23 Nov 2015

Our Everyday Life: The Eventful Week

 The Bliss before the party

November 16th to 21st was an eventful week for us.

This month has been exciting in many ways. Launched the book, celebrated my girls 4th birthday and finally started to find a light at the end of the moving house tunnel. Also witnessing my friend's husband music band smashing it on X Factor UK 2015. 

I'm happy.
Today, I felt like my mind was settling into a blissful state again. Since the summer it has been on the go go state and I’m looking forward to enjoying a month of thanksgiving and peaceful state. Monday November 16th I had my book launch {which was photographed by talent friend Kerrie Oliver, the photographer behind Llyod Told George}. It was exciting, the company and so much support. I'm so thankful.

Talking to a reader at my book, Wasting Away, launch photo credit Kerrie Oliver at Lloyd Told George

Wednesday 18th AOI turned four and you should all have seen her. She was so over the moon when, after she started complaining about not finding something I don’t even remember, I asked her “Guess what day is today?”
“What day is today?”  “Today is your special day” “Is it my birthday?” “Yes”. She jumped out from the bed {she was chilling next to me} and did amazing jumps. It was snowing as I wished for my little girl’s special day. We all  took her to school together, on our way we stopped to play in the snow in the nearby park for a bit.

The play before school day

It has been challenging weeks for AOI, she got more frustrated and didn’t use her words like she’s capable of doing. For instance at her birthday party {which was joint with her best friend} she cried because there were some games that she didn’t want to play, but instead of telling us she run away from the place. I laughed from nerves. I sometimes wonder if she’s the only child acting out or it’s normal for kids to behave like that at four. What we noticed is how she was seeking for reassurance from her friends. She kept asking her best friend “Are you still my friend?” 

Today she was happy.
When at church, she participated in all the activities without fuss, she came home and was a bit shy when one of my friends from Italy I haven’t heard in a while facetimed me. She was nice and cheerful. She had one of her friends over for a playdate and she was content at that moment too. We went to play in the school and she had a little I'm leaving you and going alone somewhere with her little brother trailing behind her. I kept eye but made sure she came back to me instead of me following her. I would love her to understand that she can talk about things instead of leaving. 

Throughout last week she kept asking for her daddy and today I noticed how she wanted to have her daddy attention. The time he dedicated to her helped her mood and in the end I was able to play with her without her refusing my attention. 

Yes, November has been busy and maybe, though we think she’s alright, she need more reassurance and we're all really looking forward to some recharging time. 

 Elephants are a girl's best friend

13 Nov 2015

Pray For Paris

Today when I woke up and realised that it was Friday 13th, I thought "Isn't today the day people call the unlucky day?" I didn't make most of it because I'm not supersticious.

At around 9:15pm (Paris Saturday 14th 3:15am), I was browsing instagram when  I saw many of the people I follow on Instagram hash tagging #prayforparis. I went to google to look what was happening and it was BREAKINGNEWS on BBC.com
France has declared a national state of emergency and has closed its borders after at least 120 people were killed in gun and bomb attacks in Paris.
Some 80 people are reported to have died at the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris. Gunmen took many hostages there before being overpowered by police. Others died in a reported suicide blast near the Stade de France and gun attacks on city centre restaurants. Seven attackers are reported killed. Paris residents have been asked to stay indoors and about 1,500 military personnel are being deployed across the city."

On CBC.ca I read

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has spoken to members of his national security team to ensure the safety of Canadians in the wake of a series of attacks that saw dozens of people killed in Paris Friday night.

"These terrorist attacks are deeply worrying and obviously unsettling to people around the world," Trudeau said before leaving for the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey.

"We will keep people apprised as more unfolds but I have been speaking with our national security team to ensure that everything is being done to keep people safe."

Trudeau expressed solidarity with Canada's "French cousins" and said Canada has offered all possible assistance to the government of France in wake of the siege at a concert hall in Paris.

"We have offered all of our help and support to the government of France, to the people of France at this time. And we'll continue to engage with our allies around the world in ensuring the safety of Canadians and others both here at home and around the world."

My heart goes to all those who have lost their lives this early morning in Paris. To those who are suffering, may Lord keep you under His mantel.

Thinking of you Paris.

3 Nov 2015

"You talk like a white person.”

Disclaimer: I'm revisiting some of my old pieces. This piece was originally written back in 2011 but it feels like I recently thought about it. It's still one of my favorite article, such a relevant topic that  I want to write about in my books

As a child and even as an adult, people have tried many times to “box” me in.  Although at times I fight against being boxed around, sometimes I question if I am really free from all the boxing? When you've been enclosed in for so long it is difficult to break away from your prison box without people making you feel like you are different.
Few years ago, I was talking to this guy about how to budget money and plan for one’s future. After my point of view he commented “Mame (a Ghanaian affectionate term for a female), you talk sense. You know? You talk like a white person.” I was offended and shocked. My blood boiled. If he wanted to speak in colours then why couldn’t he recognise that I am a clever black woman? Why always associate cleverness to whiteness {I write this based on other comments from other people}? I said “I don’t talk like a white person, I speak like me, TOI!”   
His words threw me in the loop although I was able to defend myself.  My child, I am afraid may not have the words to defend herself or himself.  Words are easily used without knowing the origin and for what purpose our ‘ancestors’ used it for. I know that in certain places black and mix-race children are called all kinds of nasty names. I know I will always try my best to protect my child from many things but I don’t think I can protect him/her at the play ground. When nasty kids will call her/him awful names because their parents didn’t teach them better.
I believe my worry is accentuated by the fact that a well known English historian, David Starkey, commented “There has been a profound change… the white have become black”, when he was interviewed about the reasons behind the August 2011 riots in London, England. He went on to equate black culture to violence, gangsterism, nihilism and destruction. He concluded that young black and white kids operate in a false language like the Jamaican patwa which has ‘intruded’ into England; and many of ‘them’ – David Starkey’s sort – feel like they are living in a foreign country. He pointed out that black culture is not about skin colour but ‘cultural’. He went so far as to state that if you close your eyes and listen to David Lammy, a successful black British politician, you would think he was white.
The pity, aside from the black community being boxed-in, is that Starkey is part of those who tend to have power over historical books and TV programs which blatantly stereotype against black culture. The English riots happened not because of a cultural shift, but mainly because there is a great divide in the social and economic distribution in the world. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. It is easy to blame the situation on culture to mask the real issues.
My child will be born into this high intense racial era in the media and society.  As a proud black Ghanaian woman, married to a white British man, I don’t want my mixed-cultural child to refuse her black Ghanaian heritage due to what the media promotes {I know it won’t happen, but who knows}. I am dark skinned.  I have curves.  I have natural locks and full lips. I speak with an accent. Her father is light skinned, has blond hair, blue eyes and fine lips. He speaks with an accent.  All these different traits will converge in my child’s make-up.  
The popular image the media and society will teach her is white is beautiful and desired. And I will point out her black side is also beautiful and desired.  I will show her/him that black culture is more than simple hip-hop, consumerism and gangster ideology. I will teach her that black culture has great literature, music (jazz, blues, easy listening…), arts, great politicians and human right activists. 
My greatest wish for my baby is to not let people push her/him into a preconceived box. But knowing how most human beings reason in our society, someone will try {like it happened to me, my sister and brother growing up in the West)!  And when that happens, I would have done my best to teach my little one good values including, loving who she/he is {identity and culture}. Never accepting the box but pushing and fighting against it and just being herself/himself – human!
Few days ago my brother had to stand up for himself because he was accused by one of his housemates for something he never did. The landlady without asking his version of the facts sent him an eviction note, this was a form of discrimination. While we were talking he said “… you have the most beautiful thing in this world in your womb… and the first thing I will teach her/him is to forgive those who don’t know…”
There may be many words swimming around in my mind but the one that stands out right now is LOVE.

The love I have for this little child I have yet to meet.  My emotions may be high, my thoughts rampant.  But my heart is at peace as I feel the butterflies in my stomach.  I know what is going on in the world at this moment but for now, I am glad my little Berry is safely “boxed” in, loved, and protected within my womb.
Question: How do you feel in society?
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