Office party Shenanigans – It finally happened to me!

From this day forward, (there is a before it happened and an after) I will say “I know! disgusting! And it was not even the hotty I wanted grabbing at me!! Hahaha… and trail off”. We all have our eye on the hottest colleague with his Mexican mustache on and a hot poncho hanging on his almost bare wide shoulders and he is dancing to Mexican music and he looks your way every now and then.

I will want to make light of the fact that even all covered up, I looked like an object to someone. Even being educated and competent doesn’t help. Not even staying quite sober is a redeemer when we become objects. To a drunk eye, I let loose for minute, relaxed, smiled, danced, laughed out loud; and pang! I looked like fun doll a man can grab at and play with. Own for a minute. Take home/ to a hotel for a night.

I will tell the story from the beginning. We have two office parties every year. I haven’t missed one in the three years I have worked in our BI (business intelligence); the parantes is for the IT muggles. I haven’t missed a party because they are so fun! People drink just enough. Most of the fun people dance tills close down. My colleagues and my two bosses are fun people and take this as their training pass. Very seriously!

We have themes every time, last year it was sailing for the summer and fairy tales for the winter. You should have seen Cruella and her tortured little dogs. And the witches were from heaven! Or not. Yesterday was theme Mexico. I asked, “any particular time period of Mexico?” Organizer said “oh no! We didn’t think of that! Just go with whatever you like”

Those are words you can’t say to me. What I like and what is OK are two totally different things. But I am brought up by nuns and I am a decent over 30 woman. So I do keep it together, with a pinch of chili. The good, the bad and the ugly came flushing to mind. My creative head said “goooo even further back! Mwahahaha…” So I went to Beyond retro and found an antik dress that is falling apart. What’s Mexican about my dress? Well, it flowery isn’t it? And the shoulders are off aren’t they! I also found the most fantastic poncho! Fits me nicely and can pass for Mexican.

We had Salsa dancers teaching us Salsa in the beginning of the evening. Just to spice the night.

 

We also had a freshman in our midst. I will describe him properly so you don’t mistake him. He is over 35yrs old, so he has definitely been to some office parties before. He is a manager so he should have some sense. He is married and a father of two. But he still drunk too much! He just stood there at 10:30pm swaying, grabbing colleagues who walked or danced by him. There was more dancing than walking. He smiled like a moron when he succeeded to grab properly.

And he tried to grab me! Nobody, and I mean nobody has tried to grab my ass at office parties before. Was it the Salsa? Seeing the Salsa dancers grab each other? Was I hotter than ever before? That could be it! I get hotter with age. I was in total chock when he did. I just stood there and told my twitching right hand “don’t slap him, don’t slap him, don’t slap him….”. One of my managers, a woman saw my debating with myself, hugged me from the back, I felt it was a woman and relaxed, pulled me back to dancing and went off to get a glass of water for drunk, ass/tits grabbing moron.

We danced till late after that. I will always have that. I feel that I passed a womanhood rite of passage. It’s right up there with growing tits, getting the monthlies, getting sex for the first time (Screw loosing virginity!) etc When others said “men grab at you when they drink too much at office parties!” I always said  (in the past)” never happened to me!” With disappointment that something is wrong with me. Not pretty enough or something.

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Danite hotel – Welcome to a fantastic vacation in a den of thieves

bribes_aheadSessa and I were at the Watamu police station to collect a police report that was supposed to inform the new employer, Danite hotel that Sessa did not have a criminal record.

While we were waiting, a German tourist sat beside us looking sweaty, dirty and very worried. He said hello to us, we ignored him. We had been hard trained, military trained to ignore all attention from men because they all wanted “one thing”. We would get a kick, pinch or hard look if any adult saw us not ignoring a man we were supposed to ignore.

The German tourist started crying. Men shouldn’t cry, and we rarely see them cry, so we looked at each other in wonder. A police officer came over and asked him “Klass, are you crying again?” the police man laughed, shook his head, and walked away to his laughing colleagues.

Klass name was in reality Claes. Due to our dislike and fear of the police, we sympathized with the crying man and spoke to him. He needed someone to take a message to the outside world. He had been arrested smoking Marijuana at the Danite hotel. One of the waiters at the hotel had invited him to a smoke. Claes who had never smoked Marijuana had said no thank you at first. The waiter had insisted. “This is your time to try something new man. When you go back to your country, you will not have a chance again”. Claes saw the logic and accepted. As he was blowing out the first puff of the marijuana, three police officers showed up and took him for possession and probable selling of drugs. No one else was arrested, although the waiter was right there teaching Claes how to smoke marijuana correctly. Claes was to be moved to Malindi police station if he didn’t cough out 25,000 Kenya shillings in Watamu. From Malindi police station, he would go to court and get charged and sentenced. Even if he didn’t get charged, the bribe would be much higher than 25, 000 Kenya shillings since a judge and a police commissioner would now be involved.

Claes had now learned the lesson we learned as Kenyan children. Don’t trust the police!

So he needed someone to go get 25, 000 Kenya shillings for him and come get him within the hour. This money was in his hotel room, hidden in the curtain hems. That was my first lesson in “where to hide your money when traveling to dens of thieves”. It was his first trip to Kenya, he knew no one. He was desperate. He later said he thought he could trust us because we were just girls. Right or wrong, he was lucky that day. The police watched us talk for a few minutes and then took Claes away. He was to be transferred the next morning, they informed him quite casually on the way back to his cell. He left his room key beside me, under my skirt, not under like inside, but under like between wooden seat and my skirt.

We got the police report for Sessa proving to Danite hotel that she didn’t have a police record. She was to work in the kitchen. We run all the way back to Danite hotel, where Sessa was on her 2nd week of kitchen service. We watched for 40 long minutes before we could sneak into room 11, search for the money Claes had said was in the curtains. We ran to the toilet, hid the money round the waistline of our skirts. Ran back to the police station where Sessa quite confidently informed the police that we were to collect a German gentleman by the name of Claes.

“what is his sir name?” the officer asked.

“How many German gentlemen do you have?” Sessa asked right back. “This one is staying at the Danite. I work there. And he sent word that he is here. Or should I get my dad?”.

The police are afraid of dads they don’t know. these dads could be such men that can ruin a police man’s “career”. So they don’t like to meet dads unless they know who the dads are. As a kenyan child, you learn that too, while quite young.

Officer looks Sessa up and down “weren’t you here earlier today?” “Yes, off course! to see Claes”

“mko na pesa? Do you have the money?”officer asked

“ndio. yes. but we need Claes to be out here first. Dad said so.” Sessa said

“sawa. ok” officer said and went to speak to others of his kind.

After thirty minutes, Claes comes out looking dazed and surprised.

“Klass, so you had the money all this time??!” officer says

Claes smiles a cold smile, the eyes are very angry. He hands over 25, 000 shillings that we have hidden in our skirts.

we walk to Danite hotel together. “I am Sessa and I am going to work in the kitchen” Sessa says to Claes as an introduction.

“You need to find another place of work. And I need to change hotels” Claes says and smiles.

 

What’s your secret to…

I met some acquittances last evening. Quite fun and nice to re-connect with people who knew me during some of the most difficult months of my life. We met 10 years ago when we first moved to Sweden. Starting a new life in a new country is a journey of faith and strength. We have kept contact, the group that went to the same Swedish for Immigrants  class and have met sporadically every year. In these 10 years, some have married, those who were married have divorced. Some have acquired children while others have lost children. Some have found jobs, lost jobs, found new jobs. Some have re-married. Some have broken up with their off:s and found new bff:s. Basically lots has happened.

The elephant in the room of every 10 year relationship is the changes that have occurred without invitation. For example, wrinkles & the weight. Most people get wrinkles and add some weight during a 10 year period. We cannot pretend otherwise. I was too thin 10 years ago in my early 20s. Everyone I met, both men and women wanted me to eat some more. My mother wondered every week if I was eating. My boyfriend, soon to be ex-boyfriend, said my hip bone was making holes in him. You can imagine how that made me feel. The hole making machine? A human paper punch? Bones?

I have added some kilos since then, thank the gods of mt. Kenya for the booty! And when the ex-boyfriend saw me 1 year ago, he checked me up. Surely checking whether the bony hips were gone. CurvyI like all body shapes and sizes. I don’t judge. I am brought up by African women who don’t feel sexy until they have a good ass to shake in your face!

Back to last night, one of my aqquittances had added a few kilos, to a body that was not bony to begin with. She looks fabulous in my un-appreciated opinion. I said so anyways. But as we all know, out opinions don’t count when others think they are fat/big or un-beautiful. She just went ahead to ignore me and asked “what is your secret for keeping sooo trim/trained?”

I flush with anger or irritation every time people ask “what’s your secret?” For anything. Because there are very few secrets out there and these secrets sure as hell don’t have to do with weight loss. We have secrets about our sex lives. Nobody at dinner with acquittances says “I regret breaking up with my ex, not because I want him, not really, because he met a hotter younger chic” or “I almost almost got raped by a cousin and I think he raped his sister”. Nobody says these things because they are secrets. Our secrets.

How to loose weight is not a secret. Not anyone’s secret. Oprah has spoken about loosing and maintaining weight for God’s sake! That removes it from the list of secrets people keep. If you really don’t like your weight, get over your 1920s attitude (before Jane Fonda?) and do something!

The whole list of what to dos is on the internet! Not one whole list, several whole lists! One for white people, one for black people, one for men, one for women, one for young ones, another for old. Different places, I admit, and different lists, but it’s all there! If all the lists on the internet don’t help you, remember the simple ones from your grandmother.

  1. Eat right. Your plate should have some vitamins on it. Some carbohydrates (there are good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates…google that shit!!) and some mamambogaproteins. Fibre is good for your bowels but if you have greens and roots at every meal, you are set for life! Its not even fucking expensive! Your plate should also have some space for the food to breath. A piece of meat on top of a pile of mashed potatoes and some brocolli murdered under the potatoes looks like
    pig food. No proud food wants to feel like pig food. An elegant cow or a young horny ox/bull was murdered for your meal. Show some respect! A brocolli plant was hoping to flower and reproduce some other small beautiful broccolis. It was massacred for you. Look at the broccoli! Speak to it. Show broccoli some pleasure in eating it. Enjoy food esthetically, the colours, the shapes, it helps. Eat fucking slowly! Enjoy the taste of what you eat.
  2. Eat just enough.  Too much of anything is bad for you is a quote all children heard at some point right?! And uou don’t even need to count the f*#€^ng calories, if that complicates things for you. Stop eating when you feel full. If you eat slowly, your stomach lets you know when you are full. If you eat fast, your stomach has no chance to feel full before you’ve eaten too much. Didn’t any adult person tell you this when you were a child? It is not rocket science so get on with it!
  3. Do some exercise that takes away the extras you got for dessert. We all take some extra. Most of us love food and dessert. I love a glas of wine on top of it. It piles up. I take a short run, or a long walk, or go out dancing. Or dance at home, goofy dance around the apartment with JK. Play badminton or walk the stairs wherever you see them.
  4. Sleep just enough. Go back to the too much of anything quote in your head as often as you can. Sleep helps with metabolism but sleep doesn’t consume calories. Find some balance and remember, God does miracles but the miracles don’t really come looking for you in bed. Usually you have to make the effort to kneel and pray or take a walk to church.

So please, if you feel that you need to loose weight, and want to involve me in it, don’t play dumb. As if you don’t know the first thing about it. Or as if I would have some secret that is hidden from others.

Just so you know, the secrets I keep would make you eat chocolate, eat ice cream, drink that bottle of wine you’ve been saving for the day you hit your dream figure, crawl into a ball, roll to the phone, ring your mommy & cry in a pityful voice “mommy, I don’t want to be friends with her. She’s baaad.”

What to do when a nice morning is ruined by mediocracy??

I thought I would create a list that can help others. I realized after number 1. Listen to Rihanna’s shine bright like a diamond  I realized that I have nothing to list. I am no help to anyone who is having a bad morning. Not even to myself. 

I woke up to two bad news; not world news that will shake the world. Bad news that will shake my little world.

#UberPOP is to be laid to rest in Sweden, Stockholm. What am I to do when I am out drunk, late and a little broke. This was the cheapest taxi ride I have ever had. And I have met some of the friendliest taxi drivers in #UberPOP drives. Strangers sharing not only their cars with me, but even their stories. In a country where a smile or a hello on the train/bus is like water in the desert (cliche, I know…but am really hurting here so please humour me!) This country makes me want to cry sometimes. And I know all about the tax avoidance accusations and all that but shouldn’t laws be adjusted to mirror the current? Especially when technology runs ahead of us? Or is law static, like the bible. It is done, it is utopia. Nothing can be done now.

#SyedLatif is being deported from Sweden. Not for taking too much social benefits, not for robbing anyone, not for being broke, poor and useless to society. Not for raping any of the beautiful Swedish women. Not for taking a bribe.

He is is being deported because he has a job! BUT, he found the job at the wrong place. LinkedIn. You see, and I didn’t know this before; and I still don’t know enough about this; in Sweden, the only way you as an immigrant should find a job is through the official (read useless Swedish public employment service =arbetsförmedlingen). The idea is very simple, Swedes should have a chance to jobs before immigrants. Quite right! LinkedIn is www and available to Swedes isn’t it? I never got a single job via Swedish public employment service and I was registered for three years when I first moved here. I got jobs via friends & internet. I should have been deported in 2007. (ooops! I shouldn’t say that, they may still find me.)

What the crap???!!! Seriously. Today I am expected to paint a happy face on my angry face, come to work and be civil.

If you have any tips just list them below for my sake! Thanks

Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes and listens with the soul – Part 1

When I was 16,  I made the trip that would save my life. I ended up by the beaches of the blue 20140805_193743warm Indian ocean for the 1st time in my life. Not from death. I was always far from dying. And as close to dying as I am today. This trip saved me from desperation. The desperation that comes from not seeing far enough. The desperation that comes from not seeing the options you have. The desperation that comes from limitations set by circumstances, family, society, religion. Desperation that comes from the limitations we set for ourselves because of ignorance and fear.

Watamu was a small village then, 16-17 years ago. My childhood friend Sessa, my deepest friendship of all time, was to start working at a restaurant in Watamu. Sessa had never been to the coast either. Her cousin who had worked at the coast for some years had promised her there was work. Sessa was 16 too, a few months older than I, but just barely; I was born in September, a hot dry month in Kenya. Sessa is born in may, in the middle of the long rains. When we were small, my friend and I, people used to joke that we were so close because we completed each other. She was serious, quiet, strong, brave. Sometimes a little gloomy. This is because it rained, flooded and shook with thunderstorm the first 3 months of her life; her mother used to tell us.  “Sessa’s first smile was for the lightening.  Who smiles at the lightening? except to challenge it?”

By July, the rains have become incessant drizzles and it is cold. Sessa stayed indoors, short visits outdoors when the sun shined, as it always does in Kenya. Come rain or thunder, the sun will show its beautiful face some time during the day. But it remains wet and muddy and adults don’t want to be out in that weather with babies. By mid August, drier and sunnier, Sessa is used to the rain and the indoors. And she is no sunny girl. Her warmth is the heart. In the soul. I am the sunny one. Taken out the first week I was home and outdoors until December when the short rains arrived.

I joined a boarding school 144km from Nairobi in February 2001. I was 14 years and 5 months  old. Sessa’s single mother was unable to send her to high school so Sessa was to stay at home and learn some kind of trade or marry. Education is a luxury in many parts of the world, costing the extra that some families just don’t have. Sessa was to drift around for 1½ years dodging marriage proposals.  We both felt desperate and scared for different reasons.

The first letter I received came from Sessa. She had found the lyrics of “You are my sunshine“,  For the first time since we were 3 years old, we would not see each other every day. For 3 months.

friendsMy dearest friend/sister, the letter began

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away

The other night dear, as I lay sleepin’
I dreamed, I held you in my arms
When I awoke dear, I was mistaken
So I hung my head and I cry

I will come for the visiting day on Saturday, 17th March. I am saving every cent I get for that! when you have become a lawyer as you always dreamed, you can pay me back for my kindness. [we had 1 visiting day per term. A term was 3 months long but this term was shorter for me since I reported to school on the 12th of February.]

Lots of love from Sessa Sessa. I used to call her Sessa Sessa

She sent only the two verses. The nuns at St. Mary’s  girls high school [catholic high school for girls] thought it was a boy and almost didn’t hand the letter over to me.

Incredible Things That Happen Once You Learn To Enjoy Being Alone

I am home alone this weekend. Although I spent many years hoping I could be Kelvin for just one day, or an hour, my childhood never produced such a day. The most excitement came from battles to stop father drinking himself to death. He eventually succeeded. There was some fun in the antics to ensure that the mad man of our village stayed alive. We roofed his hut when he was away. We left food by the door of his hut and run away on rainy days when he couldn’t go out scavenging. We held him down for treatment when a snake bit him. He would hurt you even when you were helping him and he was accepting help. He didn’t know how to accept help graciously, because he was afraid he had lost too much pride already.

I was browsing through LinkedIn, as is the habit when I am taking a short break from being lazy on my free day. I am a team leader, so tips about habits that define good team members are always appreciated. Today’s episode of LinkedIn browsing led to  this  article.
Travis Bradberry is one of those people who know everything about people. It feels so when I read his articles. EQ (Emotional Intelligence), who knew such intelligence existed? Not me before I read Travis work. habits, handling bad bosses, improving one self, toxic friends, office politics. Name it. Travis knows something about it. I respect him. We may be saying the same things in different words. But I felt that Travis’  wonderful list missed some incredible points that make me happy to be alone. Which is so rare, as it surely is for most. Being alone is bliss for some, and it is loneliness for others.

It is a long weekend because of the ascension day. Which we celebrate in Sweden by staying as far away from the office as we possibly can.

Stockholm is at 18 degrees Celsius today! And will keep on that level all weekend! I can sit on the balcony, I can take a walk in a dress…oh God of Mt. Kenya, the things I can do on a sunny day! Alone

7 Incredible Things That Happen Once I find that I am Alone

  1. Books get read! I just got through The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison. As a black woman over 30, I should have read this when I was 20. It is a journey that has brought me to myself. I hope my daughter finds this book in our bookshelf on the day she is home alone. Before she is too old and just about the time she understands that being a woman; being a black woman; is being a woman made in precious metal. A pragmatic force. Music list

2. Neglected favorite music gets listened to! My very own special play list with no one looking at me as if I am lagging behind technology.img_0493

3. Poor grey legs finally get some attention after 6 months in hibernation! Summer is here (or summer heat is) and there is no shock when I at last remove the trousers that have kept the grey horror hidden from nice people. The Scandinavian winter is brutal, needless to say. Bad for the face, lips, hair, poor hidden legs that get the least attention. Really bad. I couldn’t show those legs to a man who is supposed to love me for my fabulousness!

4.  I can paint those winter nails too!

5. Hair gets deep conditioned at home without costing a fortune! With ingredients from my refrigerator. I create. That’s it! I get creative when I am alone! A concoction with henna, coconut oil, mashed avocado and castor oil. If you ever did this at home, you know you can’t or won’t do it in front of men. Even the men you love. They don’t get it. A plastic bag on my head for some hours…I pull that off nicely!!

Plastic bag on the head is as far as I am willing to go regarding photos in post.Mask on face is too traumatizing even for well-meaning readers.

6. Wonderful magic protection against the world & elements can be treated with the respect it deserves! The face gets a mud mask that I also leave on for some time. I have seen women with face mask on TV and I just don’t get that! I look scary in a face mask. I mean it.  Once, I had a mask when my sister dropped by with my niece who was 2-years old at the time. My niece screamt and run back to her mom. This is a girl who adores me and stands on my side when my sister and I are at logger heads.

7. TV can finally be the entertainer it is supposed to be. Why else do we have a TV when we never have time for it?! except when dusting it during spring cleaning. Lying on the sofa, red towel on pillow, plastic bag on head, mud face mask on and lots of Shea butter on lips. No guilt. No hurry. No one coming in every 10 minutes for some attention. Phone turned off.

Whole season 2 of True Detective. Collin Farrell has never looked sooo attractive, so close to suicide and murder. Rachel Adams is femme fatal in another genre and Vince Vaughn as a bad ass criminal who just won’t die!!??

Hope your times alone turn into whatever you need from them!

Seasonal Happiness?

In the Swedish spring, nights are cold as a witch’s tit. Maybe that is the same in other countries in Europe? Explaining why people get so depressed?

Why do we say that? Who ever touched a witch’s tit? Why touch a witches tit? Did the witch just stand there, say, “wait a minute. Before I bike away” and the she lifted her blouse and said “TOUCH IT!!??”

angry-emoticon

Anyhow, when we were younger, we would be out all night freezing. Drinking. Dancing. Bar hopping. Club hopping. Calling friends we didn’t even like. And then be home next 2 days recovering from the celebrations.

Hating ourselves. Hating each other. Hating the Swedish spring for its coldness. Promising each other to stop drinking that last glass.

Why do we like to torture ourselves?