5 benefits of being close to your siblings

 

1. No one can call you out like a person that shared the same womb you came from. Your siblings have seen you at your worst and best while growing up so they usually know you a lot better than most people. When you think you’re untouchable, nobody brings you back down to earth better than a sibling calling you by a silly nickname that you had back in the day.
2. On the same note, your siblings usually know your true potential and can push you when you are second guessing yourself. My brothers and I gas each other up with compliments as quick as we are to make fun of each other. For example, we all know my younger brother has the best legs in the family, somehow I have the best brains, and my older brother just eludes a cool self-confidence that can only be countered by Idris Elba himself (I sometimes think they kind of look alike too but that’s just me).
3. They can be key players in choosing the person you spend the rest of your life with. Studies show that we usually model our desires in a partner based on our experiences with our family. So having to spend most of our lives with a sibling that sometimes gets on our nerves is actually good practice for the partner you’ll be spending the rest of your life with.
4. Entertainment! My younger brother is truly an entertainer and growing up with him definitely led to a lot of laughs from his pretty on-point impersonations and “inside jokes” type humor. For example, when we at the Essence Festival last weekend he saw a guy trying to hit on a girl and my brother immediately whispered “le soif” which is French for “the thirst”. This was an inside joke from way back when there was a thirsty guy at this Kenyan party we were at and we had to speak French so no one could understand us.
5. Lifelong side-kicks! No matter how deep I am in some mess, I always know that my brothers have my back and similarly I have theirs. I honestly couldn’t imagine life without my brothers and I pray that we may grow old together!

As a last thought, I have never known how it would be to have a sister as I am an only girl. But I am really not good at sharing so I am kind of glad it worked out that way. My mom looks young enough to be my sister and now I have a sister in love (not law, as we say in my household to describe marital family). I also have a little niece and based on my baby face I could probably pass as her sister too so I guess God knew what he was doing by only giving me brothers! 🙂 ❤

Taking Stock: June

home store pic
At Home Decor, June 2018

The last time I did a taking stock post was April which is a different season so it just makes sense to do one for the summer season we are now in.

Making: my bedroom prettier with each run to furniture and home décor stores. My bedroom theme is mainly black and white although my bedding colors are mainly dark blue and white. I totally revamped my room this year with new furniture, carpet, and bedding. I wouldn’t call myself an interior designer but I do know what I like. So far, I am happy with the look.

Eating: is not as healthy as it usually is. I blame this on the summer season because it inspires you to eat out a lot because who wants to be inside during good weather. My weakness is the Maui Wowie pizza from mellow mushroom which has jerk chicken, pesto, banana peppers and thick crust. I actually ate this pizza twice this week so pray for me y’all.

Drinking: Ice pops. Another summer weakness is flavored ice pops which I eat every day because they’re so good for calming down the body and brain (at least that’s how I justify my intake). Luckily the brand I like is only sold in the summer so this won’t be a yearlong thing.

Reading: I can’t make this up by Kevin Hart. I know he’s cheated both of his wives but my favorite non-fiction books to read are those written by comedians. After not being able to get Trevor Noah’s book at the library, I thought Kevin Hart’s book would suffice for now. So far it’s actually an interesting book.

Playing: lots of tennis. This week I played tennis three days for a total of 4 hours of play time. This week I discovered muscles I didn’t even know I had when I played an older lady (maybe 30-40 years older than me) and she whooped me which goes to show that tennis is a lifelong sport. However, the sunscreen I’ve been using is causing breakouts on my face so I am ditching it and trying Aveeno SPF 70. I hope this works.

Creating: memories with my family. My younger brother graduated in May and we’re happy that he’s now started his career. My little niece is getting smarter and bigger every day. We are all hoping that she’ll be left handed so she can be an undefeatable tennis play (and by we, I mean me haha).

Wishing: that everyone who is hurting in the world, may find peace within themselves and their greater purpose on this earth. There’s entirely too much loss and pain in this world.

Enjoying: discovering new music. I am a soundcloud type of girl and I credit most of my musical discoveries to the app. Yesterday, I discovered a new Indian artist known as Pav Dharia and I am so excited to listen to his full album.

Liking: positive energy. It’s always refreshing to meet people who have great vibes and resonate with your wavelength. I am happy to have found some of these people.

Wondering: what to wear today to a dinner my family has been invited to by a fellow Kenyan. I am thinking an African dress at the moment.

Loving: my current work life balance. I am blessed to have a job where I am not constantly stressed every day and to be able to have the time to enjoy life outside of work (i.e. tennis, vacation, and free weekends).

Hoping: my friends in Kenya are able to get me a book by a Kenyan author (namely Drunk by Jackson Biko).

Marveling: at how time is flying by. I can’t believe half the year is almost over. So much can happen in a day let alone 6 months. I am happy that so far, this year has been promising.

Wearing: my night gown because my official night clothes have either been bought for me by my mom are or “borrowed” from my mom.

Noticing: that romantic love does have seven stages: Stage 1: Appreciation. Stage 2: Infatuation.     Stage 3: Attraction. Stage 4: Impression. Stage 5: Conviction. Stage 6: Reaffirmation. Stage 7:         Commitment. I noticed this from watching an Indian movie, Dil Se, last night which draws from     the seven stages of love in its story.

Knowing: that life is full of ebb and flows (up and downs) which is what makes the experience so interesting. As Forrest Gump would say, “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”

Thinking: that music is the spice of life. It truly makes life more enjoyable, more bearable, more relatable.

Feeling: at peace. Namaste fellow readers. May peace be with you. 🙂 ❤

5 reasons why travel is so important

mom and dad
Mom and Dad, 1987

I would like to preface this post by saying that if it wasn’t for travel, I wouldn’t exist. My parents are both from different parts of Kenya and if my dad never traveled for a work assignment to my mom’s area, then my father would not be Mr. Wangondu. On this glorious fathers’ day, I am grateful that Mr. Wangondu is my dad as I call him and I thank him 100x for making that first move to travel to Ukambani and that second move of choosing my mom as his wife. So without further ado, this back story leads me to my first point.

  1. Travel can be important, not only in finding love but also in assessing it. My father and mother as pictured in the photo above took a trip to visit a long lost uncle during their first year of dating. As my dad tells the story of this treacherous trip of not knowing exactly where they were going, he makes sure to emphasize that the trip established that my mother was the woman for him. The way someone handles being in a different place and a long journey can tell you a lot about them. As such, it is important to take trips with your potential mates.
  2. It gives you a wider view of nature. The world is an oyster as they say and so you have to travel in order to see the full picture of this oyster. There are so many wonders of the world, some famous and others non-discovered. For example, visiting a world wonder like the Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa was such an exhilarating experience as it made me realize that mother nature has so many curves and crevices. Like really mother nature’s body is like woah when you really think about it (Cue Maya’s- my love is like wo).
  3. It allows you to experience the diversity and similarity of humanity. If you travel throughout the world, there will be of course so many new faces and things to see. Through this diversity of others, you will probably also notice what makes us similar. For example, I brought samosas to work the other day and one of my co-workers mentioned that it’s so interesting that all cultures have some sort of meat filled pastries (i.e. burritos, wontons, pizza bites, samosas, etc). I had never thought about that but I definitely have to agree as when I was in South Africa, I noticed that they also eat corn meal dishes like Sima in East Africa and like Grits in the U.S.A.
  4. It inspires you with new ideas. If you think about all the historical travel figures such as Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo, and Mansa Musa, there was a trade of not just items but also of ideas between their countries and the lands they traveled to (not found since that would insinuate that they were lost). Similarly, when you travel you learn about different foods, fashions, and language while also sharing the same with the people who interact with you.
  5. This may vary but travel can also to lead to higher spirituality or appreciation of life. First of all, being able to travel is a physical and financial blessing as everyone is not able to do so. I am definitely a water sign because something about being closer to water really relaxes me. This might happen to everyone but I also sleep like a baby after spending the day swimming in the ocean. The best part of traveling is discovering what lights up your soul, for some it is nature while for others it may be tall buildings or even other humans. The only way to know is, yeah you guessed it, travel.

I wish you all the best in your current and future travels. As my brother likes to say, may the people say that you veni, vidi, vici (came, saw, and conquered- in a non Columbus type of way). 🙂 ❤

5 reasons why I love the South

Beach with kayla
Beach with Kayla, June 2018
  1. We have great beaches here. Hello Gulf coast of Mexico! Despite BP trying to ruin our shine with an oil spill, we cleaned that up and our water is pretty clean in most places. Also our beaches are sandy not rocky like beaches in other places. We’re not California but we still have some pretty great waves for surfing plus our water is pretty warm in the summer.
  2.  Food like cheesy grits, corn bread, and spicy crawfish! I’ve never seen people eating crawfish anywhere else but in the south. And I am not sure I would even want to because other places butcher southern food. This brings me to my next point: Iced tea.
  3. I’ve had Iced tea up north and it tastes like the person who made it doesn’t know love. Because why else would you make sweet Iced tea that isn’t actually sweet. To anyone reading this that makes Iced tea the northern way (putting sugar after the tea is cooked, stop!). Sweet Iced tea becomes sweet by putting sugar when the tea is boiling so the sugar can actually melt! It’s not rocket science by any means.
  4. Most people are actually sweet just like our tea. People in the neighborhood will actually say hello to you without even knowing you. Older people also love using the words “sweetheart” and “baby” to refer to younger people. Obviously there are also people who might be racist but to be honest those people are everywhere, not just in the south.
  5. The easy going vibe as we don’t like to rush people. Up north, the New York minute is said to be 50 seconds. In that case, the southern minute is probably a good 120 seconds. Cause best believe you’re not going to walk up into a counter and be rude to the attendant. Most southern people are raised better than that which you can tell by the way refer to their elders as m’am and sir.

If you are southerner, please share what you love most about the south.   If you’re not, please make it a point to visit this land of fried chicken and collard greens one day! 🙂 ❤

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. 🙂  ❤

5 things the royal wedding (Harry + Meghan) taught me

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May 2018

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t watch the full royal wedding ceremony mainly because I love my sleep. It was all over by the time I woke up yesterday but I definitely kept up with the course of events via instagram and twitter (twitter is my happy place by the way). I think the most interesting part about the royal wedding is not the ceremony but more so the love story between Meghan and Harry. Their love story has taught me a lot and I’ve decided to share the 5 main things that have stuck with me about this beautiful union of interracial, intercontinental, and intersectional love.

 

  1. Meghan is a divorcee and yet she still managed to find a man who loves her enough to break customary tradition. Imagine how she probably felt after the failure of her first marriage, just hoping that it wasn’t too late to find love again. Then not only does she find love but love with odds against her. Then despite these odds, Harry still chooses her. Ladies and gentleman, I am surprised a meteor hasn’t come crashing to earth yet because this story is so wild and beyond my imagination. The point from this is you should never allow someone to tell you that they can’t be with you because of their family or because of their title, career, etc. If someone wants you, they’ll move heaven and earth to be with you.
  2. You should never beat yourself up over a failed relationship, marriage, etc. I am sure walking away from her first marriage was not easy for Meghan. A lot of people are seeking inspiration from her relationship with Harry. However, there’s a deeper message from her first relationship. The message to me is that you should never settle for less than what you desire and what you deserve. Somewhere deep in Meghan’s heart, she knew that her first husband was not fulfilling her life in the way she wanted and instead of settling for complacency, she stepped out to look for something better. That hope is something we can all believe in (sorry for stealing your tag line, Obama). During most of my break-ups, it’s always because I realize that I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with said person. I am sure Meghan wishes she had realized that before marrying her first husband but it’s better late than never. So don’t settle for less. Look for the person who sets your heart on fire and makes you feel down right amazing.
  3. True love always comes on time. This is something my dad actually taught me. If you the love that has come to you is not fitting into your life and seems to have come at the wrong time, it’s not true love. True love comes when your heart and life is ready to experience it. If this fairy tale love had come earlier for Meghan (let’s say in her 20s), she probably would have never been fulfilled in her acting career because she would have been forced to give that up to be part of British royalty. So yes she’s 36 years old and this love is just on time. She’s not the only woman who was in her mid-thirties and unmarried. Best believe, she won’t be the last. So if some of us are destined for the same, don’t curse your life. Don’t hurry love, you never know what destiny has in store for you (hopefully a prince lol).
  4. Be true to yourself. Even if you are marrying a prince, your life is still yours. If you want to walk down the aisle in a simple wedding dress and bare minimum makeup, do you baby. While the world was watching and expected extravagance, Meghan chose to stick to her own personal style. That in itself was a pretty bold move despite the simplicity of her look. Also note, that Harry still looked at her like she was wearing a decadent Victoria secret fantasy lingerie set. I guess you can amp this up by wearing a potato sack to your wedding and seeing if your man looks at you the same (haha I am just joking). But anyway, moral of the story is be unapologetically you.
  5. Lastly, love knows no rules and no boundaries. There’s an African proverb that says “If you stay where you were born, you’ll end up marrying your cousin.” I paraphrased this quote but essentially it means, you should always look for new experiences, new places to see, and new people to meet. If you network very well, you have a higher probability of meeting possible suitors. As you all probably know, Meghan and Harry met through being set up on a blind date by a mutual friend (that friend is the real MVP by the way). Through new experiences, Meghan is now living across the pond with a prince as the Duchess of Sussex. Cue God’s plan for the millionth time.

And with that, I’ll leave you with a final quote shared during the wedding ceremony. 🙂 ❤

If humanity ever captures the energy of love, it will be the second time in history that we have discovered fire.”  – Bishop Michael Curry

5 things my niece has taught me about motherhood

Mwende drawing
My niece and I , February 2018
  1. Children know how to read vibes. This is especially true about my niece who doesn’t allow just anyone to hold her. She has to get to know you first and see you around several times before becoming comfortable around you.
  2. True happiness is seeing a child squeal with excitement upon you walking through the door. My niece and I sometimes do this squealing match where I make a sound and she matches it with the same or even more excitement.
  3. Seeing a child sick is the most saddening thing to watch. Whether the child is coughing or high with fever, you just hope that what you do is enough to make her feel better. This is especially true when the child is not old enough to talk to communicate how she feels.
  4. When you fall down in life, clean yourself up and get back up again. My niece rounds around all day and falls on the ground at least once a day. Even if she cries, she’ll still be up and running within a few minutes. I hope she keeps this same energy throughout the years.
  5. Love is the greatest thing you could ever give someone. Throughout her few years of life, I am given my niece several gifts but i’ve noticed that the gift she enjoys the most is my presence. When I don’t see her for a while, I feel guilty. When I leave her without spending a lot of time with her, I can somehow see disappointment in her eyes. So now I make it a point to see her at least three times a week since she lives so close to me.

Why my brother’s graduation means so much to me

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Stephen’s Graduation May 2018

            Words cannot express how grateful I am to God for bringing my family so far through the ups and downs of life. When we achieve such great things as a graduation, we realize even more that the downs of life are worth it. I don’t regard myself as a preacher in any way but sometimes you come to realize that your life is a testimony of grace, patience, perseverance, and blessings. My younger brother graduated yesterday with an engineering degree which did not come easy. Late nights studying, sometimes having to hire tutors, working part time, and consulting other engineering graduates were all part of the hustle. But one thing I admire about my little brother (who looks much older than me) is that he never complains through it all. Whining is a word that is not in his vocabulary.

            The greatest thing I admire about my brother is his ability to network. Put him in a room of people and two things will probably happen: 1. He’ll realize he already knows somebody in the room and 2. He’ll end up making several new connections. His namesake Stephen Juma Mawia (our maternal grandfather) was a politician so I think he got this trait from him. Despite this ability to make new friends, Stephen always keeps his day 1 friends close and knows the difference between a friend vs an acquaintance. Simply stated Stephen is an emotionally intelligent person.

            As much as I am applauded for my intellect especially in terms of achieving a doctor of pharmacy degree, my younger brother is much more emotionally intelligent than I am. Some people are born with a warm soul and I believe Stephen is one of them. I pray that he may maintain his good nature and young spirit through the ups and downs that face him in his life. As I will look to him as my inspiration to be a better person. 🙂 ❤

The male perspective on dating ft  5 comments from male readers

 

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April 2018

So I learn a lot from my readers, especially my male readers who are quick to tell me what the male perspective is on certain topics such as cheating, marriage, and dating in general. As such, this blog has been due for a while now. I admit that I didn’t write it up sooner because I couldn’t figure out how to not water down the words of my male readers. Well, the lightbulb went off today and decided to share their words in the raw form. Word for word. No filters. I share my thoughts underneath the quotes so you can get my perspective but this post is not about me. It’s about the men. So without further ado, here are the top 5 comments about dating from my male readers.

  1. “Yeah women do take advantage of nice men but at the end of the day it’s them who lose. The guy might be damaged for some time but we always pick up the threads.”
  • I agree with this sentiment that nice guys may finish last but they actually win the race.
  1. “The thought that someone you trust with your life can be so casual with your heart is not something I’d wish on anybody but unfortunately that’s the world we’re living in hence, the need to protect oneself.”
  • The first relationship advice that my dad gave me was “don’t give your heart to anyone.” In my opinion, I don’t give my heart easily but I can sometimes rush in to love like a fool so it’s definitely smart to not wear your heart on your sleeve when it comes to dating.
  1. “Most females actually have their guards on. It’s like they don’t trust no matter how a guy tries due to past relationships.”
  • I think a lot of guys complain about this but you must understand the quote “once bitten, twice shy.” We would be fools not to protect ourselves after being hurt. However, ladies please don’t build a Great Wall of China around your heart. Maybe a little fence might do.
  1. “I think Kenyans we get confused here in the U.S. We love our own but yet we act like we are trying to rediscover each other.”
  • The guy who made this comment has proposed that we need a forum of Kenyan women vs men in the diaspora when it comes to dating. If you’re in support of such a forum, please comment below and propose which city this should be held.
  1. “The older, I get, the more I realize how corrupt the institution of marriage has become especially in 2018. I’m yet to see a happily married couple. I think after the initial excitement is over, people just tolerate each other.”
  • The man that shared this perspective went on to say that he has been in “numerous relationships some of which would’ve ended up in marriage”. Also, he recognizes that his “feelings are subject to change” as he is “still evolving”.

Thank you reading. As always, the comment section is open for further thoughts. 🙂 ❤