Day 45; Quarantine…

This episode (of life) feels a lot like a drama, where the protagonist stares through this window on the second floor storey at this large expanse of green plains with the sun high above, the birds chirping in the flower garden while Jose Gonzalez plays in the background. He blends within the entire scene to become one with it. The book he’s holding seems to encapsulate what it is he’s reading.

I am all for zen moments, and I have had plenty of those in this quarantine period. Maybe the heart grows fonder because you are apart. Those Sunday lunches with family which now are a momentarily thing of the past, are dearly missed. I am just glad we have phone calls and internet! Imagine this had happened in the dark ages!

And dark ages, I mean 10 years ago! What would the lock down be without social media, internet and pay tv? My mother was regaling us with tales of how this is a much easier version of the Amin war where they had to pad windows and turn lights off before curfew. The only entertainment they had was themselves. And yet here I am wondering if I’d stay the same without a phone for just a day.

Quarantine has taught me lessons, and I can’t wait to explore these when we finally get out of it. There’s a renewed zeal, and a need to heal, be better, do better and grow.

I like that we’ve been forced to have conversations we wouldn’t normally have or that people are now realizing that there’s more aspects to life than that job, that toxic relationship, that holiday not taken, that text message not sent. These are interesting times to be a part of. For me, this is history in the making. What will I tell my grandchildren? Maybe I should get started on that book.

For many though, it’s been family. I think as bad as this gets, our greatest take home has been spending quality time with family. I honestly do worry about those without or who can’t be with family for one reason or the other. It’s given people an opportunity to heal and a renewed zeal to make better what wasn’t.

And I am enjoying the writing!

 

What’s your Worth?

In the first job I ever got about 7 or so years ago, my boss was earning 10 times what I was earning, and somehow, we still had the same basic needs and desires. None the less, to date, it’s still one of my favourite jobs I’ve had!

What exactly is your worth? Your value?

Being Principal at a prestigious design school means that one of my duties is to employ people, and ensure they are the best fit for the job and team! When I first started, I found it difficult to hire – drawn towards the credentials but now, it’s a little different.

There’s a significant difference between your value and your worth! How much should I pay you is one of the questions I find myself asking people who apply for any job and get an interview!

Value is always added! The pizzazz or difference you add to the team! The magic! The wow factor! And if you have a higher value added, then your worth then is much higher! See the difference?

I’ve employed people who claimed they had a higher ‘worthiness’ to the team and yet the value added over a period of time to the team was the same or even negligible to say the least! It leaves many employers frustrated when they believed you’d be the difference maker!

What people don’t know is that you are either employable or not! And the ‘not’ is not a bad thing! From the very on set when I got my first job, I always had a side main hustle! Sometimes it brought more money than what I was being paid and that made my job more about experience and understanding. I remember once sharing with my spiritual mentor about the many businesses I was attempting on the side and they plain told me that they rather sit in an office from 8-5! That’s who they were and they were ok with that! Not everyone has an entrepreneurial mindset or attitude, and that is fine. We all make do with what we choose.

Part of the work – life experience is to build your worthiness by adding value! It could be in qualifications, experience, capabilities, specified knowledge to mention but a few and these ideally will build your worth, that bargaining chip.

My first job taught me a lot! It brought capitalism closer to home! I was never paid exactly at the end of the month and sometimes it didn’t matter whether I had my own personal issues! The MAN paid when and how he wanted to! The job will never solve all your problems. Simply put, more money, more problems!

Maybe our societal structure and system creates a system of failure? But what do I know! If you are quick to understand some of these subtleties then you can quickly move up or move on to better things.

Architecture schools across Europe, Asia and the Americas changed their systems because of minimum wage requirements! The course was too long and pay too little for those who did it! And so they changed from a 5 year Bachelors degree to a 3-1-2 Masters program! Unfortunately, it’s still the same in most East African institutes teaching Architecture…so, what will you do?

I’ve done quite a few jobs, starting from Client Service and Account Manager to now Principal at Artfield Institute of Design. For me, that’s a story I’d love to tell! If your employer truly cares about you, they could elucidate more on the intricacies of your job and your value/worth.

I once quit a job because my value and worth we’re not matched! And I was wise enough to see that. Have you ever seen your boss bag that big a** cheque while you struggle to get a taxi back home? While that dream car or house pass you by? Don’t confuse your desires to be successful as your worth!

I’ve written down and monitored my personal and business goals for the last 7 years and honestly, your dream starts on paper! I’ve started and closed a restaurant! I’ve done some agribusiness! Tried money lending! Sold perfumes at some point! There was a bar somewhere too! I’ve truly tried out a couple of things. I’ve written for a few magazines and newspapers!

Eventually it all comes down to passion! Passion should never be looked at as a bad thing. Passion honestly drives you! I am passionate about leading, teaching and writing, and building obviously! Once an architect, always an architect! The rest are extras! I currently run a small construction firm, teach and lead an institution – all things I am passionate about!

We all take different journeys but the road to success requires sacrifices.

What value are you adding to yourself, and what do you think you are worth?

Maybe your work should speak for itself? There’s different matrices to determine some of these things but I know for a fact that no job is truly ever fulfilling, well, because it’s a job!

Anyway, peace!

03-04

There’s so much to do in this beautiful thing called life – Lewis Hamilton

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

Soren Kierkegaard

Yesterday was my birthday and unlike any other that I have or haven’t celebrated, this one I had to sit home in quarantine! And that just left me wanting more, and rather appreciating the mundane things in life like just going out.

Everyday when I awake, at god knows what time, I just sit wondering what the new day will bring. It’s strange being hopeful and yet knowing that until sometime, this is going to be the life. I worry about the finances, the health, and livelihood during this period of time! It’s been one week and I fear what it could be 3 months down the road!

It’s difficult to talk about sacrifices because everyone is making sacrifices in life. It’s all relative! – Lewis Hamilton

Life has slowed down for me. It’s looking at all the work that I could be doing or want to be doing. And yet I can’t! And yet, doctors around the world are on the clock with what’s going on with COVID – 19, and I realize that being alive is the greatest thing that could happen.

I sit at my balcony every evening as the sun sets and just watch time move, slowly. It’s trying to understand time, and the construct – waking at 10, lunching at 2 and seeing the day end at 7 before repeating the same thing the next day! I sometimes wonder about life and this existential quagmire! How we were young yesterday and now we are old, married, planning life and thinking about children! And how my parents are talking about retirement and planing for the next phase of life.

There’s so much I wish I knew when I was younger but I am pretty sure that’s the same for everyone that’s growing in life…each and every person will go through their own thing…and the only way to learn is to learn through experiences…and I learn through trial and error. I love the journey of getting to where I want to be. – Lewis Hamilton

In this journey called life, for sometime now, I’ve been focusing on taking it a day at a time, and choosing to learn and grow from any situation. Many times it won’t go your way, and sometimes life will throw curve balls at you but it’s by choosing to stand on the growth side of life that you start to see a difference! Being open minded about any situation even when it doesn’t fit well within your journey, is what makes life worth living. The question truly is how much you want it – and then go and do it! I’ve chosen to move, go forward because that’s where I need to be.

Life is obsolete and how we (I) choose to live it is all that matters, so make that a daily choice, a reminder – polite or rude to make sure you are living it. Do what makes you happy and live it positively. Be a light too.

It goes by so fast, and tomorrow, when we are looking at our grandchildren, we shall wonder how we got there!

So, as trying or tiring as this moment is for everyone, the hope is that this too shall pass, and we (I) shall come out on top!

Happy birthday CK

March 2020

Is this WW3?

Because it sure looks like it!

I’ve never seen something like what is happening now! A global pandemic! Crap!

There’s so much going on that it’s beyond unbelievable! I just felt it important to put a few thoughts down about the situation – things that I can hopefully refer to in the future.

  1. Never in my life did I think I’d experience a world war like crisis! I’ve read, heard and sometimes I’ve presumed what it might be like during war, and I was curiously asked my parents what my parents went through during the war days of Amin, Obote and Museveni and even the stories don’t make sense. But now, now I am worried. I fear for my future. Did my parents fear for theirs? Did they think their families would pass through these trying times? We are facing a global crisis, one that doesn’t even make sense because the numbers don’t make sense. Has breathing ever been this difficult? Has having a common cold ever been this scary? A cough maybe? So many things run through your mind when you cough or someone does it close by! Some how I am just glad the we’ve had a quick step and are able to hopefully nip this in the bud! None the less, I am grateful that my family and I are well. Be safe, wash your hands – well, social distancing and eat well.
  2. Working from home has never been strange to me but being forcefully ‘quarantined’ and having to do it with everyone at home is just total bollocks. I wake up early every morning and start the usual routine before remembering I am stuck here. I used to look forward to weekends but now, everyday feels like one LONG WEEKEND albeit one you must forcefully spend at home.
  3. Now would be a good time to assess my progress through the first quarter of the year but that’s going to be difficult because well, we are stuck at home. Never the less, there’s seems to be a few chinks I need to fix, that I’ve been afraid to do. It calls more to my nature vs nurture vs work life balance. And I do believe I’ve got some solutions. Let’s see how the next few months go by, and hope that I’m able to put into place these self reflective thoughts.
  4. I am hoping that my month – April is the month we find an answer to all that’s going on.

There’s more to reflect upon during this time, and one of the biggest steps is going to be what happens next, after we get through this situation.

Rixos – Sharm El Sheikh

Please google before you read this! I need you to feel and experience what I am feeling!

This has been my home for the last few days, and I dare say, it’s really been amazing! I thought I’d been to places that can blow my mind away but this seemed to be so surreal I’ve felt like I’ve been dreaming since we came.

First, the place is so big you need to be carted from one area to another! From your room to the 7+ restaurants. From your room to the beach! From your room to the reception! This place is self contained! The rooms themselves are self contained! I think this must be a 6 star hotel!

Have you ever felt like there’s soooo much to do and yet so little time? Or maybe wished you couldn’t sleep so as to do everything! I think I just accidentally ticked something of my bucket list!

By the way, it’s an ALL inclusive resort!

Just google what that means please because words honestly fail me!

The first thing they do after checking in is give you a map highlighting the 48 something places you need to know! The 6 pools, 8 restaurants – from Indian, to Brazilian, and Chinese, a little Turkish, some Japanese, Sea food, Italian as well, and the ala carte menu, 4 bars and then the beach! Like I said, there’s so much to do!

Now you might be wondering how we go here? Well, DreamTrips!

We’ve made new friends here as well! Kareem and Oprah, Novella and her daughter! It’s honestly been a fun week!

There’s food everywhere! All kinds of food! I feel like I should say this! There’s all types of drinks! I don’t think one can fully finish all these drinks! Honestly, I am amazed! Some of me wishes my family was here to see all of this!

You should come see this place! Or add it to that list of yours.

The service is top notch! Everyone wants to serve you, and serve you well! Sometimes these places make you question the service delivery back home! There’s those inquisitive people who want to know which part of the world you are from!

This has been an amazing experience!

Egypt

Day 1

Today started at 00:15 in the morning, rushing out of the house like mad men. We’d spent the Sunday evening at home mostly with family. There’s something about family Sundays that really never gets old.

My wife and I were traveling early in the morning of Monday. We’d talked about this trip from around June last year. It was one of those conversations that went back and forth with no direction in mind. We were selecting a destination for our next get away. This idea and practice had started in 2017 when we were dating.

She’d first suggested Greece, Athens, Santorini and it was a no for me. The logistics and resourcing for the trip was crazy! Nonetheless, that was the first choice location. I had suggested Egypt as an option for one of my go to destinations. Then there was Mauritius as well on the to do list.

This conversation never ended. We would table, discuss, disagree, disperse. Repeat, again. I’ve always wanted to visit the pyramids and when this opportunity came up, I was so ready.

Greece was definitely the choice after a lot of blackmail but the trip we wanted and the available timelines didn’t correlate.

I don’t even remember how we selected Egypt but in the process of looking for trips available within our selected timelines, it looked like the next best thing. We quickly booked the trip and then went to google how to get there! L. O. L! It was madness, from getting a certificate of good conduct to the 1001 things the Embassy asked for. At some point I am glad we’d started the process much earlier than intended. It’s one of those things that helps a lot. Last minute things spoil the trip! They asked for my marriage certificate as well! Jesus!

Like I’ve always shared, checking in helps a lot because it forces the airline to wait for you in case you delay. And please, don’t delay!

When we arrived at Entebbe, it was a walk in the park. First the fear of the process now that everyone is on high alert but it felt like everything was under control!

Flying never gets old! Aha! Anyway, I slept the entire journey! Blacked out! Slept like a baby! Imagine dreaming, in the actual clouds.

When we landed, it was straight for the exit after going through the process over again!

…Egypt…

The weather was a shocker! Is sunny cool or cool sunny a thing because that’s what it was! A friend who’d been here about a week or so earlier had warned us to carry jackets and we didn’t believe him until we stepped out of the airport.

The drive to our hotel is surprisingly long! Took us about an hour or so to get there! My wife and I have different things we bring to our travel team! She’s the we need to get exactly what we paid for and I more nothing can stand in the way until we find a way and that comes in handy a lot of the time when we are bargaining or planning.

We had booked for an evening dinner boat cruise along the Nile as an activity and truly we were not disappointed! Traveling while black to many vacation spots is tricky some times! We’ve found ourselves the outcasts most of the time, the long weird stares and whispers! I mean, there’s a time people left the pool when we went in for a swim at some resort but hey…we are in Egypt.

From our hotel to the booked cruise was about 30 minutes plus about another 10 or so for poor directions. We entered this boat and were led to the buffet line with a chef as courteous and awesome as the food he served. He seemed to want to give us two of everything at the buffet! Mustafa was the name. We quickly settled into our dinner before the boat started to move.

This activity is about a two hour all you can eat buffet with lots and lots of entertainment! The dancing was amazing! The pharaohs knew what belly dancing would be to the world because eki narebire eki, tikyabulijo! The dancing like the food was all you can have! We were treated to a series of amazing dances and music! I honestly didn’t know a piano could sound like a guitar, violin and a piano as well.

New places bring create new memories and I can’t wait to make new memories here! The weather is amazing, the people warm and mostly can’t wait for Day 2!

Marriage Chronicles

It’s 23:13

It just occurred to me that it’s been a year or so now, and some things still catch me by surprise – like how I needed to get a handkerchief, and there’s an entire drawer full of them.

On Friday, I had a conversation about what being married is and most times people ask me, “Why did you get married?”. And honestly, I don’t have an immediate answer I can give but my experience tells me otherwise.

The more I interact with people around me, the more I realize some common misunderstandings arising, and no, I am not here to address them. That’s for you to find out when you cross that bridge, or if you ever walk down that aisle.

I am just fascinated though by the misconceptions that keep on coming up like how trapped you are – like a caged animal? Or how can you only have one partner? Or isn’t it boring being with only one person, ALL THE TIME! Hey! Chill!

Life like many other things is a paradox and a complex series of conjecture that either makes sense or doesn’t and why people think it stops when you are married still makes me wonder what really people aspire to! We get married for many reasons and mine – I found the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, my paradox, enigma, force marjeur, the fire that lights up the night sky, a friend who makes sense, and sometimes doesn’t but hey, we don’t have the answers to everything now, do we?

Marriage done right is a beautiful thing – depending on your understanding of what right is! Mine is simple – we all need love, the Bible one and not the one all these movies keep on promulgating! It’s handkerchiefs in drawers, and juice in the fridge. Or I thought this might look good on you! Or, yooooo, the funniest thing happened today! Or, babe, can you get me tissue? Or or or!

Truly truly, we all deserve happiness! And I am here to support marriages, and maybe because I am tired of being asked what it’s like because I am still a new student in this institution and I am trying not to miss any class.

Find your happiness. Find your peace.

Happy New Month!