Author

Barbara

Without Prejudice

Satan and Saturn have been at it this past week.” — That is what I thought when the week of September 3rd 2018 came to an end and I found out on Twitter that Saturn’s retrograde was ending.

Never in my life, bar my mother’s passing, has my core been so challenged, so disturbed, so overturned…

I would never have expected the override of my comfortable reality. I was just about to be homeless in a foreign country and I was NOT ready.

I got conned. I got conned in the UK. I don’t know to what regard I had held the first world in, but one of the things that I did not expect was getting conned in London. It’s funny how, after I went through this whole ordeal, I found out that it is a more common occurrence than I thought and probably more common there than it is in Nairobi.

My student accommodation contract was coming to an end and I needed to find a new place to stay for the next 3 months. Since I was no longer considered a student, student accommodation was not an option. I needed to find a house or an apartment or something and rent a room.

I teamed up with one of my friends Nayim and we decided to find a house together, which we did. However, about two days before we were to move in, the agent let us know that the Landlord no longer wanted us living in his house. I couldn’t believe it. After the long process that we had gone through getting this place, I couldn’t imagine having to do it again for another place and in TWO DAYS!

Nayim and I set to work, we needed to find another place. We combed through websites upon websites to find accommodation but nothing in our budget was forthcoming. We then opted to go onto SpareRoom.com and try our luck. We found a place and an overly enthusiastic agent contacted us and asked us to pay him a visit at his office to show us the property and many more. Finally, something was looking up.

We paid the agent a visit at the Flintons offices on Bow common lane desperate to find a house, pay for it and move in as soon as we could. He was a bit busy when we walked in and we stood at the entrance of the office together with a number of other house seekers looking to find a place. It seemed like a busy morning and all agents were attending to someone or the other and had other clients waiting to see them. The dojo (I am using this word very lightly and out of context) seemed legit.

Finally it was our turn. We asked to see the house we had inquired about and unfortunately it was currently occupied but the current tenants were set to move out in two weeks. “We can give you another option for the two weeks and then you can move in to this place once the other tenant moves out.” The agent asserted that since both properties were being managed by Flintons, it would be easy for us to move into our preferred house. The deal seemed fair.

Just as we were about to go into the details, the agent informed us that he had another client but his colleague would be able to assist us. The first red flag.We moved over to agent no.2’s station and begun to look through the different options that we had for the two weeks before our dream house could come available.

Now, this new agent. His demeanour IMMEDIATELY unsettled my spirit. Slumped in his chair, eyes red and half mast (if you know, you know), slurrish and sluggish, something was off. I could feel it in my gut. The decision about making the payment took nearly an hour. I just wasn’t sure, but we were desperate. We went between chatting our parents, discussing amongst each other, texting Samantha (my good friend who was to move in with us as well) and personal internal debates. It didn’t help that the agent kept pushing us to pay saying that if we didn’t make a decision, someone else would take the house. He even directed our eyes to the first agent’s screen where he was displaying the SAME house to the clients he was attending to. The chances of losing that particular house were near 100% and nothing else we had seen up until that point called out to us. We had to decide and we had to decide NOW.

It seemed like we did not have a choice. We also had no time.

“Is it possible for us to see the house before we can make a decision?” — apparently we couldn’t. “It is so busy today and no one is available to do the viewing, maybe we schedule the viewing for Saturday when you move in and get the keys?” Red flag.

It didn’t seem right. Nevertheless we were the ones that were time bound. “Where do we sign?”

This was the first time we were laughing or smiling since we signed the contract. Nearly two weeks post signing.

Sometimes I write but my musings never get to see the light of day for some reason or another. I think I wrote this piece at some point in 2016 . I am not too sure why it never went up but reading it today, it seems so fitting especially as I start a new phase in life: life after my Master’s. It is just as well that we are close to the new year (okay 2 months shy, but still) and there’s no better time to start preparing for it than now. I think what I get from it now is not necessarily the presence of a physical vision board but rather the importance of having a VISION to start with. A vision coupled with a drive to see it to fruition. I hope my 22 year old self motivates you as much as she motivated me. Happy reading and all the best! 

I have been going through the most recently and have been meaning to narrate the ordeal to you guys but the situation keeps unfolding and I think it is best to tell you when God is done working. That blog was meant to be the blog that got me back to being more present with my space here on the internet but I figured that I might as well write about other experiences in the meantime. So here we are.

I recently found out that my name, Barbara, originates from the Greek name Barbaros meaning foreign or strange OR traveler from a foreign land.

I don’t know why until recently I had never bothered to check the meaning of my name, but hey. All of those things are true about me. I could indeed be quite strange, just ask my siblings, but what resonated the most was the ‘traveler’ part of it.

Ever since I could remember, being up and about has been one of my truest joys. I remember always saying that I had to get a job that would let me see the world. I made sure that in whatever form or shape(this is why I can’t get my hands off books either, they literally transport you to another land), travel would be a part of my life and so my wanderlust was birthed. So far I have traveled to 12 countries, 8 of them in Europe. I have picked up a few tips that I would like to share for those with a heart for being on the move and especially in Europe.

Gamla Stan (Old Town in Stockholm, Sweden)

Wanderlust — A strong desire or urge to travel and explore the world. 

 

Quell.

Quelling.

I can’t seem to quell the feeling.

The missing, the longing, the wishing…

Each time I do a post like this, I seem to always have some sort of secret hope that it will be the last time that I have to write about how much I miss my mother. That at some point or another I will become attuned to the reality, the one without her in the picture. However, this just does not seem to be happening.

It doesn’t get better, it is even worse when you’re in a distant land and alone.

My dreams are back, the one’s of her. She is always so present until I wake up and then she is not.

I miss my mum.

Image By: @gdm.offthewall (Instagram Handle)

I long for the times and the memories we will never share. I constantly think about how, in another reality, I would be ringing her weekly, maybe daily, to tell her about my time here.

A quick phone call on my way to school probably explaining how full the tube was and hence the source of my coming cold because you know, contagious diseases, enclosed stuffy spaces, zero degree weather.

Another phone call, on a Sunday afternoon after church, window shopping on Oxford Street, “ What would you like me to get you? My gift to you,” I would say and she, “ Have you seen any nice culottes?” She loved culottes, even before they were thing. She had this green pair, I think its still in her wardrobe. I always thought they were a weird piece of clothing…until now 🙂

I really do miss her.

We are officially halfway through the year and for some reason I’m feeling a new burst of energy coming through me. Literally, I can feel it in my bones 🙂 The last time I employed my writing skills was in January and to be honest if it was not for the excitement that comes with a new year, I probably wouldn’t have written anything.

Last year September, I decided to take on my masters which meant moving across the world (dramatic, it’s just 8 hours away). I was excited! I have always had a special place in my heart for education and books and all that jazz. It’s not that I’m a genius but mostly because it seems to pose a new challenge. I like challenges. What I hold even more dear and I like a whole lot more is travel. Traveling brings me alive. This move meant more travel. Books and travel. I was truly excited! 10 months in and I have had the time of my life but at the same time it has been one of the most challenging times.

The Good

God! We are working on our relationship. I am working on our relationship. The shy girl that sits at the back of the church stepped out of her comfort zone and attended bible study. She loved it. I’m going to be more involved. That is for sure. This building energy among young people about the things of God is so exciting. Truly we must live our days for Him. He is so faithful, that, I can tell you for free.

Travel! GIIIIIIIIRL, my wanderlust is just thriving! 30 Pounds on return trips! Man, as far as my reasons go for why I love being here, this has got to be the best of them all. Cheap Travel. Africa needs to do something about making it financially easier for us to travel within the continent.

Opportunities. London is that place. Opportunities knocking left ,right and centre if you are well poised and positioned to take them up. My mantra has always been that “Opportunities dance with those on the dance floor.” So go on, make sure you’re always on there. Ready to dance 🙂

Books read. I set out to read 20 books this year. I’m proud to announce that I’m halfway through! I might just make it this time! My best reads this half have been as below, with Obama’s and Selasi’s being my absolute favourite. Both have sparked relatable emotions. Thick with relevance for one reason or the other.

Focus — Daniel Goleman

Give and Take — Adam Grant

We’re Going To Need More Wine — Gabrielle Union

Dreams From My Father — Barrack Obama

Ghana Must Go — Taiye Selasi

Beyonce! I watched the woman live in concert! Amazing. She brought it! I still think I need to watch her perform on her own though. Full concert, just her. This time sharing business she had with her husband I was not feeling it. Especially because I know close to none of his music. Still, an experience and a half!

2018 is here and boy is it exciting! It’s like turning over to the next chapter of a book you’re really engrossed in and you can’t wait to see what happens next.

The end of last year ( lol, we can say that now) had a lot of us talking about all the things we would leave behind in 2017 as we carry the good vibes on to the new year, but how about those things we are carrying forward? Every journey needs some supplies and so does the one into a new year. Humor me as I share with you some of the things that I am definitely carrying on into 2018.

OLA!

I am hoping that you are all well, it has been a while.

We are at the end of 2017, Imagine THAT! I don’t think any year will pass me by without making me think that it went by waaaaay too fast! Where does the time go?

The last time I did a post like this was in FEBRUARY ( I am quite embarrassed actually) and seeing as we are at the end of the year, I figure taking stock for the whole year makes more sense.