4 things learned from Charlamagne’s Black Privilege book

I have to say that I mainly read Charlamgne Tha God’s book (Black Privilege) because of the hype. I am not an avid listener of the radio show The Breakfast Club which he co-hosts. I will admit that the few times that I have watched it, he does appear to have a “no bets are off” approach to interviewing people. This is pretty bold considering that he has previously been fired from radio a record number of FOUR times. So this guy has been told “we do not need your services anymore” four times and he still sticks to his radical radio host approach. Now he is even on TV and is one of the most recognizable radio personalities in the U.S.A. Well, he must be doing something right especially considering that at the age of 18 he had already been arrested twice for being involved in drug dealing. Yes, this autobiography is truly that and you’ll come to find out that CThaGod actually has a lot of depth in his thinking and his personality. Here are the four main lessons I learned from the book:
1. Be honest and real to everyone, including yourself. If there is anything that CThaGod is known for is his raw and unfiltered candor towards everybody. This guy calls everybody out from Kanye to Jay Z without a second thought. In an industry filled with YES-men, CThaGod chooses to be the breath of fresh air that gives it to you straight. People will always be apprehensive of criticism but those who are interested in personal growth, usually appreciate it.
2. Connect to your inner God. In his book CthaGod explains that he has been influenced by a Nation of Islam group known as the Five Percenters. This group believes that we are all gods as God lives in all of us. As such, we should all have the ability to tap into our inner strength and wisdom to align ourselves to our true purpose. CthaGod credits this alignment with his inner God to his success and therefore, we must not neglect our spirituality when seeking worldly success.
3. Work for free if you have to in order to get the experience you need for your dream job. CThaGod started as an intern on a radio show in South Carolina and worked his way up to a weekend radio jock. He then got fired from that which eventually led him to work for the Wendy Williams radio show. Since the Wendy radio was just starting out, they were not able to pay CThaGod and he was fine with it due to the invaluable experience he gained from the opportunity. If you haven’t noticed, Wendy also follows the “I am going to ask tough questions” policy as that is ultimately what listeners want to hear. Infact, CThaGod states that Wendy told him that there are two options in radio: a) represent the industry by being nice to artists or b) represent the people (listeners) by digging deep in the questions. Clearly this non-paid experience paid off in the end.
4. Opportunity comes to those who create it. The title of CThaGod’s book is Black Privilege and it is a bit of an over statement (is that a word?). Essentially what he is trying to argue is that everyone has their own privilege which can be as simple as having two legs and two hands. Yes, there might be people with more privilege than you whether due to race, class, gender, etc but you can use your unique privilege to get where you want to in life. In my opinion, CThaGod’s privilege is that he was able to gain fans through his uncanny ability to say what others would shy away from saying. As such, he comes to the table with a loyal fan base that will probably continue to grow over time as long as he stays true to himself.

In my opinion, this book provides hope despite what our current circumstances may be as hard work and opportunity is the classic recipe for success. Thanks for reading 😃❤

The duality of human existence: more than just black and white

 

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May 2018

In the event of Kanye West saying “slavery was a choice” and people we looked up to such as Morgan Freeman being accused of sexual harassment, we have to acknowledge the duality of human existence. A person can be a great musician, actor, co-worker etc but still be a less than perfect human. When we revere people to the extent of unrealistic adoration, we are bound to be disappointed because no one can ever live up to such expectations.

In the words of Tupac, “ a role is something people play and a model is something people make. Both of those things are fake.” I think it’s okay to have a role model for a specific facet of their life but not for their entire being. For example, we can admire Michael Jackson for his work ethic but not for his other life choices. We can admire Kevin Hart for his humor but not for his infidelity. When we realize that people are more complex than what we see with our eyes, we allow them to make their choices and have their peace.

I was watching an interview of Keke Palmer on the Breakfast Club radio show. Let me just say Keke is able to dissect being human so well for a person who is just 24 years old. In the interview, she discusses going through depression and growing up in the limelight. Her most interesting discussion for me is when she recalls the first time that her parents fell short of her expectations. She wasn’t trying to throw her parents under the bus. She was simply making the point that everyone is bound to disappoint us at one point or another. However, the greatest disappointment is when our parents first let us down. It’s not until that we are adults that we are realize that our parents are just human and were trying to do their best when raising us.

So to drive the point home, It’s important to recognize the complexity of human nature. It’s important not to harbor hate or judgment towards someone because of his or her life decisions. Everyone is going through life without a road map just like you. Nobody is perfect, including you, so don’t expect perfection (even from yourself). This post feels like a TED talk or therapy session, I’ve been avoiding writing this one for a while but I am glad that it finally came together in my head.

As always, thanks for reading. 🙂  ❤

Taking Stock – April 2018

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March 2018

This lip liner by P.S. in the color wine goes with me everywhere  I go and I imagine it will be a part of my makeup collection for the rest of my life. It’s been a while since my last “taking stock” ; So here goes another one.

Making: my room more of what I’ve always wanted. My new bedroom set comes with two 6 drawer dressers and a leather headboard on the bed. I’ve never really put a lot of effort into decorating my bedroom before so I think it’s about time to do so since eventually I might have to decorate a home (cue Drake’s God’s plan). 

Eating: Just ate some tacos for lunch as fuel for the preparation of Easter dinner with the family. I was actually impressed by the tacos at Moe’s Southwest Grill (fun fact: my older brother actually used to work there in high school).

Drinking: water. I try to drink at least a liter of water everyday so that’s my beverage of choice 99% of the time. It’s good for your skin and helps with digestion so get on that H20

Reading: a business book that my brother lent me called The Compounding Effect by Darren Hardy.

Playing: God’s plan by Drake as well as The Weeknd’s new album. I am also a fanatic for soundcloud afrobeats mixes especially for workout music. 

Creating: memories with family as always. My niece just started walking last month and watching her grow is still a blessing each and every day.

Wishing: that everyone has a happy and safe Easter holiday.

Enjoying: working evening shift. Any one who knows me knows that I am not a morning person. At my new job I was hired to be evening shift but I had to be training on morning shift.  The transition to evening shift has been wonderful for me and my sleep in lifestyle.

Liking: This gel nailpolish I bought. I am not allowed to have manicured hands at work since I have to make intravenous fluids from time to time and nail polish harbors bacteria. However, I am able to have pedicured feet so I bought nail polish for that purpose.

Wondering: when I should schedule my next massage. I have a monthly massage membership since I have a bad back and so far it has been money well spent. Massages have other benefits like decreasing stress and anxiety so definitely consider including it in your life.

Loving: new shoes that I bought from Public Desire (an online store based in the UK) and some from lolashoetique (based in California). If you like platform heeled shoes, UK stores are definitely the place to buy them (yes these shoes are like 5 inches tall but very comfortable).

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Hoping: that I will get to travel some for vacation by the end of the year, both locally and internationally.

Marvelling: at how fast this year is flying by. 2018 has been good to me so far. I hope the blessings may continue.

Wearing: a dress that my sister-in-law gave me. I love dresses that don’t require ironing and this is one of them so I am happy to have it.

Noticing: that there’s something powerful about writing stuff down. I’ve journaled quite a bit this year and it’s like therapy to me so I plan to maintain that practice.

Knowing: that there’s always a bigger plan. Life is about the journey, not the destination. Furthermore, Wins and losses are all part of the journey. You can’t always win and you won’t always lose so don’t stress too hard about life.

Thinking: that we should cherish people when they’re with us as being together forever is not always guaranteed. Whether those people are work mates, friends, family, or even teachers, we should make it our duty to be our best selves for each other and especially for our own selves.

Feeling: liberated that I am right where I want to be right now in my life. At peace and truly grateful.   Thank you for reading. 🙂 ❤ 

Happiness in marriage ft Will Smith

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2014 South Africa

I recently saw a video of Will Smith explaining how he and his wife were reflecting on the revelations they discovered about love during their marriage. The main revelation that Will shared is that he and Jada realized that your spouse cannot be responsible for your own happiness. He continues to share that someone can make you laugh or make you feel good but no one can make you feel happy. Happiness is one’s responsibility. The minute you place that responsibility on someone else is when you set yourself up for failure.

Will Smith even claimed that the concept that two people become one during marriage is a fallacy. As Frida Kahlo would say, you are the subject you know best so you are best suited to meet your needs. You are on your own journey while your spouse is on theirs. Your role should be supportive like a cheerleader and less of a “parental role”. I think this is why a lot of people complain later in life that they gave up their dreams for their spouse. If you’re trying to be one then merging both of your goals, desires, and interests is not going to be seamless. If you let your partner pursue their goals while you also do the same, there will probably be more success and less resentment in the relationship.

Lastly, Will stated that when you both you and your partner come to each other as full cups already fulfilled with your happiness then the relationship is more fruitful. I’ve noticed over the years in my parent’s marriage that when they both have their hobbies and time to themselves, they are a lot happier with each other. So yes I think Will and Jada are onto something. Maybe that’s why they’ve also aged so well. Low stress and happy marriage probably does equate with better aging so I will be taking this message to heart. If you’re interested in watching the clip of Will Smith discussing this topic, please see the link below. 🙂 ❤

 

Physical Attraction: why does it matter?

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February 2018

Physical attraction. It’s a primal instinct that is embedded in our DNA. Some women like myself prefer tall men cause they make us feel protected while some men prefer women who have more cushion because they are seemingly more ripe for childbirth. Despite our evolution from hunter gatherers to smart phone users, physical attraction still remains as a primal need in relationships and our social interactions. The question is: does physical attraction really matter?

In my humble opinion and from my observations, the answer is yes. If you’re not physically attracted to someone, you are 95% less likely to take them seriously as a potential partner (hence the friend zone). This phenomenon makes us shallow as humans but what we forgot is that us humans are also animals. In the animal kingdom, there’s a lot that goes into attracting a suitor (mating calls, feather arrangement, scent etc). Similarly, a person’s voice, scent, and dress also factor into our attraction to them. I don’t think this is anything to be ashamed of. if anything, we should embrace our senses in terms of how they can help us end up with the right mate.

The flip side of the coin is that as much as we have to be aware of the physical, logic should always trump primal instinct. For example, if a woman looks like Beyoncé but has the intelligence of a 5th grade drop-out, then your logic should inform you that such a match will not survive the test of time. Similarly, women who pick men based on how much money he has are setting themselves up for a lonely marriage because those dollar bills won’t keep you warm at night.

Simply stated, your head (eyes included) and your heart should be in agreement at the partner that you select. As I’ve probably stated  before, I believe that love is a choice so please make the right choice for your whole self.

FYI: I have now organized the journal part of this blog into four sections: dating & relationships, lifestyle, music, lessons learned, and school. I hope this makes your readership easier 🙂 ❤

What is love?

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Guka Ndogo’s valentine’s day feature – 2005, Kenya

This coming Wednesday is Valentine’s Day which is one of the highly debated holidays in our society. Some say its a capitalist exploit of love. Others say it’s the only holiday that celebrates romantic love. Most critics usually claim that they show their love to their partner 365 days a year and therefore, Valentine’s day is unnecessary. I think my stance is probably a mix of both. I don’t think Valentine’s day is that important but neither are some of the other holidays we have (Columbus day) yet we still choose to observe them. Either way, the most important thing on Valentine’s day and any other day is to understand what love is as well as what love is not. Therefore, I have come up with 10 personal descriptions of what love is to me.

  1. Love is when my dad clipped my shoe laces in high school because i was lazy and refused to tie my shoe laces when they came untied.
  2. Love is when my mom wakes up at the crack of dawn when we’re hosting parties so she can make all the amazing food that we love.
  3. Love is when my little brother gives me the biggest teddy bear hugs just because.
  4. Love is when my older brother made sure i had spending money in high school.
  5. Love is when my sister in law gifts me all her nice clothes that she no longer wears.
  6. Love is when my baby niece screams with excitement when she sees me after a long time apart.
  7. Love is when my grandfather’s brother (Guka Ndogo) took care of his wife for 40+ years when she went blind. Despite being 95+ years, he died only after his wife passed away. Their renewal of vows on their 50th wedding anniversary was actually featured in the Daily Nation, Kenya’s premier newspaper.
  8. Love is when my best friend would give me numerous car rides in high school when I didn’t have a car. Also, I can never forget that she’s attending 95% of my family’s graduations.
  9. Love is when I take myself out to get a massage and take time out to treat myself.
  10. Love is when I put my heart and soul into writing a blog post that touches someone’s life. On that note, I love all the feedback I get from those who read my blog.

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s day whether you celebrate it or not! 🙂 ❤

The perils of dating after college

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College Halloween 2012

They say that college is the last place where you’ll have as many opportunities to meet your future mate. So clearly this presents a challenge for those of us who are still single after college. Leaving an atmosphere where there are lots of people available to mix and mingle definitely makes dating after college a lot of harder. Last year I wrote a post about why I don’t really like dating apps like Tinder but this year I can actually say that dating apps can be really useful depending on how you use them. My main grievance on dating apps is that they seem to rush people into getting into a relationship without knowing the person really well. However, after using a dating app known as Bumble that empowers women by requiring women to message the guy first, my mentality has changed (fyi, you can also use bumble to meet people for friendship and not for dating). So let me breakdown my strategy on how you can overcome the struggles of dating after college.

  1. Become more involved in your community. Whether that means joining a volunteer group, church, or whatever tickles your fancy, please do yourself a favor and get out there. You can’t meet anyone while locked up in your house.
  2. Don’t be afraid to make the first move. If you like someone, ask for their number and invite them to hang out sometime. If I am trying to make friends, I usually invite people to play tennis with me. Playing a sport is a great way to know someone and how they deal with frustrations, wins, losses, etc. Also, it definitely helps your heart health lol.
  3. Have an idea of what you’re looking for. Before I started using Bumble and put myself out there to date people, I sat down and typed up a list on my phone detailing what qualities my partner MUST have and qualities I am willing to compromise on. For example, one of my must haves is “a sense of humor” and a quality I am willing to compromise on is height (don’t get me wrong, I like giraffe height just like the next girl but that’s now what makes someone a good person).
  4.  Employ the theory of multi-marketing in your dating life. Multi-marketing is what a lot of self-employment scams are made of: basically, you sell a product to your family and friends while also trying to get them to join you in selling the same product. The person who actually owns the product gets a lot more out of it than the person who is selling it. So my friend, meet people and allow other people to take notice of you (the product in this case). The more people you engage with, the better chance you have that you’ll get a customer. So don’t stick to one potential mate in the beginning stages of dating. Date at least two people at one time (if you can handle it) so that you’re not so disappointed when it doesn’t work out with one of them. If you can’t date multiple people at once, at least try to have other options.
  5. Work on yourself if you are not finding what you’re looking for. I got this tip from a friend and I think it’s a great tip that also goes along with some awesome advice from my father. My father believes that it is better for things to fall into your plate at the right time. Just like a meal starts with an appetizer, entree, and finishes of with a dessert so does your life. So it is better to have your dessert when your ready. In this case, relationships are like desserts so take your time finding the right partner for you. Never rush into things just because you feel lonely. Focus on yourself and practice self- love no matter whether you’re single or taken.

Well, that’s all folks! I wish you all the best in finding and creating love in your life. ❤ 🙂

 

The American Dream: Is America really the land of milk and honey?

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Mother’s day 2015

Having lived in the U.S. for almost 16 years now has been an enlightening experience. The expectations vs reality phenomenon is really real. To break it down for you, I’ll list 5 things my family expected when we were coming to America and the actual reality that we faced.

  1. We all expected to have a better life in the U.S. In fact, the reason my parents made the decision to move was so that my brothers and I could have more opportunities. However, I can undeniably say that my first year in the U.S. was one of the worst years of my life. I would cry myself to sleep every night because I wanted to go back to Kenya. The home that we lived in while in Kenya was far bigger than the house we ended up in while living most of our years in the U.S. (It’s about the same now expect we had a huge backyard in Kenya due to building our house above our family farm). I can’t say that life in the U.S. is better (maybe a little easier because of a lot more technology).
  2. Many people outside of America think that it’s so easy to make money in the U.S. This perception is especially true in so called “third world countries” (I never liked this label but it sounds much better as compared to what Trump said about the S*** countries.” The truth is the unemployment rate in these countries, including Kenya, is very high and therefore, it’s not as easy to get a job. So yes there are more opportunities to make money but what they don’t tell is that the cost of living in the U.S. is high as well. Therefore, my parents who had great careers in Kenya, my dad as the principal of a high school and my mom as a teacher had to work 2 jobs when they came to America just to make ends meet.
  3. One of the opportunities my parents really wanted for my brothers and I is better education. I wouldn’t say that the education system in the U.S. is better because you get a better education based on your income and where you live (this rings true in Kenya as well). However, I will say there are way more scholarships and financial aid opportunities in the U.S. so it’s much easier for someone to get higher education here than in other countries. My parents were able to get both a bachelors and masters within 10 years of living here which greatly improved their job opportunities. In Kenya, more education doesn’t necessary guarantee more jobs due to corruption and few jobs.
  4. My parent’s greatest fear was that my brothers and I would lose our culture. I can’t say that this happened but we did lose some language skills in term of the tribal languages that we used to speak. We all still speak some Swahili so at least we have that. In terms of culture, we all still love Kenyan food, music, and keep up with the news. We also go back at least every 3 to 4 years so Kenya will always be a part of our lives.
  5. The last expectation is something that I’ll have to wait some years to find out. We all expect to retire in Kenya someday but it seems with every passing year we’re even more rooted in the U.S. In fact, we’ve become so used to the way of life in the U.S. that we sometimes get frustrated about how some things are run in Kenya. However, east or west, home is best (and in our hearts, Kenya will always be home).

I hope this breakdown helps those who want to come to America and are not sure what to expect or the Americans who wonder how others perceive their country. 🙂 ❤

Job application, interview, and working tips

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Bachelors Graduation 2016

The biggest months for hiring in the U.S.A are January and February (according to Google and general knowledge). I personally just started a new job in January and I can attest to this. After going through many interviews and receiving a handful of offers, I feel as though I can provide a bit of insight on this process. So I will breakup this post into three parts: resume, interview and job training tips.

Resume:

  • Use more active than passive verbs in describing your experiences i.e. “coordinated” sounds better than “assisted”
  • Don’t make it too long. A good way to fine tune it is to remove experiences that don’t relate to the job. For example my first job was as a waitress at a smoothie café but I never include that in my resumes now cause I have way more relevant experience for my field.
  • Include some cool stuff that differentiates you like scholarships or awards you may have won. If you do any volunteering, it can be nice to include that so the interviewer or hiring manager can get to know you better.
  • Most important: get someone else to read it for grammatical errors because typos are a no-no. If you don’t have someone, you can use online platforms like Ziprecruiter, which not only helps you find jobs but also give you resume tips that are specific to you.

Interview:

  • Make sure to read the job description!!!!! If you know exactly what the job expects and is looking for then you’ll be able to come up with very good questions to ask at the interview. You’ll also seem very aware of what the job is asking for and interviewers get very excited about that.
  • Get some Intel from someone who already works there or at a similar job. You’ll be able to learn some of the lingo from them and also learn about the work culture of the place so you can make a more informed decision about whether you want the job or not.
  • Try to remember the names of everyone who interviews you so you can send a thank you email for the interview that mentions the names of those who interviewed you.
  • Know your resume very well so if they ask you a question about your experience, you can expound on the points you put on your resume.
  • Also, don’t assume the interviewers will print copies of your resume so plan to bring at least 3 copies of your resume with you to the interview.

Job Training:

  • Bring a small note pad and a pen at all times so that you can write stuff down that you’ll probably not remember otherwise.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s better to ask them during job training than to ask them later and look like you weren’t paying attention when you were being trained.
  • Try to learn everyone’s names. I am so bad at names; I had to write them all down in my notepad during my first week at my job.
  • Dress to impress. Don’t participate in casual Friday until you’ve worked there for a while so you don’t go overboard. Also this is a time you’re getting introduced to a lot of people, so you always want to look professional.

Thank you for reading. I hope all these tips help you in your job search or starting process. Good luck! J ❤

INCEPTION

-originally written on June 2, 2011

So on MAY 17, 2011 I graduated from HIGH SCHOOL which means I am officially college bound. Ironically it was also my father’s 50th birthday but that was unfortunately overshadowed by my milestone. On the upside, he never remembers his birthday anyway and he still looks like he’s 40 which means I am destined to age slowly (crossing my fingers for no wrinkles since gray hairs do not run in my family). That’s right forget the crap about embracing age and the nature that comes with it (poor eyesight, aching bones, foggy memory etc), i want to be youthful or semi-youthful forever!

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Northeastern University, Boston, MA

Anyway, let’s get back on topic and away from my fear of aging, So in 3 months since school here opens in September, I will be an American campus girl ( allusion to savvy’s Kenyan campus girl which inspired me to start this blog). I am excited to move from Alabama which is not a very vibrant place to Boston which is one of the most lively places in the U.S.  I’ll be attending Northeastern University to study Pharmacy and they have an awesome program that will enable me to become a Doctor of Pharmacy in six years. So can you imagine that, me as a 24 yr old girl ehem woman/lady that will be referred to as Dr.Mercy! I am beyond excited, not so much because of the title “DOCTOR”,  but because of the lifestyle and the flexibility that a pharmacy career offers. I want to first assure you that I am not a GOLD DIGGER but alluding to this phrase that i have recently coined “there’s nothing wrong with being a gold digger if you are digging your OWN gold”.

Either way, like everyone else in this world, I have a dream (MLK voice) where I live without the worry of money. I am not saying I want to be Oprah or Donald Trump rich…I just want to be comfortable. In the U.S. as a single person it is possible to live comfortably on 30K considering you have a normal apartment etc. The starting salary of a pharmacist is between 75-79K and the median salary is 100K which means that this dream will essentially be reality if all goes well. Bring a husband and kids in the picture and a picturesque house and Voila!, that’s the so-called American Dream that you have possibly heard of. Of course kids will come later since by my standard 24 is too young to start a family i am leaning on earliest at 26 and latest at 28. That gives me 2-4 years to settle down, “figure myself out”, and most importantly enjoy my dwindling YOUTH. Also, just so you don’t think I am a self-centered selfish person which isn’t 100% wrong, I plan to come to work with the WHO (World Health Organization) or Doctors Without Borders to facilitate medicine in developing nations. Haven’t worked out how i will do it but I do know that in order to do so, I think I should work in some pharmaceutical development company and somehow guilt them into giving out some of their samples to people in need in developing nations whether it be TYLENOL or some Anti-biotics. Anyway don’t be frightened into thinking that, à la “The Gardener ” (google movie for reference), experimental medicine will be distributed to these poor people as a ploy to use them as guinea pigs. I think the transparency will be the key in making a sustainable impact to the disenfranchised communities that I want to help. I’m all about sustainability in terms of outreach as exemplified by philanthropists such as Bill Gates (who I really look up to, like the rest of the world).

Anyway, this is the most challenging part of my dream because it doesn’t rest solely on my abilities.

the American Dream

After starting a family and raising my kids to the best of my abilities, I plan to retire at the age of 50 or 55 despite the fact that the retirement age in the U.S. is 65. Following my retirement, I plan to return to Kenya and live somewhere nice, maybe Westlands or Nyahururu and maybe try to get a position in the Ministry of Health that actively aims to help people or just start a chain of Pharmacy clinics in Kenya.

Either way something inside me tells me I am destined for greatness and to produce great change…so if Kenya’s government has not gotten its crap together by say 2040 then I with the help of the disillusioned Kenyan masses want to start a revolution where we demand honesty and accountability from the government instead of sitting in front of our TVs and taking whatever they throw at us with our 4 o’clock tea. In essence, I just want to be a part of something that gives back to the country that I owe my entire existence to. I love KENYA and I want nothing but the BEST for it.

So my fellow readers and Kenyans, I apologize for indulging you in 5 paragraphs all about ME although i am guessing that’s what I usually do so in that case Thank You for indulging in 5 paragraphs about my hopes and dreams. I wish you all the best in your dreams and future. And in 50 years I hope to come back and tell you all that everything worked out perfectly despite life’s unending surprises. In the meantime, what are your dreams, and have you achieved them? If not, how do you plan to do so?