A Place of No Return

My Commentary on the Book Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking affected me so deeply that the words to express it seem insufficient. I will do my best to explain. Didion writes, “grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it”. She continues by saying that we anticipate death and we expect that when it comes, we will be melancholic. We however fail to see past the few days following a death. We think only of the loss in the moment it occurs and the ritualistic events that follow like the gathering of guests at the home, and the funeral. Didion suggests the mourning and grieving process after the demise of a loved one does not follow the ideals we have bought into. You do not necessarily mourn their death, then grieve for a month or so as you gradually heal. We are incapable of imagining or understanding wholly, “the unending absence that follows”, “the void” when we lose those dearest to us.

The Year of Magical ThinkingAt the risk of revealing too much of myself and altering Didion’s work as I apply her memoir to my life, I will share a personal experience. Until 2018 I had been fortunate in my adult life not to experience the loss of a close family member or friend. I specify adult life because there were deaths in my childhood, but I was too young to make sense of them.

Continue reading “A Place of No Return”

Nice Guy Syndrome?

A Self-professed Nice Guy Grappling With Self Image

I have subconsciously constructed an identity around the belief of my niceness. It is the only quality that made me feel exceptional with any consistency. Sometimes, I feel exceptionally clever. This perception doesn’t usually survive daily interactions. Sometimes, and this is rare, I feel exceptionally funny. The very next attempt at a joke will almost always bring me back down to earth. Feeling exceptionally nice, however, has proved a very tricky perception to shake.

Continue reading “Nice Guy Syndrome?”

Love, 6-feet Apart

Hello ladies and gentlemen! I hope you are all doing well despite the current state of things. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing my mother who has been kind enough to write the following article for us. She is Meg or Maggie. She was born and raised in Kenya then raised us ‘young ones’ there for a while. She moved to Winnipeg, a city she has come to love. She loves the outdoors ‘even in winter’. Becoming a writer is one of the things in her bucket list. ~Enjoy the read, Valerie. 

Successful businessmen and women say there is an opportunity in everything. When the Market is up. When the Market is down. We have all heard the adage ‘there is a silver line to every cloud’. This is what I decided to adopt for this season of enforced home stay during the Covid19 pandemic. But I am getting ahead of myself.

When the lock down commenced, the first few days were exhilarating. It was the impromptu holiday I always wanted. I could sleep in, watch videos till all hours of night, eat whenever and whatever I wanted. That was back when we could still run to the store as often as we wished :). Well that lasted for about three days. Continue reading “Love, 6-feet Apart”

Home is Where We Are

When I was a child, my father worked for the land arm of the Kenya Defence Forces. As a military member, he was relocated to different parts of the country every few years. This meant that there was never one specific place I called home. Continue reading “Home is Where We Are”

Budgeting As a People Pleaser

Over the weekend I went to a cabin in riding mountain, Manitoba. It was fantastic.

My family, along with some of our family friends made plans for this trip and travelled together for the weekend. We planned on having dinner at the cabin, going to a concert and having a bonfire later that night. Then going to Clear Lake for the day the following morning. Continue reading “Budgeting As a People Pleaser”

Birthday Month, A Day from Hell & Banking Fees

February is my birthday month. I’m turning 30 in nine days people. I’m so excited. I’ve been on this earth for three whole decades and yet there’s still so much to learn. When I was kid I remember looking at adults and thinking ‘must be nice to know and have everything’. Ha! Little did I know. Continue reading “Birthday Month, A Day from Hell & Banking Fees”

The Fisherman’s Gift

A long time ago when I was maybe six or seven years old  an old toothless neighbour passed by our house on his way home from an evening of fishing at a nearby river. He often passed by to say hello to my father who was his tribesman. Onyango was not concerned about his appearance. His clothes were often tattered as if to represent the passing of time. On his feet he wore akala sandals made from old car tires. Continue reading “The Fisherman’s Gift”

Mothers Are a Gift

The past couple of weeks I haven’t written anything because burnout. I am working two jobs, day and night. So yeah. But I doubt you’re interested in hearing all about that. That’s my problem, not yours. Here goes a little something…

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Many years ago there lived a girl in a small little neighbourhood in Nairobi, the capital City of Kenya. We will call her Trish.

Trish was a lovely happy little girl. At the time she must have been about nine or ten years old. She longed to play with her friends after school although her mother was quick to reprimand her for roaming about the neighbourhood. Continue reading “Mothers Are a Gift”

Don’t Feel, Calculate and Other Sunday Thoughts

womenThe other day I was talking to one of my closest friends, I call him my voice of reason. I was ranting, actually. I was not happy about how some things turned out. I was also afraid of what was going to happen. I told him that I had a potential solution to the problem. When he asked me why I thought my solution would help I said that I kept feeling like my current situation was contributing to the issue. He then said three very simple words to me.

‘Stop feeling. Calculate.’ Continue reading “Don’t Feel, Calculate and Other Sunday Thoughts”

The Getaway: South Coast, Kenya

The Much Needed Getaway

If you have been following my blog you know I recently went on a vacation to the Leopard Beach Resort in South Coast Kenya. It is one of the best resorts in Africa having been awarded the Africa’s Leading Spa Resort in 2013, 2014 and 2016 and Africa’s Leading Family Resort in 2016 and 2017 among other awards. It was an amazing experience.

Yoast SEO: View of Indian Ocean. Vacation in South Coast, Kenya.
The Indian Ocean, South Coast Kenya.

Continue reading “The Getaway: South Coast, Kenya”

The Dating Game: When He’s Three Times Her Senior

a twenty-something year old dating a man probably in his sixties

There is a couple on my flight that just saddens my soul. The man is at least three times her senior. Why a young lady of nothing over the age of twenty-three would be dating an old white man, possibly in his sixties, is completely beyond me.

While I was visiting South Coast, Kenya, my driver once said, ‘hawa wazee wanachukuwa wasichana wetu wote’ (these old men are taking all our girls) -as if there is a gun to these ladies’ heads.  Continue reading “The Dating Game: When He’s Three Times Her Senior”

Tranquility in South Coast, Kenya

I’m currently on a letting-go-vacation at Leopard Beach Resort in South Coast, Kenya. With work, family and friends everything was moving way too fast for a while there.  I needed everything to stop moving so I could have a moment to reflect.
Cottages at South Coast
Between December and January I experienced two very major life changes. Continue reading “Tranquility in South Coast, Kenya”

The Ebb and Flow of Sisterhood Strength

The card simply said “Tea for Solidarity”. It was an invitation to something about solidarity and there was going to be tea.

The card simply said “Tea for Solidarity”. It was an invitation to something about solidarity and there was going to be tea. That is all the information I had walking into the gymnasium where the event was being held. There were women everywhere. Just women, dressed to the nines.
Long rectangular tables were arranged into three rows. The tables were dressed in white table clothes and cutlery. On the back wall was a long dinning table covered in all manner of pastries; desserts and fruits (I suppose fruit is dessert too). The end of the table was lined with several jugs of colourful punch. On the wall adjacent to the entrance was a smaller table with many flasks of fancy tea. I didn’t really know what the event was but I had come to the right place with my sweet tooth and my undying love for tea. I was glad to be there.

Continue reading “The Ebb and Flow of Sisterhood Strength”

Goog at the Bridge Drive Inn

GoogGoog: An upside down blueberry shake with a hot fudge sundae and bananas topped with whipped cream.

Goog was the reason I traveled halfway across town yesterday evening after work. It did not disappoint. The delicious concoction was totally worth that journey.  Good Continue reading “Goog at the Bridge Drive Inn”

Risky Business

goodgrief
Earlier this evening it rained briefly when I got home from work. Thank heavens for the perfect timing as I was not dressed to deal with the rain at all. The brief downpour was followed by a five minute power outage which took me almost three minutes to figure out. At the time I had just powered my laptop and was waiting for my browser to let me onto WordPress so I could read the writings of others when my screen displayed a ‘you are not connected to the internet’ error message. Of course I assumed this was some kind of mistake so I reloaded the page. As you can imagine the same message was displayed on my screen and this time it appeared annoyingly faster than my initial attempt. I closed the browser and fired it up again convinced that whatever  was going on should have now fixed itself. Alas! Continue reading “Risky Business”

A Kindhearted Stranger Apologizes for The Acts of Another

A Kindhearted Stranger

We were on our way home after a long day at the office. We animatedly discussed the day’s accomplishments among other trivial things. As we hastily walked across the parking lot and towards the arcade, we were completely oblivious to the happenings around us.  I reached out to open the arcade door and suddenly noticed a young man standing right in front of the door from the inner side. Almost as if he was plastered to the glass door. I did not want to bother him or much less to walk into him. I moved to the next door and let myself and my friend in.

“He is probably waiting for his ride or someone”, I thought.

I could not have been more wrong.  Continue reading “A Kindhearted Stranger Apologizes for The Acts of Another”

At The Train Station

I’m standing right in front of a speeding train. As it swiftly zooms away I briefly catch a glimpse of the passengers through the windows. Some are talking, others laughing or sleeping while others seem to be far away in thought. At the train station, some travelers are walking in all directions, others yelling their goodbyes while waving hysterically at the departing train. Noises of sadness and joy can be heard from all around me. Some travelers are hugging and crying, saying their goodbyes. Others are finally reuniting. I see a couple dashing towards each other with laughter and tears in their eyes. Two older ladies seem to be sharing a year long hug. Business travelers are hastily walking to meetings. At the corner against the wall a rugged man is playing “Redemption Song” on his guitar and singing at the top of his voice. His guitar case is wide open on the floor by his feet. In my mind’s eye, the year replays itself.

Photo Credits: Quirkytravelinfo Instagram
Photo Credits: Quirkytravelinfo Instagram

Continue reading “At The Train Station”

Hey Winterpeg! How Can We Embrace this Winter?

Winterpeg: I went to class in the fall and three hours later I walked out into winter.
Winterpeg: I went to class in the fall and three hours later I walked out into winter.

At 9PM yesterday I was finally done for the day. It had been an extremely long day for me. I desperately wanted, more than anything in the world, to get into bed and float away to blissful dreamland. I had been up for nearly two days. Well, with perhaps an hour of sleep here, another hour there, but mostly awake, working and studying. My assignment was submitted, my test was done and work was long over, finally a light at the end of the tunnel. I grabbed my expensive Ivanka purse (ahem! the Jang’o in me-Jang’o is my tribe that Kenyan’s believe to be very self-absorbed and shallow, which I might be, to some extent) and headed for the door, almost at the speed of light. Who knows how long that door would remain open? As far as I know University of Winnipeg has never locked students in the building against their will, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I had a date with my bed and nothing was getting in the way of that. With the hugest smile a sleep deprived bloodshot eyed human could manage, I pushed against the door freeing myself for the journey home.
The sudden gush Continue reading “Hey Winterpeg! How Can We Embrace this Winter?”