Don’t you just hate this?

On a recent bus ride from my cousin’s place, I was reading an article on the internet about environmental pollutants when a cell phone rang, piercing the silence (chinese phones, grrrh!) Her conversation was filled with boss-like commands in which she was issuing instructions to the other person on the other end of the phone telling her to buy this and that.

“Amakara aracyahari?”

Pause

“Sasa rero, Uncle agiye kuza…mumutegurire agatoki, mukoroshye, wenda mushyiremo n’utunyobwa…aze abihingukiraho”

Pause

“Mumugurire n’agashyushyu mutereke aho akabona”

Thinking she must have ended the call, I found to my dismay that she had no such intention. She composed another number…Hard as I tried, it was impossible not to tune her out.

Then another phone rang, two seats behind me. And that was when the ‘fun’ began.

The girl narrated a story about the purchase of a (party) dress:

There were about 6 or 7 sales assistants and they all just looked at them and did not help at all. In fact, they were looking down on them as if they were so above and rolling their eyes and would just watch them walk around the store and look at stuff like they were going to steal something. So she asked one of the sales assistants, to see a dress. Then the guy came over to give her the dress and she looked at it a little bit and he just smirked at her.

“You know what, for a store that claims to have such high quality items they should really work on training their sales assistants to be less conceited and rude.” She said. “I had plans of making a purchase there but after that kind of service I thought I’d take my money, to some place else.” She added. Her conversation went on…and we learned that her sister-in-law has diabetes, her best friend’s neighbor’s husband is cheating on the wife, and her auntie’s husband’s food supplier in the village is thinking of selling her house but they’re offering little money. And did we know that her sister’s son just won the in their district? No? Don’t care? Too bad because that is what you will be hearing about on that 5-hour cross-country flight. Worst s if you’re in the middle seat between two talkers who eventually get sick of your halfhearted replies and start talking to each other over you.

There are times when it’s better to have a face-to-face conversation instead of one shared with 45 people on the bus.

I have no objection to people making calls on the bus provided it’s done discreetly and quickly. Having to spend three quarters of an hour listening to one side of a very loud conversation isn’t pleasant. …it’s so maddening. And there’s no walking away from overhearing a one-sided conversation when you’re on a bus.

With this one, I pretend I’m a celebrity and throw on a cap, sunglasses, and big headphones. Or I pretend I don’t speak Kinyarwanda.

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How bad…?

Everyone has a bad habit. I too, have some bad habits…things I should not do but do. And that doesn’t make a bad person (does it?) And as much as people love rumors, they love to know the dirty little secrets of other people.

So here are mine…

  • I spend too much money. And yes, when I go into a store or to the market, I want everything! EVERYTHING! Thank heavens I always go shopping with my son, otherwise I would be so broke and in tons of debts. I usually threaten to cry when he drags me away/out. Sometimes when I finally convince him to let me buy something, I don’t use it.
  • Breaking my promises to myself. I have always wanted to commit to a healthier routine and keep saying to myself ‘go jogging.’ Instead of keeping my promise, I lay on the bed all day, telling myself I’ll do it tomorrow!
  • I oversleep. I watch movies well into the night so I get to sleep late and have trouble getting up the next morning. Even when I don’t sleep late, I always struggle getting out of bed! No matter how much sleep I get! WARNING: I sometimes am the laziest person you will ever meet in all of history!
  • I spend way too much time on the internet! I tell myself only for thirty minutes, but then I get so distracted on something so I expand my promised time and thirty minutes soon turns into two hours! I log out of my laptop and log in with my phone and continue…
  • And my worst habit is…PROCRASTINATING!! I got to admit, I’m a great procrastinator. I would say, one of the best. When I’m procrastinating, I tend to read articles, watch films (sometimes 3 a day) and go through my blog dashboard. I never see this as just procrastination, I’m actually expanding my knowledge…once I read or see something, it stays in my head and that helps me decrease my research time. I always do huge projects and homework assignments at the last minute. The same applies for reading for exams! I would say that I work efficiently under pressure! However I still always get good grades and the teachers never know I do all at the last minute. I very well know myself and this is a double edge sword. I know what I’m capable of, which makes me too calm. The best (and worst) thing I know about myself is my incredible efficiency; I can make significant changes in less than a day and always find ways to work. Knowing this means I allow myself to leave it for a later date rather than tackle it head on. And when I get things done days ahead of time, it still keeps me on edge knowing I haven’t done enough. To those procrastinators out there, I know you can all relate.

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Humor

I have always preferred the story over the one-liner; not only are they funnier but they last longer. Here is a selection of stories, some short, some long that I read and wanted to share here. I chose them at random.

 

 

An Irishman’s been drinking at a pub all night. When he stands up to leave, he falls flat on his face. He tries to stand one more time, but to no avail. Again, he falls flat on his face. He figures he’ll crawl outside and get some fresh air and maybe that will sober him up. Once outside, he stands up and, sure enough, he falls flat on his face. The Irishman decides to crawl the four blocks to his home. When he arrives at the door, he stands up and falls flat on his face. He crawls through the door into his bedroom. When he reaches his bed, he tries one more time to stand up. This time, he manages to pull himself upright but he quickly falls right into bed. He is sound asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. He awakens the next morning to his wife standing over him, shouting, “So, you’ve been out drinking again!” “Why do you say that?” he asks innocently. “The pub called. You left your wheelchair there again.”

 

 

A Highway Patrolman waited outside a popular bar, hoping for a bust. At closing time everyone come out and he spotted his potential quarry. The man was so obviously inebriated that he could barely walk. He stumbled around the parking lot for a few minutes, looking for his car. After trying his keys on five other cars, he finally found his own vehicle. He sat in the car a good ten minutes, as the other patrons left. He turned his lights on, then off, wipers on, then off. He started to pull forward into the grass, and then stopped. Finally, when he was the last car, he pulled out onto the road and started to drive away. The patrolman, waiting for this, turned on his lights and pulled the man over. He administered the breathalyzer test, and to his great surprise, the man blew a 0.00. The patrolman was dumbfounded. “This equipment must be broken!” he exclaimed. “I doubt it,” said the man, “tonight I am the designated decoy!”

 

 

A little rabbit is happily running through the forest when he stumbles upon a giraffe rolling a joint. The rabbit says, “Giraffe my friend, why do you do this? Come with me running through the forest! You’ll see, you’ll feel so much better!” The giraffe looks at him, looks at the joint, tosses it and goes off running with the rabbit. Then they come across an elephant snorting coke, so the rabbit again says, “Elephant my friend, why do you do this? Think about your health. Come running with us through the pretty forest! You’ll see, you’ll feel so good!” The elephant looks at them, looks at his razor, mirror and all, then tosses them and starts running with the rabbit and giraffe. The three animals then come across a lion about to shoot up and the rabbit says, “Lion my friend, why do you do this? Think of what you are doing to your body! Come running with us through the sunny forest! You will feel so good!” The lion puts down his needle, picks up the rabbit and starts beating him. As the giraffe and elephant watch in horror they say, “Lion, why did you do this? He was merely trying to help us all!” The lion says, “He always makes me run around the forest for hours every time he’s on ecstasy!”

 

 

“Alright! I’ll drive them to the field trip tomorrow!” Sighed my neighbor resignedly. Sure enough the next day found her with a van full of 7 to 10 year olds. Clearly distracted, my neighbor cruised right through a stop sign, “Don’t you know how to stop?” screamed the exasperated crossing guard, running towards the car. My neighbor stopped her car, looked the crossing guard straight in the eye and said clearly upset, “what makes you think they are all mine?!”

 

 

“Ok everyone,” said the instructor at the birthing class trying to get everyone’s attention. “We are going to do an exercise now, that’s purpose is to help the men sympathize with their partners.” “We have here what’s called a pregnancy suit,” said the woman instructor, holding up an artificial stomach with a strap. “This imitates the feeling of being pregnant.” Which husband volunteers to be the first one to try it on?” “I will” said one man, taking the suit and trying it on. “This isn’t too bad said the man walking around. I think I could get used to this.” “Ok”, said the instructor smiling, “now I would like you to bend down and pick up my pen from the floor.” “You want me to pick it up?” he said hesitantly, “just as I would if I was pregnant?” “Yes!” said the instructor. “Honey,” said the man turning to his spouse “do you mind picking up that pen for me?”

 

 

“Sir you have got to help!” said the tearful man at the door. “There is a family that I know very well that is in desperate need of money. The Father has been out of a job for over a year, they have five kids at home with barely a bit of food to eat. The worst part is, that they are about to kicked out of the house and they will be left on the streets without a roof over their heads!” The man concluded with one last heart wrenching sob. “Well,” said the man at the door, “that really is a sad story. Why don’t you come inside and we’ll talk about it a little more.” “So how much money is needed exactly?” asked the man when they were both seated. “Oh it’s really terrible”, said the man starting up again, “why just for the rent $3000 is needed by tomorrow otherwise they’ll be kicked out onto the streets.” “How do you know so much about this situation?” asked the man as he reached for his check book. “Well,” said the man breaking down once more “they are my tenants.”

 

 

Brian hit rock bottom. He was going to jail for insider trading and it couldn’t get much worse than that. As the jail warden brought Brian to his cell, Brian’s worst fears were materialized. Sitting hunched over on a bed was his soon to be roommate. He was a hunk of a man wearing a sleeveless undershirt, with vicious looking tattoos on each arm. As Brian approached the prison cell
the giant looked up at him and said in a deep booming voice, “hey man, what did you do to get yourself in here?” “White collar crime” responded Brian nervously. “Hey man, how about that? Me too,” the giant said. “Phew,” said Brian feeling his body relaxing, “To be honest I got a bit nervous when I saw you.” “Nah” responded the giant waving his hand “what’s there to be nervous about?” “So tell me,” questioned the giant “How many priest’s did you kill?”

 

 

“And this over here” croaked the 90 year old museum tour guide, “is a fossil 4 million and 69 years old, on its left you can see another fossil that’s 2 million and 69 years old.” “Wow! That’s really fascinating,” said a fellow in the audience, “how can you age it so accurately to the year?” “Well that’s simple” answered the old chap, “It was two million years old when I started working here 69 years ago.”

 

 

Jack strode into ‘John’s Stable’ looking to buy a horse. “Listen here” said John, “I’ve got just the horse you’re looking for, the only thing is: he was trained by an interesting fellow. He doesn’t go and stop the usual way. The way to get him to stop is to scream ‘hey hey’ the way to get him to go is to scream ‘Thank God’. Jim nodded his head, “fine with me, can I take him for a test run?” Jim was having the time of his life this horse sure could run he thought to himself. Jim was speeding down the dirt road when he suddenly saw a cliff up ahead “stop!” screamed Jim, but the horse kept on going. No matter how much he tried he could not remember the words to get it to stop. “yoyo” screamed Jim but the horse just kept on speeding ahead. It was 5 feet from the cliff when Jim suddenly remembered “hey hey!” Jim screamed. The horse skidded to a halt just 1 inch from the cliff. Jim could not believe his good fortune, he looked up to the sky, raise his hands in the air, breathed a deep sigh of relief and said with conviction “Thank God.”

 

 

A judge was interviewing a woman regarding her pending divorce, and asked, “What are the grounds for your divorce?” She replied, “About four acres and a nice little home in the middle of the property with a stream running by.” “No,” he said, “I mean what is the foundation of this case?” “It is made of concrete, brick and mortar,” she responded. “I mean,” he continued, “What are your relations like?” “I have an aunt and uncle living here in town, and so do my husband’s parents.” “Do you have a real grudge?” “No,” she replied, “We have a two-car carport and have never really needed one.” “Please,” he tried again, “is there any infidelity in your marriage?” “Yes, both my son and daughter have stereo sets. We don’t necessarily like the music, but the answer to your questions is yes.” “Ma’am, does your husband ever beat you up?” “Yes,” she responded, “about twice a week he gets up earlier than I do.” Finally, in frustration, the judge asked, “Lady, why do you want a divorce?” “Oh, I don’t want a divorce,” she replied. “I’ve never wanted a divorce. My husband does. He said he can’t communicate with me.”

 

 

An ambitious yuppie finally decided to take a vacation. He booked himself on a Caribbean cruise and proceeded to have the time of his life. … at least for a while. A hurricane came unexpectedly. The ship went down and was lost instantly. The man found himself swept up on the shore of an island with no other people, no supplies, nothing. Only bananas and coconuts. Used to 4-star hotels, this guy had no idea what to do. So for the next four months he ate bananas, drank coconut juice, longed for his old life, and fixed his gaze on the sea, hoping to spot a rescue ship. One day, as he was lying on the beach, he spotted movement out of the corner of his eye. It was a rowboat, and in it was the most gorgeous woman he had ever seen. She rowed up to him. In disbelief, he asked her: “Where did you come from? How did you get here?” “I rowed from the other side of the island,” she said, “I landed here when my cruise ship sank.” “Amazing,” he said, “I didn’t know anyone else had survived. How many of you are there? You were really lucky to have a rowboat wash up with you.” “It’s only me,” she said, “and the rowboat didn’t wash up, nothing did.” He was confused, “Then how did you get the rowboat?”. “Oh, simple.” replied the woman “I made the rowboat out of raw material that I found on the island, the oars were whittled from Gum tree branches, I wove the bottom from Palm branches, and the sides and stern came from a Eucalyptus tree.” “But– but, that’s impossible,” stuttered the man, “you had no tools or hardware, how did you manage?” “Oh, that was no problem,” replied the woman, “on the south side of the island there is a very unusual strata of alluvial rock exposed. I found that if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into forgeable ductile iron. I used that for tools, and used the tools to make the hardware. But, enough of that,” she said. “Where do you live?” Sheepishly he confessed that he had been sleeping on the beach the whole time. “Well, let’s row over to my place, then” she said. After a few minutes of rowing, she docked the boat at a small wharf. As the man looked onto shore he nearly fell out of the boat. Before him was a stone walk leading to an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white. While the woman tied up the rowboat with an expertly woven hemp rope, the man could only stare ahead, dumbstruck. As they walked into the house, she said casually “It’s not much, but I call it home. Sit down please; would you like to have a drink?” “No, no thank you” he said, still dazed, “can’t take any more coconut juice.” “It’s not coconut juice,” the woman replied. “I have a still.” How about a Pina Colada?” Trying to hide his continued amazement, the man accepted, and they sat down on her couch to talk. After they had exchanged their stories, the woman announced, “I’m going to slip into something more comfortable. Would you like to take a shower and shave, there is a razor upstairs in the cabinet in the bathroom.” No longer questioning anything, the man went into the bathroom. There in the cabinet was a razor made from a bone handle. Two shells honed to a hollow ground edge were fastened on to its end inside of a swivel mechanism. “This woman is amazing,” he mused, “what next?” When he returned, she greeted him wearing nothing but vines — strategically positioned — and smelling faintly of gardenias. She beckoned for him to sit down next to her. “Tell me,” she began, suggestively, slithering closer to him, “we’ve been out here for a very long time. You’ve been lonely. There’s something I’m sure you really feel like doing right now, something you’ve been longing for all these months? You know…” She stared into his eyes. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing: “You mean —?”, he replied, “…I can check my e-mail from here?”

 

A conversation in the Oval Office

…not a conversation in the Oval Office but rather a confusion in the Oval office

 

George: Condi! Nice to see you. What’s happening?

Condi: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.

George: Great. Lay it on me.

Condi: Hu is the new leader of China.

George: That’s what I want to know.

Condi: That’s what I’m telling you.

George: That’s what I’m asking you. Who is the new leader of China?

Condi: Yes.

George: I mean the fellow’s name.

Condi: Hu.

George: The guy in China.

Condi: Hu.

George: The new leader of China.

Condi: Hu.

George: The Chinaman!

Condi: Hu is leading China.

George: Now what are you asking me for?

Condi: I’m telling you Hu is leading China.

George: Well, I’m asking you. Who is leading China?

Condi: That’s the man’s name.

George: That’s who’s name?

Condi: Yes.

George: Will you or will you not tell me the name of the new leader of China?

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he was in the Middle East.

Condi: That’s correct.

George: Then who is in China?

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Yassir is in China?

Condi: No, sir.

George: Then who is?

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Yassir?

Condi: No, sir.

George: Look, Condi. I need to know the name of the new leader of China. Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone.

Condi: Kofi?

George: No, thanks.

Condi: You want Kofi?

George: No.

Condi: You don’t want Kofi.

George: No. But now that you mention it, I could use a glass of milk. And then get me the U.N.

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N.

Condi: Kofi?

George: Milk! Will you please make the call?

Condi: And call who?

George: Who is the guy at the U.N?

Condi: Hu is the guy in China.

George: Will you stay out of China?!

Condi: Yes, sir.

George: And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the guy at the U.N.

Condi: Kofi.

George: All right! With cream and two sugars. Now get on the phone.

(Condi picks up the phone.)

Condi: Rice, here.

George: Rice? Good idea. And a couple of egg rolls, too. Maybe we should send some to the guy in China.

 

 

 

 

 

Something you’ll never have…

You are not the first, you know this.

You are not the first your beloved has been in love with.

Your hand is not the first to have been held.

You are not the first to taste their good food.

You are not the first to teach them how to love.

You are not the first they have wrote a love letter.

You are not the one they have had the most profound relationship with.

There is so much that you will not know about the person you love; there is so much that you will never experience with them.

You are not the first to hang out with their friends.

You are not the first they have went on trips with or took long walks with.

You are not the first they have did dumb stuff with.

They have been there, they have done that.

You were not there that fateful night when they started the project and gained everything.

You were not there when they were going through a rough time. You were not there to console or to celebrate with.

This time was before you.

You know that the person you love has loved someone before you, perhaps just as wildly as they love you (or even more). They loved before you, in the deepest, most heartbreaking of ways. Without you, before you.

They have shared their lives with others. They have spent their days with another.

They have known another and still wanted them.

They have listened to the crappy parts and shared their little secrets with another.

You are not the first their parents have met.

You are not the first they have been more comfortable with.

Before you, there was someone ― baby, darling, sweetheart ― someone who occupied the space you now do.

When the person you love reminisces of moments you did not share, you will feel as though they have lived a whole entire life without you. And this is true ― they lived a life without you.

You are not the first they have cried over.

You will not be the one they loved in the most maddening way.

You will never have any of these things.

Inspired by true events

…pausing to appreciate

Some time back I once fainted, in town…the next thing I knew, I woke to find myself on a hospital bed. Next to me, was this sick young girl. She looked wan and very weak. Her lips were very dry and nearly cracking. Her clothes weren’t clean and she barely had anything to cover herself, just a small “katenge”.

My case wasn’t that bad (low blood sugar)…I was put on a drip and got a glucose injection and after, I was discharged. As I walked outside the hospital, I kept thinking about the young girl. I realized how lucky I am. I have access to medical care. And I am reasonably strong and healthy – if I got sick today, I could recover.

When I was young, I took some things for granted. After all, I was young and I didn’t know what life could be on the other side. One thing I took for granted was education. I never thought about how lucky I was to be educated. Another thing I took for granted was food. I always saw food being put on the table, every day. I never went to sleep hungry at night. Little did I know that some people didn’t have what to eat.

Then slowly as I grew up, I began to appreciate things around me more. As I saw more and more of the world out there, I realized all the things I’d been given aren’t rights, but privileges. I realized that being literate is not a right but a GIFT. I realized that there are people out there who don’t have their 5 senses, and to have mine is a GIFT. I am able to see the sunrise and the sunset, I am able to hear birds sing, I can walk outside and feel the sun’s warmth on my skin. I have tasted the sweetness of chocolate cake. I realize that some people have had painful experiences with their parents. Some lost their parents through illnesses and wars/conflicts. Some have felt abandoned, betrayed and hurt. I’m lucky that my parents are still here and lucky to have a great relationship with them…this makes appreciation pour from my heart.

I remember when I was in primary school, sometimes our teachers would tell us to ask for clothes and bring them the following day (clothes to give to the poor or refugees returning back home). There were always spare clothes at home. My mom would spend the whole night putting them together and packing them. She seemed to enjoy it, something I never understood. Then the following morning we would go back to school with bags full of clothes. Others rarely minded about bringing the clothes and we often felt ‘ashamed’ walking in class pulling those bags behind us. Sometimes we begged her to pack few but she forced us to take all what we didn’t need/use. And she would help us to the bus stop, to make sure we never left them behind. Even today she still asks us for clothes we don’t use and gives them away.

I’m glad she did what she did…she set a good example for us. It’s today that I realize the impact it makes on people’s lives.

And I’ve come to realize that the truth is, I am doing better than a lot of people in this world. 

 

My French Teacher “Alorrrs”

I sometimes miss my high school French teacher. I miss how she used to say “Alorrrrrrs” rolling her eyes, as though she was having a seizure.

Most of the times, the French lessons were boring. Sometimes, she would spend the entire 3-hour period giving us a harangue…like when she tried to review the homework she had left us with the previous day and found that only one or two did their homework. She would become frustrated.

”Montrez-moi vos cahiers” she would say and move around the class checking everyone’s book, saying ”Dehors” if you didn’t have your homework done. That would leave the classroom almost empty and she’d go off on a rant that would continue until the bell rang for break or for the next lesson.

Or when someone passed a note to someone else and she saw them. It always broke her to pieces because the notes were always about her.

I remember one day when she came to class, dropped her books, moved to the back of the classroom and said ”Effacer le tableau” And no one moved.

”Effacer le tableau” she said again. We remained sitted pretending to read…

”eeehh, ntimushaka gusiba ikibaho?” ”Okay”

She then grabbed her books and stormed out of the room. Then our class teacher came in asking ”Senior Three Red, mumugize gute?” We kept quiet…We spent that day outside, standing in the sun. And that was very fun!

She was one crazy woman!

There is one particular day I can never forget…We were about to sit for the O level National exams. She came to class, dropped her books on the first desk…

”Ni ba nde batazi kwaccorda?” Everyone raised up their hands.

”Bon, ngiye kubisubiramo ku buryo buri wese abyumva akabifata” and she started teaching (n’ibicourage byinshi)…

Mid-way, she asked again ”ni ba nde batarabyumva neza” and half of the classed raised up their hands. She went on…explaining even in Kinyarwanda. The number of those who raised their hands was gradually decreasing…Then at last she asked ”ni nde hano utarumva uko baccorda?”

One hand was up. Eheeee…and she hit the roof! She screamed at her ”J’ai frappé Jacqueline, icyo utumva ni iki??”

Up to this day, I still laugh at this, till my tummy hurts! I can’t breathe!

Anyways, I think people really underestimate the job of a teacher.

Some students seem to have made it their goal to frustrate the teachers as much as possible. The incessant talking, the attitude, the disrespect…some students are not taught moral values at home, and children are often in situations where they raise themselves (the generation today is the most fatherless, divorced, and neglected generation) In this case, it becomes difficult to expect a teenager to follow your rules and turn in homework when the student has never had to follow rules or have responsibility at home. It is often difficult to balance teaching with discipline when respect and honor for teachers has not been instilled in students.

Then there’s the issue of parents – the dad who thinks the teacher has all the time in the world to give his son/daughter special treatment, the mom who can’t believe that her little darling could curse at you and throw a desk across the room, or the parent who just don’t seem to understand what the teacher is trying to do – who often see their child through rose colored glasses. And somehow will find a way to blame the teacher. And it is very difficult for teachers to help parents understand that their child must take responsibility for their actions.

Teaching ain’t easy!

Anyways, she was pretty a good teacher. And I’m thankful to her for the French lessons (they are helping now).

À la prochaine…