Life at 27

At 27

I don’t feel entitled 

But l refuse to settle 

It’s either the highway or no way

If l be left empty-handed 

So be it!

Recently l have written about five posts and deleted them without even publishing them. But then today l decided to be true to this blog. The initial reason for “the girl from Bulawayo” was to pen my heart out. So why then am l holding back now that only dark ink is oozing. I refuse to run my blog like my social media painting life with filters and fake smiles.

Anyway back to the topic at hand. Life at 27 is brutal. Its one of those crucial stages basically shaping what direction your life will take. Personally am feeling the pressure from all angles. Having pitched up late to the university race, l only started my Masters recently. Something l don’t regret though. I believe the mature me was better equipped for my university life than the younger me, and all those moments that leveled me to zero, would surely have carried me to the grave yard.

My career ambitions are not the only boulder pushing in at 27, but the expectations my family has of me. At 27 back home in Zimbabwe you are married with a kid or two, and with a life expectancy of 62 for women, at this stage you have almost lived half of your life. So basically technically all the conversations with my family start with,”When are you coming home?”, followed by “When are you getting married?”. And thereafter a long lecture on how am not getting any younger blah blah blah. Family please l know the clock is ticking, and no one is better qualified to remind me of my own ovaries than me myself and l. That’s why am really avoiding most of them now by the way. If only they read my blog, maybe the would give me a break.

And while we are still here can we talk about the dating game at 27. Another extremely brutal playing field. A friend of mine explained it beautiful for me, he said its like walking blindfolded in a field of landmines. Better still you are relentlessly pursued by the ones that don’t matter and the ones you care for are aloof and basically the worst as***. Toying with your emotions and not even realizing it.

Life at 27, means am basically a b*** especially when it comes to friendships. Am done with everything and anything that has drama attached to it. It means my circle is limited to five people, and l really can not handle more. Good friendships are about giving and taking and l do not have the capacity to give and take beyond this.

Life at 27 means weekends spent in bed, sipping on my tea reading or watching my favorite series. Or partying three nights in a row.

Life at 27 means me living healthy and indulging in all things healthy. Little 10 minute workouts, cooking healthy, drinking enough water and motivational exercises are all part of my routine. I am more aware of how quickly those fast food burgers head to my waist. My cereal diet days are now a thing of the past.

Life at 27 means knowing me and the things that make me happy. And believe me its all in the little things. Life at 27 means me knowing not to compare or gauge myself according to my peers, because each one of us has their own path.

Life at 27 also means dealing with and sorting all of these emotions. Hence the dark days tend to be frequent . Days where l just refuse to get out of bed and battle feelings of being overwhelmed. 

But as long as l am fighting on, taking every day as it comes. The road will finally smoothen out, it wont stay on this sharp edge forever.

I refuse to settle 27.

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Josiane

Josiane is the name of the african girl l met at the train station the yesterday.

We had arrived in the same train it seems and had both got off to change to our next connection. The only difference being l knew my route, was on familiar territory and going about my usual business. she on the other hand was living another episode of her journey to Europe as a refugee.

I am still ashamed of the attitude l displayed in the first 10 minutes of our encounter. See i had not reckoned with the fact she might be a refugee in transit. To me she was just another young african lady going about her business. She had a decent hairstyle, decent dress and a heavy winter jacket, nothing out of the ordinary at a first glimpse.

I caught her eye as l was getting off the train and i gave her my don’t look at me, don’t talk to me, let me be- face, which l usually wear on my way back home from work.

A few seconds later l felt some eyes on me, you know like how your body automatically alerts you if somebody is staring at you. Looking up, i caught her stare and this time even more annoyed i gave her my just because am black doesn’t mean i know you or have to converse with you face. Sad l know, i wasn’t like this when i first moved to Germany. But somehow those ridiculously annoying encounters with my “so called” african brothers who always used that as an excuse to talk to me left their mark.

Anyway, my look did nothing to defer Josiane. To her at that moment l represented hope. She saw in me a similarity, our skin color and for her it was enough to seek my help out. And so even as i muttered underneath my breath, please don’t approach me- she walked hastily over.
Her first words, “French?” only added salt to the injury. I was through the ceiling with anger, “of course, just because am black means l can speak French” l thought.

With a blank stare l said “No, only Ndebele, Shona, English and German.” I thought this was enough for her to leave me to myself and me time. My train rides are reserved for this with priority level one. So yea i was almost exploding.
Just as l was backing away from her, she shoved a bunch of papers into my hands. With such irritation i looked at them, the first two where a connection to some Kamen village, which i had never even heard of before yesterday. She still had two changes ahead of her. I calmed down and explained to her, showed her the platforms and advised her to use time as her guide for her changes. Her last stop, an applied university brought back the friendly me to life. And l warmed up thinking she is here to study. Seconds later the thought made no sense because i asked myself but how will she study here if she speaks no German or English. And so i asked her where she was going. She responded but of course l understood nothing.

So l took out my phone, went to google translate and phrased my question. At this point i would like to give Google a bow, though your app sometimes translates out of the context things, yesterday it saved a life. Josiane and l communicated for the next 2 hours via this app, and am grateful to the mastermind behind.

A few translations later and a shuffle through the pile of papers on my hands. I established that Josiane is from Gabon. She flew to Turkey and from there proceeded to France with a boat and was transferred to Germany from there. She just completed one of these journeys l have been seeing on TV.

One of the papers she had said she has applied for Asylum in Germany and must report at the given address before 20 September. The police had printed this connection for her, bought her a train ticket and put her in the train. Quite a difficult challenge if you ask me, when in her position. No phone, no watch, no language, just some papers in a language you don’t understand and a trip with 3 changes plus a walk to your final address. I couldn’t believe it.

My mind raced to my time as an aupair, where l myself struggled for months. I was going to take here there. It meant another 4 hours for me before i get home but how else was i supposed to let somebody go off just like that. Long story short we made it and l left her there and it was but just another reminder for me that my Life is good. I have nothing to complain about.

Later as l lay in bed, l despised myself for my anti social behaviors, i could have really messed up today.

I pray for the strength to stay humble and be a little more kind, you can never tell a book by its cover and by that l mean i must not judge people at first sight because just like Josiane they maybe in need.

She sent me a french text today and l caught myself rolling my eyes…
I do wish to be kind but so help me God.

Looks like l still have a long way to go.

Life as a 3 rd decade friend.

Paying bills is not the only struggle that comes with your mid twenties. One of the culprits that relentlessly haunt you is friendships. Currently i am facing what i like to call, “life as a 3 rd decade friend dilemma”. Have l lost you? Let me explain.

You see in our first decade of existence we make our childhood friends, mostly with kids from the block, from the pre school and from primary school.

In our second decade, these are quickly replaced or moved to lower ranks by the high school friends. Many at times, when teenage hood kicks in, we find ourselves too cool, and even wonder how we were friends with those 1st decade friends. I was one of the lucky ones who managed to retain the high school bestie and the bestie from primary but only because one was the weekend friend and the other the school week friend.

The coin flipped very quickly though during my A levels and both were replaced by my squad from the elite school. This squad still exists, though we are in 3 different continents, technology has allowed us to keep in touch. Funny enough the topic of the day is always on how we are all struggling in our new friendships, and never quite able to cement the perfect balance we have. Nevertheless back to the topic at hand.

The twenties offer a turning point in life. You approach adulthood either from the direction of a career, marriage or university one. All of which come with their own disctint friendship hurdles. The techicalities even increase, if  like me you find yourself migrating to a foreign land.

Funny enough the hard reality never crossed my mind as i sat in that Aupair prep class. See i found myself seated on da wild side table, with the party lovers. I did fit it in though, seeing i am born and raised in a slaughter-house. Not for cows ofcourse. See i grew up staying with my brother. While our mother slaved her back in Southafrica to support us, we turned her habitual abode to a paridise for young couples, escaping the strict scrutiny of their parents. Am bubbling again.

Fast forward to Germany.
The first year was not as harsh regarding my friendships. See one of the girls from my prep was in the same city as me, and l was still in touch with most of the girls from the prep group. These still remain among the solid few friends l can count on, even if we go for months without talking.

The next year though, my first year at Uni was to begin unraveling the friendship can of worms. Equipped with my backpack and high dreams in one hand, l was determined to avoid friendship drama, l would have one and one friend only. Turned out to be the best recipe for doom as 2 semesters later i found myself roaming campus as the lone wolf, not even able to squeeze myself among the other classmates, seeing my ex bestie was now one of the pack, and i could not stand her. Childish really, but those were some of the most anguishing years of my life. The situation was just draining.

At that moment 3rd decade friendships was about to give me another hot slap. I threw in the towel on the Uni thing and resorted to spend the rest of my days as the friendly lone wolf. I graduated last month pretty much with the same title.

When the perfect Uni plan broke down, my next option was to focus on my social circle outside of Uni. I had met many strong beautiful intelligent interesting  young ladies, and somehow l found myself drawn more to my current circle of friends. How? Fate i guess. But it was in this circle that l would learn the true meaning of starting to make friends anew in your third decade of existence.

See when in a foreign land, any prior common factors make up for a great chemistry between friends. Having been unplucked from our comfort zone, anything, anything at all offering even a straw of familiarity is highly welcome.

If you went to the same school, lived in the same neighborhood, have a common relative etc, it is a great recipe to make friends abroad. Even if back home you never spoke to each other, reminiscing about the old loud lady from your hood creates magic when in a foreign land. I had none of the above. Just what I needed in dealing with my 3 rd decade friendship dynamics.

Being the last to join the squad didn’t help my cause either. See you find yourself in the same boat with people who have known each other for years. The torture of the hidden jokes known to them only, particular words which send them to spasms of laughter , the code words, you name it. My one friend whom i had shared these bonds with, had chose to go back to Africa, wrong choice again, so here i was starting to search to belong , to support and be supported back, to love and be loved back and to share all over again.

See there is an order of importance of friends in each and every one of us. Sometimes the order just exists in our subconsious and we are not even aware of it. Every one has their personal person, and moreso in groups,though you are part of the circle, you have to know your place in the hierarchy.

The hierarchy is very easy to figure out, see for example if something is being planned for someone, the first personal person is always ablaze with passion, putting in 100% in all arrangements. It’s very easy to observe how they simply fade to the background when it’s someone else’s name on the Agenda. There are numerous examples am sure you can think of some yourself.

So basically, life as a 3 rd decade friend, means you are mostly left out in most of the jokes.
Means you will run around more before someone decides to look out for you.
Means you must always know your place, you are only that good untill the personal person appears.
Means your 200% effort will hardly be noticed, but the personal persons 5% will be showered with praise for days.
Means you can never assign the title best friend so easily as you once did in primary school. It might even mean you cancel this word out of your vocabulary.

That is the harsh reality of life and friendships in our 3 rd decade of existence.