Thank You, October

Life moves quickly. So swiftly, that it’s easy to miss the things, people and events that make life worthwhile. I’ve decided to create a new section of my blog, to share, appreciate and reflect on each month.

I’m grateful for:

  • My Nyamz– Count yourself lucky if you enjoy enriching friendships. Friends who sit down with you when you are down. Friends who rise to the heavens with you when it’s time to celebrate. Angel friends. I’m thankful for my girl Nyambura who continues to support, love and lift me up in my time of need. I’m lucky to have you.
  • Sitting at The Table– Solange released her gorgeous body of work, A Seat at The Table, at the end of September and I’ve spent almost every day of October meditating on it. I’m so in awe of her artistry, her vision, her execution. Album favourites: They keep changing but currently loving ‘Don’t You Wait’, ‘Borderline’ and ‘Don’t Wish Me Well‘. Inspiring and beautiful.
  • Bible Study– I’ve been fortunate to attend a bible study this month hosted by my lovely sister. This has been the first time I’ve been part of a bible study fellowship and it’s truly the most incredible experience. We share, connect and pray for each other. I’m going to try and make this a habit.
  • Social Media Cleanse– I returned to social media in October after a month long break. I noticed I had inadvertently been spending a lot of time on social media, just scrolling and scrolling until the ends of the earth. Social media can be important and constructive. But I realised I needed to spend some time away to a) see what else I could do with my time b) get away from virtual energies c) cultivate more mindful practices like intention-setting and prayer in the morning d) rearrange my life so that social media serves my life, and not the other way around. I’ve since re-established my social media practices and it’s working well so far. Will keep you updated.
  • Victory– October ends on an incredibly positive note for me. It’s important to work hard and keep your head down, but once in a while you’ll get a reminder that keeps you going despite how difficult and exhausting it gets. October reminded me that I don’t have to be the most talented or the most able person. If I am committed to learning and growing and expanding myself, I can achieve anything I set out to. If not today, tomorrow. Failure will always inform a later part of your life- it never ends there. Everything adds up. There will be a meeting point for the failures of your life. You will realise each experience was important and instrumental in shaping the victory you experience. So be encouraged- push yourself, stay inspired and focus. Cover yourself in prayer. Commit your journey to the most high. It will always be worth it.

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Walk in your ways so you will wake up and rise” – Solange in ‘Rise’ | Sheffield, England

Thank you, October.

T

© Tessy Maritim

Thank You, January

Life moves quickly. So swiftly, that it’s easy to miss the things, people and events that make life worthwhile. I’ve decided to create a new section of my blog, to share, appreciate and reflect on each month.

I’m grateful for:

  • New Beginnings– Sometimes you need the convenience of a New Year to push you to reset the areas in your life that need a little watering and tender care. That was the start of 2016 for me. I shared more in this post.
  • Colouring In Between The Lines–  Literally. I bought a colouring book and it’s brought me so much joy. For anyone who enjoys creative meticulousness with the same enthusiasm as I do, I’d encourage you to purchase a colouring book. It’s not only so fun but excellent for your mental health. Indulge! Here’s the link to the one I have.
  • A-Team of Life– We finally unveiled our new A-Team! If you’ve been keeping up with The Arena, you know we’ve been going through recruitment for our new A-Team. The process has been so exciting and I can’t express how hopeful I am for the future. The Arena is a labour of love but I’ve learnt some difficult lessons along the way. Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people. Quality over quantity. Make no mistake- business is business.
  • #Goals– One of my new year’s resolutions came into fruition and it was not as great as I hoped it would be. I’m planning on riding it out as much as I (mentally and emotionally) can and then I’ll see what to do. Goals aren’t always as magical as you imagine them to be. And that’s okay. Not everything needs to feel magical, right? Fairytales are for books.

 

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“Coming together is a beginning; Keeping together is progress; Working together is success” – Henry Ford | Nairobi, Kenya

 

Thank you, January.

T

© Tessy Maritim

What 2015 Taught Me

We’re about to close 2015.

Here’s what I’ve learnt over the year, in no particular order:

Friendship – 2015 has taught me that friendship is sometimes seasonal. It’s a heart-warming aspiration to want your nearest and dearest to stay close to you forever. But this year I’ve learnt that the seasonality of friendship is not an indication of a weak bond. Or that one or the other person is at fault. Falling apart can happen just as unexpectedly as your coming together.

The Pressure to Succeed – 2015 has (reminded) taught me that there’s space for all of us. Everyone seems to be move making at an exponential rate and it’s easy to feel left behind or lacking in some respect. But I’m learning that another’s success doesn’t impede on my own. I believe truly that my path has been marked out by God- just for me. It doesn’t matter how much other people seem to be doing. My time will come. Most importantly, I’m drawing so much inspiration from the success of others. There’s so much to do.

Health – 2015 taught me that health is expensive. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a price that I need to be willing to pay. On my 21st birthday, I decided to switch to a healthier lifestyle. I made a serious effort to stay fit and eat clean throughout the year but I found myself spending significantly more to maintain this. Life is about sacrifices, I guess? Additionally, I’ve failed on the healthcare front but I’m not going to make any more promises. I’m just going to do it. It’s no longer my parents’ responsibility to watch over my health. I need to own my physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Hard work – 2015 has taught me to do more with less. It’s better to work hard on a few projects than to do everything at the same time. I have to repeat this to myself- prioritize. It’s okay to say, ‘not today’. It’s also okay to say, ‘no’.

Self-love – 2015 has taught me that I need to come to terms with self-love. What does it really mean? I’ve been asking myself- do I love myself? I think so. How do I know? I don’t know. And why is it important that I love myself?

Failing – 2015 has taught me that failure is success. There’s an element of success in every failure. You learn something new. You become something new! And that is something to celebrate and be thankful for. Failure has made me courageous, introspective and grateful. I’m focused on excellence but wholly embrace failure. Don’t shy away from it. Don’t let it shrivel you up. Allow failure to mould and shape you.

Learning – 2015 has taught me how much I don’t know. There’s just so much to learn from and so much to learn about! Most importantly, as you learn, it’s perfectly okay to construct anew. It’s easy to feel held back by what you know or believe. But I think it’s enlightening to be led by a search for truth. At the same time, learning can also strengthen and deepen your roots. Either way, don’t fight the process!

Living Away From Home – 2015 has taught me that a life away from home must continue. For the past few years, I’ve felt that my life has been on pause while I’m abroad. I often want the time to move quickly so I can go home and continue my life. I have to remind myself constantly that despite the discomfort and disconnect I feel, this too is my life. I have to remember that I carry life with me. And I need to make more of an effort in breathing life into my days, weeks and months here.

I’m so grateful for a 2015 rich in learning and experiences. God go before us all in 2016!

T

© Tessy Maritim

Thank You, September

Life moves quickly. So swiftly, that it’s easy to miss the things, people and events that make life worthwhile. I’ve decided to create a new section of my blog, to share, appreciate and reflect on each month.

I’m grateful for:

  • Things flowing as they do – A month ago, there were a lot of things that were in the air. I won’t get into the details but I am so happy to be here. My God is awesome. I can’t emphasise this enough.
  • My Benjamina – I have a friend. Her name is Benjamina. We met just a year ago but it feels like it’s been several years. Benja is the kind of girl who makes you worry when she speaks. Why? Because she says what you think but could never dare to say. She is fearless. She’s the real girl on fire! This month, she’s taken good care of me. I’ve watched her work hard. I’ve listened to her wisdom. I’ve relished in her warm, warm friendship. They say friends come into your life for a reason and for a season. I just hope this season lasts forever. I love you Benja, thank you for everything you are!
  • Milestonez – I started making videos spontaneously in April this year. I had been planning to do this vlog thing for a while but never really knew what I wanted to speak about and how I would differentiate it from the written content on my blog. But somehow things just fell in place. What was a random snapchat story became my debut into the vlogosphere. It’s been fun! I enjoy making them and love to hear the feedback. Sometimes I worry about putting my opinions out there but I am guided by one principle- Do I genuinely believe this? My answer is always yes. I have the backbone to stand behind my content because I mean what I say. This week, I celebrated 15,000+ views and crossed the 1000 mark on my Facebook page! I am so grateful to everyone who engages with my content. Here’s to many more milestones!
  • Struggle – Two weeks ago, I wrote this– “If I ever doubted my academic capability- this is all the evidence I needed! I have made it this far. When you reflect on life, you sometimes wonder how you made it from point A to B- how?! You see this mountain and it seems so large and so impossible.” School has began and I am clinging on to these words like you won’t believe. Who knew it would it be this difficult? When I shared my feelings with an academic this week, he repeated to me what my Dad told me two years ago- “You didn’t come here because it would be easy, did you?” I know. I’m trying to swim, but can barely keep my head above the water. I’m looking around and wondering- is anyone else drowning like me? It’s week one. But I can already feel the walls of my mental capacity cave in. I’m going to do this struggling. But I will do it and hope that at the end I will look back and know that I did my best. You will make it through. You will make it through.

 

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mood | photo by Anna Frohn

Thank you, September

T

© Tessy Maritim

 

Thank You, August

Life moves quickly. So swiftly, that it’s easy to miss the things, people and events that make life worthwhile. I’ve decided to create a new section of my blog, to share, appreciate and reflect on each month.

I’m grateful for:

  • Children after my own heart – I’ve spent the last few days chasing after 6 of my lovely kid cousins. They couldn’t stop making fun of my ripped jeans- fashion ni wewe! We played outside, did algebra for hours on end and sung ‘Paulo na Sila’ to the heavens. Children are chaotic and the most beautiful remedy to any low spirit. I had a wonderful time. On my trip back home I closed my eyes and remembered that these are the moments I treasure most when I’m away- Michelle swinging off my body, Imma’s witty questions, Kim’s beautiful smile, Rono’s gentle demeanour, Kimu’s unending playfulness and Chesanga’s sass. My family means everything to me. Every moment of impending loneliness abroad is cured by the fact that I carry the love and fullness of each and every one of those children.
  • A lounge by Victoria– I’m so excited to be featuring on a show this week hosted by the gracious Victoria Rubadiri. How I got involved is a story for another day! Lol. Check out the preview below and tune in to NTV at 7.30pm on Thursday 3rd September to watch the show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHQTi8iZfw0

 

  • Late Identification– Can you imagine I only just got my ID? I had never applied for one. Unfortunately the joy of this identification is overshadowed by the fact that someone decided to use my middle name as my surname. Eish! I’m not queuing up again!
  • Elusive closure– Here’s the thing about closure- it doesn’t come looking for you. You go searching for it. If you’re lucky, you will find it and it will give you peace. But if it becomes elusive, I’m afraid that in itself might have to be your closure- what seems like an unfinished story will just have to end on that note. Don’t try to cap the pen that was left lying on the floor. Don’t bother that the ink hasn’t dried. Don’t worry that you didn’t close the book. Just leave things as they are and find comfort in the fact that anything meant for you will never miss you.

 

Thank you, August.

 

T

© Tessy Maritim

Thank You, June

Life moves quickly. So swiftly, that it’s easy to miss the things, people and events that make life worthwhile. I’ve decided to create a new section of my blog, to share, appreciate and reflect on each month.

I’m grateful for:

A visit – There’s something so fulfilling about being in the company of people who reflect you and where you aspire to be. I make no apologies for the fact that I have a carefully curated circle of friends. They create an environment in which I can be myself and share openly. So I was so happy to have friend(s) visiting at both the start and end of the month. One is a new friend while the other is an old friend. My new friend, in actions and without saying, reminded me what it means to be in touch with yourself. Introspection and authenticity is so rare in people so if you find it, hold on to it- well, as much as you can anyway. My old friend and I asked ourselves what we would do if we weren’t afraid- and then proceeded to make objectives for the summer based on them. I’ll feedback on them here in September!

 

A throwback– A few months ago I mentioned that I was planning on deleting my old blog. I can’t tell you how uncomfortable it is reading things I’ve written in the past. There’s so much I disagree with and so much I feel I could have expressed better. But it’s also so refreshing to re-visit certain times in my life and empathise with myself. Just from going through my old blog, I’ve resolved to try and be a bit more open on this blog. I want my emotion to be felt. You can check out my old blog here, as long as you promise not to laugh. Shout out to my girl Benja for ensuring I didn’t delete it! Love you.

 

A goodbye– My term as Diversity Officer of the University of Manchester Students’ Union, and by default, my time living in Manchester, have ended. I’m sad to leave what have been four of the most thrilling years of my life but also know and feel that it is truly time to move on. You can check out more reflections here.

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An opportunity– I attended the Aspire Trailblazing Women’s conference in London towards the end of the month. Aside from the wonderful opportunity to speak on a panel at the event, I also volunteered for the conference and experienced the immense effort and planning it takes to put together such a valuable forum. After the conference, I spent a day in London just enjoying the city vibes – there’s something so inspiring about being in London. I love it!

 

Thank you, June.

 

T

© Tessy Maritim

Thank You, May

Life moves quickly. So swiftly, that it’s easy to miss the things, people and events that make life worthwhile. I’ve decided to create a new section of my blog, to share, appreciate and reflect on each month.

A scholarship – In 3 months, I will be embarking on a new chapter of my life! I’m saying goodbye to Manchester and heading up north to the beautiful Edinburgh, for a Masters programme I am ecstatic about- Africa and International Development. Most excitingly, I got a (partial) scholarship to study my programme! Looking back, I didn’t think I had a chance of securing the scholarship. But I’ve learnt over time, fortune favours the bold. Always try.

 

A trip away– In early May, my colleagues and I went away to a friends’ farm for some much needed R&R. It was a magical three days- we played with pigs, ate by the beach and danced in the kitchen until 3am. I work with the best people. To think that in less than a month, we will all be separating and heading on our own journeys, weighs heavy on my heart. They have all, in their own ways, taught me, shared with me and supported me. I’m eternally grateful for the experience I’ve had. P.s. Every time I visit a farm, I’m reminded how much I want one of my own.

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(this picture is missing two of my colleagues)

A competition– The Arena won second place in a competition called Venture Further at my University! We received a £2500 cash prize towards our idea, ‘My Nairobi’. You can watch the video below for details on what it entails. Also check out a previous post about how I ended up entering the competition.

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A conference– My month wrapped up in glorious fashion at the Oxford Africa Conference! A few friends and myself went down for the conference put together by the Africa Society and Africa Business Network at Oxford University on ‘A Continent on the Move’. I learnt about how migration is impacting Africa, changing trends in the education sector, the growing role of civil society, rule of law in Africa and energy across Africa. I couldn’t have spent my weekend in a more productive and inspiring space.

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I’m grateful. Thank you, May.

 

T

© Tessy Maritim