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A shortcut through the suburbs

I took a shortcut through the suburbs to get to my home on the other side of town (to the middle class estates and apartments)

I like to think am a middle class citizen, but living in a third world country, it is difficult to tell . status quo is rated differently here, I could be among the lower class all factors considered.

Things are different here, the upper class, the ones that leave in the suburbs, suburbs like the one I went through while heading to my house, are those that have permanent residence. They have leaved in one spot for years and not because they have wonderful landlords but because they own their homes. They have some money saved up, money that can survive them for at list six months should anything happen. Easy to wonder what could possibly happen to a person owning their house let alone a compound with a trampoline and a pool in place of chicken and pigs or Sukuma wiki and maize plant for fence.

Then there is the middle class, which is where I like to assume I belong. We survive by the day, but bottom line is we survive. We like to give the impression that we are well off, our loaned vehicles and destination vacations proves this. We work and leave in the moment, most times we are able to pay rent on time, but there are days that we have to borrow to keep up. Our saving habits are horrible, in fact should I leave my job today, the next month would be a miracle to have. Our faith works regardless, because every day takes care of itself. We are the lot that only goes to shags in December and return so broke for January. We are always moving houses and keeping up with trends.

Then there is the lower class. I feel like this lot might be happier than the middle class. They do not feel the pressure to keep up or compete, they just want to survive. Employment is not a guarantee for these guys on a daily, but somehow they pull through each day. It could be one meal in a day and sometime no meal at all but they pull through with the strongest mind. They will do anything and everything to pull through the day

To each their own;

The suburbs made me think and realize the life that I am in, the opportunities I am presented with and the habits that I must promote to be better economically.

One of the lessons that I will be taking away from this year (now that its almost end of the year) is that the wealthy are just not wealthy because they leave in huge houses and drive gazlers, its because they have invested right. Even when they lack liquid cash in their accounts, they have placed their hard earned assets strategically and if it were not for life in itself, they are sure of their future. Its no wonder that they have no need to know or meddle in their neighbour’s affairs.

I have also learned that the poor are not necessarily the uneducated, maybe they lack opportunities, or is it the know how.

These are the lessons I was randomly thinking about on my shortcut through the suburbs. Share with me the things you have observed that have taught you from your environment. I would love to hear the lessons you are taking away from 2018.

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Holiday Quick Fix

The only visitors who show up unannounced are family. Siblings to be precise, because parents are always worried about protocols and traditions. My siblings love to visit on short notice, ‘we were in the neighbourhood and had to check on you.’ I too enjoy this visits, they are always full of laughter and reminiscences. I wasn’t really in the mood to swim in the kitchen hit when they visited this past weekend, so I had to be creative, which led me to this post, which explains why again in less than a week I have been late in putting up a post. Not that I will make a habit out of it.

I wanted to fix them something simple and fun, so that we could all eat together in an informal setting watching movies and bonding. Sandwiches were an option, but both my brothers are active sports men, and a sandwich would have been like dipping a single flake in milk.

I had just watched how to fix some vegetable salads online ahead of the festive season, but I admit that salads don’t work for guests here in Africa, not even for the host.

I settled for home made buggers, hum buggers and some sausages which I just dip fried. I also made some home made dip from a blend of tomatoes, onions, red bell paper and guacamole and freshly blended mangoe juice to go with.

I don’t think you will understand this better than this.

some slice and dice in the kitchen

This was the final results

we had to sum it up with some sweet bananas

My guests ate to their fill, and we had enough bonding time. I am learning more quick fix recipe for this holidays, we love to host, and I love to be ready. What will you be eating this festive season?

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It’s Christmas Already – Holiday Etiquette

I get excited for Christmas holidays, I love the rest and the travels. I am more excited to meet people, old people and new people. Its people that reveal to you who you truly are, just by noticing how you behave around them, how you react to their behaviors and misbehavior. You find out your true character.

Speaking of behavior, let’s address it before we get deep into the festivities. Behave yourself when you visit others, be courteous when you go out with friends and be a wonderful host when you are visited.

When you visit others, it’s respectful to watch where you seat. Notice the host’s body language, know your place. Whether it’s your brother’s house or your colleague’s condo, do not lounge yourself in anyone’s space before you are invited to. Also remember to practice their cultures, you know what they say, when in Rome.

If you are offered coffee and you love tea, be contented with what you are offered. Understand that your host may not have your taste. You will have tea in your own house, do not go about stressing your host about your likes and dislikes. You must understand it is not your home, you mustn’t be comfortable enough to make the host uncomfortable. You may be close with your host, but do not overstep into their personal space, you will still need these relationships when the festivity is over.

When you go out with your friends, do not embarrass them by dressing skimpily. You must learn your environment in advance and dress appropriately. Do not take the opportunity to over indulge, everyone came together to have a good time and not to worry or baby seat each other. Contribute in paying the bills, unless someone offered to pay for everyone else. Be considerate of others, do not be the parasite, your friends will find ways to avoid you. Remember January will come to us all.

If you are hosting your friends, be considerate in your preparations. If children will tag along, make your environment child friendly for them. Take care of the diabetic and the allergic among your friends. Stock your bathroom with enough toilet rolls and ensure that your guests are generally comfortable. Prepare the guest room for that one guest who will always misbehave and need some timeout without interfering with the comfort of the others.

Generally do not gallop on food, no matter how sweet it is. Let everyone have their share, the source may dry out and others may miss food just because of your over eating. If you are that hungry eat your ugali earlier before you meet up with others or carry a snack in your bag. But whatever you do, have some decorum.

Enjoy each other’s company. It’s not an exhibition season so restrain from showing off, take in some quality.

Let’s all be courteous, considerate and respectful this season. Let’s do to others what we would want them to do to us. Having said that, let the holidays begin.

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Little to say today, but in my thoughts.

It seems really easy to consistently post twice a week in a public platform, until when your mind goes blank and you still have to say something inspiring and motivating.Today I have gone blank, really, blank.

So I have decided to take you through my think process, after all the year is almost over and am about to wrap up on my year’s objectives. I have been blogging for a while now, but half way through the year I made a decision to take blogging a little bit more serious. That meant consistent writing, which interpreted to more reading and interactions.

It’s the end of the year now, and I am at that stage where I am asking myself what exactly I have achieved. While writing and reading could all be a learning curve for me, it’s something that I enjoy doing, and which I find easy even when I have pressured myself into it. I am happy to note that I finally got a self-domain (jshare.co.ke), somehow that feels like a mile stone that I am proud of. I feel more responsible for what I write, I see need for a plan and an investment in my blog.

I am happy to have consistent readers that I can call out by name. Ladies and gentlemen who have liked, commented and shared my posts and sites in a way to let me know they are there, they are reading and most importantly getting something out of it. For someone who is taking this whole thing seriously, it means a lot to be recognized for what I am doing, or in this case writing and thinking.

At the beginning of my new journey, all I wanted to write about was being a new bride, what it’s like, what it takes and the transition process. I wanted ladies my age and those younger than me to know what’s ahead, to answer questions my own sister has asked and which at some point I asked my older cousins and girlfriends. I knew someone was asking and I wanted to be a big sister to them.I may not stick to this script, but I see myself getting more personal with my blog and I look forward to share the journey with you. One of my favorite readers has accused me of being rigid, of posting things that matter to me but distancing myself at the same time. How I am learning to tie them all nicely in a bow, I hope you will be able to see this too in my future posts.

I am already looking forward to next year, already I am planning and re planning my activities and I can’t wait to share them with you. I look forward to share my professionalism and to have fun talking about things that we can all relate to. I am pressured to write things that will not only entertain but also educate and captivate your reading pallets. I pray that come next year, my content will be of better quality but not as much as of better personality.

But before I get ahead of myself, I look forward to the upcoming Christmas festivities. I feel like I have just breezed through the year, but Christmas is always an exciting time for me and my family. Christmas is always a time for family, and family does not necessarily include blood relatives only. It’s the time we meet and interact with the highest number of people, we make friends and enemies alike in this period, mainly because we are in each other’s spaces more than usual. This Christmas, I look forward to share with you tips that I use to remain sober, avoid judgment and enjoy my time with others without creating conflict. I am also looking forward to share the unique things I will be doing this holiday season.

I am happy to have shared this year with you, and I hope you stay with me next year. I promise I won’t be boring. On that note, I will feel great if you boost my confidence by living a comment on this post. Also, just so you are not left out on our next adventure, visit jshare.co.ke and join the family by subscribing. Let’s keep talking and sharing consistently on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

 

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Universal Children’s Day

No one understands pain more than the woman who labored for a dead child. It’s a pain she may learn to leave with, but which she will always have close to her heart. She will walk by the park and imagine that her child would be the same age as the one playing on the grounds. She will smile at the kid, just because she has remembered her own long gone.

No one understands pride better than the female beggar with her baby on her back. She begs even though fellow citizens judge her. They pull their noses when she passes by because she is smelly. She does not mind even when they perceive her as a corn or a drug addict seeking for her next puff and using the child as a guilt trip for people to give her money. She understands she has to provide for her child the only way she knows how in her current situation. When this child somehow makes it through life, when it turns out to be something respectable, no tear of pride is deeper than that of this lady beggar.

These two women understand the struggle of bearing and raising a child. They bear the pain when an infant is thrown in the pit latrines and celebrate when an orphan succeeds despite the struggles. A child to these women is not some lady’s little being. They understand best that a child is not owned by the bearer, otherwise they would have controlled the death or success of their own children.

A child is a gift, not given to all and not chosen for the worthy. A child only comes through a woman on its way to achieve its own purpose.

Remember to fit into the shoes of these two women, remember to break a sweat for your child, encourage and celebrate them and learn to direct them as you let them go, so that they may find their way to be what they are meant to be.

Remember to love unconditionally, to protect and provide the best you can. Remember to bless and be pleased with your child. But most importantly remember to be accommodative and open minded, because a child is after all just a child. Not just on this universal children’s day but on every day of their childhood.

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Fight her? But she isn’t my enemy

I was excited when my brother announced that he was getting himself a wife. There will be another girl in the family, another one to gossip with, catch up with and on the downside fight for my mother’s attention with.

Gaining a sister in law was a moment for me. I had already intentionally processed how we will make it work. I didn’t want to be among the statistics of stereotype sisters in law who expect their new sisters to either be a friend or an enemy. Even friendships are made over time, when there are similar interests and aspirations, when people can relate and click.

Those who we do not click with don’t necessarily become enemies. Sometimes we don’t click with our own relatives, but they are our relatives, we are bound by blood.

I made up my mind to be an open book. She was about to be my sister, not necessarily my friend. She was also about to start a new life journey of her own, and I felt it was my duty to be respectful and give her space to build a foundation for her own family.

Though I have grown up with my own brother I must understand that he is now an adult, I may be concerned about his choices, but I must give him the benefit of doubt because he is after all my brother. Whomever my brother choses to associate with must have some similarities to him and sometimes my friends and my brother’s friends have little in common which only goes to prove that even my sister in law and I may have little in common. I must understand that she is not my choice but my brother’s, she is my sister raised by a different mother. Like all sisters, there are going to be arguments, but wait, why should there be arguments when she is in her husband’s house and I in mine? Why should I go looking for her trouble in her own territory or why should she look for mine? There should be the list of arguments. Even when we argue, maybe in the common grounds of my mother’s house, I will not be gossiping about her. I do not know her by the virtue that I do not stay with her on interact with her to the maximum. For the few days we spend together in our mother’s house, I will give her the benefit of doubt, because no one makes decisions over anyone’s character based on a few interactions.

It is okay if she does not call me or check up on me, because I too have the option of calling and checking up on her. After all, would you check up on someone you knew little about? Someone you didn’t know? I will give her time to settle in her own life, I will give her time to know me as I know her, then we will see if we can be friends or relatives. If we are lucky, then we can be both.

For now, I don’t understand why we ladies complicate this, she is not my enemy, I cannot be fighting with her and making her life unbearable, because women support women no matter what.

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From the honeymoon suite to a new home

The most difficult journey a bride could take on what should be the happiest days of her life is the journey from the honeymoon suite to a new home, new life and new environment. Not so many people talk about this journey, the emotions and thoughts that go through the new brides mind. This is the point where the festivities and flamboyance of a wedding fade off and the realities sink in.

I remember my journey as if it were yesterday. It downed on me fast and hard. I don’t know whether it was because my father had been intentional and personal about our upbringing or because of the uncertainty of the new unknown future, but this ride was not as comfortable as it had been when I left my wedding night suite for my honeymoon.

I was deep in thoughts, my partner must have noticed this because he gave me some space and kept himself busy as I processed my reality. I was about to move in with a new roommate. A lifetime roommate, someone I had never leaved with and someone who despite the long term friendship and courtship could not be compared to either my brothers or my father who I was already accustomed to.

I was about to start my own family and as much as I had prepared emotionally and mentally for this, it was dawning on me. I was no longer anyone’s responsibility but my own, I was opening my own kingdom where I was in charge of my own actions just like my mother is of her own.

Speaking of my mother, I was asking myself questions on just how often I will get to see her, how much time I will get to spend with her and how much of my money she will get to enjoy. Thoughts so deep and difficult to process.

I couldn’t help but shed a tear. It was a new beginning, everything left behind to start a fresh in a new territory.

My new husband stretched his hand and held mine. He let me lie on his shoulder then he whispered; ‘It’s going to be okay’ The friendship between my family and I does grow stronger, the house budget includes my mother’s shares as well, I do make mistakes, pick quarrels with my new roommate but I also grow and become a better version of myself every day. I lose friends but I also make others who I find to have similar interests. My circles grow bigger by the day and points of reference increase.

Truly everything does fall into place, and as my partner said, it is to a matter of fact, ‘Going to be okay”

 

 

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Some Sister Romance

She was four weeks post partum during my wedding. Her body somehow respected that day and fit well in an elegant blue gown, her legs in five inch shiny silver tiptoes.  Even though we are of different cultural backgrounds, she danced crazily and vigorously to our music and she helped me hold up my gown as I walked up a flight of stairs. You could tell with no doubt that the day was one of her best just as it was mine.

My best friend and I share more than my wedding memories. I do not remember when we first met but we have had a sister romance since. We went to Sunday school together, then to primary school. We served in the same girl’s brigade and then we realized we had more in common than we thought.

Unlike other relationships, ours didn’t just grow or just happen. We took our time to know each other and understand well at a very young age that we shared the same values. We had been rooted in a similar manner and as such we were more likely to be genuine in our support and criticism towards each other through life.

I remember us hugging and giggling in the school corridors at about thirteen years. We had a new found relationship; we were best friends, this after proposing to each other and accepting the role of best friends.

They say Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are, I love to speak of my best friend, because I feel even as an adult, she still represents who I am.

We may have our character difference, but I know I can count on my friend to give me genuine feedback on my behavior and wholeness.

We were lucky that we understood ourselves at a young age; our backgrounds have helped us understand who we are and have made us each other’s support system.

I am happy to have someone I can truly vent on and not be afraid of judgment. By this virtue, I am also happy when she criticizes me or corrects me harshly. Over the years, I know it’s from a place of love.

Our friendship was established before career and successes. We did not know how long we will know each other, or what the future held. We understood well we are grounded people when life took us to separate journeys, yet we still celebrate each other and remember the values that made us better people.

I seek advice from my best friend because I know she knows who I am even when I forget myself. She is one of the few people I rely on to keep me sober and in focus in making decisions that affect me directly.

She stands out to me as a woman of high morals, a person who chases after her own dreams and a strong decision maker. To me, my best friend is the big sister I never had, one of my small sisters and my chosen family.

My choice of a best friend in my childhood has inspired me to make meaningful friendships, friendships that are beyond talking about the girl next door, friendships that are selfless and purposeful based on similar values and beliefs.

My best friend and I are a good example of girls supporting girls. Because we can all be better women in the journey of life.

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I am jealous of 34 year old single lady

I am jealous of the thirty four year old single lady at my church. She thinks she has failed because the society has set timelines of when one is meant to graduate, get married and start a family. She thinks she has failed because, even though she is well educated and has a great job, she has been called out for living alone with neither husband nor children. Her entire success has been questioned because of lack of a man.

I am jealous of this girl because I do not think she has failed. I understand well that there is no need to rush into marriage. Miss 34 year old single lady is likely to make better decisions of a partner and a lifestyle in comparison to a girl in her early or mid twenties.

Let us be honest as girls, our impressions of an ideal partner change with age. Maybe that is why it is said we age like fine wine.

As an old teenager, an ideal partner is just the handsome guy in the block, the one who has on sweet perfume, a stud earring on his one ear piercing wearing and some expensive white Reeboks. We want a man who our friends will approve of his good looks and who speaks the queen’s language with eloquence.

In early twenties, the guy with a classy vehicle and a 65 inch television set in his rented apartment makes more sense. You can show up in events and family gatherings looking elite and your mother is likely to approve of this guy.

You care less about his ride in mid twenties. His ambitions become more ideal, the guy who would rather take out a loan to support his business than buy a car. The guy who dreams and works without giving up.

In the thirties, you understand that a guy can look good and dress good but lack intellect. He could take out a loan and have a big screen and have no ambition beyond that. He could have all the dreams in the world and yet no time or value for anyone, let alone family.

A girl at this stage is not only seeking emotional stability and support, she also wants someone who will seek and take her mature decisions as part of their daily considerations in decision making. She wants a man who needs a home more than a loaned car, a man who is not afraid of living, a mature, reasonable and sober man. The looks to her are not just in appearance, she is more attracted to the mind of the man.

I am jealous of this girl because I know she will not settle, she will find her prince charming. A man, who we will all realize is the man we all wanted to grow old with. There is no rushing this girl.

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