Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Seven Days Among Monarchs

A while back I took a trip to Mexico. I spent seven glorious days at the exclusive El Dorado Royale. It was seven days in a manmade paradise. Although I refer to those who I encountered there as "monarchs" I use the term figuratively. I write this from an outside observer's point of view, admittedly if asked, many would not have perceived me to be different from my excessive self proclaimed monarch counterparts.


In this secluded island paradise, the masses flocked to frolic in the sun, to eat, drink and be pampered to their heart’s content. My first few days, this constant pampering and posturing of the staff impressed me. It wasn't until my very astute mate voiced his discomfort at having other individuals wait on him hand and foot that I became aware. With this awareness, I began to question my purpose and my very existence. The service was impressive, but I started to notice that most vacationers acted like they deserved to be treated like royalty. They wielded control over the staff with “tips”. One day I observed one of the patrons slip a member of the wait staff a crumbled note in an effort to entice him to contravene resort rules. After the staff member left, the patron looked at his companions and stated with a cocky grin, “tonight we are kings and queens!” I saw this theme repeated throughout the week.

Another time, my husband and I met a couple at the pool. Being with child, I dutifully sipped my smoothie as they downed their presumably delicious (and unlimited) alcoholic beverages. As the man drank more, the more he talked about himself, and his possessions. He talked about his expensive watch, his vehicles, his big house back in the United States and his various travel adventures. Just as I was about to lose interest he remembered that I am originally from Kenya. My ears perked up,
because this is a topic that I could talk about for days. At this time, his wife swam over and decided to chime in on our conversation. “Last year, we adopted from Africa.” At that moment my heart swelled, all was not lost. There was more to life than just accumulating riches, bragging rights and languishing in opulence in exotic locations. “Really?” I asked in disbelief (we had been talking for several hours and this was the first time she mentioned this). “Yes, we adopted a baby elephant.” My jaw almost hit the floor. After that statement, my mind shut off to most of what she said afterwards. I just know that she sends money every month to some part of Africa to give this one elephant a good life.

Throughout my stay, the phrase "is this all there is?" repeatedly echoed in the deep recess of my mind. Most of these people worked really hard to save for a lavish vacation. They just wanted the fact that they spent an inordinate amount of money to be recognized, and the resort catered to this mindset. Not every vacationer was like this, but the ones who were, overshadowed less boisterous. I watched the other vacationers as they enjoyed the luxurious amenities, half of them never acknowledging or even bothering to look the staff in the face. I was really perplexed because I did not want to the staff or anyone that I encountered to assume that I would also treat them in a gruff, entitled and callous manner. I felt guilty and ashamed to be associated with the excess. After voicing my complaint to my husband, we had a long talk. I finally realized that in life, I can’t control other people’s behavior, nor could I control how the staff perceived me. My only duty was to be kind and treat each of them with respect and dignity. Once I accepted this, I began to enjoy my vacation a lot more.


If you would like to adopt an elephant from Africa, simply click on this link to get to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Zoey Chronicles: The yogurt incident


My baby is a picky eater, so when I find something she likes to eat, I am excited. Lately, she has been on a yogurt kick. She has also been experimenting with using utensils. This morning hubby decided to give me a break. When Princess Z woke up this morning and alighted from the bed, he changed her
diaper and took her to the living room for yogurt and football. She ate a little and decided to play. The yogurt was set on the side table and soon forgotten. A few hours later, hubby stepped out to run errands. I languished on the couch enjoying having a stress free day. I decided to reply to some of the new year's text messages. Around the corner comes baby Z holding a plastic tumbler and a yogurt container.

                 It reminded me of this image------------>

The spoon was still stuck in the yogurt. The yogurt was on her face, her eyebrows and all sound her mouth. She proudly extended the spoon to me, her generous attempt at sharing. I simply smiled and encouraged her to eat some more. Each time she offered, I pretended to eat all the while cringing and trying not to be grossed out. 

She was messy but happy. Kind of like life...messy but happy!

Written on 1/1/15

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Zoey Chronicles: Busy Bee

Busy Bee

I live with a little busy worker bee. She picks up and moves everything. She is vibrant and constantly moving, but not doing anything at all. The more independent she becomes, the more she moves stuff around, content to play by herself. Most of the time I don't mind. I am slowly learning to put those things that are essential out of her reach if I do not want to spend hours looking for them. There are times when it is inevitable. I have spent hours looking for her shoes ( I mean near tears) only to find them the next day in the cabinet under the sink. Keys, phones, cups...nothing is safe...nothing! She has a chest full of toys, but would rather play with pots, pans and flip flops. When she has something in her grasp that I don't want her to have, she can run away faster than Usain Bolt. She plays a mean game of hide-and-seek. By that I mean, she has learned to open and close doors as well as hiding in cabinets.

I learn something new each day.

Aldous Huxley once said,"experience teaches only the teachable", no truer words have ever been uttered! 


1/3/15

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Zoey Chronicles: In the Trenches

In life, we have to celebrate every victory. I wrote this entry after a particularly challenging day last month and wanted to share it with you...

It is 3:24 pm on New Year's Eve and I am just now sitting down to finish my morning cup of coffee. It is cold and bitter, but I don't care. I am still going to drink it and savor every last flavor I can glean from it. Mostly, I am just too lazy and too tired to go up four stairs to the kitchen to microwave it. Today, this week, this month, this year I have been in a battle. As I sit here in my one good chair wearing a t-shirt and grey sweat pants from yesterday, I survey my living room and can't help but grin. Whoever thought to call this space a living room knew exactly what my day has been like. This room has been lived in. Toys, puzzles, suitcases from last week, shoes, golf balls, mail from the last week, a random beer can and more toys litter my floor, tables and every space of the 300sq ft of my living room. I have piles/mountains of laundry that I have been scaling for the past two days. I can honestly say I see the end, but I am too scared to be optimistic about it lest the laundry fairy decides to dump another pile, so I claim my progress as a small victory.

For now, I am going to sit here in my good chair and smile. I have managed to do the impossible. I have put baby Z down for a nap. I had been trying to get her to nap since 1:00 pm. She was tired but kept fighting it. Finally, I had the ingenious idea to lay next to her in bed and side feed her until she became drowsy. Stealthily, I managed to swiftly switch the boob with a pacifier. Sensing the difference, she had clutched my shirt closer and draped a leg over me. I was trapped. I counted the minutes until I could escape her iron clutches. When her breathing got slow and even, I braced myself for the escape. Luckily I was taught the "stop,drop and roll" fire drill in elementary. As a mommy, I am the master of the Ninja roll. When the time came, I did a fast roll and flung myself off the bed to the hard floor. It hurt. I held my breath and tried to stay as still as I could. You could hear a pin drop. She made a slight move but continued to sleep. I slowly rose to my feet and stealthily shuffled out of the door.

 Now I am here, in my good chair, sipping on my liquid black gold. I might be sore, but I managed to escape, so yeah, I will sit here in the battle torn cluttered living room and enjoy my cold coffee. I deserve it, because my achy elbows and knees have earned it. Today was another day of battle in the mommy world. If things go well in 8 and a half hours, I would have seen a new year and hopefully a turn in events. Right now, I am re-charging and reveling in the moment and I would not change a thing.

* As I neared the end of this entry, I heard the monitor crackle and baby Z's faint cries... Time for this mother to jump back in the trenches, exactly where I belong! Till next time!

written on 12/31/2014

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Library


 When I was a child, my family used to take me to the library. The library was a quiet solemn structure. It was peaceful and tranquil. There was only one rule which we had to abide by, everybody had to whisper. We could not use outside voices. Nowadays, people refuse to follow the rules at the library. I just assumed that it was well known that people are supposed to be quiet and respectful of others at the library... Not so much these days. I have been coming to the library daily and each time I have had to ask people to keep it down...each. damn. day! I just want peace and quiet. Every time I ask people to keep it down, they act like I am a horrible person. 






Today was no different. I had a weird encounter with a lady at the library. She was in a private reading room. I was in a room adjacent to hers. She was on her cellphone for a long time, using her outside voice. I asked her to keep it down. She said she was not loud. Then, I politely told her she was, which is why I approached her. She retorted that she was not loud. So I informed her of the library's policy of no cell phones. She got angry and told me she was not loud. I informed her that I would report it if she refused to lower her voice. Then she told me that I would not report her. I replied that I would. She said I would not. I said I would. We went back and forth like that for awhile. At some point, I felt like I was in a twilight zone. It also occurred to me that I might be on Ashton Kutcher's Punk'd. When Ashton did not jump out from the shelves, I accepted my reality.

This random lady was really telling me that I would not report her to the librarian for talking on her cell phone. .. Sigh. I just can't deal with people sometimes. The price I pay for being a square peg trying to fit in a round hole of a world.






Written on 1/12/15

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Zoey Chronicles: Mine!

 Mine! 

Little girl is growing and thriving. She is eating more and filling out. She is also starting to voice her concerns. Lately she has become obsessed with Caillou. She wants to watch Caillou all the damn time! She wakes up the first words out of her mouth are Caillou. She mumbles Caillou in her sleep. She has also started to become possessive. She will usually screech "mine" and come running around the corner to take whatever possession of her that you have commandeered. The good thing about this is, she only demands things that belong to her or that she had possession of first. Smart girl!

At this time Caillou, Mama and mine are her mantras!

2/7/2015

Friday, February 6, 2015

Growing pains

Reflections


A few weeks ago, Baby Z and I left El Dorado and traveled to Houston. We have been here for more than a month and loving the change in our daily routine. Driving to Houston was another great undertaking, one that I had been dreading since my family called and asked me to come. This was my first time driving back to Houston since the accident. It went well. We made it safely. 

Z loves it here. She has all the relatives wrapped around her finger. She is thriving and flourishing with each passing day. She is learning to count and meeting new friends. I am getting a much needed break and time to study. I haven't spent much time with her since we got here. I have to remember that I came here with a purpose and I am determined to stay on course. I have been to the library everyday and even though I miss my little rug rat, I know that she is safe, secure and being properly cred for. Every evening I come home and she jumps in my arms eager to show me what she has learned. She gives me hugs and kisses simply for being her mama. We snuggle watching one of her shows, then we Skype with her dad. Every time we Skype, she grabs the Ipad and kisses her dad. She may not understand everything we talk about, but she is always happy to chime in with a coo or a squeal, which makes our evening chats very fun.  

Though my current situation is not ideal, I have it better than most people. I have to keep things in perspective. Right now it is raining on me and my house, but I know that sunny days are ahead. The good thing about being a Christian is knowing that when it rains, it rains the same. It rains on the just and unjust. I have to stand and let the torrents come. I can't pick and choose when to praise. The only thing I can hope for is a quietening of the mind and a peace in my heart. There has to be a time for tilling, turning the soil and pruning the vines in preparation for a season of planting. All the preparations, when done properly, yields a bountiful harvest. So, I stand. I endure. I persevere with God's help. Always remembering, not my will, but His Will.

1/7/15