Hi September – Bye September!

I had to squeeze in another post before September was over. I can’t believe how little I write on here. I miss it. I need to get back here and be a part of this blogging world because I’ve really enjoyed it these past couple of years.

Exciting times over here… I bought a car! Yaaay! I found a used 2014 Subaru Impreza. I was really looking for All Wheel Drive and I liked what the Impreza had to offer. I got the hatchback over the sedan because I’m all about trunk space and accessibility. I’m really happy with it. And I just bought winter tires today. They have heated seats which I’m really happy about. Some of you guys don’t have the pleasures of driving in snow and slush for 6 months out of the year (sigh) but if I have the option of having my butt heated on those cold, horrible days, then I’m gonna go for it. So I’m a happy girl. My parents are happy they don’t have to shuttle me around and I’m happy I can take myself wherever I need to go whenever I need to go. I named him Raffi.

Everyone’s having babies all around me! Two people I know just had baby girls and my good friend S, who’s wedding I was in 2 years ago, is expecting a baby girl in December. I feel like I should be knitting but I’m still working on a blanket with L for C & A’s wedding… this past July.

I just released Rocco from this week’s twists and they’ll probably go right back up after tomorrow’s wash.

I went to the gym Monday through Friday this week. I’m just going to keep at it. I need to sweat it out sometimes. Today was great, I was planning on a long bike ride with my friend F but her bike wasn’t in quite the condition she was hoping so we ended up going for a hike which was wonderful. I hadn’t seen her for a bit so we got to catch up finally.

I’m waiting oh-so-patiently for my fav pumpkin beer to appear in stores. It’s sad but I checked the liquor store Wednesday, Thursday and Friday… I’ll give them a week. I’ve got 3 bottles of different pumpkin ales but there’s one special one I’m holding my breath for. What can I see, I really like my pumpkin beer and I really like autumn. B and I are gonna make pumpkin pie tomorrow *fingers crossed*. I hope the results are delicious.

In other news, I’m going to attempt to bake a pumpkin cheesecake today…. I’ll show you the results. Wish me luck! Have a great Sunday!

Oh yeah! I have a blog!

It’s been too long.

August has come and gone. 

  • I bought a gym pass today… I’m not making any promises. There’s a 10k run in a month in town here but I’m not really aiming for anything. I just really want to counteract my 12 hours of sitting per day.
  • I’m starting to work 6 days a week. I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. On the commute to work this morning I actually woke up and had to think whether I was heading to work or leaving work… oy
  • But! My contract is up at the end of November so I’m going to have to get my butt in gear and start looking for something else.
  • I’m also looking for a vehicle… I really, really, really dislike car shopping. I don’t know the first thing about cars. I don’t know whether to buy used or new. I only know how to drive. Maybe this is a good adult experience for me. I’ve owned 2 cars before but I bought my first car because it was a ’98 VW beetle. That was my only reason and to my 18 year old self that was valid. My second car was actually great, and I’d love to have it still. It was an ’04 Mazda 3 and it was standard. That’s right, this girl drove stick shift. But I actually test drove a Mazda 3 that was standard about a month ago and, I kid you not, an hour after the drive I could feel my left knee was buggin. It was not cool. So, as sad as I am to have that option go, at least I know I’ll be looking for an automatic. But I have no idea where to start… oy
  • I went for a roadtrip with my boo and we had a lot of fun. We did some shopping, went out for great food, watched a movie and went go-karting!!! I loved it. We also sang roadtrip tunes like crazy on the drive back haha! I loved it.
  • I attempted to straighten my hair but didn’t want to put the heat too high and my hair just ended up being larger than life.
  • I played some golf and sucked royally. But it was still good.
  • Went to the lake one weekend day when it was pouring rain, sat under the covered area, fired up the woodstove and played board games with friends. It was amazing.
  • Went for a couple of runs with my boo. He’s so much faster than me.. grr…

I cannot wait for autumn. It’s my favourite season. Gorgeous colours on the mountains, crunchy leaves, cooler temperatures, beanies, scarves, sweaters, hugs, fires, hot drinks, leggings, boots, PUMPKIN BEER! Aaah, bring it!

And pics!

Saturday Sunshine

This past week has been a little different for me. I can make plans for something, map out the steps to get there. Like with running. I break it up, set up a reasonable time frame for my goal. But making changes in my life… I need a little persuasion. But I’m proud of myself. This past week I mixed up running outside, on my own and with a buddy, working out with YouTube videos in the mornings before work, not eating meat and sticking to water.

This past week I got a S’well water bottle from work. I’m pretty sure it’s 25oz, it’s pretty big, and it keeps my water cold for a long time. It’s great, I’m so happy I got one.

I’d like to lose weight and maintain that fitness level, but I also want to do it without paying for a gym pass. So I’m trying to be creative and incorporating fitness into my lifestyle. The no-neat thing makes me a little more aware of what I’m buying and what I’m eating. I don’t know if I could live without bacon so I don’t think this is a forever thing, but really, I’m kinda just excited I made it a week. I’ve been saying I’ll go veggie for this and that but I hadn’t. This go around I realized I can say I can start all I want or I can just start and stop talking about it. Haha!

As for Rocco. I had him in mini braids the first week. I don’t know why I went so mini. I by-passed my Sunday washed and figured I would go another week. Then Monday rolled around, my scalp felt like it needed clarifying, so I started to undo them. Didn’t quiiite finish that night so I styled it in a way that blended the braided with my unbraided hair. Tuesday came around and I ended up chilling on the sand with my bf. I took a couple out that night but didn’t get to finish so I once again styled it appropriately. Wednesday came around and I was determined to get the last of them undone. I enlisted my mom’s help, and we undid the last of them. I wore my hair in a bun for the rest of the week. Saturday morning I was happy to give Rocco a good wash and deep condition. I’m kinda thinking maybe I’ll put him in Curlformers this evening… I organized a golf scramble for work and I always have to wear my hair in a way that I can put a hard hat on top so it’s not usually out. I kind of want to do something different this time around. Why not right?

I love the feeling of freshly washed, dried, twisted hair. Makes me happy. I think I need to find a day to straighten my hair. I’ve been natural for 2 years and 5 months and I have never taken a flat iron to my strands but I’m getting a little curious to see what it looks like. I’ll admit, this post by Tales of a Curly Girl started me thinking. So keep an eye out for a post where I straighten Rocco. Eek!

I went to the market today and found the cutest little bag. I’m going to send that to my 3-year-old niece and hope she likes it.IMG_0245

Headstands and Running Buddies

I got two runs in this weekend and it makes me happy. My friend F and I hit the trails Saturday morning and this morning both followed by yummy breakfasts. Today after brekky we lamented about how much we missed yoga classes at the Y. So we found some YouTube yoga and got our stretch on. Then we decided we wanted to try headstands. Haha! Truly some funny moments in there but we were determined.

It’s Monday tomorrow and I’m not convinced I’m ready for it. But it’s going to happen regardless so bring it on, I guess.

I found a simple veggie/kale/quinoa recipe for this week so I’m hoping it tastes as yummy as it looks. I’m also going to keep Rocco in the tiny braids I’ve had for a week. It’ll be a two week hairstyle which I am a huge fan of.

Here are some pics of my hike and my headstand 😉

 

 

A Leap Towards Financial Freedom

I am so so so so happy to say as of May 2, 2014 I am (consumer) debt free!! I don’t have any money borrowed and collecting interest other than my student loans! Whoo!!

I got paid on Friday and working the stat holiday, Good Friday, gave me a great boost. I also got a nice tax return so what did I do? I tossed it onto my MasterCard and now I am at zero. This frees me up to put the money that went towards that card onto my student loans. I’m so happy it’s done with! I’m going to take some time to live without it for a bit. I rarely used it before because I was trying to pay it down but now that it’s at zero I just want it to sit at zero for a bit. In the future, anything I do put on it will be paid off in full at the end of the month. I don’t need to be carrying a balance from month to month. So here’s to rebuilding my credit!

And here’s to destroying my student loans. I am on a mission to pay off 75% of my student loans by December. Yeah. To achieve that I’m going to have to budge and be acutely aware of every dollar that goes in and out of my hands because I want to set myself up for a debt free future so my choices aren’t limited and I’m not held back by debt. This is an exciting time for me. I’m thankful that I have this great job, I’m thankful I live at home and pay reduced rent, I’m just really happy with my life situation right now.

Of course, it being life, I feel like if one thing is up then something has to be down… I’ve been finding myself battling how I feel about myself physically. I can honestly say I’m unhappy with my body. I enjoy running and biking, I love that it’s lighter and warmer out. I enjoy being active but it’s hard… when I’m home after 7 PM I just want to veg and relax and do nothing yknow? As soon as I’m home I pack my lunch for the next day, lay my stuff out, check my email, pay bills, watch a show and then it’s off to bed. I really don’t have a lot of time.

My friend goes to drop in soccer Tuesdays and Thursdays so I’m thinking I want to join him. I loved soccer and I love being outside and socializing while being active. I’m hoping that’s something I can be a part of.

That being said, today I went for a great 5.7 km hike with L. The uphill was a beast but the downhill we maintained a pretty good pace, skipping over roots and dodging dogs. It was really lovely, I’m glad we went. Then the local farmers market opened for the first day today which was amazing! It was sooo busy but we got our coveted Filipino food I’ve been missing since November. I was a happy camper!

I was doing really well in December when I was going to the gym regularly. I was starting to notice my body changing and I loved it. I don’t have the time for the gym so I need to do whatever I can to keep my body moving, especially after sitting for 12 hours a day.

I got an Essie nail polish today, I was feeling a little bummed out so I picked one up. I really like their polish, they’ve got a great colour selection. S and I went to the corner store afterwards and I got a slurpee and some 5 cent candy (yeah yeah) and the boy behind the counter gave me a free slurpee and only charge me for half of my candy! That made my night. S was all, dude, why didn’t you give me free stuff? I was like… oh S, it could be that giant rock on your left hand. Haha! Naw, he was cool, I thanked him and then laughed hysterically later.

Hair

I wore my hair loose all week this week. I did a rush twist job and it was not sitting so pretty so I wore it out. I’m going to do an overnight pre-poo tonight, really moisturize my strands/scalp and do an early wash day tomorrow. Better to get it out of the way so I can enjoy my day off.

That’s my update for the week. Nail polish, discount candy, work work work, and a great trail run. I hope tomorrow’s relaxing before the start of another week.

Oh! May long weekend (May 19) two friends and I are going to go for a shopping road trip! I’m really excited! I really haven’t built a solid wardrobe where I have a good number of clothes to wear for work and leisure. I just feel like I’ve been just getting by in the past since I didn’t have much to spend on anything other than rent, food and bills (oy). This is a little treat for myself.

Hello 2014!

We are two weeks into 2014 and this is my first post. Eek!

What has become of me? I still feel like I’m in the process of… nothing is really cemented for me or anything. I’m now just working my part-time contract job as my other part-time job finished last week.

Christmas and New Years were good. I’m glad they’re both over but they were fun while they lasted. I need to lay off the beer. I love the stuff but it’s weighing me down. This drink, while yummy, made me feel like shiiiiit the next day. I think I watched more hockey this winter than I have in my entire life. It’s fun and I’m glad I can enjoy watching it now.

I renewed my gym pass for January and then promptly got a cold. I’m still working to get rid of this lingering cough so I can put my pass to good use. I’m impatiently waiting for the snow to go away so I can run on the pavement. But I did go snowshoeing on Saturday which was really fun actually.

Rocco has been doing well so far. I have to say he has had help from a new hair tool I mentioned earlier.

I have my hair in mini-twists right now but when these are out I’m going to write a post on the Q-Redew handheld steamer that has been making my life a lot easier and has pretty well replaced my spray bottle. Rocco is 22 months and I feel like I know him pretty well now. He’s more predictable and I find there are more good surprises than bad. The learning curve is finally levelling out and now I get to have fun with different styles. I love wearing my hair stretched and pinning it up in different ways.

Hope this new year is off to a good start for you all. You’ll be seeing more of me. I promise!

Where Are You From?

How do you answer that question?

For me it depends on a number of things; first off who are you and what are your reasons for that question? I’ve been asked that question at the bus stop, in grocery stores, at the library, at school, at work, at the club, at the gym, at parties… and for every one person that asks I’m sure there are several others who are thinking it.

Straight up, if you are a black person asking me I am more likely to give you a straight answer: Zambia. If you are anyone else, I weigh my circumstances and I may give you a roundabout reply: Northern BC.

When a black person asks me I know they’re looking for a familiar tie, something relatable. We are both two similar faces in a predominantly white population and we’re looking for a neighbour, an instant friend.

For some context I live in Northern British Columbia, Canada. West Coast. Where I live right now there are probably less than 100 black people here. More now with growing industries. Down south, Vancouver, Victoria, there is a larger black population but still, the community is not very large.

Some situations:

My friend and I are sitting on the grass listening to music downtown Victoria. A black man in about his 60’s, shirtless with a t-shirt wrapped around his head is dancing on his own about 30 feet over. I know the inevitable is going to happen so I give him a polite smile and find a place on the grass chatting with my friend. It isn’t long before he saunters over, sort of half squatting facing us and says hi to me and asks where I’m from. Zambia. He chats for a bit, I nod politely, silently willing him away. Parlez-vous français? He asks. I shake my head no. Wrong country bud. But I look to my left and see if my white friend is willing to give herself away. Oui. She replies. T-shirt wrapped head man is absolutely tickled and turns to my friend for some French chat. I am secretly pleased that she gets the attention.

I think he was surprised to find a similarity in someone that he didn’t expect. He wasn’t trying to be obnoxious or intrusive, he just saw someone who looked like him and he was curious. Fair enough.

There are also situations where a non-black person will ask me where I’m from and then proceed to tell me how they were born in Zambia or Tanzania. Times like that I’m like, neat. I don’t know what context you were there for, I don’t know what context made you leave. There are many countries that evicted non-native populations from their countries once the country gained their independence or other situations and I’m not about to ask how you ended up here in Canada. I’m sure it’s a great story, but I just want to make a bank deposit and be on my way, thanks.

An interesting situation however is when they, too, are from Zambia and greet me in a local language whether it be Bemba, Lamba, Nyanja and I reply with a weak smile and an apologetic shrug. ‘Ah-ah!’, they say, looking both sad and surprised.

A funny thing happened when we were visiting Salt Spring Island this summer. We were the only black people from what I could see that day and my mom noticed as we were on the ferry leaving; not one person asked us where we were from. Normally if the 4 of us are out together, restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, we will be asked those 4 words. But not that time.

Now this question has a lot of sides to it. I’m a visible minority. People are curious. If I were in Zambia I’m sure I would still be asked this question. Probably going on how I dress, how I style my hair, and definitely how I speak. I speak like a Mzungu. My attempt at speaking my language would give me away immediately. But I haven’t experienced that. Yet.

I wasn’t a Canadian citizen until I was 11 years old. I was Zambian. But all I knew was my Canadian life. So I didn’t think anything of it, really, until I relinquished that citizenship. And not even then, but years later.

I was inspired to write this post because of something that happened back in October when I first moved home.

I’m at the library and an older white lady in her 70’s is in the aisle looking for a book near me. I’m looking at the back of a Michael Jackson biography as she says Hi, how are you? I smile at her and reply, Good thanks, how are you? She smiles and goes about looking for her book. Then before she wanders off she stops and looks up at me (she made me feel tall, and I’m only 5’4).

“Where are you from?” She asks conversationally, not accusatory at all but I’m not feeling it and I give her a sweet smile and say “Ooh, I grew up here.” I go back to browsing the shelves thinking I’d thrown a wrench in her plans.
“Where are your parents from?”
Come on lady, gimme a break, I think to myself. I sighed and said “Zambia”. That word seemed to have no meaning to her and she went on to tell me about her son’s wife (funny she didn’t call her her daughter-in-law or am I just reading too much into that?) who is from Rwanda. I nodded. This wife of her son is now building a school in Rwanda. Neato. I told her, “Have you gone to visit?” She replied with “Ooh I visited long before she was there. Africa is a fascinating country.”

With that she wandered off which was only upsetting to me because I really wanted to give her the o_O look and walk off myself, but she beat me to it. Africa is a fascinating country. That’s a whole OTHER conversation my friends.

This post is more of a brain barf. There are so many sides to this conversation and it really opens up a huge opportunity for discourse about culture, identity, citizenship, meaning… but it’s something I wanted to share with you.

Do you get asked ‘where are you from’? How do you answer? Does your answer change?