Thursday, July 6, 2017

Mud huts are pretty in every continent except Africa

Tulum, Mexico (Google image)
There is one thing I can't quite get my head around, and it's the constant shaming of African mud houses/huts. When browsing through travel brochures and booklets, it's easy to come across pages with holiday resorts in places like Asia and South America where tiny huts with straw roofs are considered beautiful and exotic.

They have been painfully glamorised in comparison to the shaming of African mud huts, and it rarely crosses people's minds to view these sights, the huts in some Asian countries or South America, as backwards or "less advanced" when comparing them to the Western world. Instead, they are places people dream of visiting -- clear blue water surrounding these magnificent sights.

When the same types of huts are depicted in Africa, on the other hand, it's a different story. They are viewed as backwards, unkempt and less advanced, and I wonder why. Because the way they are structured should be a thing of fascination rather than shame and embarrassment. 
Made to feel ashamed about my culture and background: 

While I was growing up, images of mud houses in African countries were often used to depict poverty and hunger and were never praised for being "exotic", they were never something
people "ooed" and "awed" about, or places people were in a hurry to visit. Not like the resorts in Thailand and Hawaii, or Mexico, where people flock to so easily.

Google images
 Rather than feeling proud of the amazing functions of mud houses in Africa -- such as keeping out heat during warmer months and retaining heat during colder months - and many other benefits that come with these huts), I was made to be terribly ashamed of them.

I would often find myself arguing with people that there are places in Africa that look just like Europe, almost as if I was telling them that anything other than something that resembled the Western world was not good enough, or was less valuable.

It's just a terrible shame that most Africans are unable to see the beauty in a lot of the sights and monuments their individual countries have to offer, in a desperate attempt to fit into a certain standard that has been set up by the West. Some countries in Africa have even gone as far as tearing down old sights that should have been preserved as a reminder of their history.

I decided, not long ago, that I was tired of feeling ashamed about things I have absolutely no reason to feel ashamed about. Mud huts are beautiful, and the idea behind their existence is brilliant. The same goes for any other cultural gems that Africans have been made to feel ashamed about.

Embrace your culture and everything it contains, and know that it is unique and exists for a reason.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Friends - and why you forget friends past #150
Some odd number of days ago, I watched a Facebook video claiming that while we tend to have several contacts on our Facebook friends list who are supposedly meant to be our "friends", the average number of people a person actually ends up keeping in touch with or even remember, for that matter, is only 150.

Whoa! 150? That was my exact reaction, and especially because, for the past couple of years, ever since I learned the beauty of finally socialising and not being afraid to make an ass of myself in public, I have gotten to know so many amazing people. Most of whom I have lost touch with, or can't even remember the names of. Eek!

Part of the reason why I, personally, have lost touch with said amazing people is due to my being terribly lame at keeping in touch. I don't like talking on the phone, unless it's with someone I feel highly comfortable with - I think I suffer from phone angst, although it has improved over the years (which is one of the many reasons why I love my job. I don't have to make any phone calls and experience everything from sweaty palms, waves of nausea and my tongue getting tied) - and I feel somehow if I do keep in touch, I'll eventually have to meet up with these people, and what if we no longer have things in common? Call it paranoia if you will, but that is very likely to happen -- especially people stuck in the nostalgia phase of my life with whom I can't seem to move past topics about the past.

I have learned that, while I would have loved to keep in touch with the really nice people who I become close with during certain time periods, and want to remember as many people as I possibly can, it is absolutely impossible.

I find that, as soon as I have moved on from a place -- be it college, University or an old workplace -- I suddenly become unable to keep in touch with people, and the only people who manage to stay in touch with me are close family members or friends who make a great effort to do so. Truthfully, I think that my brain's capacity when it comes to retaining people's faces and their memory is significantly lower than 150 -- much, much lower!

I would like to think that I have a memorable enough character for people to still remember me after years past, but I guess many people are no different from myself and end up forgetting to stay in touch with a great number of people.

Well, having said all this -- wouldn't it have been amazing if we could actually keep in touch with all the wonderful and beautiful, similar-minded people, that we have met over the past few years of our existence? I know I would have loved that. But we do live in reality, and reality tells us, "That's not possible darling".

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Driving in Malta: Why I won't be trying it ...

Don't get me wrong, while I do like a lot of things about Malta, the way some people (notice how I wrote 'some') drive over here has had my spirit jump out of my body several times.

If you're not a person who normally looks left and right before crossing the street, you will certainly be faced with having to do so over here, or risk getting run over by a car appearing out of thin air. Your pick.

I wish I was exaggerating, but terrible driving is so common over here that the sound of screeching tires on the road doesn't cause event the faintest of eyelids to flinch, except for perhaps tourists who aren't used to it.

When I first got here, I thought there were car accidents happening every fith minute when, in fact, the sounds I was hearing and reacting to were just cars skidding on the pavement. I would often find myself asking, "Are the cars just that old, the roads terribly slippery, or are the drivers just super terrible at manoeuvering their vechicles?"  Which is it??

When my parents flew over to visit me, the taxi driver was speeding so fast on the road from the airport to my place, I thought she was going to ram the taxi right into a curb and have us all killed. She seemed annoyed about something, and I was not going to ask what had brought about her annoyance, for fear of causing her to further increase the speed we were "cruising" at.

Having been involved in a car accidenr in the past, I had slowly started getting over my fear again and started re-considering my thought about never learning how to drive. That was, of course, until I moved here.

As I do not have a dying wish, after living here for almost four months and witnessing how the locals drive, I can safely say that out of all the places where I would consider learning how to drive, Malta is not one of them.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Living in Malta: What I've learned!

This year, three life-changing things happened to me. My boyfriend of almost 5 years proposed to me earlier during the year, and, guess what, I said yes! I finally travelled to South Korea (a long-time dream of mine), and I was offered a job in Malta.

I never thought I'd move to Malta, ever! I used to get called up by recruiters with interesting job offers, but the major problem was that I didn't have enough of an idea about Malta to actually be willing to move here.

This year, however, was completely different! Something about the job being offered just said click -- regardless of the fact that there was another company competing for my interest. It had all the right specifications and fit my degree perfectly well.

I'm not going to ramble on for much longer. But I'm glad I picked the correct company, and that they decided to pick me too. Now I work with some of the most amazing people you'll ever meet (seriously, mostly fun and jokes at the office every single day), my boss is a pretty sound guy and I've compiled a list of things I love and things I will need time to get used to.

1. The mosquitos here are on another level; have to use repellent at all times.  

2. It tends to get extremely hot here during summer, and I had to learn the hard way! 

3. Drinks are super cheap!! 

4. The food at most restaurants is extremely cheap!!

5. The shop-workers in some stores tend to want to finish whatever conversation they're having before serving you. 

6. Some people walk like they have all the time in the world (in some cases they actually do, as many Maltese people are really laid back)

7. You usually get a lot for your money when it comes to renting an apartment

8. People rarely ask to get past you, they'll just side-step you if they have to. 

I'm still learning, and new things pop up each day! Regardless of the cons, there are just soooo many pros that it's crazy! I love it here, and definitely see myself staying here for a long time. Watch out for more posts on my adventures in Malta! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Shamed for crying
Since when did it become a problem to cry? Since when did it suddenly become uncomfortable to be in a room with a person expressing a perfectly normal human emotion for something they are passionate, hurt, angry or upset about?

WOW. The world evolved so fast that even crying, or a few other types of human emotions, is considered a sign of weakness, especially if you're a male.  Sure you can cry but "not too much", and you can laugh, however "not too much" and so the list continues.

It's okay for us to shy away from being social in the real world and rather finding solace in our many gadgets, but a crying human being? NO! That is just too much. Even crying when a person passes is considered a waste of one's time because it won't bring the person back. CRYING WHEN A PERSON HAS PASSED ON! Sure, I'm aware it won't bring the person back but it doesn't stop a person from being hurt by a loss, regardless of the age of the person who passed.

As a child I used to hold my shower cloth underneath the tap and be amazed about the fact that it wouldn't stop the water from running, instead the water would soak the cloth and continue to flow. I can imagine that's exactly what happens when people force themselves to supress their emotions. Sooner or later the cloth holding back all their tears is going to get completely soaked and their tears will have nowhere else to go except for through. I don't believe there's a single person out there who doesn't cry, but many choose to cry by themselves and sometimes they're the same people who will tell you that "crying is for losers".

There's a new reason for why one shouldn't cry that has been around for a while and that I keep hearing from time to time. One shouldn't cry during their engagement ceremony, or wedding for that matter. Like, what are you even crying for? REALLY??

Why on earth shouldn't a person cry during their engagement. Do we know people's internal struggles? There are a million reasons why people cry. For one, it could be that you thought your significant other would never drop the question, or that you're overwhelmed about the fact that you have been chosen by someone. Among all of the possible partners out there that they could have chosen, they chose you. I don't know about you but to me that's a very valid reason to cry.

Those who pretend that they NEVER cry, kudos to you, you're amazingly strong for not letting the waterworks spill through. But I don't believe I'm any less of a human because I cry when I'm frustrated, during a touching movie, when I'm stressed, upset, or whatever else I'd normally cry about. That may not be how you handle yours, but hey, that's how my body functions.

I'd rather a man cry in front of me than completely surprise with a fit of anger later on in the future because he chose to surpress his emotions. To me, when a person cries it let's me know their human, especially someone I don't see crying very often. It never crossed my mind that they might be weak or that they are crying for an invalid reason, whatever their reason might be.


I think society likes to place almost everyone/everything into categories most of the time, and so deciding what is a good reason to cry and what is not becomes one of the things society also decides for us, just like it decides who has an acceptable body type and who does not, who's beautiful and who's not. Categories, categories, categories. I'm so sick of it! A person should cry if they feel like it, regardless. You might just have won an award, lost a game/match, been given away in marriage by your father, a family member or someone really close to you. Just Let it Rain and don't care about who sees. It's the person who forces themselves not to cry, for whatever reason, that I'm more worried about.