What you see…what you know…

How long have you lived here? She asked in her characteristic curiosity for information. They answered in unison, “10 years…” and before she could interject with additional questions, her friend’s husband, Jean continued, “but we’ve not experienced this kind of strain in transport system.”

So Renata proded further, “Do the strikes happen often?” Louise sighed and explained, “We the French may have a negative image internationally especially now due to the transport strikes that cause you tourists to complain. What you forget or don’t know is that the very things that bring you to our country are the very benefits that strikes such as these have fought for”

Renata, a professional in her own right didn’t seem to take the veiled dressing down well, nonetheless she was patient to take in the history class. “In 1995 was the same, but we were not here as my husband had been given a posting in Africa. The pain and pressure is what this strike would like to elicit in order force the government to back down as it did then”.

And on they went to discuss the lives of their 2 countries, Brazil and France. Renata understood that her married friends did not live in France for 10 years, but had returned for 10 years after working and living in various countries globally, having been born and bred here.

As a fly on the wall listening to their conversations, one can’t help but hear the innuendos of stereotypes that both countries have of each other. Renata laughed at the perceptions of the whole country always in samba dance, everyone plays football, and all ladies undergo plastic surgery to keep themselves appealing especially to tourists. Says alot about men’s dreams of bachelor parties.

Louise had to fall in love with her country as a tourist before quickly waking up to being a national.And she was woken up from her dream midstream, or midnight.

Perceptions of everyone falls in love and lasts a lifetime, chivalrous traits of men towards women, all day dining and all night wining (pun intended as we’ll get to the whining) are not entirely true.

L’administration (the administration) is the famous grouchy remark for the pain it takes to receive public service assistance. Upon arrival, one needs a bank account, a house and a residence card. Here we go: to get a house, one needs a bank account to show how they will make the payments. To get a bank account, one needs to prove they are legal residents by showing a residency card and an address of a house for receipt of correspondence. Thus back to the beginning of the cycle.

What perceptions have you dealt with from a foreigner in your own country or region in the country? Or are you the visitor with misconceptions that you allowed yourself to be humbly corrected?

Here’s to a sojourner’s learning.


Uprooted! What’s in the roots?

Have you ever been so tired unknowingly? Frustrated without being conscious of it? Hungry for change but still in motion?

Passion, love and laughter have already left the body and soul without a goodbye. After all, it was not a good departure; can it ever be?

Loving a job so much such that colleagues laugh at the thought of company’s name flowing in the blood veins. Or maybe they term you part of furniture and fixtures.

There may have been the fulfilment derived from exploring work place new horizons, refining processes, understanding the complex variables in decision making and meeting new people.

The adventure of a good challenge at work is a welcome spice in the mix of travel, marriage and parenting. Did I say welcome? But for some, it unravells it all… all the above and in unimaginable ways.

Mind-stretching principles learnt at work invariably find their ways in every day life. And thus begins the questioning of everything else.

Foundations of any existence of an individual or an institution are always the basis to go back to seek the direction in cases of rapidly emerging problems or changes in life.

Right there, change requires risk-taking. A wildly positive perspective calls it adventure. A pessimistic outlook views it with morbid fear. A laissez-faire attitude welcomes anything that will be. Junctions of life do require a sober approach of either, faith, fear or foolishness.

Change might be self-instigated or thrown at you by life. Loss of a job, property loss and the ensuing financial crisis, heart wrenching pain in grieving loss of family members in death or broken relationships. When one feels as if in their pain and anguish they have been left for dead, they begin to ask existential questions of life.

There could also be seemingly positive moments in life, worth celebrating in the eyes of all and you, but are silent challenges not worth exclaiming about. Like a new job, even more it includes relocation, and double that there’s family to move with. Or a new baby, in a foreign land among a people of a different tongue.

These and many other varied forms of being uprooted, bring untold instability.

Ever asked yourself why you are alive? Maybe. Dared to ask why you believe your doctrine of faith? You found it in the family. Are you living only for the titles of child, sibling, spouse, parent, employee, worker etc. What gives you security and significance in life?

Scary, isn’t it? Looking deep down, searching the depths. Denying for a moment the things that bring pleasure, that raise dopamine levels, so as to focus the brain on survival. Fasting and foregoing conversation, internet, food. Yes, delayed gratification gives the message there’s a promise to look forward to.

Thus begins the process of seeing what’s in the roots, the foundations. In there, determine the type of soil, the nutrients.

When life begins to bury you like a seed in the earth, in you is the power of resurrection. An audacious thing to say, right? Yes! You resurrect like a plant, a tree that a mustard or the oak tree was intended to be.

In the new unlikely season as a seed with a purpose, hold your ground. The world awaits you right above the earth, where the sun still shines.

Crystal clear

I can see clearly now the rain is gone…

‘I can see clearly now the rain is gone’ … so goes the song and many that will come with the year 2020. What will happen to common place phrases like ‘seeing with vision 2020’ once the year is gone? Or the hashtags I can only imagine the mental expressions now; ‘How do you say that, nay, see that, yet the year has barely began? Well, just like the much anticipated turn of the millennium year 2000 came with pomp and left 20 years later, so will this. And so will many other aspects in our lives.

We expect vision 2020 will allow us to see the year crystal clear. This may mean questioning many aspects of our lives. It is common that beginnings of new years cause us to drop all that is bad and pick all that is good. The perfect vision will likely lead us to look for perfection, which is a fallacy. Though we expect a German machine of a car to power perfectly, humans though designing robots to do the same, do not power faultlessly.  They have warts and all.

There will definitely be numerous conferences leading to declarations with the said date for ease of posterity. Individuals will also make their own statements of intentions in a bid to curate their thoughts with the memorable year. Whatever one’s fancy, there’s a probability of a rush into making plans, especially at the beginning of the year. While most of them don’t see the light of day by 3rd month, the special attachment to the date will be a motivating factor.

Will there be any difference in the attempt to learn a new language this new year, or visit a new country or acquire a new skill as has been the resolution every year? If none, how about the resolution of new thinking patterns? To simplify this, as we easily form and memorise a code locking pattern for our phones, so our minds do have patterns. Or like a muscle of the arm or leg, our brains are a muscle. Every day activity of laptop use or walking on flat terrain has accustomed both the arm and leg muscles to form in a certain way. To disrupt their formation would include lifting weights and walking or running on uneven ground for the arms and legs respectively.

Likewise, the muscle would need to be reprogrammed by setting and executing goals for a different thought process. Do you push through a difficult challenge without monetary motivation? Is there personal satisfaction to win at a new skill?

While in medicine pain is not normal, there is no way an idle muscle will not feel pain while be unmoulded to be remoulded. How then do you define good pain? Before walking out of a job, think carefully about your personal journey. Is the job giving you the required skills and seed money for your own business to come or for that investment you need? Or does if drain you both emotionally and physically with no benefits at all? Is the business you founded struggling in need of extra cash? In view of the trajection of the business, which is an affordable both in time and management source of income, family and friends or angel investors?

If some of the people who are a negative influence in your life are your parents, do you walk away? What about the commandment ‘Honour your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land the Lord your God is giving you’ Exodus 20:12? If the people you choose to weed out are some of your siblings, what happens to family is all we have and all others are transcient? If the spouse is beyond help, what do we make of 2Corinthians 5:18-19 about reconciliation as we continue to enjoy in God through Jesus who came looking for us who were beyond help?

As we clear our sight, find improved eyewear or refocus our lens, reshaping our minds is the beginning of any action we take. As the core of any matter is an atom, the core of your very actions should be found. Taking time to think deeply and reflect intently will unearth the root of the thoughts that govern the actions.

The soul is deep waters, requiring frequency of moments of silence, devoid of excitement or noise, such as people, or gadgets or even music sometimes. It is not a function of haste, or a one-time act. Consistency and commitment makes the connection. Take time to redefine your vision 2020. It is part of your destiny, what you were created to do, your purpose. It can also be a new beginning, at the turn of a journey’s corner or bend.

‘A life unexamined is not worth living’, Socrates  ‘As man thinketh, so is he. OR Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks’, both from the Bible.