Housekeeping, Gender reveals, travels, & much more. Working on a master plan and will fill in the details shortly 🙂
Housekeeping, Gender reveals, travels, & much more. Working on a master plan and will fill in the details shortly 🙂
It took til nearly the end of the month, but I SUCCESSFULLY started out the year correctly. I am thankful to again have put forth intentions and completed the same. I told myself that I wanted to read at least a book a month, and as of a couple of hours ago – I can check off January :).
The book I read is called “Efuru” and it is written by a Nigerian author named Flora Nwapa. It was such a pleasure reading this book for many reasons, but most vivid is the complete way that it brings me back to my trips in Meritah as she speaks of Kola nut, palm wine, sitting on mats, the mudroom, preparing and taking herbs, the children, pounding out food, the customs, and so much more. It transports me back to a simpler, but more robust culture and traditions.
I am unsure if any of you have traveled to Meritah (or what people call Africa), but experiencing such a rich culture always leaves me wanting more when I return to the U.S. and deal with the ridiculousness of abject poverty, willful ignorance, avoidable pestilence, prevalent racism, and more ills that should not be present in a so-called first-world country. It is so curious how
I will type out part of the book’s synopsis; but it is amazing to see yourself in a character. I thought I was destined to live a similar life as she until I met my current fiance:
“Efuru is a beautiful, superior woman, who cannot marry or have children successfully. Her neighbors acknowledge her distinctions, are grateful for her generosity, but cannot intervene in or comprehend her tragedy…”
So Efuru has issues bearing a child with her first husband, but after many consultations and following their instructions, she finally has a child, a little girl. Unfortunately, her husband runs off to be with another woman and never returns. Even after their young daughter dies, his face was never seen in his hometown. Come to find out later, the woman he left his wife for, left him for a wealthier man. After several years waiting for him to return, she finally moves on & opens herself up to another man. She agrees to wed him and for years things are good. But after not conceiving a child in 4 years and people talking, she decides (as is customary in traditional culture) to find her husband a second younger wife.
The second wife becomes pregnant within the first year of marriage and bears him a son. She finds out later that he actually had a son out of wedlock with another woman 2 years into their marriage. She is understanding, continues to support him and their new family arrangement, but the younger wife, newly a mother, was upset and wanted nothing to do with his son. He ends up getting into some trouble (never mentioned the source) and goes to jail. He is away for 4 months and misses the death of Efuru’s father. The gossip around the village, her missing husband, and death of her father could were a huge hit. He husband comes back with no details on why he had been jailed, but she sticks with him. It isn’t until she gets extremely ill and gossipers accuse her of adultery, to which her husband feeds into, that she is fed up and makes her exit from the marriage.
“She is coming, the gossip. She has never in her life said anything good about anybody. I wonder who is going to be her next victim. She is always running people down.”
We all know this person, and sadly, many of us know several people just like this. I have tried to distance myself from all these types and it is such a challenge, they are as common as sunshine in the summertime.
I was in several … interesting relationships, one of which was a polygamous relationship which ended due to not all parties being able to resolve their psychological hangups. Another relationship I was in, I became pregnant with twins shortly after my return from Meritah. The would-be-father, moved out of state & I was left to suffer through a 2-month long miscarriage on my own & later told that I would never be able to have children, but IF so, it would not be naturally. Found out he was with another woman and had a child not too long after, who knows if the relationship initiated while I was overseas. Fortunately, mine has a happier ending of finding the man I was supposed to be with and having an amazing daughter who is very healthy. I am thankful for the difficult relationships I endured which have molded me into the woman that pushes out these strokes to share her stories.
Below are some pictures of my travels to Meritah that this story brought me back to with each turn of the page.
>>Respectfully submitted & Always thankful<< ~Mai
Some excerpts from the book to mull over…
Today has been a LONG one! Almost did not get my workout completed because I wanted to sleep in too late before our turn-around trip to Los Angeles.
A friend that I had not seen in about 4 years came to the West Coast for the first time, so I HAD to make the trip out to greet her. Her energy was positive as usual and she had so much to teach me (just like the dream I had of her several weeks ago). I am thankful to have women like her in my life to help support my growth and development as a woman, as a mother, as a nurturer.
Well, we got there much later than anticipated due to (obviously) L.A. traffic, but also waking up a tad later and baby girl taking her SWEET time eating. Being that I woke up late, I only completed the first leg of my workout (15 push ups, 15 squats, and 10 plank rotations) and had to complete the yoga pose and deep breathing upon my return after I fed and bathed the baby. It’s hard to get out of the habit of calling her a baby because she will forever be my baby, but I guess with her as mobile as she is and at 16 months now, she has graduated to toddler hood. Goodness, already? *tears marching to my eye ducts*
Back on topic… She really reminded me how important it is to have a support system as a new mother and a first-time mother & we spoke about many things as she is an experienced, trained, formally and informally educated in family care w/ the expecting mother, L&D, and post-partum care. She reiterated how important every phase in the child birthing process is & gently nudged me to take a better look at the areas I am struggling in. Goodness, if only we could all have such a strong support system all the time, I could only imagine how much more balanced the world could be.
If you read this, duau (thank you) for your time & energy you shared with my family and I. If not, then Mai – whenever you look back on this post, be sure to reach out and check-in.
Womanhood; a blessing not provided to all & a state of being that demands the support and guidance of a tribe that should not go ignored. I actually have several different “tribes” that provide support in different ways. I have my mother, my fathers wife whom I have come to regard a bonus mother, my fiance’s mother, mentors whom are around my mother’s age, women with many children, women with no children and just a love & appreciation of how life is expressed through the youth, and then I have my biological sister, and other “sisters” who have transitioned to motherhood recently and are learning right alongside me. I have my #igot5onit99 sisters (doing an amazing job!), and am hopeful to one day, have a positive and supportive relationship with the mother of my daughter’s kuya (big brother).
But, here I sit, taking things in stride & a day at a time. Forwards ever. Backwards never!
Day#13 was a success! 1.27.18 = Complete
- Most Difficult: Coming back home and just finishing the workout!
- Currently Feeling: Physically tired, but not sleepy
Totals for day 13/99:
>Respectfully submitted & Always thankful<< ~Mai
So, it was the most difficult thing leaving my daughter for the first time & come this morning, I was too hyped to get home to see this little girl. It broke my heart to see her little tears fall as she hugged tightly to my shirt & laid her head on my chest, telling me w/o words that I better NOT think about leaving her that long again! But I know she had an AMAZING time with LoLa – my mother has such a way with children 🙂
BUT – this weekend though? Awww man, it was beyond what I could have imagined, even though there were a couple of small hiccups (YELP is FIRED!) the good made the small challenges melt away.
Downtown Los Angeles. A city I spent many years traversing through my growing pains, but did not spend too much in the city center as I did this trip. I was practically a tourist in a city I called home & living through experiences I never though I would right there.
We stayed at the OMNI Hotel, which was O.K. – for the price-point, the Kimpton in La Jolla & the Signature (Grand) Penthouse in Vegas were much nicer & more our style. BUT, it had the proximity that we were interested in for the main reason we were there.
The Orchestra we went to see was the Final Fantasy Symphony for the 30th Anniversary – and it was sooo amazing! I am unsure if you all are familiar with the show, “Mozart in the Jungle” or if you ever saw Mickey Mouse Fantasia, but these are a few of the influences that let me know this was a definite bucket list thing I needed to do. I may have mentioned it to Nuineb once and just like that – he planned it and it took my breath away!
In my birthday dinner post – I showed you our Ethiopian meal, which was deslish! But, the Vegan brunch we had Saturday afternoon was so outstanding, we are still talking about it, and trying to plan another trip out there to get some more! If you all ever find yourself in Downtown L.A. – please do your stomach a solid and grab a bite or two:
This morning, we grabbed breakfast and some vitamins from one of my other favorite destinations in L.A. “Simply Wholesome”. I forgot to take a pic before I jumped in, but this was the last bite!
To add, we stopped by the beach on our way home and basked in the sun, in awe of creation. Timeless is the beach…
All I can say is THANK YOU soooo much to my fiance for planning this all out, footing 99% of the trip, and truly taking the time & putting in the effort to making this a memorable and special trip for me. Stepping into my 31st year was probably the most I have celebrated a b-day, as I have never been one to make a big fuss, throw myself a party, and have always downplayed it so others will not do anything either. Irregardless, he simply let me know that it is just another opportunity to express his support and appreciation for the life that we are building. 2018 has already taken me to a Distant World and I cannot wait to see how many more worlds we will unlock next..
I am all smiles!
(p.s. all photos taken by Nui or I)
> Respectfully and Humbly Submitted<< ~Mai
WOW! It was such an amazing a beautiful time this weekend, spending time with my fiance and just to get away. We both were able to cross something off of our bucket list by attending a live Orchestra at the Downtown L.A. Microsoft Theater. It was TRULY an amazing experience, and I look forward to the next one down the line. I will delve into the details in my next post now that I am home!
It was DEFINITELY a tad more challenging to complete my 99 day challenge and I actually initially thought to improvise & did not get the chance to record it. On Saturday (the day of the show), we woke up super late since we got back in super late, and basically had to rush to get ready to hit the (SUPER BOMB) Vegan brunch spot. So I thought about it and we decided to walk (hey, can also check out the Women’s March on the way) & it was a solid 15 minute walk one-way and there were hills. I figured I could adjust today’s #igot5onit99 challenge to focus on brisk walking instead of my typical 5 exercise regimen. Don’t get me wrong, it was indeed a little bit to get the heart-rate up, but I honestly did not fee like I had completely stayed true to what I initially set out to do. That being said, I decided today to complete two sets to stay on track. If you did not get the opportunity, the initial post is here. I was out and only used the app, so I was unable to do the standard f/u tracking that I had been doing my previous posts. \
I definitely feel much better having done the two sets today & do not think I will deviate from this moving forward. I still have so much more to work on, especially as it deals with form & muscle memory, so I want to continue this trajectory towards perfecting the simple & go from there.
The beautiful struggle continues!
Today was a success 1.21.18 = Completed 2 sets!
35 plank rotations
35 seconds holding yoga pose (Tittibhasana)
35 minutes of deep breathing
>Respectfully submitted & Always Thankful! << ~Mai
Well, I could talk about it, or I can show you. You can see here how I am still working on my form with everything except for the squats really. The deep breating, I normally do with my legs up the wall, but not in this hotel room. Its hard to watch this (first video taken of working out since my baby was born), I have to stop myself from picking it apart, my gut and hips spilling out of my pants… Then I remember, I gave birth, I’m working on everything slowly and it will take time. May we all continue to push through our goals and past the insecurities that debilitate us!
Will check back in once I am home 😁
》Respectfully Submitted & Abundantly Grateful《 ~Mai
When in L.A. I have to visit my favorite Ethiopian Restaurant, Merkatos! The service left much to be desired, but the food never disappoints, similarly nor does the company. Nuineb, thank you for spoiling me, making this weekend possible, and reminding me how much more I can grow with each time I am in your company. More about this trip when we are done experiencing its beauty 😊
》Respectfully submitted & Forever Thankful《
I’m on my way outta town to celebrate my birthday and cross something off of my “bucket list.”
We are going to see a live orchestra & I am thankful to have this opportunity. To be honest, nothing about this day went as planned and there were serious moments of frustration. I went to bed around 2am, woke up late, rushed in the morning, got picked up late after work, left 3 hours later than planned… but all those things are trivial.
When I think about having a home full of caring people and positivity. Having relatively good health and the resources to get closer to that everyday, such as this challenge! My co-workers surprising me with lunch, my mother watching my daughter for free and spending quality time teaching and supporting her development. Having the opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with my fiance, something that has been in limited supply since our daughter arrived.
On top of that, I have an amazing support system in my personal growth and development both from a fitness and business perspective.
So, I was able to turn the frustration into acceptance and enjoy my last hour with baby girl before we headed out! It can be too easy to forget the blessings when focused on a little hiccup that is designed to teach a lesson. I am thankful to have an easygoing and level headed partner that reminds me to chill the Fuddruckers out and that everything is o.k.!
In other news…
We are going to get my favorite Ethiopian food tonight and I am too stoked, it has been a while! I will show you all pictures on another post 😁
Today was a success 1.19.18 = Complete
25 plank rotations
25 seconds holding yoga pose
25 minutes of deep breathing
>>Respectfully submitted & Extra Thankful for another Year! << ~Mai