Of thwarted plans and amazing blessings

31 Dec

We plan, but sometimes our well laid out plans are foolishness to the ultimate Master Planner, God.

Today I got the greatest reminder of this old adage, and I had to take a step back and smile.

When I was planning my vacation and booking flights, I purposely planned it such that I would be in Kenya by the night of 30th December, so that I could drive down to the countryside on 31st in time to usher in the New Year with my mainest, Mama Carole, as has been tradition. I have always spent my holidays with mummy; just the two of us and New Year’s Eve has always been a day of thanksgiving and lots of prayer at home. You could say I’m a bit of a mummy’s girl🙂

This year however, I felt the need to begin to slowly be my own person by doing my own thing and learning not to be too dependent on her strength. Therefore I compromised with myself; I would do me for Christmas and be home for New Year’s Eve Prayers, jet-lag or no jet-lag. Funny enough, Mummy was completely unbothered with how torn I was. “Go have fun with your friends. You deserve to be happy. You work too hard”, she said; leaving me wondering why she didn’t need me as much as I needed her; which is another story altogether, by the way.

Therefore, in the last 3 days when I developed tonsillitis and flu on top of terrible chest congestion issues that had plagued me throughout my entire vacation, I willfully battled with myself and pushed through almost 20 hours on a plane, sick as a dog, to get home late last night in time to drive to the village today. I was committed to seeing my plan through. I am not a quitter #smugface #muscles lol.

The biggest joke on me therefore, was this morning, when I woke up at 11:30am and could not even lift my head off the pillow. Everything hurt. Nose, head, throat, eyes, chest, fever, even my toe nails hurt lol. On top of that there were missed calls from Mummy, most likely to tell me not to leave Nairobi late as I’m used to. And I had no voice to even tell her how bad I was feeling. When we eventually spoke, mostly her, worried sick, prescribing medicine (She knows I have never in my 30 years gone to the hospital alone – yes I always have someone to take me coz I am terrified of hospitals) and re-assuring me to rest and not even contemplate driving the 2 hours home. (There she goes again, not needing me #rollseyes).

But the thing that hit me most, and which I guess has inspired this post, is the sheer amount of love I have around me. I had friends asking me what they could do and suggesting they take to hospital or bring meds. The best of all, my best friend, who as fate would have it is hundreds of Miles away in Eldoret, somehow organized with one of her friends to deliver medicine to my house. I must not get out to look for dawa, she said. #happytears. She also tried to find someone to drive me to Nyeri, coz she understands how much I do not want to be alone on New Year’s Eve. And even though that did not work out, that is still the sweetest, most heart-warming gesture. I haven’t been that humbled in a long while. I really do feel amazing and abundantly blessed.

To cut this long story short, as I grow older, I now realize what truly matters in life. I no longer count my blessings by material things or possessions. I count my blessings in terms of the people and moments that truly take my breath away and etch themselves into my heart and mind permanently. In this respect, I am well and truly blessed

I also realize that, I cannot pick and choose when to be independent and when to get my strength from mum. I must learn to carve out my own path ad especially where it concerns my spiritual life. This morning, one of my biggest concerns was how I would live if I didn’t start my 2015 with our usual 31st prayers at home. Yet now I know, that she thought well ahead about this day and fully equipped me with all it takes to go before God and present my supplications and prayers to Him for my future and believe that He will do it for me. So this tonight I will go before God, commune with Him, let His peace and love fill me; and commit my 2015 to His able Hands.

Finally, as I celebrate this day in the comfort of my bed, I really do know that I have the greatest treasure of all – LOVE. And I want to celebrate the people in my inner circle who so generously and tirelessly give it to me – this has to be my greatest lesson of 2014. I feel so special and I hope to be half the friend that you guys are to me. God is Love, I see Him reflected in you every single day.

Happy New Year!!!!!

Faceless People

14 Jun

For the last 7 months give or take, my travel agent has been a faceless woman sitting in a faceless office in Johannesburg, South Africa.

I do not think of her at all, other than when I need flights or hotels booked. And even then, ours is a business transaction conducted online; I send her a furtive email with my itinerary; she arranges my flight, hotel and airport taxis and sends me my info neat little PDFs.

The only time I ever call her is when she screws up my bookings or forgets to send my itinerary in time. She is particularly good in this last one; much to my chagrin.

Let’s call her AV.

Boy, have I had my share of drama with this woman. Lord knows how many times I have threatened to let go of her services for someone better; and truth be told she does mess up a lot.

This morning I received a whatsapp from her asking if anyone from her firm had been in touch regarding my bookings for next week; which last minute Carole only requested last evening.

AV: “Hi. I’m in hospital and have just gotten access to my phone now. Did anyone reply to you re your booking?”

Carole: “Yes, M replied, thanks. And get well soon”

AV: “Ok. Cool. Thanks but breast cancer is a process”

Today AV stopped being faceless.

AV is now a real woman in South Africa battling breast cancer. I have googled her. She is no longer faceless. I see her now.

Guilt immediately hit me like a tonne of bricks. Was she so erratic all these months because she was juggling work and chemo appointments? Was she in pain even as I hustled her about my delayed itinerary?

Moral of the day: Always be kind, you never know what people are really going through………

As I sit here, still frozen not knowing how to respond to that. It’s such a personal detail, that I feel like it was TMI to drop it just like that into the conversation (I am not being insensitive). On the other hand, I feel like she’s such a brave person working full time while juggling this and it floors me, the strength of this woman. Am also feeling like I wish she hadn’t told me, because now that I know it sort of changes things between us. I also feel like I want to reach out and re-assure her – I keep composing and re-composing the text, but nothing I say feels quite right. Have we become chums just because she has shared this delicate and sad personal detail? At what stage is she in? Am I even allowed to ask? Yes, I am feeling and wondering about a lot of things.

Most of all, I am just happy for the lesson learnt; happy about my health and happy to be back here writing; when I should actually be at the bank, which closes in 14 minutes.

Love and peace,

Carole

Of friendly faces, places and People

29 Nov

Today I sat at Java Yaya Centre for over an hour, quite unplanned. I went in for a take away coffee, sat down to wait for it, and alas got chatted by a very charming Nigerian broda (hopefully he is not of those yahoo/wash wash ones; though he did sound quite cultured and intelligent). Shortly after he finished “toasting” me and left (I had by then given up on walking out with the coffee), a very lovely Ethiopian lady asked if she could sit with me and we chatted quite a bit on every conceivable topic (girlfriend at first sight lol), then later we were joined by her Swiss husband who coincidentally has worked in the same countries as me and we got to talking till I lost track of time. Long and short of it, I am having dinner with them before the year ends🙂


Looking back, last week I stayed at a hotel in Johannesburg and in a silly twist of events, I found myself in the hotel corridor on the 3rd floor in my night clothes sans shoes and phone (went to take out the room service tray, forgot to hold the door and as fate would have it I found myself locked out of my room much to my dismay and consternation – not to mention embarrassment). After a few minutes panic wondering how to go down to reception in such brief clothing and barefoot at that, I worked up the courage to knock on the next room’s door and request my neighbour to call down for me and ask them to send a new key card up (Lord please don’t let him be a perv – or think I have come to sell “services” lol). Alas! Lo and behold, a Kenyan answers the door and saved the day (I could tell straight away from his chida ya matamchi {intonation/accent} ). Turns out we actually come from the same town (Karatina) and even know the same people. Small world!! I ended up having dinner with he and his colleagues from Toyota Kenya and Uganda 2 nights later.🙂

I will not even mention the “elevator moment” I had a week before at my hotel in Cape Town, with the most lovely, elderly Kenyan-Asian gentleman whom I pleasantly found out lives at the end of my street here in Nairobi and who has invited me to dinner with his family  as soon as possible.

Notice a pattern??? Food!! Again.🙂🙂🙂

And many, many more chance meetings that I could mention in just the month of November, with all sorts of wonderful people in the most random places. 

This got me thinking, how will the world be in 2090? Will we still have these borders, really? In my Nairobi in 2013 am more likely to meet foreigners on a daily than Kenyans (apart from my old friends of course). And I meet just as many Kenyans out there too. Borders sort of fade out….. I lose the point here….but you get my drift…….

Or maybe I have a face that attracts foreigners? lol. 

Food for thought…… ION, I hope ya’ll have had an awesome year and are well into planning new territory to be conquered in 2014.

xoxo!!

Scandal, Scandalous????

12 Aug

 

“Fitz: What’s wrong?

Olivia: (exhales)

Fitz: You pace in circles when something’s wrong. When you’re just thinking it’s back and forth. When something’s wrong, circles.

Olivia: Did you need something, Mr. President?

Fitz: You know you used to sound sexy when you call me Mr. President. Now it sounds like I’m just a gym teacher.

Olivia: Did you need something, Mr. President?

Fitz: The Sally Hemings-Thomas Jefferson comment was below the belt.

Olivia: Because it’s so untrue?

Fitz: You’re playing the race card because I’m in love with you? Come on! Don’t belittle us. It’s insulting and beneath you and design to drive me away. I’m not going away.

Olivia: I don’t have to drive you away. You married and you have children. You’re the leader of the Free World. You are away by definition. You are away. You’re unavailable.

Fitz: So this is about Mellie?

Olivia: No, no, no! This is-

I smile at her and take off my clothes for you.

I wait for you. I watch for you. My whole life is you. I can’t breathe because I’m waiting for you. You own me, you control me, I belong to you…”
Fitz: You own me!

You control me.

I belong to you.

You think I don’t want to be a better man?

You think that I don’t want to dedicate myself to my marriage?

You don’t think I want to be honorable? To be the man you voted for? 
I love you. I’m in love with you. You’re the love of my life. 
My every feeling is controlled by the look on your face.

I can’t breathe without you. I can’t sleep without you.
I wait for you, I watch for you. I exist for you. If I could escape all of this and run away with you?

There’s no Sally and Thomas here. You’re nobody’s victim, Liv. I belong to you. We’re in this together.

One of my favourite scenes :-) 

I love, love Scandal and so does every woman I know. I religiously download the episodes off the net as I cannot wait till the entire season is packaged by my movie vendor.

The other day I was talking to a friend and a bunch of her friends and somehow the topic of series came up. With the kind of horrible weather we are experiencing in Nairobi, a lot of people are staying at home more under their trusty duvets drinking copious amounts of various beverages and more often than not watching series. Scandal came up in the discussion somehow and the excitement in the group was visible. EVERYONE HAD AN OPINION. Everyone perked up.

My ladies were so annoyed that Fitz was renewing his vows to Mellie, his wife. Who can’t tell that he doesn’t love her? She’s a bitch who does not deserve her husband. How dare he renew his commitment to the woman he vowed to stand by till death do them part? We shed tears for poor Olivia. Every woman in our little circle that day, married and unmarried, was safely rooted in Olivia Pope’s corner.

We are mesmerized by her. Her wit, her intelligence, her charm, her consuming powerful personality; the power and mystery she exudes. And that fashion sense!! OMG!! We want to raid her wardrobe. We want her body. We want her hair, with that sexy parting in the middle and flowy curls. We want our lower lip to quiver just like hers. Basically, we want to be her!

I literally get small cardiacs whenever an episode ends and cannot wait for the next one. I Google her outfits immediately after the show, sigh, to have all those Armani suits!!!

Why can’t Fitz just leave Mellie already?? Why? Isn’t Olivia worth it?

I am no exception. I am a true GLADIATOR. I die for the chemistry between Olivia Pope and Mr. President, Fitzgerald Grant. It’s palpable, electric, and almost tangible. So raw!! Theirs is crazy, dangerous love. I cross my fingers and fantasize about my man (to be). How I will wrap him around my little finger with wit, intelligence, mystery, beauty, style, personality and a quivering lower lip, a la Olivia Pope. I imagine how he will look at me across a crowded, power-packed room and make me shiver; make me feel like a real woman. I yearn for the power. I die for the danger, the sheer thrill of it.

For a minute (or longer), I forget what Olivia Pope is; the other woman. And Fitz; an adulterous husband.

Hard to hear, eh? It is what is, it is as simple and as plain as that.

In real life, we acknowledge that wrong is wrong and we cannot stand the other woman. We demonize these Mpango wa Kando (MWK) and cannot even stand to be in their company. In hushed tones we gossip and point them out of the crowd for their ratchet behavior. We do not see any good in them and neither do we make any effort to.

Now, not to burst anyone’s bubble, but what makes Olivia Pope so different? Isn’t she the woman bedding another woman’s husband, more so when the wife is pregnant? Isn’t she the bitch making out with a married man in the house he shares with his wife (White House) while his dutiful wife entertains their guests in the ball room? Isn’t she the stubborn whore who keeps disappearing into the woods with another woman’s husband? The one who smiles at the wife in her face while shagging her husband behind her back?

What message are the script writers of Scandal sending to the millions who religiously watch the series?

They intentionally and consistently portray the wife as a cold, calculating power whore to further alienate her from viewers’ loyalty and make her look like the bad guy. In all honesty, most of what she does is to protect her husband, so how does that make her evil?

It is shockingly appalling how easily we relax our moral standpoints when the person on the wrong is someone we like, perhaps a friend, a family member, a beloved celeb/star, etc.

We turn a blind eye when our friend is the other woman/man, yet we vilify those we do not know. We justify their actions and thank our lucky stars that the offense is not happening to us. In reality, your friend is breaking a marriage, someone’s marriage and causing pain to innocent lives.

What if we, as decent human beings, stood up for what is right regardless of who is involved? What if we held each other accountable to the standards we believe in?

P/S: I am not here to judge anyone. After all, we have already established my fanatical following of the show; I love a good story as much as the next woman and have been guilty of judging my friends with a different yardstick on numerous occasions. 

Stole my words

11 Jul

Pen. Blank page. Coffee.

Write

Write Carole, write.

Darn it! Write.

Blank intimidating stare. 

Two can do this. 

Pen down. Page closed. Coffee??

Such has been my hopeless, cat-got-my-pen state, month after month upon wordless month.

Words.

The only friend I have always been sure to rely on when all else failed me.

Words.

Previously, so effortless.

Almost taken for-granted.

Gone.

Refusing to be summoned back.

Taunting me.

Torturing my very soul.

Words.

W.O.R.D.S

Help me find my W.O.R.D.S

Love and peace,

Carole 

Sneak Preview: Words……

23 Jul

I plan on making a bigger post of this, as I have a lot to say on the subject and the effect it has had on my life. Especially so since I discovered how much power there is in words. As a long time wanna-be writer, I always recognized this. However a few years ago, I started to listen more to my mum, then got this boss and colleague who gave me a totally different dimension on the subject. I have a lot to say, but very limited time…. soon lovelies, soon.

If you can change your words, you can change your world – Joel Osteen.

I will leave you to ruminate on that….. happy week my lovelies🙂

What you do vs Who you are

14 Jul

A few months ago I we were having parenting month in church. I always attend the adult service and I was quite tempted to move to the youth service for a month. Then my soon-to-come brood of four jolted me back to the reality of how much I needed to hear this, if only to forearm myself. Never mind that I had not even found the father to the happy brood🙂, step of faith anyone? I guess it also helped that the church made it interesting by minimizing the preachy, theoretical part and bringing real life parents to discuss their experiences; the good, the bad, the ugly. And there was a lot of ugly. Needless to say, my number 4 is still weighing in the balance; number may have dropped to three. To be fair, I will not entirely blame the downward spiral of that number on the well-meaning folk at church, it could also be blamed on my friends who all think I must be out of my mind for wanting four children. They just don’t get it, especially the ones who already have a tot or two. Which makes me wonder, do they have a point? What am I missing? Am I being overly ambitious here??

Anyhow, parenting is not really what’s on my mind this morning. Rather it’s something I picked from a couple of the parents at church that has stayed with me for the last few months.

One thing that stood out for me as most of the ladies spoke is that many of them had left work for a couple of years in order to raise their children. In their respective families, they had all come to the conclusion that they wanted to be more involved in their children’s early development and thus one parent, in all these cases the ladies, had opted to stay at home to achieve this. Note that none of these ladies was coerced into leaving their jobs. Neither were they working boring, can-5pm-get-here-already jobs. These were fantastic, brilliant women making big contributions in the corporate and NGO world. However, they all felt a strong conviction to stay at home and make sure their kids learnt their most important foundation lesions from them, not from the nanny.

Sounds all very nice and noble, right up there with Mother Teresa right? Well this was until they started whining about everything that is wrong with being a stay at home mum. I exaggerate a little🙂 but after a while the sacrifice they had made started sounding losing its appeal.

Most of these ladies complained of how their social lives had changed because of their lack of an 8 to 5 engagement. They no longer got invited to some events. After all, what contribution can a stay at home housewife possibly make? When they did get invited to parties, all people asked for was a business card. It was like your pass to whether the conversation moves past “hello”. Most shared that at parties the first, at best, second question they get asked is, what do you do? To which they brightly and with pride in their voices reply, “Am a stay at home mum”. Immediately the reactions of people change. They start fidgeting, looking to the next person to talk to, who will have something ‘worthwhile’ to say. What could I possibly discuss with a housewife? What can she possibly tell my corporate, upwardly-mobile self? Very predictable. Two ladies actually admitted how much this affected their self esteem. They felt unwanted and worthless, people were defining them as such at every turn.😦

That first Sunday when I went home I was not a calm girl. I was in such internal turmoil. And I was inwardly apologizing and asking for forgiveness. I’d checked guilty in all the boxes.

Many times I had defined people by what was on their business cards. So if it read assistant anything I would move on to look for their boss. After all, si he has more to offer? No business card? It’s been nice meeting you. Stay at home mum? Like really, you don’t work? Oh ok, we’ll see you around. CEO? Oh such a pleasure to meet you, when can we do lunch?

And I judged myself. And judged some more. And felt like the worst person on earth. I kid you not, I really could not believe how utterly selfish I had been, how inconsiderate. Worse still, I cried because I knew without a shadow of doubt, that I am those women. Yes, I would leave my job to take care of my family if I could afford to do so (Digress – this revelation shocked me even as I thought about it, I have never thought I would stop working for anything, ever). I might become these women in a couple of years😦. And I will have no right to complain because I will be getting a double dose of what I have served many……

As if to further compound the lesson, Carole Mandi wrote an article along a similar grain a couple of months back. She talked of our need to associate with “important” people. We define people by what’s on their business card, the plaque on their tables, the title on their office doors, the car they drive, the neighborhood they live in, etc.

We never really want to know the person; we just want to know what they do. A typical conversation will not reach into its 3rd minute without someone asking, “so what do you do?”. If heaven forbid your “what-do-you-do” does not quite meet the other person’s expectations, the conversation quickly fizzles out and they move on to those that they feel are more worth their time.

What do you do?

Carole gave a fantastic example of lady who when faced with the ”what do you do” question always responds with, “at what time?”. Brilliant, right. Why so? Because as human beings we do so many things in our 24hours a day, why should we be defined by only one of them.

At any one point you are playing wife/husband, mummy/daddy, daughter/son, friend, lover, CEO/Salesperson/Engineer/whatever day job, counselor, student, neighbor etc. Why must you then be defined by something you only do for 8 hours? How can a human being’s worth be defined by 8hours of their day? Other than the 8 to 5, every other role is a full time job and will count for more at the end of the day. Jobs can be changed easily, but friends and family once hurt cannot be replaced just as easily.

So I guess what am trying to say is the last few months have really challenged me for the better. I am trying to see people, like really see them, not see what I’d like them to be or how they can help me move forward. In talking to different people I have learnt a lot, because everyone has something to offer. Am getting better at it, though sometimes it is very hard. Sometimes the bias comes subconsciously, and for that I am constantly praying for help from above, and trying to be more perceptive to what I can change.

A job is a good thing, but it should never be all that defines. Most importantly, it should not be the yardstick we use to measure people’s worth.

Love and peace my lovelies!!🙂

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