Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hello World

Blogging is like that ex-lover you just can't seem to forget. Sure, you move on and meet other loves that keep you completely occupied until one day you run into your ex. All of a sudden, you remember the good times you had. You find him looking more attractive than ever. You decide on a cup of coffee and next thing you know, you're in his bed. Well, I happened to be digging through my emails when I came across this old blog of mine. Someone's comment caught my attention and the next thing I know, I'm reading through my old blogs and laughing my ass off. Just last week, I thought to myself that I should start another blog. But alas! Here's one already, full of history. Reminded me of events I had long forgotten. I just turned 30 (escaped to another continent to avoid the "let's find you a husband" party). I'm finally a doctor (yikes!) though still in training. What can I possibly blog about in between 80 hour work weeks and studying for board exams? We'll see. All I know is, I miss writing and I'm gonna give it another shot. I'm looking forward to seeing what others are writing about.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Random Ramblings

Today was the first real day of spring, finally got to 70 degrees. The first thing I thought of when I woke up was that next Friday is my last official day as a second year med student! I simply don't know what happened to the last two years of my life. It's a great feeling to know I survived the first half of med school. If I can survive my first board exam, then all the better. With that realization came a very humbling feeling of just how blessed I am. I had a conversation with an old friend yesterday that I hadn't talked to in a year. The last time I talked to her, she had been accepted into med school. However, the sad reality of being an international student hit her when the school told her the only way she could matriculate is if she pays her entire 4 years of tuition up front. I don't know any Kenyan that can write a $200,000 check. So, she's had to settle for a PhD program.

On a different trajectory, did I miss some kinda memo somewhere? Why is everyone and their momma trying to hook me up with some man? I know I haven't been in a real relationship for a year and a half, but come on! I usually feel pretty good while surrounded by my med school friends, but every time I venture outside that circle, I get a rude awakening. The way people carry on, you would think I was 40. I just turned 26 for crying out loud! I recently visited my aunts for spring break and all I heard the entire week were bios of different men that I came into contact with. Never mind the fact that some of them were already hooked up!

I expect such things from my aunts/grandmas, etc. But imagine my surprise when one of my best friends came upto me and excitedly exclaimed "I found your future husband! And he's a cardiologist!" Really? I had no idea she was on the hunt. I can think of at least 5 future husbands lurking around somewhere curtesy of my family. But to have my friend start playing the hook up game made me pose and wonder if I missed something along the way.

I know this is supposedly the age where people do hardcore dating, but who the hell has time? I barely have time to cook and do my laundry, let alone go out on dates. Not to mention the fact that in recent months, I haven't come across a single guy worth a second date. Well, that doesn't matter. My aunts have already warned me that my 30th birthday will be an intervention party. I better find a "future husband" in the next three and a half years! This is too funny...

On yet another trajectory...why is it that the most "saved" people usually end up being the biggest hypocrites? Why hide behind religion? Too many shocking stories lately involving church members and pastors. Or perhaps the only reason I find some things "shocking" is because the most shocking thing I ever experience in med school is having a professor drop the F-bomb and have some overly sensitive person report it to the deans. The next thing we know, we're receiving an email from the said professor in the form of an apology. So when I hear stories about a church pastor sleeping with half the women in his congregation (many of whom I know)...I do find it quite shocking....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

TMZ/National Enquirer kenyan Style

Twelve hours ago, I had no idea who Esther Arunga was. Perhaps if I lived in Kenya, I would. Nevertheless, in the last few hours, thanks to Facebook and blogoland, my curiosity got the better of me. Who is this person and why does she have the internet lit up like a candlestick?

Well, I should have known she would turn out to be a celeb of sorts. Hot celeb gossip makes the world go round. I always joke that TMZ knows what celebs are gonna do even before the celebs themselves think of doing "it".

When Raila fired Ongeri and Co. last week, only for them to be reinstated by Kibaki, the Facebookers didn't say a peep. I only found out about it by reading the breaking news on Nation. But who cares about the state of politics when you have juicy gossip to cheer you up and make you forget how truly messed up your own life is? And this Esther Arunga story has it all.

Hot chick on top of the world, seemingly headed down the road of perfection. Then along comes another man (men?) and her romantic love story goes kapoof! Then enter some foreign man (Nigerian? S.African? British? Kenyan? Who cares?). And let's take it a step further than TMZ and add in God and religion. Only Kenyans know how to put God in the middle of EVERYTHING, good or bad.

The Nation already has 3 articles on their website concerning this story, complete with a press conference. Yes, Kenya is quickly catching up with the rest of the paparazzi around the world. The good news is, gossip is good for your mental health. So keep the juice flowing.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Will This Madness Never End?

I woke up to news that one of my childhood friends had been gunned down by thugs in Westlands and had succumbed to his gun injuries last night. I was in a great mood and looking forward to a wonderful birthday week. Now, I'm in tears and wondering why this had to happen. This was supposed to be M.N.'s big year. He's finally followed in his father's footsteps and become a pilot for a major airline. On new year's day, he proposed to his long time girlfriend in what was the most romantic proposal I ever heard of...straight out of a romantic comedy. For him, life was supposed to be good this year. Instead, he's lying on a cold slab in a morgue, while his family and friends are left behind in agony. Such a wonderful young life has been extinguished, just like that!

I am so sick and tired of the damn insecurity in Kenya. Why can't people just live their lives and have peace of mind? When I think of all the family members and friends I've lost to stupid thugs, I wanna strangle someone. Why can't they just take the car and leave the person alone? Why not take everything in the house and the money and disappear? Why do they always have to shoot the victim for good measure? Oh the lives that have been lost! And those that have been spared, but are suffering intense trauma just thinking about their ordeal in the hands of gunmen! I still have horrid memories of the day my mom was carjacked at gunpoint and terrorized all over Nairobi. She's never fully recovered from hearing those gunshots and coming face-to-face with death. But who is responsible? Do we blame the government? Do we blame the crappy law enforcement officers, who are probably the ones responsible for half the crimes? Do we blame poverty? Who the hell is responsible?

My dear friend M.N...I remember him from the days we were children. His younger sister was my best friend. My relationship with him always made me wish I had an older brother. He was always over protective. Full of adventure and an appetite for life. He lived his life and lived it fully. If he could speak one last time, his only regret would probably be the fact that he didn't live long enough to marry his beautiful fiancee and start a family. I don't know anyone as generous, as fun loving, as kind, and as passionate as this man. May God rest his soul in peace, and may the people he's left behind find the strength to face another day.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Shuga - Justified Hype or Not?

Well, if you visit the Kenyan blogs or any Kenyan social networking site, no doubt you've heard the hype that's MTV Ignite's "Shuga"...a public service announcement about HIV transmission that stresses the importance of knowing one's status in a creative, subtle way that's not preachy, condemning, etc. I can see why mini-series? (still not sure what it is)...has garnered such attention in Kenya. Before I continue, here's some housekeeping disclaimers and a link to Jmmk's post with links to the "Shuga" episodes.

For starters, I'm a certified HIV test counselor, so I've seen it all and heard it all. The lens through which I view HIV is from a public health perspective, and I always try not to let my personal bias enter the picture (in true Kenyan cultural upbringing, I am socially conservative).

Ok, now on to this movie/mini-series. The one word I would use to describe it is "SURPRISING". This spoken by someone whose vivid memories of the social scene in Kenya include women being stripped on the streets of Nairobi for wearing short skirts; and who can forget the warning "This program is unsuitable for children under 18" every time The Bold and The Beautiful came on! So of course for me, seeing a chick in a short dress boarding a matatu, and close ups of people kissing, and even Ayira's underwear clad body was surprising to me. Evidently, a lot has changed about what's socially acceptable in Kenya. Which leaves me wondering if this was airing during prime time and if the kiddos watched it with their parents (kissing scenes were usually the cue to change the channel).

My constant question as I watched Shuga was "how realistic is this movie?" On one score, I think it's very realistic, but on another score, I think not.

Realistic: If you're familiar with any Kenyan party scene, then you've probably witnessed all the characters portrayed in the movie. The all-night raving, the over indulgence of alcohol, the showing off of cars, the virgin that's always being pressured but wants to do the "right" thing, etc. Whether in Kenya or abroad, I think Shuga did a good job in portraying how Kenyans party in general. Even the portrayal of the sleeping around for monetary reasons is realistic, we all know such characters.

Unrealistic: There's the finer details of testing itself, i.e. if you have unprotected sex with an HIV+ person, it takes 3-6 months to get an accurate result. So, even if Violet tested negative and Skola positive, it was too soon for her to be celebrating her negative status. I am yet to meet a single Kenyan that has not been touched by HIV, be it a family member or friend. How many of those HIV+ people close to you freely talked about their status? How did society treat them and talk about them? How did you personally feel? The theme of "acceptance" that's portrayed in Shuga is rather unrealistic. Put yourself in Ty's shoes: you've been steadily dating someone and are even ready to get married. Then you discover they've been cheating on you with an HIV+ person and put you at great risk. My guess is that it will take a long time for you to get over the initial anger. And for many people, cheating is a huge deal breaker, HIV+ or not.
Perhaps acceptance was supposed to tie in with the message of people getting tested and knowing their status: a goal to strive for. As young people, we tend to think we're invisible and certain things only happen to some people and not "me".

Judging by some of the posts already up, and the comments left, both here at KBW and social networking sites like Facebook, it's pretty obvious that Shuga has its supporters and its opposers. And that's a good thing as it brings about public dialogue and debate. And if the film will lead some people to do some soul-searching and get tested, Shuga will have accomplished one of its objectives.

The bottom line is, ABSTINENCE ONLY SEX EDUCATION DOES NOT WORK!! It was kind of amusing to see/hear how shocked the "grown-ups" were when that survey came out showing that Kenyan youth are having plenty of sex. Of course they are! And they always have, so stop with the over the top reactions. Face reality. Teens are having sex, and they will continue to have it no matter how many times we preach abstinence. The best thing to do for our youth is educate them on how to protect themselves against HIV and other STDs, and teach them to take responsibility for their actions. For those that decide the best way to do that is by abstaining...good for them! Unfortunately, a majority won't. It's time we stopped burying our heads in the sand and pretending that every unmarried person is a virgin, or more accurately, should be a virgin. And even those that are married are known to stray. Otherwise, HIV rates among married couples wouldn't be so high.

I say, kuddos Shuga, for starting yet another HIV dialogue, and putting it in a context that the average campus student in Kenya can relate to. For those that think it's too "westernized", that's part of what's going on with our young Kenyans. They're busy becoming "westernized".

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Eleventh Commandment

Who would have thought a small car accident on his own property would turn Tiger Wood's life upside down? (The paps probably know what these celebs do before the celebs go out and do it...damn!)While the media circus is ridiculous, and with all these women and their mamas claiming to have had sex with Cheater...I mean Tiger...I couldn't help but marvel at how sloppy this dude is. It's like he was begging to get caught.

Now, all of us can probably name 5 - 10 men that we personally know that have cheated on their wives/girlfriends. Asked to come up with the same number of women, we would probably be at a loss. Does that mean women don't cheat as much as men? Of course not! They probably cheat more; it's just that they've mastered "The eleventh commandment: Thou shalt not get caught".

I remember my first year of college in undergrad, my roommate also happened to be my best friend from high school. I was dating a guy I'd met right after graduation and that relationship lasted my entire first year. Everything was going great, but towards the end of the year, I started suspecting he was cheating on me partly because of his sudden change in behavior and habits. That summer, after our first anniversary, I broke up with him because I no longer trusted him. A week later, I found out from my cousin that he was seen at a party cozying up with my best friend. Of course I was shocked! This girl had been my friend since high school. I thought I knew all her secrets...from first kiss, to when she lost her virginity (I had to sleep in another friend's room that night), I could even tell you what she ate for dinner. Plus, we were roommates, had mutual friends and did almost everything together. And I never suspected a thing, nor could I fathom when she was able to do the creeping (turns out when I was busy putting in my 3-4 hours of volunteer work at the hospital, she was getting it in with my man). Had all three of us not had the same circle of friends, I might never have discovered that my boyfriend was cheating on me with my best friend.

I have never cheated on a man, and I like to believe that before things get that bad, I will have tried to rectify the problem or walked out before I cheat. But, I don't know that for a fact (shit happens!) So, if, theoretically, I were to cheat, everything would have to conform to the 11th commandment:

For starters, I would avoid the first blatant mistake Woods made and cheat with someone who has as much to lose as I do. That's key motivation for silence. And silence is the only way to not get caught. When you're a multi millionaire/billionaire cheating with a waitress....'nuff said! This really, is the most important thing. Everything else is common sense: avoid PDA, don't use credit cards, don't call each other, etc. Then again, common sense is not so common...

Monday, December 07, 2009

Has it Really Been a Year?

Damn! How fast time flies! Can't believe I haven't visited the blogs since last year. Well, I can't close the year without a single post. Oh, what school can do to you.

Was just reading my last post and remembering how depressed I was a year ago. It's true, time does heal all wounds. I am 100% over my ex, the death of my favorite unce and father figure doesn't hurt as much anymore....even my academic performance and finances have improved.

But, I'm still really bad at picking men. I think it's a disease. I keep joking to my family that they need to do one of those arranged marriages for me or else they'll end up with the weirdest in-law they've ever heard of. After all, I am turning 26 in less than 2 months and all my friends seem to be jumping the broom and popping out kiddies like popcorn machines. That little fact hasn't gone unnoticed by my family. Why in the hell would my aunties and grandmas ask me on a monthly basis whether I found a "new catch" (who uses such phrases?) My parents, who were always anti-marriage while in school, are suddenly worried that I'm not being "social" enough. My dad bluntly pointed out to me this past summer that I'll be graduating in less than 3 years and once I add that "Dr." title to my name, it's gonna be exponentially harder to meet eligible men (instinct tells me it'll be the opposite, but with Kenyan men, you never know). One of my aunts is even using phrases like "import a husband from Kenya"....gotta love these people.

All in all, this has been a progressively good year. After having a complete meltdown, the school year ended well, I spent the summer in Kenya doing volunteer service and meeting lots of hot, single, successful men (my love of Kenyan men was forever renewed), my second year in school is more stress-free, and I'm involved enough with community service that I'm finally feeling like my motivated, passionate self again. Even the social scene in this God-forsaken, middle-of-nowhere city has improved and if it wasn't for the lack of family, I might even venture to say I'm kinda starting to like it. Although I'll be damned if I stay here for residency!

And of course, can't forget to thank God for making all this possible. 2008 was a horrible year, 2009 has been a tolerable year, and I hope 2010 will be a successful, purpose-filled (and fulfilled) year. Cheers!