Monday, September 21, 2020

Embracing Vulnerability: Conversations with friends vs conversations with family and welcoming the un chat.

I think I like the way cats just move I to your life and settle in like they were there all along. A cat has moved into my life and now he treats me like I'm the annoying roommate who finishes all the food before the other gets home.
I have named him Cherries Long. Because he is quite a long breed and his eyes are bright and playful. When a cat moves into your life. He doesn't waste time with long introductions. He comes in, looks around and decides 'oh, I like it here. I think I'll stay.' A cat doesn't bring baggage. He comes with the clothes on his back and begins a new life with you. A cat does not ask if you have had other cats before and if you are still attached to them.

He is happy to be here with you now.

A cat doesn't need constant reassuarance, that yes, un chat, you are the best cat I ever had and your cuddles are the best I've ever had and yes I think of my other un chats but you are here now and you bring me comfort.
I assure you, this is all about cats. But it got me thinking about the different types of relationships I have. I love the kind of relationships I have with about five of my close friends. The kind of conversations we can have. We are past that game playing stage where -you didn't reply my text last week so I will ignore your whatsapp- Our conversations start when they do and end when they do. They are random Unconditional And honest. My biggest regret is that in the busy business of growing up, I didn't develop this kind of relationship with my family. Yes we talk and laugh and lift each when lifting is needed, but there lacks that essential trueness that I have come to grow into with the friends I have now. I'll talk about it more on the blog. What I mean is apart from how is work and have you eaten and the weather, there is nothing else to talk about. If I was interested in politics or the Nairobi Stock Exchange, maybe. I was, when I wrote financial articles. But the interest started and ended with the printing of each monthly article. I guess if I had given it a shot I may have managed to get my family to talk about feelings. I donno, I am too sentimental and this was not even about my family. I'm thinking of Katie Melua's lyrics 'But the moments we create always seem to ring more true.'

It is a decision.

You decide the rhythm you want your family to have. You decide the kind of conversations you want to keep having with your hexagonal of your friends. It is about the safe space that you develop to allow thoughts, dreams, daydreams and nightmares to be pocked at and be understood. And somehow I believe it's possible. When we embrace vulnerability. I believe I have scared off quite a few potential friends and mates when I started to talk about immortality vs mortality, the futility of a master brain in a seven decade lifesspan and similar topics that many don't want to venture into but what is the purpose of the brain of not to test its limits in safe enough theories. One day I will have a family and I guess my idea is. If I am to have children, I want them to ask me questions and disagree with me and If I am to have a spouse I want him to tell me no you are off But I love you so get off your high chair and fetch me a cup of something. I am constantly craving feedback. No adulation or praise or even a pat on the back. I mean,

I like engagement.

I like to know that you get me. And of you are not getting me I need you to seek clarification. From me. Because I have often been misunderstood. And for that I come off as awkward and disjointed. But here we are in 2020 and I have a clan that totally gets me. So I'm grateful for that.

Layers of me

And as I continue to peel off more layers and layers of me. I believe I may have a chance to stand infront of me completely true. Unencumbered and unhidired by bright my own or the society's expectations of a woman. With less fear With less shame With less regrets With less angst With more freedom.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Your Shallow and Incomplete Guide to cooking food

For people who live alone or with cats and are tired. Man so tired of reheating that ugali from two nights ago which won't get finished. 




So ati my love language is food.
One friend told me.
And another confirmed that, "yeah it's true Cecilia you are into food."
So I asked if that made me a foodie.
"Well, yeah, yes and no.
It's like, in your house you express love by giving food to people.
But in other people's houses then, you kinda expect love to be expressed in the same way."
Really?
Gosh. I might be tiresome.
But it's true yes.
If I love you I want you to try this and that and when you finish would you like to try some of these sweet potato cookies I made? They are really good.

If I pack you a meal it's typically a love letter, if I pack you a meal with drinks just call it a proposal. I'll be home wringing my hands wondering will he say yes?
And I am also a healthy diet freak so it all comes together quite, hippie style.

I went to the posho meal. Because when Tata was asking what I needed from home I mentioned how about some wheat?

We grow wheat, where I come from.

Endarasha really is the promised land and if you are looking for a plot to plant onions  hit me up I can hook you up. You will soon be supplying onions to all Samosa street vendors and even to The Mayura, if you have the right connections.

This is a quick one. 
Baking powder chapatis with veg stew.
The chapati recipe is mine,  Davies The Chef gave me the recipe for the stew. His didn't have the option of a whole jug of water. But you know how it is. How would I be a whole Gathoni if I dared serve food without gathufu.

HOW TO MAKE BAKING POWDER CHAPATIS




You need:

2 cups of brown milled wheat flour 
1Table spoon baking powder
half a tea spoon salt
Half a cup warm water
You may add sugar if you like.
Mix with a spoon. 
See, you don't even have to touch it.
Then mix evenly with a wooden spoon.
Spread a tablespoon of oil on the dough and keep kneeding with the spoon.
Cover it and leave it for an hour or so.

Roll into thick chapati shapes.
Cook over a thick pan, little oil


Here is the stew recipe


                                                         



Wednesday, September 9, 2020

A trip with a couple friends: A cure for wretchedness.




I could see the confusion in the receptionist's face.
She was wondering:

Okay, this man doesn't look old enough to be a polygamist.
And if we argued this was their child, this woman doesn't look old enough to have birthed this grown up child.
Even if she came into the marriage with the child, it wouldn't be this big.
And even so, why would they bring their child on honey moon?
Or maybe she is driving them and going away?
Ai, no. Mimi sielewi, let me wait and see because I don't understand.

That was the soliloquy that went through her head.

I walked over to the pool, it was a decent enough pool. Medium in size.
I hate those tiny pools where you cannot do five wraps without hitting your wrists on the opposite walls.
They make me feel claustrophobic . 
I don't like very large swimming pools either. Unless I will be with someone all the time. Whenever I get to the deep end I feel so sure there is a whale lurking under the dark water ready to bite off my stomach.

This would do.
I would swim under the stars.
There was no mistaking that the cottage on the left was what was reserved for the couple on honey moon.
It had a big heart-shaped flower wreath of red and purple bougainvillaea.

This was going to be very interesting.

I went into the reception and Godi was just informing them yes, I would be staying the week as well. Yes I was their friend.  
No it was not their honeymoon.


And so we walked to the cottage, to find quite blush inducing bed.

We walked over to what would be my room. Nice.

'I should replicate this for my house.' 
I was thinking while 
the room steward came running and apologised and said she would also prep my bed. We went to look over at the kitchen and when I got back to my room my bed had the most beautiful model of swans made out of towels.

Three months earlier Maria had said they had a gift for me, I thought hmm...maybe lunch?

My cousin bro had died a few weeks before, I was still in heavy fog mentally wondering what had just happened and could  someone smart please explain to me in Kenyan English what was going on.

Also,my contract job had ended and I was wondering how I would continue to manage my volunteer work at the sign language department.

There were other subplots in my life as well.

So finally the day came for the trip to Diani.
It coincided with my last week at the Department. I at least had a distraction, else I'd really have crawled into a hole to die.
Feeling my purpose was over.

I was at first wondering how this would turn out. What would we talk about, how would we spend whole days together? The three of us. But by the second day I was wondering why this was not a one month arrangement. It was like being with my close family.
Cooking together, talking and walking on the beach together.

And when we went swimming I could be free because hey, there were two people who would come looking for me.
But most of all was that the wretchedness I had been feeling started to disappear.

And when Maria sang to me one evening.

I really felt awful for not paying attention to people more, you know?

Flash forward to a few months later when my bottom really felt out for real and here we are discussing postmoterm and other unpleasant things with my aunt's and uncles and who comes trouping in to our Umoja house.

Godi and Maria and Ayler and Liz and Swaleh and another couple from TZ And Rosemary and I can't remember who else because I have tears in my eyes.
It's probably 10.pm and we are singing -life without end at last- and they are now singing -precious daughter, he will be there for you, he will care for you- and Ayler is talking and reading something from the Bible and Swaleh says a prayer.
And I stop mid flight. 
I've been running.
Since the day they told me my mother's body was on it's way to outspan in a hearse, I've been running, running as fast as I can. I donno to what destination. I'm just running as fast as I can. I'm screaming too. At the top of my voice and I'm kicking the ground as I ran because I'm angry and I'm scared. And All I want to do is run away.

This is a story of thankgiving.




For these to lovies who held me up when my spine gave in.

And for the lessons I've learned from my own experiences.

That when someone is falling into abyss, you don't walk away. you grab a rope and go down with them, because after a while they will stop and start climbing up, and going back is a lonely journey. But not so painful when there's someone's voice in that darkness.

I'm thankful for those that didn't disappear.
Those who called even when they didn't know what to say.
Thos who gave me things when words were missing
and texts.

If Jehovah had not come to my rescue, I'd surely have ceased to exist.

Psalms94:17 If Jehovah had not been my helper,
I would soon have perished

But now oh Jehovah, I'm constantly with you. You have taken hold of my right hand.

Efficiency, why we must learn to be.

 There are no schools that you will sign up to to learn how to be efficient. Most will teach you a profession or a skill and it's up to ...