How Are You…As A Person?

I just got asked that. By a friend. On WhatsApp. After the usual generic greetings that often elicit varying degrees of answers (from both parties), all bordering between half truths and lukewarm lies, he asked me this probing question. Too probing for his nature actually, which made me smile. The tables had turned and I was the unwilling participant behind the HD screen typing away vague statements and fake emoticons that do not truly mimic my true facial expression. I smiled when I realised that I had rubbed off on him – just a little. But, as they say, that’s a story for another day.

Upon reading that question, my mind descended down a rabbit hole, analysing, conjuring, dreaming.  How am I really…as a person? Well, I am tired. Tired of life, of friends that don’t add value; of family that remains broken; of trials that never cease. I am exhausted, of reminding myself that it’ll be all right; and that perseverance produces character; or that people don’t always mean to disappoint. I am tired of this world in general. But I am grateful.

Grateful for life, for breath. For food and shelter. That’s something that another friend reminded me via this very useful tool called WhatsApp. No matter what we’re going through, we should be grateful. “Imagine life on an empty stomach” he said. And I knew he was right. Because I have food, a home, and an education and so much more than so many in this world. And so, I am tired but grateful. It’s cliché I know but what can one do? After all, he asked and I answered.

chat1

You get the idea…

Till next time,

Linet

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Oven principles: how baking is like life

Okay. This post is inspired by the fact that I am currently baking a batch of (by the smell of things) very yummy cappuccino muffins. Yes people. Life’s good when there’s muffins involved. I’d post a picture later but I don’t have any icing sugar in the house and I can’t make them all pretty for the world to see. So, let’s just pretend the look like this…

;)

*winks*

So anyway. I am not kidding you but I had an absolutely profound moment while whipping up the said bunch of goodies. I don’t know about you but that’s either pretty epic or kinda weird. I promise you, I wasn’t high. I was standing there staring into the oven, and as I watched the little brown dollops of sugary sweetness rise, I thought of how a person can grow and mature from a little girl or boy with no direction or form, and transform into a well defined, scrumptious human being – just like that little muffin under my gaze.

You see, there’s the batter. Its comes with the usual – eggs, sugar, baking powder, flour, milk, chocolate chips etc. That folks, are the things that make up your life and majority of your childhood. There’s your education, which can be represented by the flour. It’s extensive and takes up pretty much the entire first quarter of your life so you know, the flour seemed to be the most approximate equivalent comparison.

Next, you get the sugar. The sugar can be the beautiful moments. The lovers, the friends, the highs and the slam dunks. Those are the moments that you look back upon in life and smile. That’s the sugar in your life.

Then there’s baking powder. It’s bitter to the taste and you don’t want too much of it in your batter (otherwise you get muffins that rise waay too much and you don’t want that). Baking powder can represent our mistakes in life. All the moments that made us cry – that left a bitter memory and maybe even a harsher consequence. But, when used in just the right amount, our mistakes can turn into learning lessons which make us grow and even rise to the occasion in any future challenges we may face.

And then – then we get the eggs. The eggs are our family. They hold everything together. Literally, eggs are used to ensure that the mixture combines well and holds. Kind of like the glue in our lives. You get a crappy glue, half the time you can get a crappy life. But, use fresh, great smelling eggs, and they are the key ingredients to a the perfect muffins. I know there’s people out there who got some rotten eggs dsyfuntional families in their mixture but still turned out alright. But, half the time, our families make or break us; most importantly, they hold us together when times get rough.

And finally, we get the milk. Milk, completes the batter and provides the solvent (for lack of a better word) that dissolves all these delicious goodies together. It can be seen as the extras in life. Those other experiences that occur and stay with you forever – whether it be a good Samaritan you met on the street, or that mural you saw on the chaotic graffiti filled walls down town and made you stop for a moment. Or, it’s the quiet moments. Those precious minutes that pass and in them you found reassurance, wisdom, laughter, wisdom, misery…anything.

All these things, when put together, make the creamy, rich batter that is our lives. They can come in different flavours, have different variations of ingredients. But at the end of the day, family, love, education, our mistakes and our experiences, shape us into the people that we are. They give us our flavour, our personality. They determine who we are and who we’ll become. How we’ll react to the external factors that life presents us.

And as we cook under that 220 degree heat that can sometimes be the trials we face, I hope and pray that you can remember the ingredients of the self and choose to rise to the occasion. Always.

Till next time,

Linet

PS. I know I forgot butter in the post but I honestly couldn’t come up with anything to compare butter to. Oops? Lol

Friends over lovers – 3 reasons why guys make better best friends and horrible boyfriends

Disclaimer: The following views are not by any means a generalisation of the opposite sex’s ability to be good significant others. There are merely opinions and real life experiences of a writer that seems to have really bad luck in relationships.

Either I have seriously bad taste in guys, have been fishing in the wrong pond, or I still have to go through my fair share of frogs before I get to my prince. I just can’t seem to pick out ‘one of the good ones’. I think maybe my boy-dar is broken…get it, like radar but now it’s boy-dar…Anyway, it seems I am really good at being friend-zoned OR friend-zoning guys (I prefer to think of it as the latter). I have some really good guy friends. As in, tell my deepest darkest secrets guy friends. Or be-super-honest-and-not-care-what-he-thinks guy friends.

But when it comes to the more than friends department, it’s a big flop. I’m talking awkward and strained WhatsApp conversations plus even worse face to face situations. You know that flow that you get with people you’re comfortable around? The one where you can talk about anything and everything…yes, that one! Now that always seems to be missing with the guys I eventually end up calling my ‘boyfriend’. Or whatever it is they end up becoming. What is that in between stage where you’re not really dating but you’re not just friends either? Facebook just calls ‘Its Complicated’, which can be a bit of an understatement sometimes.

In light of all that is said above, I have decided to just keep it in the friendzone (for now). I mean, boyfriends are hard work. Even the not fully fledged ones. And to back up my almost new year resolution, I have good reasons why boys are better friends than boyfriends.

  • Objectivity

When he’s not trying to impress you to get into your pants, a guy can have some really solid advice when it comes to almost anything and everything. You can forget about asking him what to wear to that thing you’re going to Saturday night though. I said almost everything. Unless he’s gay…. anyway, I digress. Guys tend to view problems (and life in general) in a very simplified way: There is a problem = find a solution. Finished. So when I tend to over think and worry myself to death about, let’s say, how to stop freaking out and just breath, my friend (we’ll call him Tim)…my friend Tim usually just says “stop freaking out and breath!”. Then he proceeds to tell me of all the reasons why I’m blowing things out of proportion like I usually do. And then he’ll remind me that it’s best to take one thing at a time. And of course he’ll say something that should have been completely obvious to my too-smart-for-its-own-good female brain. Like I said, Objectivity.

  • No drama

Guys are just fundamentally incapable of being petty – something that girls are fundamentally wired to be. This is related to point number one. No jealousy, no over thinking, no complications or unrealistic expectations. Their ability to take things in a laid back manner is quite frankly, refreshing. Nothing like a drama free life through University. That stuff is reserved for high school people.

  • Muscles

Picture this: you’re moving out of your parents house (finally!). You have some stuff you’re carrying with you in a few boxes. You get to your new apartment and there’s 4 flight’s of stairs you have to get climb up to get to your door. Who do you call? Tim of course! Tim always comes in handy for stuff like this. Sure you’ll have to buy him pizza or a big mac to say thanks but really, that’s not too much of a hassle now is it? It’s waaay much better than having to call Tom (let’s call Le boyfriend Tom). You probably had a fight with Tom earlier because he said the wrong thing, or forgot your birthday/ anniversary/ to came to your first open mic night (the list could go on and on). In fact, you would probably be annoyed at Tom for not offering to move said boxes when you mentioned you’re moving in the first place! Either way, Tom is sometimes going to be a tricky choice. Tim is better.

Now, I’m not saying all Toms are disappointing. I’m sure some of you have great stories that would clear Tom’s name in a  heartbeat. However, I am yet to get my own story. I believe there’s just something about the increased expectation in a relationship that gets things messed up.

It’s probably not all Tom’s fault. I mean, girls tend to have high standards in place, fuelled by years of brainwashing by romantic comedies and Hollywood’s leading men. But really, Tom should watch those movies and learn a thing or two. There’s so much that goes into a relationship because the other person is expecting you to give more (usually the girl) and half the time, they don’t know how to communicate what it is they really want. That leaves room for error, assumptions, a few hits and lots of misses. And once the misses start staking up, then the smiles begin to fade.

In conclusion, I’ll say that I’d still love a Tom in my life. A good solid, honest, funny, and handsome Tom. But until I find one, I’ve got Tim to keep me company.

Till next time,

Linet

Learning to Look for Happiness

http://www.100happydays.com.

I stumbled upon it. I was just browsing – reading through online magazines, twitter stalking friends, and recklessly pinning stunning photos on Pinterest. I read this article by good friend, wine and food lover, breathless writer, inspiring fashionista and all-round-amazing-person, Tshepang Molisana [@TshepiMolisana]. In it, she speaks of her own journey through the #100happydays challenge. I decided to try it out.

I am a person who sees the little things. I treasure the smile of a friend, the laughter of a child; I love the feel of an autumn breeze softly blowing through copper coloured leaves. So I thought, 100 happy days? No problem!

My 100 days began on the 14th of May. I woke up on the right side of bed to a hearty breakfast and beautiful blue sky. It was a sign.

Day 2

Thursday night, I was at our youth Pastor’s house for our weekly Bible study group meeting. A couple of girls from Germany who came over to South Africa 9 months ago as part of a mission trip, were sharing the moments of their last week with us. There was pasta. And cake. There were hellos and there were goodbyes. We laughed, we joked, we hugged – we were happy.

Day 3

My brother made me laugh. Again.

Day 4

—————————-

Now I know you may be thinking, “It’s been 4 days, lets see you last 3 weeks”. I’ve thought the same thing too. But I know I can do this. I love a challenge – especially one designed to make me happy.

I think the beauty in this whole thing lies, not only in the notion of opening your eyes to look for something that warms the cockles of your heart, but in documenting these things as well. It’s like leaving a trail of bread crumbs that you can trust to lead you down a path of beauty. One that you’ve travelled before and know will make you sing inside.

I look forward to capturing these moments. To committing them not only to memory but to (permanent) internet history so that I can relive them again and again and again.

Till next time,

Linet

Now INo

The Four Letter Word

So my little brother is 12 years old and making the transition from primary school (elementary school for readers from across the pond) into high school. With that comes the oh-so-important and incredibly serious task of subject choosing. You see over here in South Africa, once you get to High School, not all subjects are compulsory except the core ones like Maths and English and an extra language etc.

So, today after dinner was had and tummies were full, my parents sat my nutty, slightly immature for his age and totally go-with-the-flow brother and asked him the big question: What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Chicago Bulls mascot videobombs FOX Sports reporter

They sneaked up on him. Then BAM! Caught him off guard when he least expected it!

 

It wasn’t even like the jokey, there’s-no-wrong-answer toned version that you ask every little kid between the ages of 5 and 8. It was the no nonsense, gravity filled, straight faced version. The kind you had to answer with: “I want to be an engineer, because….” or I want to be an accountant, since…”

Notice I also used the very traditional “professions” in my examples. This is because my parents, being the hard core East African parents that they are, don’t believe in none ‘traditional’ career paths. Try explaining what an Event Stylist does, or a Personal stylist for that matter. That would be an interesting conversation. It’s not like it’s they are so rigid as to demand that we pick careers that please them. In fact, my recent change in career paths proves so. There is no direct instruction and implication. But, it’s in the way they rattle out possible career choices: architect, accountant, doctor, lawyer. Never have I heard them say “you can be anything you want to be.” 

You may ask what choosing subjects has to do with career paths. Well, in our schooling system, subject choices in high school directly influence the university degree that one finally does. So, for example, if you choose mainly science based subjects, you can go into the Science based, Engineering and Medical fields. Likewise if accounting, economics are chosen in high school, that means you’re headed straight to the Finance faculty at Varsity. Of course there are the humanities subjects i.e. languages, music, art – but we rarely speak of those in this household.

So anyway, there I was sitting quietly, twiddling my thumbs, trying very hard (and almost not succeeding) to shut my mouth. Trying not to shout something rude or defiant or remotely modern-like. Oh I don’t know something like “He’s 12! He doesn’t know what he want to be!”. You see, I decided to let them handle this whole parenting thing. Because at the end of the day, I don’t know that much about it. And I’m Kenyan. And when you’re Kenyan, you let your parents do the talking. Plus, they have years worth of wisdom that I do not possess. And they sure as hell love him. He’s their son – they want what’s best for him above all else.

When I was 12, I had no idea what I wanted to become. Well, actually, I did. I wanted to become a pilot. But not because I wanted to fly planes because I think they are cool. Not even because I think the uniforms are cool, no. It’s because I wanted to touch the clouds. And everybody knows you can’t touch clouds from inside a plane! But somehow, the grown up people in my life failed to mention this to my 12 year old befuddled mind (let’s choose to ignore the fact that this is a very five year old type thought and at 12, I should have known better!).

So, what is my point here? What is the four letter word that I so mysteriously named this post as, designed to intrigue and interest you to click on and read my blog? *drumroll please*… Yep, you guessed it!

Life.

 

This ominous yet exciting, mystical yet supremely sure, thing. Think about it. We have no idea what to expect of it. It’s scary, down right frightening, and worrying to contemplate. Yet, we are besides ourselves to live it. To fill it with beautiful memories; to milk every minute, every second out of the moments that make it what it is. We are not sure of it and what it holds. Some might even go as far as to say that we cannot be sure that we have a purpose for/to live it. But, if there’s one thing we all can have no doubt about: we are born, we breath live, then we die. Period. Every. Single. One. Of. Us.

I can’t be sure when I began to know what I wanted out of life. And there is a BIG difference between knowing what you want out of life and knowing who to be to get there. I just know that that moment arrived after a lot or trial and error. And I mean A LOT. 

I’m still getting there too. Still taking each step with caution because I still don’t see the path with my name on it clearly marked out for me. I pray God continues to lead me there. That he keeps showing me where I should place my feet.

And I surely hope he begins to show my little brother where to go too. Well at least if not him, my parents can nudge him in the right direction till he begins to walk on his own.

 

dog running in the snow

I’m done talking now. Here’s a picture of a dog running in the snow 🙂

if rap ended today dancing gif

And two guys happy dancing 😀

Till next time,

Linet

Why we should learn a thing or two from kids

Some great tips from a 5 year old.

Some great tips from a 5 year old.

I love babies. They are so cute and cuddly. And they smell great – clean and milky with a hint of flowery thrown in…No? Is it just me?

Anyway, so once they pass the phase of of spewing gunk at both ends and have enough self control to be able to go the big-peoples-bathroom by themselves, they turn into the bouncy, giggly and downright adorable little monsters that we so affectionately refer to as baby goats kids.

And with that transformation they become the most honest, trustworthy, and down right warm-fuzzy-feeling inducing human beings on the planet.

I have always admired the unfiltered honesty that kids posses. Its one of the reasons why I love working with them so much – and it makes for some interesting conversations. I have been an on and off Sunday School teacher at my local church for a good 7 years now and some of my best memories include mornings when I excitedly asked my children whether they were ready for their lesson only to be met with a resounding “Nooooo!!!”

The other thing that I love in kids is their ability to love so unconditionally.  I mean, kids love their parents so deeply and earnestly – they adore their mommies and daddies so much and are never afraid to run squealing and shrieking in their direction, straight into their arms. Their faces light up when they even catch a glimpse of their parents. And who can forget the way they believe their parents can do absolutely anything?

It’s so beautiful to see these things. To witness the display of complete abandon of a kid running around in the mud. The laughter of a little girl fly through the air on a swing, her hair flowing behind her. Or the way a little boy clings to his mother when he’s hurt and the only thing that can comfort him are the sweet words of love whispered in his ear.

It is these things that remind me of how to live life. To let go a little – not to worry too much. To love deeply and whole heartedly – because time with those we love is short. To trust wholly – because not every one will hurt us. To be brave – so what if someone disapproves?

Even Jesus Christ told us to be of child like nature:

Matthew 18:3
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

So, whether you can’t wait to have your own mini-you(s) or you find your face arranging itself into a look of total horror/disgust/apprehension when faced with the little people, just try to look at them differently from now on. Try and see the things that kids do right. Then pretty soon, you’ll (hopefully) end up feeling all warm fuzzy inside for no apparent reason.

Till next time,

Linet

PS. For a couple of great laughs and even more “Awww” moments, check out this website of some cute/hilarious kids notes that will have you wishing you had a fraction of a kids imagination.

3 reasons why I realised I don’t need to apologise to anyone for anything I do

I am currently going through a very big change in my life. As in, dropped-out-of-university-A-moved-to-university-B-and-changed-my-degree big.

Naturally, with such a change comes doubts, fears, worries and moments of sheer panic that make you want to curl up in a ball and hide in a very dark corner. Okay, maybe not a dark corner –  a bed would do just fine.

But seriously, I have been through a roller coaster of emotions in approximately 3 months. It has been exhausting, and damn near vomit inducing, with a touch of humour thrown in. It was particularly funny when one minute I was happy then I’d remember that I had some serious decisions to make about my future and I’d immediately break into a cold sweat.

Now, I am currently pursuing a Bachelors of Commerce, coming from a Bachelors of Engineering degree, at a university very close to home. I am assaulted greeted by the warm faces of my family every day and I admit, this isn’t as bad I imagined it would be (living at home, that is).

Now that the ordeal is over and I am forging this new path in my life, I find that I have to explain to the people around me why a) I am still home and haven’t flown the coop to Universirty A, and b) Why I decided to leave an incredibly prestigious degree choice when “I could have any job I wanted if I graduate with an engineering degree”.

When I reply with “I realised I didn’t want to do Engineering any more” or “I want something different with my life” I am totally taken aback by the look of short circuits going off in said person’s brain.

It took me a while before I learned to control the urge of immediately launching into a lecture of how even an engineering graduate is not guaranteed job security and besides, shouldn’t we study what we want to do and not what will get us a job? I have now come to the following three revelations that I wish I didn’t have to go through an early-life crisis to learn. However, it’s better late than never right?

1. I need to make choices for myself

I realise that from a lot of people’s point of view, it doesn’t seem like the right decision to make right now BUT it’s the right decision for me.

2. Passion trumps logic

The truth is, I am not cut out to be an engineer (or anything in the science related field for that matter). It doesn’t mean that I can’t be one if I sacrificed a heard of goats to an obscure deity tried hard enough. But honestly, I am more inclined to the none analytical sciences. I own a blog for crying out loud! What engineering student do you know that owns a blog? (I realise that I am heavily stereotyping engineering students but work with me here)

3. The future is never certain so why worry about it so much

This was the biggest point that really drove home after a whole lot of hair pulling and hyperventilating. I have my ENTIRE life ahead of me and that’s what matters. I am ready to put the past behind and work towards what I can change – my future.

So I took a couple of U-turns, got lost for a bit and stopped for a doughnut. Sue me.

So I took a couple of U-turns, got lost for a bit and stopped for a doughnut. Sue me.

Till next time,

Linet