to the human DNA. We usually feel the need to ask it especially after receiving some good news. You’re never given that honeymoon period to gloat in your glory. The moment you share something exciting, the next thing is, “What Next?” I’m guilty of doing the same thing to others and even to myself. Someone just got engaged, so when’s the wedding? Someone just got married, so when’s the baby coming? Someone gets a baby, so when’s the next one? Someone gets a job, so what are you looking for next? Someone graduates, so what will you study next? Someone chops their hair, so what will you do with it next? Someone buys new shoes … ? It’s crazy, the little heaven here on earth is always so short-lived.

I got my Post-Graduate certificate … finally! It’s one thing to graduate, but it’s another to actually get a clean bill of health from the University and receive the certificate. The excitement lasted as long as the hand over.  We can measure that in seconds. As soon as I received, the question I asked myself was, what next? Then I bump into my friend and share the same news right outside the school gate and she asks me, so what next? PhD?

Graduation, MBA, Strategic Management,  Daystar University, Thesis

I told her, kids, but of course I was kidding (see what I did there). Truth be told though, I had a plan to do a PhD, I even know what it’ll be on – that was in my young and school-loving days, but today, I’m not entirely ready. The thought of lectures, assignments, evening classes, quarterly exams, dissertations – I’m just not ready for that kind of torture just yet. Unless, I’m the one on the front side of the class making other people feel that way *smirk*.

Sometimes, I wish we had the answers to all things future. That we always knew what next or even where and what you want to be? So that when someone asks you, you don’t look like you just swallowed a hot potato. It could very well be a conversation starter, a tough one though. Same thing as asking someone, what their 5 year or 10 year plan is. Now that I’ve mentioned;

What’s your 5/10 year plan? (10 if you think 5 is too shortsighted. I’ll accommodate y’all). Let’s think about it together, then individually jot it down somewhere (a permanent place that is, like a notebook, not your phone, technology is tricky  – it could crash or become obsolete. It’s a funny thing that books still live and last longer).

Then 5/10 years down the line, we’ll retrieve it and see if we’ll have gotten there. If we stuck to the same plan, changed course or well, it just didn’t work out and you did something different. Because we never give up, yes?

Have a Super-Charged Week Champs!

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

You’ve Got To Start Somewhere

The other day I bumped into one of my childhood friends and as we were catching up, we start talking about how it is living on our own. I’m slightly older than she is so I’d been out in the woods a little longer. This got me thinking of my journey, because I just didn’t wake up one day and find myself where I am today, I ain’t no rocket.

I started somewhere. That somewhere sure wasn’t the top either. You know how we sing along to that “started from the bottom, now we’re here” song in the club, it pretty much comes to perspective. I haven’t reached there yet, but at least I believe I’m on the right tangent that’ll eventually lead me there, my own house.

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Back to where I started, she asked me about my 1st house. First, my 1st house was like a miracle, because I looked for it out of desperation. I wasn’t being chased out of home per se, but my parents were moving to a place that was going to be a little too far from my work place. Plus, I was going back to school, so the commute would have taken a toll on me. Basically, the only other solution was to get a place and move out. I honestly never imagined that moving out would require such little convincing, I thought my dad would flatly refuse. I searched around and through my mums network I was directed to an SQ at Ngumo. I liked the house despite it having its shortfalls – water issues, the bathroom was outside (gave me the creeps a couple of times), zero natural light into the house, overnight rent inflation, non-refunded deposit and so on.

How I furnished the house, I recall, I didn’t get everything at once, but I had saved enough to pay my deposit, rent and shop for necessary items. I also had my little monthly income (weh, that was an experience on learning how to manage the little you have…lol). I worked with a list that indicated things in order of priority. For instance, I sat on cushions and watched movies on my laptop the 1st few months (so a couch and TV were bottom on the list). I got some “hand me downs” from my mum, while my dad played a huge role in sponsoring and ensuring that I acquired the things that were flagged *important* especially those pertaining to food – his biggest worry was that I should be able to cook and store my food when it remains, so for him a cooker and fridge were top priority (it’s funny when I think of it now).

All the same, I loved my little first house, I made it habitable. Time came for me to move out of there after a year and some months when my landlord experienced some issue with the main landlord (rental house issues). It was unexpected, and looking for a house is no easy feat. I prayed about it and voila, asking around, my friend linked me up with an agent in Kilimani who showed me a house that I fell in love with at first sight. It solved all the problems I had with my first SQ. This one was an extension with water than never run out; normal internal bathrooms; signed agreement – no rent inflation and deposit is refunded minus maintenance; excess light, with a sun roof in my bedroom, it’s like the landlord was going green; much bigger, everything fit perfectly.

Somewhere along the way, in as much as I loved my little light haven, I felt like I was growing out of it. Like I would like to move in to a bigger space, that’s not within someone’s compound, an apartment. I respected my feeling and urge to look for another house. After a few searches here and consultations there, a prayer and some more, I found the house I now live in. It’s just what I wanted. Now the next feeling, I sense it from afar, is to own a house.

Just like I found my way around different houses that meet my growing needs, or just like I progressed from one stage to another and learnt along the way, that’s how life is in general. My inner being nudges me to grow in the different spheres of my life and pushes me to seek for more even when it almost seems impossible. I believe that’s how you #ChaseYourDreams. With dreams, they don’t come easy, you’ve got to start somewhere.

Happy Hump Day!

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

The Million Dollar Question?

Even after I said “YES”, the first question that ran through my mind was, “how did you know the size of my finger?” I was too curious, because that would have been my only selling point.

The story, now that’s the question everyone has been asking of late. I’m not the best at narrating the same story over and over. But it seems for this season that I’m in, I need to get used to it and, that this bling sure does bring a lot of attention. I didn’t see myself in this phase this soon, and maybe that’s why the mister managed to sneak away with it. I was being very futuristic, I didn’t want to give him pressure in as much as all of you out there gave me pressure *looks at you, you and you*. I just wanted to go with the flow.

And with the flow I went. He’s a sneaky one, because on that Saturday 19th April, it was my turn on the rotter to work. He diligently dropped me at work, no signs whatsoever except him booking me for the day and night. All through work, I felt like I was in a daze, which made me think with the weather change I could be in the process of catching a cold. However, I wrote a post too, it was too pressing, I had learnt a couple of things that week through him and with him. Time to go home, I call him just to give him a heads up, and he offers to come back and pick me up. He’d done this a couple of times before so again, it felt normal.

When he picks me up, he hands me a gift bag and inside is perfume. WOW! He had chosen a yummy scent that I immediately adopted as My Scent. I was still in a daze. Let me explain the state, “happy and floaty for no reason, so it just feels a little awkward”. Does that make some sense?

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So we go grab something to bite and go home to watch some flicks looking forward to dinner. This Easter was pretty chilled out with no out-of-town plans (contrary to what we had earlier planned). So I was looking forward to the food, he was clearly looking forward to other grander things. If only I knew. I would have bought a new dress…lol. When evening reaches, he nudges me and tells me to dress-up. With his special line “we can’t be late for this one.” You know we women and our delaying tactics, I got it from my mum.  I was on time this time round, funny enough I didn’t even  give him a hard time getting dressed up. Normally I’d be in jeans but that day, I was very willing to dress up.

Out we went, where? “It’s a surprise,” he says. We check in to Serena and I’m like aha, but the “Captains Table at The Mandhari Restaurant” AHA! I only see all that attention in movies. And the attention is from when you check in to when you’re leaving the building. God bless those lovely waiters.  With a whole bottle of Moet to ourselves, if I knew what was going on, I’d have had a photographer on speed-dial. We just had make do with what we had by ourselves and the new fad – selfies to make memories. I loved the privacy, he knows me too well.

KawiSnippets, Engaged

1. I, very clueless  2. The Mandhari Restaurant Menu 3. Moet, 4. So sparkly, champagne ain’t the yummiest beverage at first but the taste grows on you. 5. The Master of selfies, takes us one. 6. Healthy starter – with wheat, nuts and all things healthy. 7. Mushroom Soup 8. Chicken Soup, 9. with a Quail egg to compliment (even with all the hype, I’d never eaten one yet, there’s a 1st for everything) – It had a name, I can’t remember. 10. Chefs special – Shrimp (with things in it) – I could have eaten more of those, too yummy for just one. 11. Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes – Pure yumminess in a cup plate. I’m now a potato person – being the person who hated potatoes in her food, but with cheese & butter anything is possible. 12. Pork Ribs. 13. Lamb Chops. 14, 15, 16. Those are two happy & grateful people.

It looks like my main word is yummy. It’s either yummy or not yummy. In a nut shell that’s how the evening went down of course followed with a nigh-out with a couple we look up to (not the parents haha, Mr & Mrs Ngigi). I was overwhelmed with joy. Too overwhelmed that we forgot to take pics of the dessert which the waiter said “comes served very hot.” Eh it was hot when she flung open the lid and I saw petals, a box ring and my boyfriend down on one knee.

No, I didn’t cry, not just yet. I think I was too surprised that he decided that it’s about time he “put a ring on my fatty-fatty finger”. I had asked God to give me someone I’ll be ready to spend the rest of my interesting life with. And with him, I felt that this was it. We have been together through the murks and the light as well, we’re growing together, we try up lift each other when either of us is down, we share the same values, beliefs and principles, he loves me all the time, even when I get to his nerves – like when I give completely wrong directions. He’s my all-weather friend. What more could I ask for? I am thankful to God that he’s taken his time to bring closer to me my life partner and we’re on the same page.

Engagement

For the next chapter, there’s no pressure. We’ll arrange it how we know it best, with the help of those who want the best for us. In all honesty, I’m the most clueless of bride-to-be, but we’ll sail through with God’s blessings. Can’t wait for that day and the lifetime to follow though.

To him,

Have a lovely week, now won’t you? To a wonderful journey we’ll have on here. Lot’s of love, light & peace from us to you.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

 

Simplicity Equals Functionality

Normally, I don’t go back to read on what I have written before, because it’s awkward reading what I’ve written. You know the same way it’s awkward listening to your voice. I don’t know if you find it awkward, do you? I already know I wouldn’t make a good radio presenter. I cringe when I hear my voice somewhere in an audio/video (not that it’s bad, don’t burst my bubble just yet, it’s just … awkward).

Anyhow, I decided to just go back and see what I’m usually on about and I figured I really underestimate myself. I still don’t think I’m really good at whatever I do. I’m confident I can do it, but that’s just about where it ends.  Looking back, I actually do say things that make sense even days and years after.

I forget what I wrote about, when I wrote it, why I wrote it and what I was going through when I wrote it.

Every post has its account. There’s a reason I decide to take a particular angle and not another or why one I decide to say this and not that. Maybe that’s why I don’t revisit them, because I go through a situation, learn my lesson and move on. But I have come to realize that most of the stuff that happens in most cases is not new. It’s the same old experience regenerating itself, in a lesser or a greater way. And the same lessons you learnt then, are the same lessons you learn now. Only difference is that maybe your maturity level has increased and you’re able to handle the situation better.

This could be anything ranging from family, friendships, relationships, career, personal experiences, or general life things. The posts are also a reminder that I’ve grown, even how I process things. I like it when people read the articles and interpret the story by themselves without trying to figure out why I wrote what I did or what drove that thought. I love it when someone can relate a story to their life and even more when it helps them through a situation. Many at times, I also look for inspirations from others through their books, blogs and conversations.

In other related news, one of my “new year” i.e. Birthday resolutions, was to make my life more functional. To me, functionality = simplicity. You can use sites such as OLX Free Classifieds to fix something or buy something that’s functional and reduce the clutter, then you have made your life a little simpler.

Kawi Snippets

That couch – got a carpenter to make one for me, can’t wait for it + the decor on there is just it … ideas). Fixed a cupboard my mum had handed down to me, now it looks fancier. Finally got a cooker – baking can become a reality.

For some reason, I like keeping stuff, but at the same time, I hate clutter and I value space. When I gave this some thought, I figured what I needed is functionality, hence the resolutions. Now, have yourself a lovely 4-day week and #ChaseYourDream.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

Growing Up With Eczema

 Eczema is a term for a group of medical conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed or irritated. The most common type of eczema is known as atopic dermatitis, or atopic eczema. Atopic refers to a group of diseases with an often inherited tendency to develop other allergic conditions, such as asthma and hay fever. Source

I was just explaining to my friend how I grew up with a bad case of atopic eczema and I thought, maybe I should let you in on that one too. It all started when I was barely 2 months. That’s when my eczema broke out as my mum would tell me. It was dermatologist to dermatologist to figure out what was going on because I would have insistent rushes on my body. They established it was atopic eczema but none of them gave proper treatment that would cure the skin allergies. It got worse every time the weather changed or I wore certain kinds of clothing.

Boshori, Child Headgear

She told me how she once bought a cute woolen headgear (otherwise known as “boshori”). She was so excited to have it on me,  little did she know that my delicate skin was not so welcoming to certain cloth materials. As cute as it looked, it looked even cuter on me, but the itching was in excess and when she got it off, there was a collection of rushes on any part of my face the headgear had touched.

In most of my kid photo’s, my skin was patched, a little lighter here, darker there, rushy here. It was not pretty (at least that’s what I felt then), not on pictures and I guess not in person too. I think I plucked & hid so many pictures from the album so that my friends don’t see them and make rough comments or ask who that was. It reached a point after many appointments and many ointments, that she decided to take matters to her own hands. She’s nurse by profession, a good one at that. She did her concoctions and somehow, it worked for the better part of my life. It would heal then recur with seasons (when it’s hot, when it’s cold), environmental changes (occurrence of pollen, dust), food (we tried weaning off many foods – dairy, wheat, protein, but never quite identified anything I was allergic to), clothes materials (wool, silk, net). I had somehow already gotten used to it.

The eczema was mainly on my face and joints (back of my legs, on my hands, neck – technically, the rashes would appear anywhere but those were the most concentrated areas). How I handled it? I think I owe it to my mum because it would’ve easily been worse. She explained to me from a young age what eczema was and what it wasn’t. She told me it wasn’t contagious and it wasn’t a disease (contrary to what other kids would tell me in school). She told me it was allergy, allergy to certain things which we were slowly discovering together. Of course sometimes I would turn a blind eye to things I was told to avoid. Like when I was told to avoid eggs. I was that kid at birthday’s asking, “does the cake have eggs”, it was always yes, but I sneaked a bite or two. You can only deny a kid so much.

It became my way of life and I got used to it. When it recurred, I would apply the ointments then it subsides and life goes on. At some point, I used to thank God it’s eczema I have and not something else. I came to accept it. Even though at times when the skin gets dry & flaky I’d try conceal it. Sometimes I’d just expose and prepare myself to explain to anyone who asked why my arms have rashes or my face patches. It was the story of my life.

In high school, I got away with eating special diet and not touching dirty water, which meant I didn’t do difficult duties. Reason, I was “allergic” to them. I didn’t even have to get a note from the doctor as it was evident on the skin. I kinda used it to my advantage. By then I was so used to managing it, since I always had my ointments with me. Also lotions were a no-no, most of them were watery which didn’t get along with my skin. So Vaseline and it’s variants worked just fine. Make up, also a no-no, because I could easily react to the chemicals.

Then for some reason, I out grew it. The eczema cleared off. My skin color became even, no patches. There was no trace of eczema. Isn’t that miraculous? Sometimes I get a slight reaction and it bugs me. The small doses of it – from small rashes from reactions to the unknown, allergies (eye itches, sneezing), but they’re manageable and containable. Sometimes, I forget what it felt like to be that girl with heavy rash patches on my joints. It’s easy to forget, when you can pose for a pic with flawless skin or zero patches. I don’t take it for granted, because at one point in my life, I experienced the stigma that comes with eczema.

If you’re going through that phase, you’ll get past it, it’s not permanent and even if it is, that’s just part of who you are. Visit a good dermatologist (in my 27 years I’ve never gotten one that I can vouch for), get an ointment that your skin approves of (and that’s devoid of steroids or that you can apply systematically), an oil that blends with your skin and let it run its course. Don’t let it affect your personality or self-esteem. Those that love you, will look past your skin.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

Kawiria Writes – Let’s Dream

This season we’re talking dreams, it’s all about chasing your dreams. This got me wondering what my dream is. This is some serious *excuse my French but…* shit. I don’t know what my Big *Everest* Dream is. Or rather I can’t say it out loud to anyone, which simply means, I don’t know. I have small goals, you know the 3 year, 5 year, 10 year plans – that cater for my lifestyle – career, family and status things. I know where I want to be and at what point but what’s that thing that everything I do, think and say, guide me to?

On giving it a little thought, I think it has something to do with writing or better yet blogging. I love it and enjoy it while at it. My mind wanders, and then settles. Writing takes me to some place, my little piece of nirvana, as I’d like to call it. It’s what I’d like to be identified with. Kawiria writes. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to write a book. I am pathetic at sticking to a story line that’s longer than blog post, unless of course I have a blogook – A book that will be a collection of all my “to go” posts. But honestly, my unpackaged dream is to inspire through my life lessons, or life lessons learnt through others and put them into perspective. I may not be the most exposed or experienced person on earth, but I believe that there’s a reason for my existence don’t we all.

Blogging, Dream, #ChaseYourDream

Now what I need to do is package that dream into something that’s appealing and that I can say and make some sense out of. Something SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound. Right now it’s very vague. So Kawiria writes, writes what? Let’s work on it, that will be my personal assignment in April. To figure out my Big “Everest” Dream. Maybe I’ll be on a TED Talk telling you about my journey to realizing my dream. A girl can dream, so let’s dream #ChaseYourDream. Have you figured yours out yet?

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*