Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Friendship: My Version

Those who get my weird... and are on my wavelength.

I have been asked to stop claiming my social awkwardness. I have been told that I am not a misfit. I have been convinced into embracing this improved version of myself that has evolved into a social animal. After all, I can make people laugh and I have a supposedly charming smile!

This doesn't sit well with me. Not entirely. You see, now that I cannot blame it on inborn social awkwardness, what can I attribute some of my quirks to? I am a paradox socially. I can talk for hours but still remain withdrawn. I can love you deeply and not be there for you when you need it the most. I am a great texter (amazing content and good grammar) while managing to be a terrible communicator. I will braid you hair and share my food but will not take you shopping or be your 'wing woman'. I will vet your significant other and ask them all the hard questions but I will not be friends with them.

This paradox makes me a great friend. You will be lucky to have me in your life. We will have a lot of laughs and see the world from a cynical, funny perspective. It also makes me a lousy friend. I won't not only miss your birthday (and wedding) but I will not even know what date it is on!

I have tried to work on these flaws but have found that it simply doesn't work. The harder I try, the more tedious it gets. With time conversations get tedious. I hate it when that happens... when a great friendship gets exhausted and you can't hold a conversation without grunting from all the effort. I have resigned myself to the fact that I will be the friend who will always listen, even to your strangest BS; who will listen to and share great music with you; who will watch strange Indie films with you and dissect them afterwards; who will keep your mind off your problems by talking about her life incessantly; and who will brew you tea and make you an omelette whenever. You will, however, have to find a different friend for the hand holding; the back rubbing and the drunken brawls.

That said, I have a surprisingly quality portfolio of friends. The best collection of humans anywhere. Here's to them!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Mashujaa Day

At work we have this thing where every Monday morning we give 'reasons to dance'. Everyone is supposed to share something good that is going on in their life... and being a Monday morning, the most common response is usually, "I had a great weekend."

This week though, my reason to dance was Mashujaa Day. With only one other Kenyan in the room, this was met with blank stares. I don't consider myself terribly patriotic. Heck, most of the time I do not consciously identify as Kenya. I am Ivy, simple. However, of late I have been increasingly thinking of myself as a Kenyan. This is probably because I have been confronted with my Kenyan-ness. My Kenyan accent, my Kenyan aggressiveness, my (Kenyan?) hairstyle.

I am proud to belong to this unique country, whose strong population finds a way to survive despite everything. I know that there is a lot to be ashamed of: a government that has miraculously managed to undo years of economic development; blatant corruption; complete disregard for the future of young people; and widespread, highly accepted ignorance. However, there is still a lot to say for the people who remain on a mission to civilize.

I cannot lose hope in this country. I need only think of my mother, who teaches students who have had such a poor educational background that finding that one C student is a miracle... but she still gives them her all. I think of the dozens of people who I have met in the past few months who are solving some of society's largest problems by starting businesses... who are entrepreneuring their way around inadequate access to virtually everything: healthcare, energy, education, information, transport, employment. I think of the brilliant young men and women I recently completed school with who will go on to do great things. I think of a Central Bank Governor who does not see the correlation between his post and living in a huge mansion in Muthaiga. Who knows that having a fleet of cars at his disposal has no relation to taming the depreciating currency.

'Shujaa' is a big word. It suggests grand feats, a mask, a batmobile, and a shitload of money. Heroes are important, as are their courageous acts. However, the people doing the little things, day in, day out are important as well. They are the ones that inspire the heroes... and they are the ones that make me believe that Kenya will be okay. We will get through credit crunches, Ksh. 40000 soaps and Kshs. 100,000 wheelbarrows. The devil is a liar, after all.


Monday, 5 October 2015

New Beginnings: Kyle 2.0

I feel, and have always felt so-so about online dating. It could very easily go either way. I know we millennials, with our 5 minute noodles and instant coffee, are supposed to prefer the convenient world of online dating but surprisingly, I do not. It may have something to do with my old soul. I still think that The One is more often than not met at a party, in a coffee shop or a cute little bookstore.

My problem with online dating is that the person, more often that not, will not look like their pictures. While they may be still be funny in person, their voice won't be that deep, husky baritone that you hear in your mind when you read their messages. They will definitely be shorter than you expect! Better the devil you know can see . Once in while, however, I am proved wrong.

Of late I have been feeling the need to move on from Kyle. It's been a great 5 years but I am learning how to let go. We've been through a lot, Kyle and I. He's stuck around longer than my boyfriends, got me through many a lonely night... and kept my secrets. However, I had outgrown him. I had pushed him to his limit and he had nothing left to give.

After 5 years, I hardly knew how to get back into the game. I mean, I had a criteria list and all but where could I find Kyle 2.0 who matched these and more? Physically going out there to search was beyond me. II had neither the time, nor the heart for it... so I resorted to the good ol' world-wide web. At first the options were endless! Slim, sleek, sexy are all understatements. Unfortunately, most were out of my league. This was proving to be almost as heart breaking as getting out there. Except in this case my disappointment was more private.

Eventually I found something I could live with. Sturdy, reliable but still easy on the eyes. Something I could see beside me even 5 years down the line. Something that even Kyle would approve of and give his blessing. I found my Acer- Aspire E5-571-563B and he is even more impressive in person! I have been fantasizing about that 6GB RAM and ITB of hard disk space after having to live with Kyle's 2GB and 320GB respectively. Oh, the fun we will have together!

There he is!
I haven't named him yet. We are taking things slow... feeling each other out. I have a good feeling about this, though. About Kyle, I put him in the hands of a loving owner... who may have cracked his screen once in the past and ruined his battery... but a loving owner all the same. I also left him with my favorite SpongeBob sticker as a memento.