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Where do you go to be soft?

 

Where do you go to be soft?

Where do you go to fall to your knees, neck outstretched to the sky and let the dam holding the floodgates of your heart… open… open and allow the gush…

Where do you go to be still?

To let your throat go hoarse from crying because you don’t know how or why..

Where do you fully express your emotions, because if you hold them tight you’ll blow.?

Where do you go?

Are you only useful when you are strong?

Nah, find that place and go soft.

We need you… soft….

 

Love

T

 

When you don’t feel like yourself anymore.

 

Remember when you threw your head back in uninhibited laughter, wiping your eyes as you cried because it was so funny?

Remember when you went places enthusiastically, even when no one went with you because you were genuinely interested and had to experience it for yourself?

Remember when you didn’t have to use phrases like ‘No new friends’  or like social media posts that said ‘Just doing me, staying on my hustle and taking only myself to the top’ or cutting people off left right and centre because they have the wrong ‘energy’? (Writing this sentence was so exhausting for me! eye roll)

Remember when your soul was  still and content, and you lived happily, you got on with your friends, and slept like a baby at night …(okay so maybe your parents were annoying but..)

When you did things that made your soul sing and not at the expense of others?

I remember them clearly and I am on the righteous quest to be that way again!

This corrosion of the soul .. sigh …..I felt through most of 2016.

Smile, attend the event, laugh at the appropriate times, take the blow, not speaking up for myself because it’s rude, be rude because you think you’re being real but instead hurting someone…. on and on.. the exhausting cycle. I was expending energy and now I am spent.

Wore myself out!

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BUT!

Like Lenny Kravitz so lovingly crooned in my ear

‘Baby it ain’t over till its over’

Let’s get it!

1.Do the things you did when you felt you were the most yourself – wander those bookstores alone, try out a new cake recipe, or call that friend that knows those stories from back in the day.I listened to a lot of Lenny Kravitz back in the day and brought him back in my life. (I’m sorry Lenny I will never let you go again! ) I mean who could ever forget that song ‘Again’.. wait you did? hold up, here you go!


2. Ask for a time out – Tell your friends you’re working on yourself and you need a time out. YOU NEED A TIME OUT! You’re probably being a shitty friend with all of your flaking and not picking up calls. They will be there when you are ready again. You want to let them know that you are having a hard tie and need some time to yourself because disappearing and reappearing out of nowhere, expecting them to embrace you, is weird.

You essentially abandoned them and now.. you just want to act like nothing happened? (Another golden Lenny track.)

(Another golden Lenny track.)

3. Do you, but be careful not to slide too far away – The time alone will feel so good. Your soul is recuperating. You’re liking yourself again, you’ve finally subscribed to the New Yorker (LIFE CHANGING!) ….. but don’t overdo it. Meet someone for a coffee once in a while. Go to a movie with the family.Realise that you still need people, and they still need you. Ask someone to watch you and make sure you’re not becoming a recluse and emerge five years from now, frothing at the mouth.(A symptom of depression is wanting to be alone because you feel people don’t understand you.Be careful of this!)

 

Does this sound like when you were 16? When you had no bills, and the most important thing was Friday rolling around because there was no school?

That’s one thing that hasn’t changed, you still wait for Friday to roll around, and maybe… just maybe some of the soul calming things you did back then, are things you need to do again.

I am feeling like myself again.Loving Lenny Kravitz almost with the ferocity I did at 16.

Loving Lenny Kravitz almost with the ferocity I did at 16.

Baby, it ain’t over till its over.

Love

T

 

 

The changing friendships of women in their 30’s ..

Laying on my bed,  the phone I held up to my face illuminated my features. I stopped myself from moving too much ( I was at home in Zambia, laying next to my mother, because thats what grown up daughters do when they visit home, soak up every single second they have with their parents.)

I was chatting with a dear friend that I had not seen or spoken to in a while. Our lives had gone in different directions much to our amusement! I was living the life she (thought) wanted, and she was living the life I (thought) wanted.

Here we were, no longer cruising the streets for the next party, but in our respective homes, I was soaking up Mamas love and she was giving love being a Mama.

Our fingers probably both flew over our smartphone keyboards, loving the connection again and sharing our deepest fears and aspirations like days of old, we were 23 or so again. Laying on the grass and sharing.

One thing was clear. We are women in our thirties battling with changing bodies, changing families and changing friendships. It’s no doubt life becomes harder as women grow older, get married, have kids, run homes, climb the corporate ladder etc …. there are so many things we can become and want to become, but usually at the expense of something. The expense of our friendships, our self-care, our relationships with our families. It becomes much harder to keep up with your girlfriends from back in the day, especially since we are all on different paths.No matter how much you try and keep up, friendships fall to the wayside in favour of that promotion, getting your kid into that kindergarten, Grad school and making things work with #Bae.

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We also hope internally that things in our friendships stay the same, without any effort on our part. Some friendships do survive without too much effort ( and usually, we tout these as the best relationships) and others die a slow death.

C and I, have the type of relationship where we care deeply for each other, and when we speak or chat, we can barely contain ourselves, the words are flowing endlessly and we both know exactly what we mean… but we have also had the ‘ I’m sorry I’ve been AWOL, you matter to me and life has just been crazy’ conversations. Every time we do, we clear up any resentment we may have had for not being in touch and start afresh.

One important thing we discussed late that night was about how

We as women in our thirties, need to sacrifice who we used to be, on the alter of the goddess we have become.You rise out of the ashes of the woman you used to be before. 

This means the woman you were has to die. Who you were in your 20’s has to die to become who you fantastically are now. If this happens then the new you has to forge new relationships with the friends that you had in your 20’s. You are not the same and neither are they. So hoping that it’s going to be like it used to be with no effort on either side is a mistake. I have to check in with C as often as I can to keep up with the lovely woman she is becoming. It’s not easy to do as we both have careers, she has lovely little ones which make her embark on her own adventure… but we need to meet, late at night, on our phones and whisper ” How are you doing girlfriend?”

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Women are said to become braver, and more sexually in touch with themselves in their thirties and forties, partly because they have to come to this altar and watch who they used to die, to reach who they could be.More sexy, more brave, more intuitive.

This new you may not be accepted by some friends of old.

‘You’ve changed’

When you stand to watch your old self die, you were the only person there to mourn.Nobody mourns with you. Not everyone will appreciate it, especially those that don’t want the best for you.

Hey lovely woman in your thirties, forties etc, you may be watching, bewildered that your friendships are changing. I want you to know that when your girlfriends of old won’t pour into you, know that there are women who you may not call best friends that will. Know that your girlfriends are going through their own stretching phase and may not have connected with the new you. It’s complicated, but not impossible.

As C and I finished our loving conversation well after midnight, we both left that conversation as women in our thirties, connected after the sacrifice and grinning like idiots.

We were the same girls that had met in primary school, but then again we weren’t. It was okay.

It was okay.

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I love you C!

love

Twaambo

How can you be the real you this time around?

I noticed myself smiling like a goofball as I walked down the streets of Itaewon yet again. I was in Seoul again. The city that is in my top 5 cities to live in. ( One day!)

I was smiling because my belly was obviously full of good Korean food, I could hear Kpop being blasted from a speaker as I walked past Hamilton hotel yet again. I was dressed in a way that would be considered too….flashy for Berlin ( Berlin is über laid back darling, you must not try too hard, must be vintage, must be different but … don’t try too hard dahling). My blue mini skirt with its flashy jewels, my trusty brogues ( wore them everywhere!) and my gorgeous lip tint. I was feeling alive. I was feeling.. like myself.

I didn’t care one bit that I stood out with my long blonde braids and my chocolate skin, the big grin on my face making others smile at me too. I was not trying to be anything else.

When had I started to become someone else?

Honestly, I don’t remember. I was not actively trying to be someone else, I just did things that were considered ‘normal’. It’s normal/easy to wear black because.. it goes with everything, makes you look slimmer, and makes you look put together. It’s easy to do things the way the are done where you live because that’s just the way things are done, BUT do those things reflect who you really are? or what you believe in?

Who I am is changing everyday Twaambo, isn’t it the same for you?

I’m sure I am changing every day, but I only realise who I have become after a long while.

I bring up clothing because the way we dress is very often indicative of how we feel inside. We are either expressing what we believe we are, or what we hope to be.The way an artist’s emotions can evoke sensational colours on a canvas in a peaceful or chaotic way is the same way our inner selves show on the outside.

I felt a deep sense of satisfaction knowing that I had accepted myself, sequins and all, and was loving that moment. As I write this, my feet are adorned in pink polka dotted socks because deep inside I’m an incorrigible princess and now fully accept this.

A question I intend on asking myself a lot this coming year is and hope you do the same is:

How can you be the real you this time around?

 

In your work, in your relationship and most importantly with yourself.

Love always,

Twaambo

 

The fight to be included.

The world is at war.

Not just in far away lands, lands that you see on the news, but all around you. All you need to do is look a little closer.

That’s right. An all out war! This war is everywhere, in our workplaces, schools, homes.. and in our hearts.

The fight to be included.

Some days you win, you go home victorious, your peers loved your new idea and nodded vigorously in agreement.You’ve got this. Yes! It reaffirms that you’ve got what it takes.

Most days, though, you come home, defeated, a little hopeless. Questioning if you are in the right place. Are you talented enough for this? When will someone find out that you actually don’t really know what you are doing either? Where do you belong? This is all you have at the moment so might as well make it work.

… and so we fight…

We back bite each other in the race to be included, we do things in secret so that when it is successful boy oh boy the only name that will be lauded is yours!

We steal each other’s ideas or exclude others in your idea at a crucial point because you need their input, but the glory must only be for the one and only. You.

Or on the flip side, you work hard at helping people with their ideas, events etc because you are part of the team right? This is what we are all here to do together is work on this goal. Secretly you may be afraid to work on something on your own, but you are a team player  and you must be included so more input! More data, more of your time.

It still leaves you disappointed.

There is no satisfaction either way. If you are riding off of other people to be included, you are a fraud. If you are dimming yourself to be included, you are resentful.

How do we numb this feeling?

Binge watching. Netflix and Chill. Video games. Alcohol.Drugs.Party.Caffeine.Sugar.Exercise.

Anything not to encourage engaging with your heart and asking ‘Whats the real problem here?’

Movies from ages past tackle this very  problem (Mean Girls anyone?), coming of age movies, movies that make you fist bump at the sky ‘Yes!Justice at last for our hero/heroine! Life is just after all!’

Unfortunately, it feels like life is the continual awkwardness of Forrest Gump.

Where is the relief for this war? How can we escape? What’s the cure for the constant feeling of being excluded, not good enough, fake, resentful?

Take care of your soul. Yes this phrase again, what does that even mean! Try things that nourish your heart. Television is not always nourishing. Sitting in front of the tube with loud explosions, or constant tears … helps you forget for a little while. How about some time without T.V and ( God forbid!) your phone.

Try things that nourish your heart. Television is not always nourishing. Sitting in front of the tube with loud explosions, or constant tears … helps you forget for a little while. How about some time without T.V and ( God forbid!) your phone.(I know 3 people that do not own smartphones. If you have to send them a picture you have to use MMS. It won’t even go through most times.What do they do with their time? Gardening, making and selling cheese, buying and making art, baking, guitar.)

Get away from things and face yourself. With empathy.Not sympathy. Empathy.

Not sympathy. Empathy.

What’s the difference?

sympathy is feeling compassion, sorrow, or pity for the hardships that another person encounters, while empathy is putting yourself in the shoes of another. (source) (put yourself in your own shoes, respectfully and with understanding.)

Don’t feel sorry for yourself but understand that it’s okay that you want to feel included. Everyone does. That’s why teenage girls will defend their place in the popular group because .. inclusion. That’s why you will look your nose down at the new guy at work because he is not a part of the clique yet, and you might be  excluded for associating with the ‘enemy’.

That’s why advertising can use phrases like ‘ Only 5 places left in this amazing club..’ because.. we all want to belong. People want to belong so much that they will do the unthinkable.

You belong. Treat your soul with care.

Instead of relief, seek to restore.Restore that soul. Face yourself.Reassure yourself. You cannot function in this world with a parched soul.

Where is this world going? What condition will your soul be in?

love

T  – (feels excluded but strives for restoration.Prayer does it for me Asking the Big man for restoration.Lots of it ….. and trips to my grandmother’s village deep in Southern Zambia. No running water , electricity or phone network..but oh a sky full of stars.)

p.s ‘I don’t have time for soul care!’ You don’t have the time to continue the way you have. Restore.

p.s.s No elaborate prayer needed for the restoration ” Hi God, my soul aches and I need restoration. Please restore me. Thank you.”

 

 

Treading water..

 

Warm brown concrete, drops of water evaporating quickly from its surface, drops of water dripping from wet little bodies in an array of colourful swimsuits. Muffled giggles, sniffles and conversations. Learning how to swim at Nkhwazi primary school in Lusaka was amazingly fun. Since I attended the ‘Little School’  ( 1st and 2nd grade) first, we splashed around in the pond with Mrs Kirby’s dogs.Then we eventually graduated to the shallow end of the boundless swimming pool at the ‘Big School’ which taught all the kids from 3rd grade to 7th grade.

We got tested in our swimming skills as we went along, getting certificates as we passed each level. Some were much better swimmers than others ( I never got the gold certificate but I did get  up to silver!) and had to learn a few things in order to be a good swimmer.

One of these very important things is treading water.

Treading water is simply staying buoyant in a swimming pool (vertically) while keeping your head above the water. You do this by moving your arms and legs, gently and intentionally.Not the manic splish splashing of a person that is unable to swim (or drowining!).

While you tread water  you are constantly moving but staying in  one position.Staying relaxed and even having a conversation with the other people treading water around you. After two minutes your limbs have a dull ache in them but you are in control, and floating.

Now, with your head above the water you can watch what is going on in the pool around you. The ambitious ones swimming laps, the beautiful ones laying in the sun at the side of the pool, the lifesaver observing everyone and the little ones with their colourful floaters.

As you become a better swimmer, treading water becomes easier.

‘Ugh look at those swimming laps, don’t they get tired? We know they can swim do they have to do it so hard!’ you murmur absent mindedly to the person treading water next to you. You’re both tired, occasionally swallowing chlorinated water, tired. You’re now a swimmer but have to tread water from time to time…. or choose to do it all the time.

The muscular swimmer swimming laps is done, lifts themselves out the pool and walks away. Having swam 5 km , muscles glistening in the fading sunlight. You get out of the pool too, muscles tired. You were treading water for the same amount of time, but your demeanors are different. You fee like all you did was survive and that swimmer was swimming laps around you , getting things accomplished.

You are weary.Maybe even a little resentful to the swimmer  that strides away, powerful shoulders squared in their clothes.

Its not that you cant swim.. its just that swimming laps takes energy and you couldn’t be bothered.Actually you are a little bit afraid of swimming laps because people might see you are not that great of a swimmer and that you are a fake. Maybe swimming was not meant for you, you’re more of a treading water person and you’re good at it now so why would you change ? Yes its tiring but heck, its what you are used to.

There are so many excuses you make to stay in your little corner of the pool, treading water.Stop it.

Make the application, leave that job, open that bank account.Yes it takes energy. Nobody is born just naturally having a go getter attitude. They have just mastered how to make themselves do things, whether its thinking of the reward, or not wanting things looming over them.They get up and get it done.

You have to get the momentum going and stay with it.

Where in your life are you treading water?

xoxox

 

The Young African and what they wear.

What comes to mind when you think of African fashion?  

I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of it lately, celebrities wearing a lot of African inspired looks a la King Bey herself.

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I even did a double take whilst watching one highly addictive Korean Drama, is she wearing African print?

Look at Mindy Kaling also rocking her cute little African inspired outfit!

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There has been an absolute explosion worldwide, African inspired looks, Africa fashion weeks available and popular in various stylish cities in the world. African music is bumping in everyone’s headphones.Did you see Taraji P Henson Instagram about listening to Wizkids  Caro?

I will now proceed to show you what young Africans on the continent are doing with fashion, how they interpret it, how they wear it.

Dubai based LOUIS PHILIPPE DE GAGOUE

 

Zambian fashion bloggers MaFashio

 

Kenya’s Sharon Mundia of ‘This is Ess’

Egypts Hadia Ghaleb

kenya’s Sharon Mwangi of ‘Style by Shary’

Kenya’s Velma Rossa and Papa Petit of ‘2manysiblings’

Zambia’s Roxy of ‘Miss Roxy Boyd”

 

Morocco’s Designer Sophia El Arabi of ‘BakChic’

Nigeria’s Sayedero Enytan of ‘The Fashion Engineer’

A major key to some amazing styling of everyday garments in Africa is thrifting and the tailor down at the market who is churning out all sorts of outfits we must have for weddings, kitchen parties.( don’t forget outfits for church!) We have a plethora of clothes stores, but for a nice mix and vintage finds, thrifting is it.

We have a plethora of clothes stores, but for a nice mix and vintage finds, thrifting is it.

The amazing thing about thrifting is that you have so many labels from around the world right at your finger tips. From Gucci to H&M, Old Navy to Zara (Even Chanel honey!). It’s all in there. So you are very likely to find something you’ve only seen in magazines. Maybe worn a few times but still in good condition.Thrifting allows you to ‘shop’ closets from all over the world and wear labels you’ve never dreamed you could afford

When you thrift oftentimes you are not shopping with size as a guide. You are keeping your eyes peeled for what looks good and sometimes *gasp* its way too big, or way to small. So you thrift some more, or… think about how you can piece together a great look for what you have found.

A few tips for thrifters from Nairobi here :

Thrifting is not all we are all about though. We have access to our own fashion houses, some can afford to travel abroad and buy some very nice clothes  or start our own fashion lines (  see bakchic , Kutowa , Lukhanyo , Chizo the list is endless ).

Don’t let the usual narrative of Africa fool you (poor, dry, flies, wars, dictators.. who has time for fashion with all that happening?). We have some of the most stylish but underrepresented / unrecognised fashion bloggers, designers, representatives in the world. We go far beyond models like Iman or Liya Kibede ( Oluchi I see you!)

Somebody  once asked :

 

“Why do Africans dress so colourfully?”

 

It’s simple darling.

It’s what makes our melanin pop, have you seen us in coral? Yellow? Deep emerald greens?

Visit our countries and see how our natural habitat inspires us.

It makes us happy.

Some people fear that having African fashion that does not have any African print in it removes the Africanness from it. This thinking keeps Africa and its fashion steeped in a narrative that says that Africa is not allowed to evolve in a way that fits the continent and its people.

The versatility of our landscapes, our people, our traditions and languages are a testament to how diverse we are and that change is inevitable.

While people sit around and discuss this, African bloggers stay slaying. Unbothered.

South Africa’s Palesa Mahlaba

Kenya’s Diana Machira of ‘Denim and Cateye”

 

Our uncles are Congolese sapeurs ( Societe des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elegantes (the Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People).Our pastors choose whether to colour coordinate ..or not. (Praise the Lord! Keep walking in those bleesings and ‘gators pastor!)

Have you seen the geles our mothers wear? The sheer number of lace hanging in the closet because .. events.

The main point is the creativity. How can I throw all these colours and materials together to create a feeling? Is it shock? Is it awe? You choose darling.

African fashion, art and music are steeped in a creativity that is full of emotion, colour, sometimes pain. It’s the way african people express themselves in a world that is yet to understand and maybe may never understand what it means to be African.African designers are wowing with their creative pieces that are vibrant, adventurous and unexpected.

This is what young African fashion is , changing the narrative, showcase the beauty and create partnerships. They are here to show us what they are about, and what being young , African and stylish looks like.

What we need to do is create a cohesiveness around African creativity no matter where in the world it is stationed, not only fashion but Art, Design, Music & Film.

African fashion means clinking our wine glasses darling, throwing our heads back in glorious laughter, our stylish head wraps gleaming in the sun, and styling our clothes in a way that feels right to us, in our glorious Africanness.

We will wear our prints, but it is not what defines fashion for us.

It is us Africans that define what our fashion is.

xoxo

T

Want to get started on your creative journey? This guide book will surely help you get on your way!

 

 

Favourite Sister girl

 

‘YAAAAAASSSSSSSS!’

You ever find yourself screaming as you agree vehemently with a sister as she talks about something you find interesting?

 

Or when you walk away feeling learned, appreciate that the sisters are learned and …  just general #BlackGirlMagic vibes

 

Here are some newer  podcasts that take it church.

(I wrote a post a while back about which podcasts I was and still enjoy)

Four Black girls talking about.. everything! I love that there is four of them, dishing out different perspectives, and having different characters.

Heben Nigatu,Tracy Clayton  and their guest grab some drinks and have interesting conversations. Despite the fun vibe, they still get to the poignant questions and leave the listener satisfied, in a good mood and loving life.

I love the American life but with African roots (her words not mine 🙂 ) podcast. I love how informative and educational it is. I can feel her Africanness mirroring my own.


Evelynn is not a podcaster but a YouTuber.She is a funny sister ooooooh. I love to spend Sunday evening laughing , watching her videos.. with an enzyme face mask on, painting my toes… not caring what anyone else in the house is doing because.. #SelfCare

These are the episodes that I thoroughly enjoyed and hope you enjoy them too!

Back to the masking, nail polish, laughing Sunday !

xoxo

Don’t forget to listen to my podcasts as well!

Diaspora truth : Remember when I spoke to the incredible Freddie Harrel?

and Getthismane with my girl Carla.

#BlackGirlMagic baby!

Shenanigans in Seoul ..

So this is what happened.
We wandered up the street in the warm Seoul air, I smelt like Be Delicious by Donna Karan (my favourite!) , M casually carrying that gorgeous strawberry cake, K with her big gorgeous smile. We had spent the day shopping, drinking coffees ( sweet potato latte for me please!) and just general awesome Seoul life chilling.
We got to the restaurant and continued laughing and joking up the stairs. We had arrived at Braii republic. I was the most excited one because I was getting to eat African food again. Not just any African food, but from the Southside, my general area of Africa. I was salivating at the thought of boerwors, maybe some pap..ahhh

We walked in and informed the smiling waitress we were meeting some people. The place was busy and smelled really good. All the memorabilia hanging on the wall immediately giving me that feeling, I was on home turf… technically . Was that a castle lager sitting on that table?
The waitress led us to the back, the cake secretly given to her for safekeeping for the surprise later on.

Sam greeted us with his famous infectious grin. Always nice, always the gentleman he introduced us to everyone else hanging at the table.
I know you know who Sam Okyere is, I interviewed him a while back when I was hosting Diaspora Truth on blogtalk radio. I was fortunate enough to get to know him better this time in Seoul. Sam is still going strong in the entertainment industry in Korea and is someone that a lot of people of colour in Korea look up to. I have met one or two people that want to be like him, to speak Korean as well as he does and be successful. The thing about Sam that makes him so admirable is that he is a shining example of blooming where you are planted and showing young black people that they can make it anywhere. (Ghana stand up! )

Sam Okyere

Another major key to Sam success is staying relevant. He speaks the language and works on improving his knowledge and use of Korean because he knows this is a very important factor to his success. He is also not afraid to try new things (tv shows, variety shows, dramas.. what’s next Sam?) and get that dirt off his shoulder. ( Please refer to jay Z’s Black album released 2003. You’re welcome.)

via GIPHY

Other than being a staple on the show Abnormal summit, He has been cast in Korean dramas like Moorim School and  Warm and Cozy. He has been on variety shows like Running man, Infinity challenge, Real men .. the list goes on.

Did I mention he has good taste in clothes? Brother is always on point, like.. wha…? ( like his facebook page for more.. !)

sam okyere

Another admirable trait about him is his ability to spend time alone, be with himself and his thoughts. this is how he is able to think through his decisions and stay grounded.But when he is out and about with his friends, he is a ball of energy, making people laugh, ready with a dance, making the ajhummas (read : banamayo, old ladies ) blush but also ready to laugh at himself. This is a big thing when you are living and working away from your home country. The ability to accept and enjoy your alone time,but also to be able  to be with people and to laugh at yourself. (all my Africans in the diaspora take note!)

Back to that night.

So as he is introducing the people around the table, I catch the eye of an enigmatic creature, and I got the brown girl tingling feeling. You know the one when you see another black woman and there is just a knowing in your bones… greatness knowing greatness? (Keep your eye roll in check!) I went in directly for a kiss on the cheek dahling.This woman beautiful , and her eyes crinkled so prettily when she laughed. We connected immediately and even joked about what to order, both clearly hangry ( yes I meant to type it that way) a little afraid that it was good, but would it be too much? I shouldn’t have worried, I ate like no mans business! Anyway , her name is Telisu and boy is she talented! She is  all about ART, FASHION, CULTURE, DANCE, DECOR, AND DESIGN. Caps all hers, not mine. She writes, dances, produces .. and is followed by Karl Lagerfeld on Instagram. (This is pertinent info for some of you.)

Telisu

She talked freely about her journey and what she wanted to do with her time in Korea.I admired her strength, her adventurous nature and her sheer daring. She is doing something completely new and I’m here for it. Hailing from Memphis, Telisu is about that getting it done and doing it well life.Her style and aesthetic are intriguing.

Telisu

I admire her bravery because she has launched a career in Kpop, which consists mainly of Koreans. Artists do work with foreign (read: non-Korean) composers , producers etc but to have a foreigner, especially a gorgeous black woman doing her thing in kpop? That’s totally new in that industry, and hard because Korea is still fairly new to dealing with people of other races. She is doing it anyway ’cause a winner don’t quit on themselves’ – Beyonce ‘Freedom’.

via GIPHY

This strong black woman out there, making waves, not asking for permission, but doing what she believes in.May she change the game. Amen.

Telisu

Listen to her song below

 

Seemed like there were so many game changers at the table that night. We had Steve from Asian Boss  who is working to educate people about differences between Asia and the West, help young Asians broaden their perspectives beyond Asian culture, and promote Asian talent to the rest of the world. Steve was a strong character, very charismatic with his direct gaze, but a very ready smile. He is very passionate about what he does, and especially why he is doing it. I was very impressed at how much he genuinely cared and I hope he continues making those ‘boss’ moves (hehehe) because the Asian narrative, just like the African one , needs to be changed. I was genuinely proud of him and could see many similarities in the African and Asian narrative and I can’t wait to see what magic Asian Boss has up its sleeve.


The food was amazing.The Boerewors succulent and juicy ( don’t you hate dry boerewors? ) The lamb exquisite, the spinach creamy.. sigh…. a feast of African splendour. A little bit of Africa in Seoul. Love it!

As the night continued we had scenes of Sam and Telisu breaking out into dance, teaching each other a thing or two… dabs included.

via GIPHY

 

I happily conversations with the owner of the place and a few of the staff because brotherhood/sisterhood ‘I see you’ moments.

I wrote all this to say thank you to Sam, to Steve and to beautiful Telisu. You are making a difference in the world. We are taking notice. Believe it.

Also to the other people at the table that night, creating,speaking, photographing, singing, coding … thank you. (Another post coming soon talking about them.)

The night was great, the cake was eaten. ( you should have seen Sam’s face. I’ve never seen a man so happy to see strawberries 🙂 ) , the discussions and laughs enlightening. left me sitting at the Han river like ..

via GIPHY

 

 

 

What if its not interesting anymore?

 

If it’s not interesting you anymore,
if its takes an enormous amount of strength (gigantic, enormous, heartbreaking amounts!) to enjoy it and get it done…..
if it feels more like a burden …
if it feels mismatched and does not feel like it fits …..

It’s time to stop.
Does not mean you stop forever, you may just need some time.

Even if you put it down forever…. you will pick up something else.
It’s okay to stop.

 

#MagicalMusic-Music I’m loving

Yo!

Yes, I know you have noticed my K-pop fever in the last ‘Music I’m loving’ posts.

I ain’t sorry.

As usual, I’m sharing the jams I have going on repeat! This is the kpop playlist. I’m listening to that a lot lately. A LOT.

CNBlue and their new album Blueming. It’s a different sound from when they first began, similar to another album they did, called ‘Can’t Stop’. I love the sound and dreamy feeling it gives right now in spring. (The name Blueming is apt)

 

Crush lends his impressive RnB vocals to this track, giving me a much-needed feel of the 90’s RnB vibe.Crush em!

 

Dean killing it on this live version of ‘ Half Moon ‘ *swoon * Listening to this, I am very impressed with how smooth his voice is and what kind of vocal range he has. Love this is sunny days, on walks, wearing girly clothes … and Dean <3

 

Crush again, this time with a sad sounding love song. I really like Crush, he does it for me with his songs.

 

Last and not least, everything #Lemonade by Beyonce. You know where to get it. TIDAL.

 

You my dear cannot belong if ….

To be a part of a clique, a team, a couple.
To mesh, submerge, diffuse and be one with everyone.
Their jokes run off your tongue ..but you are still not as funny…oh maybe for a moment.
You wonder why you don’t fit in for too long.Sometimes you find a nice cosy place . You’re comfortable, delighted… and not yourself.
You’ve practised your lines, have your facts together, updated on the headlines so you can drop a golden nugget during the conversation.
It’s not something you are consciously thinking about, it’s just inside you.. wanting to belong, wanting to be liked, wanting to be important.

You light that cigarette and order another beer while your wife cries her eyes out at home. Your heart defiant as you steel yourself to ignore the warning bells in your head. Her love is not stronger than this need you have , to fit in, to be a part of this group, to be somebody.

You defiantly listen to his conversation, even when you get an inkling he is attracted to you and likes you, because at this very moment, you matter, you are someone’s lifeline. Your husbands laughing eyes flash before you for a moment.

You sit with people who smoke, even when you hate the smell of smoke, because it’s the polite thing to do, and you don’t want to shift the atmosphere by saying you don’t like it, because…..it’s nice belonging just for this moment.

Your heart hurts as that juicy bit of gossip is being discussed in the office, but you smile and nod along, maybe drop some of that gossip honey yourself because… you don’t want to alienate the office people…because.. you have to belong. You have to belong….. you have to be .. accepted.

No. You were not meant to belong if it means destroying your spirit, your health… hurting your spouse, …being totally unrecognisable.

When the day ends…..can the person you woke up as at dawn …… recognise you who now lays down to sleep. You’re a fraud and you know it.What parts of you have you given away today..just so you can belong?

again: What parts of you have you given away today..just so you can belong?

No , my love.Stop.

‘I’ll be alone!’ you scream, covering your ears.

You won’t.

You won’t belong trying to be someone else.

You won’t go far on the adoration that comes from people that know nothing about you.

The time has come. It’s time to stop trying to fit in.

Wanderlust fulfilled – I’ve got Seoul

Remember that post I wrote a year ago about wanting to go to Seoul. Korea?

Well, guess who just came back from there?!

I spent three weeks in Korea, eating, shopping and being merry!

I had an amazing time! There are no words to express how enthralled I was, how much I ate and how much being there experiencing it made my life happy. 🙂 )

When I first got to Seoul I was staying in Gangnam (Yes Gangnam of Psy fame ) and was immediately mesmerised by how clean everything was. (I live in Berlin, it has its not so clean parts 🙂 ) We quickly checked into our hotel and I quickly turned on the T.V. If you want to get to know a nation, watch what they are watching. ( I was in the land of Kpop and Kdramas, it was time to dive in immediately!)

Gangnam is a very wealthy area, ( My friends laughed at me for being very surprised at a really badly parked Maserati as we walked down to the river. Who badly parks a Maserati? There are so many laying around Gagnam its crazy)

Gangnam is a lovely mix of skyscrapers, cute cafe’s , and restaurant (also in the back streets) selling some amazing food. I was lucky enough to be housed on a main street, had plenty of access to cafe’s and could easily hail one of the orange or grey taxis that dotted the street. Being an avid kpop and k drama fan I was well aware of how well-dressed everyone was before I landed and was very happy with all my ‘good clothes’ I had packed. I’ve never ben so put together in my life 🙂

Had quite a time finding a bank that would accept my card and give me glorious won to spend, BUT after a million tries with lots of ATMs, Standard Chartered came to my rescue. (Later on, KB Star Bank ATMs also spit out glorious spending money)

Gangnam was fancy, bursting at the seams with designer wear and clothes, well-dressed business men and women, and an occasional cute boutique.

Most evenings in Gangnam were spent eating delicious Korean food at well-chosen restaurants (chosen by my Korean friend). Evenings I sat for a while watching the skyline before getting myself engrossed on what was showing on T.V or planning the next day’s adventure.

Spent lots of Won at the Coex mall  (코엑스몰)

IMG_3837

 

Ate everything Sweet potato ( that’s a sweet potato (goguma) latte and a sweet potato pie,and other delicious fares.

IMG_4518

 

Next part of my stay was in bustling Itaewon. It is such a lively part of Seoul boasting great restaurants and bars, offers some shopping and is a great place for friends to hang out. I had a great time there, hanging with friends, eating Korean barbeque , sipping fancy  drinks at fascinating places long into the night. Itaewon is home to a lot of non-Koreans (the US military base is there) and very popular right now to hang out and eat.

There is also a lot of shopping to done in Itaewon…. but I had had my fill in Gangnam . ( okay okay so Skinfood was right around the corner and I needed their black sugar scrub!)

I found everything so alluring, the food, the culture, the beauty <products> .

Some of my favourite places in Itaewon included  Treff. This cafe/bar boasted of an inviting well-done interior with an amazing rooftop giving you quite the view of Seoul. My friends and I found ourselves wandering back to this place seemingly every day and enjoying their unconventional and appealing to the eye ( and taste buds) drinks

bluberry-ade

bluberry-ade from Treff

Hot chocolate

Hot chocolate on Treff rooftop

 

The service  was always great and lots of people milled around the 3 story cafe. Do visit, the rooftop is amazing!

Ways of seeing Cafe/ Gallery was another place I was very impressed with. The food was really delicious, the atmosphere even better. It boasted of so many quirky things to look at I was constantly surprised even as I gobbled all the yummy food!

nom nom nom nom

nom nom nom nom

There is so much to write about Seoul, the city steeped deep in innovation but somehow still holding on to its traditional culture. It struck me as a place I could not get tired of visiting, a place where I am constantly trying new things to eat .. maybe even a place I could live for a couple of years? Who knows.

If you have not been, you certainly must pack that bag and go!

 

 

Inexplicably yourself.

I remember being about 6 years old,sitting outside on the huge lawn of our farmhouse in Lusaka, Zambia. I was all alone, paperclip in hand, and a small flower in the other.

I was determined. I was going to spin the flower into cotton like Rumpelstiltskin could spin straw into gold. I just believed I could.I remember looking up into the sky at those big big fluffy clouds,kneeling there in the grass, my chubby hands circled but lots of bangles that jingled every time I moved.Thats the first time I thought. ‘I want to be a scientist.’

I always think about me being out there by myself , and how happy I was, and about how being myself outside has always made me happy.Walking around, looking at the clouds. My spirit is clear, my mind gets clearer and I hear my heart. I finally hear the questions my heart asks and the immediate answer to them. e.g. What would it mean to you if xxxx happened? Immediate answer being it would mean the world.Then I know its what I want.Then I pray about it. I believe God has given me the desires that are in my heart and that He can make them a reality.

I spent this afternoon walking around, the fall wind whipping around me, not adequately dressed ofcourse. But oh the joy in my heart! The freedom, and feeling His presence with me. I believe that God is also really happy when we are fully what and how he created us to be. Free.

What had me thinking about this time of life, a time where I was uninhibited?
Jonathan Martins ‘Prototype’

The one escape I had from these apocalyptic fantasies was 
my blue-and-silver Schwinn bike. During those same years, 
I used to ride my bike for countless hours on the cul-de-sac 
at the end of our street. Instead of dwelling on the darker 
visions of the end of the world, I escaped into the realm of 
the truly fantastic—riding in circles for hours and making
up stories I would tell myself out loud. During these rides, 
I was unencumbered by fear, doubt, or self-consciousness, 
freely pursuing all the possibilities—and impossibilities—
of life, without ever having to leave the neighborhood.
The neighbors probably thought I had some kind of 
psychosis, muttering to myself while never actually going 
anywhere. But I didn’t care about getting to the end of the 
street or to another part of town; my little bike was my 
time machine.
Just being on it made me capable of entering a world in which I had pet robots and saved really gorgeous blondes in futuristic jumpsuits from intergalactic 
danger. I wouldn’t have thought of it in these terms back 
then, but I honestly believe that’s where I came to know 
God. It was so natural to be in His presence that I wasn’t 
even conscious of it.
What is the one thing you did as a child where you were yourself,where nothing mattered, where your mind was free,where you were completely …. yourself?
Read the first chapter of Prototype .Let me know what you think!
xoxo