When change comes knocking

I got the most eerie and unusual feeling sometime this week. I walked over to the job applications box in our department like I usually do when I try my luck at finding a job here. I walked over to the security area eyeing the register, bemoaning the fact that it had been moved from its usual place. I should know because I ‘work’ here, right? I’ve been around this place and I should know because I’m used to this place.

Now what was it about that feeling? Oh yes…well, it didn’t actually start on the day I dropped my applications off but rather on the Sunday before when I saw my department’s internship programme ad in the paper. As unsettling as this was, I reckon I sort of forgot about it as the week progressed. It was when one guy enquired with the security folks where the internship applications could be dropped off that it hit me…again: Our replacement is imminent. It’s the same feeling one gets when you just know deep down that your lover has given his affections to someone else. It’s that unfettered voice in your head that keeps saying, “Change is coming”. It’s daunting and utterly devastating.

It’s often hard to imagine that people may want the same things you want, isn’t it? I realized this week that I have grown fairly comfortable where I’ve been for the past six months. I’ve shared, amongst others, frustrations and laughter with my colleagues but also built profound relationships with the people I encounter outside the office; those women in the taxi, and the drivers themselves whose faces beam with smiles in my direction every passing day.

This may expose me as someone with a huge attachment complex, perhaps even one who is emotional but I believe it may also show that I have genuine interest in people who have an impact on my life, whether direct or not. So when some say that the work environment is no place to form (genuine) relationships, I understand because it would be naive to presume that everyone has your best interests at heart. But this happens everywhere! I also wonder if it is at all possible to remain completely guarded and-worse- disconnected from the people that one encounters on a daily basis; to be nonchalant. I don’t know.

What I do know, though, is that this place has become like second home to me. I have had the opportunity to learn, to grow both mentally and emotionally. I don’t like the thought of being replaced-on any level- but if I have to be realistic, this just means that someone else will be able to have the opportunity I was given to grow in similar, if not more ways. This also means that I have transcended this phase and that I can continue growing in other areas of life. In order to understand the nature of life, one also needs to acknowledge and accept that seasons come and go and that there is a place and time for everything under the sun.

There are many teachings and quotes on change, even people who have solid careers as  Change Managers; life coaches, mentors and motivational speakers- all available to the discerning individual because let’s face it, change is not easy. Though it is a bit of cold comfort as I contemplate the future (rather prematurely) and where I’m heading, what resonates with me the most is that change is inevitable. The beauty of it is that it happens to everyone and all that’s necessary is to embrace it.  That means appreciating my own experiences and graciously clearing my desk six months from now to allow someone else to get the experience they need. It’s that simple


Kickin’ It…

You’ve been there before: At the height of emotional suffocation; feeling physically and mentally trapped in a dizzy abyss. You’ve felt yourself spiral out of control, yet you also felt yourself try to hang on for dear life at whatever cost.

Whether it was through smoking, alcohol, sex, food or that boy/girlfriend yow were addicted to- a habit is a habit is a habit. A bad habit is even worse and albeit, harder to kick. So you sit yourself in a corner. You call it introspection; you speak to yourself in different tones. One minute you think you are the most disgusting, sorry sod with no discipline and the next you try to rationalize your habit, making it seem acceptable. So the cycle goes.

According to William Ekpa, “The nature of habit”*, habit is “at once humanity’s heaviest liability and greatest asset; it can be used to obtain whatever one dreams of, just as it can be used for self-destruction”. A lot of the time bad habits morph into the most dangerous, unhealthy and costly addictions.

I have struggled with a few bad habits myself, and while some simply fell by the way side like that disgusting and smelly, not to mention unhealthy smoking habit I picked up in my late teens. Funny how it never seems ‘disgusting’ when one is completely immersed in bad habits. Perhaps stating that some of my bad habits ‘simply fell by the…’is a bit of an overstatement really. The truth is that it took me an awful lot of time to kick this habit.

There were constant moments of battling relapse only to go out clubbing on a weekend and find myself in the same spot. Then there were weird moments of trying to conceal the habit from those who would otherwise say, “But that’s so not… you!” But I sure kicked the habit, and then some. That’s the thing with habits, isn’t it… easy to start but painstakingly difficult to abandon? Maybe not?

As someone who lives with impulsive compulsion (and this is a self-diagnosis by the way, thank you very much!)I have battled with a lot of bad habits and I’m certain that those who’ve been in the same boat will attest that any excuse is good enough to rationalise bad habits. Boredom, loneliness, stress, curiosity and even silence are just some of the scapegoats.

Unfortunately one of my bad habits involves food. I realise that food is my ultimate weakness, only because of my love for it. Much the same as when people are pressed to leave a relationship but choose to stay in a rut because they just “love him/her so much”, my love of food is epic. What truly makes food my enemy is that I’m a connoisseur who truly revels in every detail of its preparation through to completion. Indulging is but a small part of it.

It has cost me my figure for far too many times than I care to remember and for the fact that I have always found myself fight the urge, I have decided to tell myself the truth (once more). Number one: I am not a skinny person by birth-or otherwise. Secondly, too much of something is never good. Thirdly, moderation is ALWAYS key but most importantly IT IS ALL IN THE MIND.

So, in line with all the spring cleaning going on, I have decided to clean out my thoughts and to start that challenging road to better eating habits and towards a more healthy lifestyle.

Autocracy:What a bummer!

Disclaimer: The writer is certain that she may get a lot of flak for this piece. Sensitive readers are advised to not take this personally, otherwise the gym is the best possible place to vent…I was actually planning to go there myself.

If there are two sets of seats that I constantly avoid when boarding a taxi, it has to be the front seat-next to the driver- and the backseat. My reasons are simple, I don’t want to be counting change first thing in the morning (or at any other point) nor do I want to be rendered breathless while squeezed between other hapless passengers, looking like packed sardines. Thankfully I can say I am not the only one with those reservations. There is usually that proverbial voice in the back seat wincing, “I will just bear this…just as long as I can get home.”

The best seats in a taxi, you see, are those in the middle-always- unless of course you will be seated next to that oke who forgot to bathe in the morning. But that is perhaps a small price to pay. When you are sitting in one of these seats you don’t even want to glance behind you…nobody in first class ever wants to be bothered with what the people in cattle class are getting up to.

So I was in a taxi on my way from the office one afternoon when this presentable and attractive lady poked her head into the taxi. We had only to thank God that the backseat was fully occupied, so she pulled down the seat in front of us. I reckon if it weren’t full her large derrière would have saved her anyway, you know? Large women and those with backsides of epic proportions are a problem: A friend used to ‘voice’ (read: updating her Facebook status) her disgust at overweight people (ladies in particular) that she witnessed on various occasions at a mall, in the taxi and at fast-food joints digging into greasy food. One could literally imagine her nose stuck up to her forehead in bewilderment, wondering silently, “Are you really planning on eating that?!”

Though her comments seem comical now, back then I thought she was being a nasty prude who might have been conflicted with being on the skinny side, eh? With hindsight, I understand her frustration and figure that she may have had point. Unlike in the aviation industry where economy and business classes are separated by the price tag and overall comfort, the taxi industry has one price tag. Whether you have occupied .9% of your seat because the person next to you is on the large side, it doesn’t really matter. Good for them, they won’t even get to pay double the price!

If you’re looking for democracy, a taxi is the wrong place to look. You should know because the ‘queue marshall’ will brazenly tell you to buy your own car if you don’t dare sit where he instructs you to. He doesn’t even understand that the escalating fuel price has forced some motorists into the public transport sphere. The earliest bird doesn’t catch the fattest worm here. No. Forget it. The fattest worm wins.

As we sat waiting for the taxi to fill up one morning, a woman sitting next to me quipped, “Mara why batho ba ba kima ba rata magwinya so? Nke ba a tlogelle rona bo-slender” (I will not translate) as one passenger got off the taxi to go and buy vetkoek from the Mozambican woman across the street before darting back into the taxi: Yet another person who didn’t understand why she has to be the ‘bigger’ person every time.

Of course there is the common assertion that comfort should be the last thing one seeks in a public transport system. I suppose that is how a lot of folks survive and remain sane. Though some are vocal and aren’t pushovers; a lot more simply take the crappy service and conditions. The whole affair has been turned on its head, making the taxi industry the master and the public its puppet whereas this should be a mutually beneficial arrangement. Not wanting to sound like one of Tyler Perry’s mind drilling moral lessons, I hate to say it but the grin-and-bear-it outlook kills us all the time. It has to go!

While there is nothing like tolerance to bridge the gap when people don’t necessarily understand one another; it’s also up to each one of us to be considerate. In all fairness we must be equally strict about the first come first served principle. How can we make things easier for ourselves and others? That is the burning question.So the next time I gain weight of unprecedented proportions I expect a neighbourly nudge that says, “Go easy on the pork chops lest you become a handful for someone else.”




Ke Motswana, wena?

Ga gona selo se se kileng sa ntlhabisa ditlhong jaaka go batlisisa mo interneteng gore September ka loleme lwa ga mme, loleme lwa me ke eng. Ka fa letsogong le lengwe ke ne ka ikutlwa ke le motlotlo gore bo-Google ba bo ba na le Setswana mo mananeong a bona a maleme. Mme gona go a swabisa gore ke ne ka ipona ke okometse ka fa technoliging go batla le lengwe la mareo a ka tshwanelo ke a itseng. Barutabana ba me botlhe ba ba nthutileng ba ka tloga ba mpotsa gore ruri ke wa ga mang ngwana-ke ya ke labile kae. Nnete fela ke gore ke feleditse go bitsa dikgwedi ka loleme lwa me ga ke ne ke le kwa sekolong.

Le fa go le jaalo, kgwedi e e fetileng ya Lwetse e ne ya beelwa thoko go nna ya keteko ya Ngwaoboswa. Ka sejatlhapi, we celebrated Heritage month. Ka maswabi, bangwe ba rona ga re a ke ra ipona re apere makgabe kana motoisa, e ka sa rona setso e leng moaparo oo tshwanetseng. Le fa go le jaalo motho o ne wa bona merafe e mengwe e kgabile, e kgatlhisa mo moaparong wa bona wa setso.

Ga ke itse gore a ke nna fela ke bonang se, mme kea tle ke bone rona BaTswana re sa itse fa re welang teng. O kare re latlhegile, re palelwa ke go ikgantsha mo go bonalang ka setso sa badimo ba rona. Mme o kile a umaka gore mo nakong  ya kgale ke rona BaTswana  re neng re sotla merafe e mengwe, re sa senye nako go bitsa ba bangwe maThosa kana maTebele. O ka gopola mokgwa o moporesidente wa metlheng wa Bophuthatsana Rre Lucas Mangope a neng a sa bone bo-Mandela ka sepe. Gongwe se se ne se dirwa ke gore Mangope e ne e le monwana le lenala le bao ba neng ba busa ka kgethololo mo malobeng. E ka tswe ene e le maemo go gogiwa ka nko ke basweu, re tla itse jaang ?

Sengwe se se santseng  se tshwenya mokwadi fa kgwedi ya Ngwaoboswa e setse e ile fifing, ke mokgwa o o tla fitlhelang re fetotse batho ba rona setshego fa ba sa bue sejatlhapi ka tsela  e rebonang e ‘siame’. Go a makatsa e le ruri go utlwa bath oba tshwaretse yo mongwe kwa sekhutlhwaneng, ba bua ka mokgwa o a buang “broken English”ka teng. Nyaa ruri, go a swabisa gonne gantsi fa basweu ba leka go bua maleme a rona, o tla bona batho ba kgatlhega-ba tshwara fale le fale.

Bothata ba rona batho bam mala o sebilo ke go tlhola re kgobana ka borona; re tseela setso sa rona kwa tlase mme re ntse re tshoiletsa tsa merafe e mengwe kwa godimo. Re sa lemoge gore re a iphetsa, re a inyatsa, e bile re tshwanetse ra swabisiwa ke seo. Re ka se gane gore loleme lwa sejatlhapi ga ntsi go dira lona kwa mafelong a mantsi fela re tshwanetse ra ipela ka se re leng sona, gore re itse go ka ruta bana ba rona go dira fela jaalo. E seng jaalo, lefatshe le tla ba tlhatsa, ba iphitlhela e se bag a mang.

Wa me molaetsa wa Heritage month ke gore, ikitse o kgone go iphapotsa mo monaganong wa gore o tshwanetse go nna se o seng sona go bonwa ke batho. Pula!