Showing posts from 2013

What is your biggest asset?

Yes ladies, I’m talking to you! Do you pride yourself in being the ‘right’ size or the ‘right’ height or even the ‘right’ skin colour? And who is it exactly that get’s to decide what is and isn’t ‘right’, ‘appropriate’ or ‘in vogue’? Since when did we start taking advice from individuals who are more dysfunctional in a day that most of the country’s population is in a year?! I mean, correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t role models supposed to be people who’ve got their act together? I’m not saying that they need to be perfect, but they shouldn’t be spiralling into oblivion either and you know what the funny thing is, societies opinion of ‘beauty’ and ‘ugliness’ is as fickle as the seasons! One day it’s hot, the next day freezing cold. Need a few examples?
In the Victorian era, most people’s idea of true beauty was referred to as the ‘English rose’; Skinny, pale-skinned and blonde! So heaven forbid if you spent too much time in the sun and got more than you’re fair share of freckles! …


We all know that October is Pink month/ Breast cancer awareness month (And to some extent, cervical cancer awareness month). What most of us may not know (up until this week I was in the same category) is that November is actually Movember – Prostate cancer awareness month! So why the strange name? Well Moustache + November = Movember! Comprendez? The idea is for men all around the globe during the month of November to grow moustaches so as to raise awareness about Prostate cancer and other Men’s health issues.
    I’m personally not a fan of facial hair, but in this case I’ll make an exception. It’s for a good cause. An important cause. Being a third year medical student who’s currently doing end-year exams I’ve been obligated to memorize certain statistics:
Prostate cancer is the most common visceral cancer in males: If you’re a guy, take a moment to think about all the internal organs you have: Brain, heart, liver, spleen....Basically out of all of them, the one most likely to …

Man vs. machine

There are fewer jobs today and machines are partly to blame. Sure, a dramatically increased population size is also a major factor but still, when you can have 1 piece of technology doing the work that 10 people could have done, then you don’t really need those 10 people, do you?  But what happens to them? Does the system find some other job that they can do and machines can’t or do the just fade into unemployed oblivion? It’s happened before in the 1800s during the industrial revolution, and it’s kept happening and escalating ever since. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not by any means technophobic. In fact, I’m the kind of person who feels lost when I wake up and my internet connection isn’t working! Sad, but true.     Today I read an article about 3D printers. Basically they are like the ordinary printers everyone knows, only that they can print actual usable 3D objects based on a design created on a computer. 

 As of now, they can be used to print machine parts, automobile components ev…

I think I should be a case study

A study on the unorthodox ways that humans react to stress. Most people,
The get angry...

Or really sad...

Or helplessly curled-up in a foetal position...

But not me, I have a biphasic reaction (Yeah, I’m going to use geeky words because I’ve been studying a lot lately!)
Phase 1: Screen-saver mode I get really quiet and functional, doing everything that needs to be done in a robotic fashion. In my head it’s like:
Val cook dinner Val eat while checking your email Val take a shower Val remember to wake up early tomorrow morning.
While in this state I’ll speak only when spoken to and reply in monosyllables. People will ask me questions like:
Random friend: Val how’ve you been? Me: Ok Random friend: How’s school? Me: It’s fine (And then I’ll smile)
 I’ll also be listening to music with the volume turned up high (Sometimes I wonder if that bothers my neighbours but seeing as they haven’t complained yet it probably means that they’re really understanding people, or maybe we just have very thick walls…

What I ate: Raisin pancakes

I’ve been thinking about blogging about food from time to time. As stated in an earlier blog-post, I like to cook, a lot! And sometimes I can get a bit adventurous in the kitchen. Like this afternoon when I unexpectedly came home at around lunch time and I decided to have pancakes for lunch! Somewhere in the middle of making the batter I started wondering how they’d taste if they had raisins in them (I know right!). So I’m going to tell you exactly how I made them, exactly how I always make my pancakes...
Ingredients ·2 eggs ·5 teaspoons of sugar ·½ a cup of self-raising flour ·Approximately ½ a cup of milk/water  ·1 teaspoon of vanilla essence  A handful of raisins

(Makes 6 small pancakes)

Method 1.Crack the eggs and pour the insides into a bowl. Add the sugar and vanilla essence and whisk until smooth and frothy (If you don’t have a whisk, feel free to use a fork) 2.Add the flour and mix, while gradually adding milk/water until you get a runny consistency 3.Heat pan and pour in about a tabl…

Thou art a shield...

I haven't blogged anything about the Westgate attack in the past week. I think I was looking for the right words. How to express my condolences and try to comfort all those who were affected. How to explain the pride I feel when I open my wallet and spot my national ID: the one that says Kenyan. How to tell you that through every day as we were praying I always had faith in God, and I knew that the whole nightmare would end. Yeah, those are a lot of things to try and put into words. But if you're reading this, and you need a little encouragement, I'll leave you with this:
Psalm 3:1-8 NKJV
Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!
Many are they who rise up against me.
2 Many are they who say of me,
“There is no help for him in God.” Selah
3 But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
my glory and the One who lifts up my head.
4 I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah
5 I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.
6 I will not …

Birthday week musings...

I really wasn't planning on doing a birthday post or anything. But for the past 1 week as my 22nd birthday had been approaching, I found myself thinking about my life a lot. Thinking about things that I need to do not because someone's told me to, but because I'm a grown up and I have certain responsibilities. I've found myself waking up some mornings and going like 'No Val, you can't do this coz of A,B,C,D.....or Val today you're going to suck it up and to A,B,C,D because it needs to be done and it's going to set standards for the rest of my life. A friend of mine who I've known for a while is getting married this weekend so I'm just at the point in my life where I realize that We're all growing up and moving on and taking big steps. To some extent you get sucker-punched in the gut by the shock and realization of it all...but also I feel excited! Like I'm having some kind of adrenaline rush because I can't wait to see how it all our…

Nothing new under the sun

I don’t pride myself in being a poet, or an expert in the workings of the universe. I don’t think that I have the answers to everything, In fact I’ll admit that there’s a lot of stuff that I really don’t know. A lot of stuff that I’m still trying to figure out in my life. But what I do pride myself in is the fact that I’m here. And sometimes that’s all we need. Someone who’s currently at the exact same place that we are or who has been in the exact same place at one point or another. Someone to hold our hands or pat us on the back and say that ‘’it’s ok’’ or ‘‘I know what that’s like’’ or ‘‘you’ll get through it’’. That way I know that everything that happens in my life might someday be an inspiration to someone or maybe even a lesson. It could be a friend or a sibling or maybe the kids I haven’t had yet.    I mean think about it. There’s this verse in the bible that says nothing new under the sun. Actually it’s:
Ecclesiastes 1:9What has been will be again,what has been done will …

This too shall pass

The air around me drips with disappointment I can feel failure lapping at my heels like an ocean tide Patiently gently biding its time Building up to a crescendo that will overtake me and pull me in at a moment’s notice
The panic in my head is inescapable I think that this is what is to be a gazelle Stalked by the inevitable with no end in sight Painfully aware of the end that awaits you
Or maybe more like a train An out-of-control over-fuelled freight train Speeding along the track and seeing the break in the rails just a little too late
But somehow I persevere I remind myself of all the good days I’ve had and realize that It was only a matter of time before I had a bad day
Somehow I remind myself to see beyond the now To keep in mind that this too shall pass
Somehow I suck it in and take life’s beating for the day Because I know that deep inside, tomorrow will come And it can’t possibly be the same as today This too shall pass

Rise of the Internet Parents...

It’s more than obvious how much the internet has changed our lives. People of my generation will never know what it’s like to completely lose touch with old classmates or spend hours looking for information in a pile of books because all of that is a click away and a seconds away (Depending on your ISP speeds). But today the one thing that does stand-out for me is the effect it has had on parenting. Apparently nobody saw this coming!
Remember those days when you’d do something wrong and your parents would lecture you or beat you or take away something you loved so they could teach you a lesson? Those strategies only worked to a certain degree because some of us zoned-out through the talks, developed immunity to pain and learned to survive without those things we’ loved’. What does the internet parent do for effective and full-proof punishment? They just embarrass you on social media. Take for example the two stories below:
1.Dad wears short shorts to teach his daughter h…

Home alone diaries

I’ve never truly been home alone. Even when both my parents had to go out of town for one reason or the other, I always had either my bro or my cousin sticking around because they had to be in school or something. But not this time. My Dad works in a different county now, my mom and bro have gone to ocha (That means ‘country-side’ for our international readers) and my cousin’s at an internship out of town. So when this week was approaching my parents were kind of nervous because you know, I’ve never truly been home alone (And apparently all girls’ parents suffer from some kind of separation anxiety to some degree! It’s a proven fact, ask your girlfriend or sister guys). But me, I was over the moon!! Why? Let me tell you why:
No cleaning up after anyone. Sometimes I feel like a babysitter because let’s face it, my family can be pretty messy and I like leaving things exactly how I found them. My plan was to completely scrub-down the house then I wouldn't have to touch it again un…

Things I would tell my high school self

1. Why are you so organized? I just stumbled upon my form 3 diary/planner (Yep, apparently I was that chic. I think I started it after reading ‘New-York minute). It has all these entries on what I was supposed to do on certain dates and then every completed activity has been checked with a red pen! You know what; I’m not explaining it right. It would be better if you saw it for yourselves so I'll put a few pics below. But at this point in time, I am personally appalled by the degree of neat-freakishness I had back then! But then again, my mother would be proud.

2. Think about what you’re about to say! I mean really think about it.

To this day, I am haunted by the memories of stupid stuff I can’t believe came out of my mouth.  When I remember them, I end up having a lot face-palm moments! Statements like (I apologize to the person I told this): I’d never wear pink! I’m a tomboy!.....What was I thinking! Urrgh! I'm not particularly fond of the colour today, but when I said that …


A blanket. That’s what I imagine my life to be. Every experience, every person I meet is a single thread. Just a tiny bit of the whole thing. Sure, some people and experiences are so big that they are like the main picture stitched into the blanket, but only some. Unfortunately it’s so easy for me, for all of us to forget this simple fact. We obsess over the tiniest of failures and over people whose actions should probably not bother us at all. We make them the centre-piece of our universe and focus on details so minute that we miss the bigger picture. We are short-sighted and it’s the best example of biased judgement I could ever come up with. And it is for this reason that it so important to sometimes seek somebody else’s opinion. Someone who’s able to stand at a distance and observe the bigger picture without seeing it through rose-coloured glasses. Someone who’d be able to tell the truth without hiding anything just because it would sound better.    And luckily one day, probab…

The weather has done funny things to my brain

They say that when it rains, it pours but this is just getting ridiculous. My fingers are frozen almost half to death and every time the wind blows it's like a slap in the face. This morning I had a very serious conversation with myself so that I could convince the logical part of my brain that it was important to brave the cold and attend school. I’m also hungrier than I should be and I'm convinced that this is due to one of 2 plausible reasons:
A) My body is working harder than ever to burn more energy and keep me warm (I think it might be losing that fight) or
B)My body's taking the easy way out by requesting extra food then stockpiling it as insulatory fat (This will probably come back to haunt me in the warmer months to come)
All, this consideration about what I like to call the 'Kenyan winter' got me thinking about animals that hibernate. Did they wake up one day and have a debate about the merits of collectively sleeping during the cold months in an effort …

The art of zoning out

Step 1 - Find a suitably boring subject. One that you really should be paying attention to but won’t. That lecturer who drones on in a barely audible monotone will do just fine. Or maybe that person who's constantly nagging you to do one thing or the other.
Step 2 - Find a topic in your brain's archive that is far more interesting. You could re-live that movie you watched last night or daydream about your crush or have deep philosophical arguments with yourself over the state of the universe. It really won’t be that hard. It’s almost as if our minds have been programmed to do exactly this as a survival mechanism for our sanity. Step 3 - Wear your screen-saver face. While zoning-out you are officially on autopilot. Therefore you need to have this 'interested' expression on your face so that you don't alert the cause of your boredom to the fact that you’re not 100% with them. It would also help to throw in a nod or two at random points to help strengthen the authenticit…

Sick-bed musings

Dirt. Everything tasted like dirt.  (I don’t even know why I think it tasted like dirt since the last time I ate dirt I must have been like 3 years old! But people tend to use this comparison a lot so I’m going to stick with it) from the bread that I painstakingly applied blueband, peanut butter and jam on, to the over-sugared weetabix. All in an effort to get myself to eat something before taking my medication. I was really cold, and my sweater was the only thing keeping me from shivering-up a storm. Why was I even standing in the kitchen coaxing myself to eat? Sure I know it’s usually a bad idea to take medication on an empty stomach, but my back hurt, my legs hurt, my head hurt. It basically hurt all over! I wanted my bed! To just curl up in a foetal position and collapse into a haze of mindless sleep. The same sleep I had been having for the past 2 hours before my mother came to check on me and realized I was running a fever. Somewhere in the back of my mind I had already know…

Different kinds of people in the exam room

Disclaimer: Based on a true story! He he! I’ve always wanted to say that! I had a Surgery CAT today. Technically yesterday since it’s past midnight. So at some point after finishing the paper and waiting for the question papers to be collected I realised that there are many different personality groups to be observed while an exam is ongoing. They say that stress does strange things to people, well here’s what I’ve seen so far.
1. The star-gazer
Or should I say ceiling-gazer. They've read the question, don't know the answer so the look up in the hope that they'll see it. I mean if God can do walls surely He can write on ceilings too! Right? Anybody? Ok, then. But sometimes this strategy actually works and they suddenly remember the answer!
2. The artist
Ordinary student who suddenly becomes a Michelangelo during the exam. Their question paper (if they were handed answer sheets) or rough paper will be full of creative doodles and will look something like the photo above depen…

Bounce back

In my opinion, regret has got to be one of the ugliest human feelings ever! It is one of the worst situations possible because it makes you feel helpless. Helpless because whatever your regretting was probably your fault. Helpless because whatever it is that you did probably cannot be undone. Helpless because it haunts you. It gives your guilty conscience free reign over your thoughts and waking moments. In short, it pretty much sucks!    But I think that the same finality that brings about the helplessness also brings about hope. If what’s done is done and it can’t be undone; if you’ve fallen so low that you couldn’t possibly get any lower; then doesn’t that mean that you can only move forward? Because if you’ve really hit rock bottom then logically the only direction left to go is up! The only thing you can do is bounce back.    And no, it won’t be a quick-fix. No, it won’t happen over-night. Yes, you will struggle with it, but you’ll always have that knowledge, that one candle …

She’s just not that into you if:

Discalimer: In an effort to help 50% of the population, well certain clueless indivuduals who are part of that 50%, I have decided to write this. I may be right or I may be wrong. It's honestly up for discussion. But let's hope that whatever part of this post that is found to be universally acknowledged as truth may end up reducing some of the frustration and confusion in the world. Happy reading!
1. She tells you she’s not into you. No means no. End of story. No woiyee stories or persistence will help your situation. In fact it’ll have just the opposite effect. You become an irritating nuisance.
2. She’s always too busy. If a girl really likes you she will make time to spend with you. Engagements will be re-scheduled; her girls will understand when she cancels on them. Trust me, she will find a way to fit you into her day/week.
3. She doesn’t respond to your text messages. Or when she does respond, it’s after an obscenely long period of time with no explanation whatsoever. Here’…

My life is a tight-rope

My life is a tight-rope A delicate balance between good and bad Right vs. wrong
My life is a tight-rope Somewhere between scared and over-confident Wimpy vs. cocky
My life is a tight-rope Trying to be authentic and acceptable at once Originality vs. conformity
My life is a tight-rope A fight between resolutions and old habits Change vs. routine
My life is a tight-rope To be or not to be Do or die
My life is a tight-rope A constant test of balance and dexterity But even if I do fall, there’ll always be a net below to catch me

Writer’s block 101

If you have ever written any kind of essay in school, let alone a blog or article, then you know what I’m talking about. I believe it’s a step by step process so here goes:
Stage 1: Intent     The feeling that comes over you, the overwhelming desire to etch your words into immortality in some way. So the will to write is definitely there. You pick up your pen and paper, or if you’ve embraced a more eco-friendly approach, you open a new Microsoft word document (lol). You look at the page and start writing or typing. If you’re lucky you already have a title. If you don’t well, that’s just too bad, you just have to wrack your brain a little harder. You write a few lines of what at first had seemed like a brilliant idea. And then you suddenly stop for one of two possible reasons:
a) You’ve realized that what your writing sounds like complete and utter nonsense b) You’ve suddenly run out of ideas or rather the idea you had has come to an abrupt stop. Kind of reminds me of:

And so you move …