Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Life As A Widower.

So I was walking through King's Cross Station on a beautiful Sunday morning (as you do) and saw a familiar face that I had seen before, not in person, but on beautiful photographs online, accompanying some of the rawest texts that I could sympathise with and relate to.

I saw the blogger of Life As A Widower, Ben Brooks-Dutton (Brooks was his wife's Desreen name, which she kept after they got married). Last November, his wife Desreen died in a car collision. Ben was able to push his son and get out of the way, but Desreen sadly did not make it.

I followed his story quite early on, maybe from January or February? Either way, a friend of mine 'liked' his page on Facebook and so I liked it too and followed his journey through grief and raising his son as a single father.

I saw Ben, I smiled and looked at him for a while (awkward action, also a bit creepy for anyone to do). And I went up to him and we just talked.

I had to praise him, for his courage to lay it all out for the world to read, because grieving, it's ups and downs, the pain that comes and goes, the frustration, rage and hopelessness that also accompanies it, is all too real and not many people talk about it as they should be.

I shared my own personal experience about my brother's death and Ben was incredibly sympathetic. I really appreciated our brief chat.

Death and the circumstances surrounding it should never be swept under the carpet.

Grief should never be hidden.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Abercrombie & Fitch Fat Discrimination

If you've ever entered any A&F store, you'll remember how difficult it is to see and breathe in the store. 

You must have also noticed the generally aesthetically pleasing staff wearing the A&F line like it's 20 degrees while it's windy, rainy and wet outside.

I have never owned anything from A&F, but what I do know is that the clothes are overpriced. I also know that they clearly pick employees based on their outward appearance... oh and being non-Muslim helps too

Months ago, A&F CEO Michael Jeffries, 'justified' why A&F is not catering to larger persons. His justification did not come as a surprise to me.

It's not his 'discrimination' that's a problem; every company has their demographics. It's the way he went about explaining it, which is a problem. Mr Jeffries explained this in a very juvenile way and not in a business way that would have let him get away with this 'discrimination'. He associated skinny and beautiful people with popularity, a sweeping and common generalisation held by people younger than my age. This only taps further into the social hierarchies at school, with the 'beautiful' and socials at the top and not so social at the bottom.

Basically if you're not being discriminated against in school or in the work place, you're going to be discriminated against in life because you can't wear certain clothing because you're not good enough. 

In all fairness, Mr Jeffries isn't exactly aesthetically pleasing himself. At the same time, we should be kind of pleased that Mr Jeffries isn't making his tacky, overpriced clothing available to all. There are better alternatives out there. Furthermore, it seems like many teens these days aren't even interested in wearing A&F because of the price. So I guess, all of us realise there's everything wrong with the brand. 

What Is The Secret?

I have The Secret... 'the secret' (yes... in quotation marks, because it really isn't a secret).

A bestie of mine who has read this book before, gave me a really positive review. She told me how it helped her get the mindset she has today. She also recommended other things for me to watch and read, including Left Eye's documentary, Last Days Of Left Eye. I discovered that Left Eye died during the filming of this documentary. Twenty minutes into the documentary, I noticed that she was feeling like she got to the end of her life. It's all very eerie...

Back to the secret!

So I'm at the stage in my life where I feel sort of... accomplished but I haven't yet made it yet! What I have accomplished so far is great (in my eyes) but it's only the beginning! For me to get to the next level, I need to get rid of my bouts of envy and dips in confidence.

The first part of the book (chapter 1 and 2), teaches the law of attraction; what you think (good or bad) is what you attract to yourself. If you are wealthy, you are wealthy because you think of one thing only; wealth. When someone obtains wealth and loses it, it's because his/her mindset changed from wealth to the fear of losing it.

Basically, the general consensus of these two 'rules' is that your state of mind determines your success.

Another part of the rule is that the law of attraction draws in more 'like' thoughts. What you think is what you will think more and more. Thus, if you think about a specific thing, you will think more and more about it. Think positively and end up thinking more and more positively.

The 'I do not want epidemic'. According to The Secret, we think more about what we don't want than what we do want. The danger with thinking about what we don't want, is that we will attract more of what we don't want to ourselves. This is because the law of attraction does not compute anything that is negative (i.e. don't, no or not). Therefore if you say you don't want something, you will get it.

Luckily, for those who can be trapped in temporary negative thoughts, there is an element of time delay. Our thoughts do not materialise into something as soon as we think them. This gives us time to reassess our thoughts, think about what we want and make a new thought. Time delay is so useful to me (personally).

The Secret also states that we think by default. We don't control our thoughts every time. When we start to control our thoughts, we will control what we attract. Thoughts and feelings are intertwined; bad thoughts result in bad feelings, good thoughts result in good feelings. So how can we manage what we feel? The Secret says to ask yourself how you are feeling through the day.

Perhaps if we train ourselves to think a certain way, we will think that way by default? The Secret says we can master our thoughts through meditation. Through meditating we quieten our minds, which then enables us to master our thoughts. Meditation also helps to calm you in particular situations, therefore offsetting stress and negative thoughts. I try to meditate 15 minutes a day in a quiet space (sometimes with relaxing sounds). 

The Secret also explains that the law of attraction is impartial and impersonal, which explains why bad things happen to good people. The law does not discriminate and does not act based on your good or bad actions, it acts on what signal you're transmitting to the universe

To conclude, your thoughts create. Your thoughts are seeds, whatever you sow, you reap! Your harvest depends on the seeds you've planted... so you better start thinking some good thoughts! 

Sunday, 18 August 2013

It's Time For Africa.

It's time for Africa!

It's time for me to head home.

I haven't been in Africa since I was about one years old (I visited Egypt for three months). My memories of Africa are non-existent, but now I'm ready to be there and create those memories I don't have.

I plan on going in November/December, at least after my graduation ceremony. It's a great way to celebrate three years of rigorous study...

I am excited, very excited. I've been asking anyone who has been for advice and stories of their experiences on the continent.

My plan is to go to Nairobi, Kampala and Juba. These are the capital cities of Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan.

I'll be spending time with family, exploring and doing a lot of business work (writing and photography) while I'm there. I've been told it could get boring for me, but nothing is ever boring if you have a good book and a camera with you.

I'm going to continue practising my Arabic and Dinka and learn a little bit of Swahili from my cousin and friends (that should help me out a little bit in Nairobi).

I will start getting vaccinations and malaria tablets closer towards the time. I suppose the vaccinations at least a month in advance. I'm definitely heading to Africa with bug sprays etc. I know mosquito nets should be widely available there so I won't get it here.

So I have a lot of plans and currently I'm just doing the writing thing and focusing on work. I'm starting to manage my money much better because I know I'll need it for my travels.

I just can't wait, I'm excited and a little bit nervous, but actually more excited than nervous. I'm not sure how long I will stay, I'm looking at 3 months before I return. But again, that depends on work and family. But I am definitely staying there for at least 6 weeks. I genuinely can't wait... and this blog will definitely become more exciting while I'm there!

P.S. ISIS Magazine has a new website and Issue 3 is out!!! Also, Talk of Juba has launched! I'm one of the writers. It's a news and entertainment magazine on South Sudan/South Sudanese.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

I Got My New Baby: Canon 600D.

My baby arrived!!! In the form of a new camera! 

Shot with my iPhone 5 camera, which is now retiring from snaps that go on the blog. 
So I officially finished uni in May but received my degree classification in July. I got an upper second class Bachelors with Honours in Biological Science. Of course, to celebrate, I decided to dedicate a large chunk of my August pay to something I have wanted for so long and kind of needed for my newly acquired nomadic lifestystyle; a DSLR. 

After browsing for months and thinking to go with the Nikon 1 J1, a cool computer tech guy friend told me that I should go with a DSLR because you really get your money's worth with it...

And after some research (if you don't know which one to go with, check this out), I decided that the DSLR was the best thing for me... especially if I want to take photography to the next level. 

I've been playing around with my camera and so far... I love it! I've read through the instruction manual and checked out some videos online and asked experienced DSLR users for tips and advice... it's not as difficult to use as I thought it would be! 

Throughout this process of acquainting myself with my brand new gadget, I've learned that it's not the camera that makes the best pictures, it is the technique and skills of the photographer.

Photographed with my Canon 600D. I'm currently reading Chinua Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart'; amazing!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Beyhive Sends 40 Pizzas To A 'Hater'.

Fandoms and stans can become pretty deranged... like close-to-restraining-order-worthy deranged. 

When I saw this screenshot I was like 'there's nothing funny about sending 40 pizzas to someone else's home'. 

OK I'm appearing a little too serious or too sympathetic of others but there is nothing funny about using a service to prank people. If you're going to attempt to prank or have a payback moment, do it yourself.

I feel bad for that pizza company (because pizza's are nice and delicious and should never be wasted) but I also feel for the delivery guy who has made the effort of putting all 40 pizzas on his scooter/bike/car to take it to the house just for him to take it back to the pizza place again. You've wasted the delivery guy's time. You have wasted the money he could have potentially made by delivering to someone who actually made a rightful order.

It's petty. It's selfish. It's immature. People are always going to say something negative about the person you like, it doesn't mean you have to make their lives hell. Remember, everyone has their opinion. Who are you to decide what they should say or think?

Thursday, 8 August 2013

An Easter In Amsterdam.

Remember how I wrote about being so traumatised after my thesis that I booked a trip to Amsterdam to get over my worries (it kind of worked out for me)?

Well, here is a useless post with pics and text about my trip to Amsterdam!

This is probably my fourth post on the Netherlands. As you'll probably have noticed by now, I consistently go to the Netherlands. But since I have finished university, I am free to travel on long-haul flights. So after my graduation ceremony in November, I'll be flying away to a place outside of Europe.

Flying with KLM
Because I want to live a modern nomadic lifestyle, I'm now a member of KLM's frequent flyer program.

My favourite. Tea.

Out and about

Kermis or a fair on Dam Plein (Dam Square)

iPhone 5 photography.

Rembrandt House... this is where he was born!

Taking the metro...

Not my metro.

Near Centraal Station

I tried out mojito's for the first time... I believe the hype! 

My friend's strawberry daiquiri... I liked it!

Vanilla milkshake after! 

Amsterdam Centraal Station


At nights I just came back and blogged.

Cookies and chocolate = best of both worlds.

Helplessness is a feeling, not a position.

Seeds that you just plant in your garden. Then you hope there's enough sun, light and nutrients.

This was yummy. I don't know the name though.

Helps you get to the toilet in the dark... unscathed.

(Faux?) Vespa... taken the Netherlands by storm.

From the Hague, back to Amsterdam...

The image of this post.

Starbucks at midight. Yes. Total addict me.

Breakfast next day at Coffee Company. Banana loaf and pana montata.

Book flea market at Universiteit van Amsterdam

Anne Frank memorial near the Anne Frank Huis

Bought some good Hema cake as goodbye.
See you again soon Amsterdam.