Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Dear God: 2016 a Year in Review!



Dear God

Thank you for 2016!

Thank you for all the lessons learnt this year.

In 2016 I made it a habit to start my prayers with gratitude because I got tired of  negative talk taking up too much time and energy in our daily chats. I learnt about the power of my words. Thank you for the battles you fought that I didn’t see, the fires you put out that I witnessed, and the gifts you gave that were especially for me. This time you didn’t have to spiritually pinch my ears because I wasn’t being too stubborn to listen. Amen for periods of growth.  Maybe that is one of the greatest things about being human. We can change, we can grow internally. We can become a better self.
Taken from Goodreads
 
I made a vision board at the beginning of this year! I put a lot of inspirational quotes and lists of things I wanted to do. I didn’t achieve EVERYTHING maybe like 50% but it give me direction. I have achieved quite a lot this year, even though it wasn’t on the vision board. I consider those part of the gifts you gave me this year. I think I might be moving towards organizing myself, my life, my present and my future… I am that women that I always used to read about in books who’s taking charge of her life!  But I don’t want to say it out loud in case I frighten myself right back into chaos and the scary unknown again.

As you know, I prayed a lot this year. Towards the beginning of 2015, my Aunty brought a prayer warrior to the house just for me. At first I was like ‘WHAT!?!’, but you can’t tell Ugandan aunties ‘No, Thank you.’, especially when she thinks your life is spiraling, so I told this soldier of God’s army all my ‘challenges’ and ‘my hopes’ for the future, as my aunty sat behind her and nodded encouragingly at me. The prayer warrior rolled out her mat, positioned her cross and bible, lit some candles and cried out to you on my behalf. I must admit it’s kind of special having someone lament and pray for you. I have to say I felt a little relived afterwards. When she was done the prayer warrior gave me a list of psalms to commit to saying everyday. I have stuck to it as best as can, I would give myself 80% pass rate this year and 100% for effort made to communicate with you. Although, I did talk to you every day, there were just some days I missed out on the serious ritual of prayer. I kept a regular schedule of morning and evening prayers when possible, there were also those random silent prayers at work and in the car on the way home and don’t forget those quiet moments in the garden. those were helpful!
Taken from Goodreads
 

Through prayer sessions, I practiced forcing myself to let go. First I would pray to you. Then, I’d ask you for help or an answer. Lastly, I would let go and wait. This is something I need to take into all my relationships; to say what I have to say and not feel responsible for someone’s response.  God, you’ve  playfully thrown answers back at me in some strange wonderful ways. From songs on the radio, to people bringing the answer into random conversations, and books coming my way. I think you have also conveniently used google as way to stalk your people and communicate with them. I know I have seen it in action. You are an interesting one God…

In 2016 I  took time to seize fruitful opportunities, by meeting new people, attending events and continue with my writing. I went to Sipi falls by myself here’s the blog post, I attended writing workshops, again here are some of blog posts, I even met Doreen, the author of Tropical Fish here’s the blog post.  I finished my Goodreads book challenge in fact I doubled it from 6 to 12 books. I am back in the reading game! I met Sumayya Lee. Her book ‘The Story of Maya’ is one of my favorite books this year. It was such a welcome surprise of a book, nothing like I had expected. I also met Michelle Wrong and she signed my book!  The Writivism festival was one of my favourite experiences this year. I took my Aunty to  the one woman play starring Maimouna Jallow, inspired by the book ‘Secret Life of Baba Segi’s Wives’; We could not stop laughing. I watched a great play written by Aganza Kisaka  called 'Black'. But the ultimate experience this year was the Writing Retreat.

As much as I can I have tried to blog. Atleast every month I have blogged. In January, I collected stories from women around me. Here they are. They were inspired by me reaching the third decade in my life. I felt I needed to define myself and take full control of the reigns. I am not leaving my life to fate anymore. I shall create the life I want as best as can.



By the way I wore a bikini for the first time ever! YASSSSSSSS…girl. I shall keep buying more for future holidays, baecations and the upcoming honeymoon…
This was the year I almost owned an iphone, but it was stolen…wamp….wamp…
As always I am grateful for friends and family the amount of venting I have done on my life story this year, and the amount of reassuring they have provided. Lord please continue to listen to their prayers and bless them for their patience. Don’t forget to bless me for my patience too! Cause there were days when I needed the strength to listen and wisdom to handle them gently too!

Taken from Goodreads
 
More symbolic of the journey I have taken this year is the new dress I had made this month. One of my Aunties gave me some fabric years ago and my unorganised self kept it stashed away. This year I finally decided it must be turned into something! My Cousin sewed it together but before she did, she took time to ask me what I wanted. I told her right down to the last detail and she produced exactly what I asked for.  I came home and found the delivery on my bed. I feel like I was entering 2017 complete. I chose something for myself which was good. This is big for me because it means I can trust myself again. I can chose well for myself.

I think I am more confident in who I am. I know what I would like do or achieve in this life, and I am comfortable with what I am not and probably won’t achieve. This means that my prayers will not be wayward and confused, and as I have written so many times on this blog in my letters to you, I shall go down the path  you are revealing. I have a post-it note by my desk with my personal development training goals for 2017. All of them are connected to being creative or atleast exploring creativity.
Also let’s discuss this whole dating thing. Now there’s an area that surely needs the revisit of the prayer warrior. You are the God who moves mountains… you parted the red sea!!! Explain the possible minuscule hiccup with my dating life then please !?! Surely you can ensure 2017 is full of good dates with possible husband material? I guess we will continue this conversation in the new year...

 So here’s to 2017!

 
Cause the Maria that is showing up is really COOL! I like her. She’s not perfect but she’ll definitely do for now. Where have you been hiding her? She shall be making more appearances in the coming years that’s for sure!

And finally…..Lord,

I ask for wisdom, guidance, protection, love, attention, presence and all that you think is necessary for me, my family and my friends in 2017

My prayer is that you continue to work in people’s lives, most especially when they call. I pray that you work in ways that they can see and understand your presence, and that  they can also enjoy growing in their relationship with you as I have this year.

Lot’sa love
Maria XOXO
 
Here I come 2017!
 

 

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Are We Taking Phone Theft in Uganda Seriously?



I don’t know about you, but shs50.3million is a lot of money to me! Christmas is looming. Tis’ the season of  landlords/landladies tormenting their tenants, debts and bills needing to be paid, children needing to be fed, wives needing a reason to stop nagging, relatives starting to demand, and mistresses needing to be kept quiet. With that in mind, it becomes quite discernible to see why financially-vulnerable individuals are turning into professional phone thieves given the levels of unemployment. It’s an easy side job to maintain that doesn’t require an ‘education’. One need only google phone theft to see that it is growing into a lucrative ‘illegal’ industry all over the world.  If a phone can’t work in the country it was stolen in, it’s simply shipped across the borders and sold to a willing customer. In January 2016 the numbers increased, 104 cases of phone theft were recorded in Kampala. Luckily shs7.5 million worth of phones were recovered and 34 cases actually made it to court. Wouldn't it be useful to enforce legislation that makes it extremely troublesome for stolen phones to enter the market? I think high end brands like Apple are moving towards that….
 
Holiday Season makes us vulnerable to theft..
 
According to Uganda Communications Commission, Twenty three million people in Uganda are mobile phone users, six million of those users have smart phones. Our phones enable us to virtually coordinate our personal and professional lives effortlessly. It’s totally changed the way we work because now our employers know we are available 24/7. I know I am not the only person, who’s developed a peculiar attachment to my phone. We record moments in our day on our phones through pictures, audio recordings and videos. Cleverly designed apps connect us to more gadgets, a tablet, a laptop even security cameras in our homes. Whether we like to admit it or not some of us have become brand snobs, because the type of phone we have defines our status in society.  We’d all prefer an iPhone, Samsung or HTC if we can afford it. Some of us haven’t even purchased a car or a small piece of land, but we would never be caught dead with specific brands, our dead body would miraculously chuck the phone out of the coffin if they buried us with it. I won’t name names though; the point I am trying to make is we invest in our phones, on some level they are valuable to us. Our lives are stored on our smart phones. Heck, Mark Zuckerburg has been developing personal assistant with Morgan Freeman’s voice, which coincidently can be run from a phone!?

And yes some would argue that smart phones are becoming more accessible to people of different purchasing power, it’s no longer reserved for the elite few.  Select brands are making affordable smart phones sold at shs300,000 or more. However not everyone can afford one….. so people steal. I guess it’s important to note that some thieves are not stealing because they want a smart phone, but more to acquire the money they get from selling the phone to a dealer, which is probably pennies compared to the original price of the phone.

This brings me to the point of this blog post, last week my phones were stolen. My main phone was stolen from right under my pillow!  

The man who stole my phone had been hired to paint our house over the last two months. Unbeknownst to me, he was given the perfect opportunity to paint my room while I was away for work in Karamoja. During that time, I suspect he went through all my things and learnt that the sliding door in my room was broken.

My second night home back from Karamoja, I woke up in the middle of the night to find a dark figure in my bedroom clutching a phone. He took it from under my pillow! Yes from under my pillow while I was lying on it!? I thought I was dreaming; it’s an extremely rare occurrence to find a man in my room with my phone, so it took a while for my mind to process the visual.  I quietly stood up on the opposite end from him, because the stories of thieves hacking people to death in their homes was now flashing through my mind. What if he had a big panga, or a knife? Should I scream? How many men did he bring into my room? Have they penetrated the whole house? From the dim light of the outside security lights peeping through the net curtains covering the windows, I could see the panic on his face. He appeared unsure of what to do next. So I used this odd juncture to scream loudly. He darted out the open sliding door, ran across the balcony and then he jumped. Fortunately, the security light helped me catch enough of a glimpse to identify the painter, I ran to the bedroom door and called out for my father, who was already making his way up the stairs having heard my screams.

“There was a man, a Man, A MAN in my ROOOOOOM!” I shrieked

My Father had his torch, he reached the balcony and called for the policeman. By now a mixture of angst and rage was churning in my stomach because I had recognised the man. I knew for sure it was the painter. I had watched this man sheepishly work around the house and thought nothing of him. He rarely spoke and when he did he really took his time to comprehend what would appear to be a simple question and then respond, so I assumed he had a speech impediment. He’s eyes with natural slits in the corners, didn’t match is dark brown skin or his small statue. He always sat on chair in the garage like a lost little boy swinging his short legs. He looked like he’d had a difficult childhood. He was always fumbling and fidgeting with the paint brush. All warning sides I ignored. I figured my father knew best. I am now kicking myself for not ensuring that door was fixed. All the phones in room were gone including a box of change and an personal security alarm I kept on my desk.  My father and the policeman agreed to call the Officer in Charge(OC) in the morning.

At 9.30pm a policeman arrived on the OC's behalf , I took him through the whole episode I showed him the abnormally small footprints on the balcony covered in cut grass. He took a picture with his smart phone.  And then low and behold the idiot painter turned up at 10.00 am clean shaven and dressed for work.

Idiot of all Idiots.

He’d already gotten away with phones. What the hell was he doing back?

I pointed right at him and told the policeman

“That is the man! That is THE MAN!”

He unexcitedly looked from the piece of paper from which he was writing my statement and told me he would arrest him after taking our statements.

“Madam, he thinks that he has gotten away with it, don’t worry we shall arrest him.” He reassured me.

 My father rushed to secure the house so that the painter could not leave the premises .Eventually after taking our statements the policeman still with the same calm composure made his way outside, told his colleague to get out of the car and collect the painter, then they drove to the police station. They kept him for 48 hours. But before they put him in the cell, they offered him the chance to give back the phones. He refused. His ‘wife’ called my father multiple times begging for him to be released. But it was in the Police’s hands now. (The man is going to enjoy his Christmas based on the money he made off my phones. BahumBUG!!!! I hope karma intervenes on my behalf. )

I wasn’t a fan of registering my sim card when they started the process. Was it two years ago? But I MUST tell you it’s the best thing that has ever happened, because I recovered all my data including the contacts. I also kept my old number. I’d be surprised if my phones are recovered, and my case is most likely not going to make it to court because I don’t have  the receipts, so apparently I can’t prove that the phones were mine and therefore I have been advised that the judge will throw the case out of court.Yap, it will be thrown out court even though I can identify the thief and caught the desperate fool in the act. I have also learned that even if  you lock your phone there is a ton of free technology online that will allow the thief to remove the sim card and unlock it.

It’s three days to Christmas and I am hearing more and more incidents of theft occurring. We need to be careful they say. But can’t we just take this phone theft thing a little bit more seriously? It’s becoming a business….

Thanks for reading.
 
Have a Safe & Merry Christmas, Thanks for reading the Happily Flawed Blog this year!
 
Here are some useful articles I read before writing this:





 

 

 

 

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Where Creatives Go to Recharge - My Island Getaway Part 2

The Island and Jackee made us friends
 

Day 3


My writing muse has no sense of time while on Bulago. It wakes me up at 3.30 am.  Don’t ask me what a muse looks like because I have no idea! That's why I haven't assigned it a specific gender, all I feel is this persistent nagging anxiety envelope me. Eventually I give up the tug of war between the thoughts in my mind and accept the fact that I won’t be drifting back to sleep for a while. My muse knows we have an important topic to deliberate. The early hours of the morning are the best times to think through such things. The generator is off so I use my trusted torch to light up the room. I decide to make my way to the toilet quietly so as not to disturb everyone’s sleep, but I somehow end up stepping on every single one of the creakiest of wooden boards along the way. So much for being quiet….

 When I return to my bedroom, I grab a stash of Jackee’s literary magazines and place them next to me on the bed. Once I’m adjusted into a sitting position, I start to flip through each one, totally amazed at all the opportunities in the writing world.
 
 

On the boat ride to the island I had asked Jackee about the possibility of doing a masters in creative writing. I was wondering whether the experience would be worth it. Anything to do with harnessing inborn creativity fuels me with energy for life and work, but a masters in creative writing? Wouldn’t it be a big risk? Masters are a necessary extravagance these days. The wrong choice can be a painful setback yet the pressure on my generation to make the right career decisions is immense. We graduated right into a global depression and every news story at the time told us that we would inevitable end up earning much less than our parents. So why am I suddenly thinking about an MFA like some rich family member with a guaranteed inheritance?

I decide that this moment of placidity in the house is a good opportunity to get down on my knees and pray. I pray for guidance and clarity of vision.

Today we will have  no classes and no assignments. It will just involve one to one sessions with Jackee and Crystal about anything we wish to discuss in regards to writing. I sent my story to them yesterday and I have no intentions of doing any work once the sun rises.
 
 

In fact here is my official To do List :

·         I intend to finish my two books (I have carried them in my bag for two months. They need to make a permanent exit. Unless a book is intellectual it should be finished a month from purchase. )

·         Frolic in the pool in my new bikini so that I can tick wearing a bikini off my bucket list.

·         Take the proposed nature walk around the island.

·         Enjoy not feeling guilty about focusing on myself.

·         And of course eat all Alex’s delicious meals.
salivating...
 
By 5.00 am I hear the pitter patter of rain begin outside making me drowsy. After excusing myself from my conversation with God, I sleep for another hour.  

With breakfast done.  Lynn (one of the participants) and I head to the beach. She brings her laptop. I bring my books. But we get distracted and end up turning our quiet time into a spontaneous photo shoot with Zahara. All the years of watching every single episode of America’s Next Top Model have finally paid off! Tehehehe. Look at that effortless jumping. Cover Girl *wink wink*
 
yes that's Lynn jumping with me.
 

My session with Jackee and Crystal starts a bit late. It’s clear my story needs a lot of work but their comments make a lot of sense. I am learning that one can only grow in their writing with the following three things.

·         by reading good books

·         practicing

·         and good feedback from mentors, friends, family and their target audience.

 
It’s rare to find people who will take the time to really read and critique your work so this retreat is an opportune moment. I noticed so many holes in my story through their conscious feedback.

Once we were done, I grabbed my To-Do list and started following it…..
 
 

 

 
 
Did I mention that dinner was a barbecue by the beach and presents from Jackee?  
EUPHORIA!
  
Everything tasted as good as it looked in the picture.
 
 




Day 4


I wake up rested. Last year I mourned the fact that the experience was over so quickly, this time I am not. I am at peace because I made it back and enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time. I pack my bags and make my Bulago bed for the last time this week, then I head for breakfast. There is time to stroll by the beach and have insightful conversations with some of participants about the last three days. It’s been magical.
 

Jackee says Seychelles next year. She had better furfill her promise because I can’t wait!
 
Bye Bye.
 

 All photo credits go to Zahara Abdul/ Success Spark Brand Ltd
If you haven't already here is where you can read part 1



  To book your place on the next retreat please send an email to jbatanda@gmail.com


 

Monday, 7 November 2016

Where Creatives Go to Recharge - My Island Getaway Part 1



when your creativity needs a holiday...

Day 1


I arrive at the beach house in a Special Hire an hour before the 8.30 am departure time. I am relieved. I silently mutter a prayer of gratitude that the Kampala morning traffic did not disrupt my schedule or my mood.  The beach house is still the same as last year. My eyes are yet to see the ACTUAL beach house they refer to on the yellow dilapidated sign post at the entrance, but that’s another story for another day.

Neglected outdoor furniture is randomly scattered across the unkempt lawn. The familiar naked headless lady statue is plonked right in middle of the garden. Seeing that statue always makes me wonder what the owner was thinking when he bought it. I mean how many Ugandans actually own a naked headless lady statue?

If my Jajja was here she would say,

“Did they not have enough money to put clothes on it?”

To which my aunt would reply with a twisted face and elaborate hand gestures,

“Her stuff is just there… hanging out for all to see!”

Wow! Woooooow, I can’t believe I am attending the Success Spark Writing Retreat again. This annual writing retreat is run by Jackee Batanda a Ugandan journalist, author, speaker and entrepreneur. Her company  Success Spark Brand Ltd is a communications and educational company. 
 
Jackee Batanda
 
Bulago is a 500-acre island, located in Lake Victoria with a Villa called One Minute South offering seven bedrooms. Can you imagine dedicating four whole days on an island to exercise those creativity muscles and hone those writing skills? This is my second time attending; I am a returning student.  
 
One Minute South Villa, Bulago Island
 
Last year, I used the retreat as an opportunity to temporarily absolve myself of all my responsibilities as a daughter, a sibling, and a colleague; my creative juices flourished as a result. This blog is evidence of that, it was conceived while on the retreat.  My experience a year ago was so good I had to make it a permanent fixture in my 2016 calendar.  However, on this occasion I have failed to absolve my personal obligations tactfully. Unfortunately, as I eagerly await for the rest of the retreat participants to arrive, I am carrying an invisible bag of guilt in my chest.

Yesterday between 8-10pm, I received seven missed calls, two Whatsapp messages, two Facebook direct messages and one missed Whatstapp call from my big brother. When I say I ‘missed’ them, what I really mean is I simply watched my phone buzzing and decided not to respond. My older brother says he ‘can’t find his ATM card’ and needs some money, but I am leaving behind two other siblings and a parent in the country, so I feel I have the right to ignore him.

Today, I have hatched a plan.  I have decided to befriend my Guilt. We shall travel together to the island and my theory is that once we get there, my Guilt will instantly fall madly in love with it and leave me alone for four whole days. Why? Because the island is so marvellous that he will completely understand why I ignored my continuously buzzing phone last night.

So, together, we patiently wait for the other writing participants.

Everyone arrives on time except for our award winning photographer Zahara Abdul. As soon as she arrives and all our luggage is quickly and tightly strapped to the black rubber speed boat. We zooooooooom across the lake to the island, with two or three brief stops. I don’t even care about the brief stops; I am elated that I made it to the boat without having to give my brother a single shilling! Even more elated as Jackee tells me there are plans to have the next one in Seychelles next year. Literally BURSTING with elation as we get further and further away from Uganda and all my responsibilities. I don’t have time to glance at the scenery, because I am catching up with Jackee, where has she been? How are the classes going? What are her other writing students like? She fills me in on all her latest antidotes with her elaborate facial and voice impressions, and dramatic pauses. I love natural born storytellers. 
Just arrived on the island!
 
Freshly made lemonade greets us at the entrance to the villa on the island, we empty our sand filled shoes and just pause. We are mesmerised by our surroundings. The welcoming swimming pool shimmering in the morning light, the antique filled house and creaky wooden floor boards. Each piece is unique, it’s impossible to identify which shop or country the furniture was acquired. All one can establish is that a lot of passion went into creating the ambience. Everything, and I mean everything including the wood carved man on a bicycle with a Nile perch strapped to the back, makes it a home, not a hotel.

At 12.00pm the second batch of participants arrive, here we are all together.

The whole group!
 

After a sumptuous lunch made by Alex the chef (whom we are plotting to kidnap this time around) we head straight into Character Development with Jackee and Plot Development with the detail orientated and ever articulate Crystal Rutangye.  Crystal is an Editor, published writer and a blogger (her website is on hiatus). She is the ONLY Ugandan to graduate with a MLitt in Publishing Studies. After 15 minutes, I realize she is a fabulous addition to the Success Park Brand, her commitment to helping writers produce good work is evident, in fact I decide to become her official cheerleader on the island.  
Crystal Rutangye
 

By evening Guilt has detached himself from me, he found some abandoned wooden boat and sailed off into the orange yellow sunset but before he left he said,

“Put your phone on silent for the next four days, it will stop that dreadful buzzing. See you on Monday Darling!”
 

 

Day 2

 

The Glorious view!

 

Gloria. GLORIA.  GLOOOOOOORIAAA.  GLO O O O ORIIIIIIIIIIIYYYAAAAA

I finally understand the meaning of praise hymns.  I could happily praise God all morning today. I want to run across the beach in mismatched pyjamas singing-shouting this word. But you know it’s not a good idea to frighten people when you are alone with them on an island. In our group we have dancers, editors, engineers, lawyers, presidential advisors, and a conservationist. These are the types of people who regularly frequent overseas countries for work or study purposes. They cross oceans on planes as part of their job descriptions!

 Therefore these people might appear in my professional life at some point and I wouldn’t want them to say,

“Oh yes she was that mad case who ran across the beach at 5am in morning, possessed by some kind of spirit…”

To avoid inspiring such future conversations and maintain our cordial relations, I resist the urge go outside by opening the curtains to revel in my ocean view. Yes I have an Ocean view*! Bambi… did I forget to mention it earlier? Sorry not sorry. I stare at the harmonious waves and let my breathing fall into rhythm with them. What I adore about this place as I said earlier is it’s a home, there is nothing beige like and boring. The owner poured love into every piece, this villa is full of the fun filled experiences of all previous inhabitants. Each one of them left a little piece of their happiness here, creating an invisible bubble of contagious positive energy. I can’t help but smile.
can you see the man in the back?
 
Breakfast is fresh Ugandan coffee or tea, our choice of eggs, with sausages, bacon and sliced avocado and tomatoes. The staff are always pleasant, from the minute we set foot on the dock they have remained consistently accessible. It is only day two and the participants are already discussing how best to tip them.  Did I mention I love this place? I red heart emoji this place.

We shy away from each other in the morning, so that we can take time to write our assigments from yesterday. Around 9.00am we nervously come together to read our pieces out loud to each other.  The fear of rejection is laced in all our deliveries, but it soon disappears with the escape of snort covered giggles or with each peal of laughter at the end. The process of revealing our inner thoughts and struggles about the journey to this island is self-healing. Just like that we are friends, no longer acquaintances, that’s what the island and Jackee’s personality does for us. We share our deepest worries about this journey and it subtly unwraps our restrictive layers and barriers to successful creative writing. Jackee and Crystal ensure that through our sharing we are learning the technical skills of good writing. “Taking you from good to great.” She calls it.  It’s effortless, my mind is not bogged down with theory, and the bonding continues to build right through each session of Self Editing and Settings with Crystal, and Point of View and Dramatic Tension with Jackee.
 
 
The delicious three course lunch slows us down. It stalls our thinking process during afternoon sessions even after ten cups of coffee. Despite this discomfort nobody dares miss any of Alex’s meals. Nobody says they have overeaten or that they are on a special diet. I think even if one of us was allergic to nuts we would have gleefully eaten groundnut sauce and died at the table just because dear Alex has taken the time to prepare it.  When was the last time you had zucchini soup? Have you ever eaten Pork Luwombo with baked matooke before?  In fact, Jackee prepared a special drink to boost her metabolism during the four days. We had a shared Ugandan mentality.
We paid in D. O. L. L. A.R.S, for this experience....
 
 

We shall eat and we shall enjoy every single meal placed before us. And we shall threaten our bodies if they dare appear ungrateful!
 
 
All photo credits go to Zahara Abdul/ Success Spark Brand Ltd


If you'd like to book your place on the next retreat please send an email to jbatanda@gmail.com


* It's not an ocean its lake Victoria but 'Ocean view' sounded better...

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Taking Stock : November 2016






Making: Our 1st anniversary of this blog. Actually we made it on the 30th October 2016. Wooooo Hoooooo! ( Should I write about it? No. Shall celebrate privately.)



Drinking: Celery Juice. I love it (surprisingly)



Reading: Just finished reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown (look this lady up and thank me later)



Playing: I need to get Nintendo Wii. Super Mario needs to return to my life (feeling unashamed)



Wishing: Still No wishes.
 
 

Writing: Non fiction for my blog.


Loving: This decade of my life. Women do get better with age.
 

Looking: House Stuff. Every time I go to the super market I get stuck in that section. I drool over cake tins, tea sets and table mats... (how!?!)
 
 
Eating: Ribs. When I am not eating ribs I am trying to eat healthy. All this information on the Sugar Conspiracy has really made me stop and think about my eating habits. Oh and also the fear of dying early...
 

Needing: I am good. God is Good all the time! Amen



Wearing: Smiley face earrings. Thanks J's Accessories


Knowing: Time heals all things. It really does.


Thinking: Still pondering on how to best shape my future/life


Giggling Over: Remembering my first crush. Thanks for writing this blog post Kullein

Friday, 28 October 2016

10 Things I’d Require From My Future Supervisees….



As I grow in my professional career, I often wonder what I’d be like if I was a supervisor. So in my vivid imagination I wrote some odd things down. In addition to all the formal stuff, here are 10 things I would say to my future supervisees…

1.      TRAVEL - Whether it is local travel or international travel, please go and explore other cultures, eat new food, learn how another language is spoken. When you travel you detach yourself from your daily routine. I need you to do this so that you realize you have a life besides work. Train your brain to be in new situations/challenges and to still be at peace. The more fulfilled you are in life the better for me because you will produce outstanding work. So please travel to nice places...
 
 

2.      FOCUS ON YOUR WORK- Yes I give you full permission to ignore office politics, especially the kind that involves bullying. I think we’ve all been victims of relational bullying at some point. People can spin their webs so slyly that you don’t even know you are trapped! I have a No-Tolerance-Policy for bullying in my Unit. Three strikes and you’re out. Focus on getting work done. That doesn’t mean that you should ignore developing your interpersonal skills. Don’t get it twisted… it’s important for you to harness healthy professional relationships with your co-workers. It’s very vital that you learn how to work in a team but please focus on getting your work done.
 
 
3.      TAKE TIME TO WORK ON YOURSELF – practice REAL self-love.  I know for some people it may be difficult to understand why this is important, but honestly I have watched people act vindictively towards a colleague because they are reluctant to deal with their own personal issues. Preying on those you consider ‘weak’ doesn’t make you stronger. Behaviour like that can disrupt the whole team’s progress. As my supervisee, I would ask you to take time outside of work to sort out your issues and to get help if you need it.  Build a good support system around you.
 
 

4.      TAKE 10 MINUTES A DAY FOR ACTIVITIES THAT FEED YOUR SOUL- Please, please please make time to do the small things you love to replenish the soul. Pray, meditate, scream profanities at no one in your backyard, watch movies, read books or take long walks. Whatever. Find what makes you feel this utopian sense of love and do it regularly. The people around you won’t always make you feel good about yourself. In fact they might ignore you most times because they are more focused on stuff. So this needs to come from you. You are in charge of your own well-being. Try not to spend so much time looking for unhealthy approval in others. This goes back to number 2. Learn to ‘love and approve of yourself’ in the words of Louise L Hay
 
 

5.      GET ENOUGH SLEEP - I recently took a very insightful training on stress management. Dear Lord thank you for such a wake up call! I trust that you can manage your time effectively because you are an adult…. if not then we shall factor in some time management skills training. Ensure you get time to rest, get to bed before 10pm for good quality sleep.
 
 

6.      EAT GOOD FOOD- I need you to be healthy and productive at work. Eat good food. Eat healthy food that makes your mouth water, eat food that inspires midnight cravings. I hired you because you are good at what you do. Kindly ensure you strive to be at your optimum best as much as possible
 
 

7.      SCHEDULE SPA VISITS- This is related to number five and requires special time put into your schedule. Yes I will sign your leave form for this, but you must bring the receipt as proof of purchase. I need you to get into the habit of taking care of yourself so that you can better take care of others.

 
8.      RUN YOUR OWN RACE – Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing or achieving. What would you like to achieve? That’s what matters!

 
9.      CUPCAKES FIX EVERYTHING– Each week someone will be tasked with bringing in goodies to office. Cake makes everyone feel better so put aside some money for your week. It will be your ‘random’ act of kindness for your colleagues. It will be how you show them appreciation. Do nice things for each other. It will make for a better work environment.
 
 

10.  DO YOUR BEST – Give your best effort. 100% makes a difference. Listen. Learn. Don’t take feedback personally. Be sincere when you give feedback. The best people grow from their experiences.  
 
 

 THE END.