That Wedding Invite: The Unsaid.

I am being invited to a friend’s wedding and being a bright Kenyan, this once, I decide to acquaint myself with the location. Okay I have just lied, I did not decide, it came up in a conversation. As we were heading to town with one of my close friends I asked her if she knew where Captain Andy’s is located. And she looked at me surprised and typical Kenya style her answer was a question.

“Kwani you didn’t come to Nani’s wedding?” She asked.

I shake my head in the negative and again she looks at me shocked.

“Why?Weren’t you invited?”

No, I wasn’t invited, is my reply to her. At this point am laughing because am still not getting why she’s shocked. A colleague is seated behind and am worried this girl of mine might blurt something wrong.

“But we were all in school together. We are friends bana. How could you not be in that wedding?” She continues still unbelieving.

“We are not friends with Nani , we know each other, we’ve known each other for years. But that’s it. So calm down because I was not offended for not being invited. Plus you can’t invite everyone you know to your function, and don’t forget planning a wedding isn’t easy.” I said, ever philosophical even when I don’t believe the non sense that am going on about but I can be quite convincing. She looks at me, unamused and tells me I must attend her wedding whether she invites me or not especially if it’s in Mombasa. I laugh it off because I do not see the big deal. Everyone is at liberty to decide who they want in their lives, because they know best what they need. Adulting or lifing isn’t a joke. Of course I just made up those two words because they best describe what we are all trying to do, to be adults about everything

I am thinking during wedding planning every single invite comes with it’s expense and you are thinking is it value for money? I know of weddings where you pay for your invite which basically means you are footing your own bills in terms of food and drinks. Which still makes a lot of sense. It’s like a BYOB party, you know, where everybody brings their own drink. Having hosted both a BYOB party and a potluck lunch I can tell you for sure these are great ways to have your cake and still eat it. Minimal expense, maximum participation and optimal fun or something close.

So where was I? Yes, as I was saying, matters weddings are pretty personal and should or should not be taken to heart depending on where you stand. Let’s face it, there are weddings you will be invited to and from the onset you know you’ll not attend them. And then there are those you are ish-ish about, if you happen to make it well and good and if not, too bad for all the parties involved.

This I must presume is one of the considerations the soon-to-be married couple must deliberate on. They do not need to fill their guest lists with no shows. A wedding day is a very important day to be spent with people you intend to share your life journey with. It is thus allowed for you to be picky about the invites. Unfortunately in Africa it’s not about you but more of your parents and their kin. They call the shots and 50% of the wedding guests will be known to them.

To he honest and fair, I think am a gamble when it comes to attending weddings. I am weird, I guess we already covered that. I don’t attend random weddings. Just because we know each other isn’t enough for me to attend your wedding. I rarely, to put it mildly, gate crush or accompany people to weddings. I have missed weddings that were important to me due to unavoidable circumstances on my part but I have also missed a few because of circumstances on the marrying couple. For instance there are weddings(three of them) I missed because they were all happening on the same day and all were out of town. Another one I missed because of work constraints. The other ones I have attended I attended willingly, body, mind and soul.

So what has inspired this story today? My friend, Kay, recently got married and I was honored to attend his wedding. Kay and I have known each other, for about say eight years or more because we started interacting before I got Sandbaby who’s now seven years. We met on social media through a mutual friend and we became closer than people I knew before. For the records, he’s now Dr. Kay after pursuing his doctorate abroad though he still let’s me get away with calling him Kay.

Kay got married to a Mzungu. Yes look at that, very unexpected since am the one who interacts with Mzungus on the daily. Anywho he’s the one who got to marry a Mzungu. I thoroughly digged his wedding because it was so real. No charades or over choreographed moments and no extravagances. One thing that caught me flat footed though was the footnote on the invite,” Children are a blessing from God but we’d prefer you leave them at home.” It took me three weeks to decipher and explain that to my daughter who likes weddings. She wondered why this couple doesn’t like her or children for that matter.

I don’t know why children weren’t welcome guests but I know it wasn’t my wedding and I wasn’t being forced to attend. That’s the thing, as a guest you must respect and act your place. Even bridesmaids know better than to upstage the bride. Just because someone invited you doesn’t mean their worlds revolve around you. You were picked in a list of many you just happened to make the cut. Sigh. Harsh but true.

Kay’s guest list read like a home party, the kinda people he’d invite to his kibanda home, not that he lives in a kibanda. But you could tell he was under no pressure to impress or pretend. These were his peeps, guys who know his hustle, from across the divide, religion, class and tribe. No judging. Even the program was well customized to appeal to the majority. I can say the only rider that he had was that it was a card-only function with no gate crushers.

Do you have to honor all invites? I don’t think so, that’s why it’s an invite not a summon. However, should you not be in a position to honor an invite you need to say so, that’s what is referred to as R.S.V.P. It allows and enables the wedding party to plan and budget accordingly. Roadside invites are definitely to be turned down, in a discrete manner though, because if someone wanted to their function they will find a card to send you no matter what. Don’t be too fast to jaza lorry by accepting roadside invites because just like in politics where roadside appointments come to bite this will surely come to roost. You are doing it discretely since you realise it might not have been intentional or you need to maintain the current camaraderie with the inviter(person inviting you).

How you are invited sets the tone for so many areas including your outfit, gifts and availability. Give value for value, match your invitation. Overvalue don’t undervalue. The days of attending weddings empty handed just to gobble pilau and carry take-aways are long gone instead carry a gift either as an item or enveloped. Of course some invites will be bold enough putting it down on paper that they prefer envelopes or gifts from their gift registry. A gift registry is a list of items that the couple would prefer and it minimizes duplication. It eliminates cliche wedding gifts like sets of cutlery and khanga and allows you to ask for what you really need to start your married journey.

So next time you get an invite decipher the writing on the wall. And if you don’t get it don’t sweat, it’s never that serious. You are just not that kind of friends so take it easy and buy yourself a bottle of wine.

P.S I got directions from Anyango an alumni of my high school and so her you go.

There’s a Captain Andy’s just before you get to Kongowea Market on your left from Nyali Cinemax…and the other Captain Andy’s is located in Watamu at the end of the beach road past Temple Point. Same owner but different premises.

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Jangwani

Did you know Jesus went to the desert or if you like the wilderness for forty days to fast and pray? Well now you know.

So me and the girls have been planning our vacay for the last say one year. Yes one year because the last one kinda did not happen due to one or two poorly handled logistics. So this year we had to engage a water tight plan so that it wouldn’t backfire.

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Turning 30 and chasing normalcy

All my life I have never been normal, maybe I was a normal child but I have never felt normal. I have been regular, plain, boring and okay but never normal. I was the skinny door post, yes I have been a skinny bitch for the better part of my not-so normal life.

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Boychild under Siege?

The boy is under “siege” or so the men against women empowerment are alleging. Cyprian is Nyakundi is giving everyone, scrap that, most women over 27 years a migraine. He’s marshalled a brigade of men and women who are against slay queens who have been slaying the boy child literally if what Cyprian’s post are anything to go by. They are claiming that the womenfolk over their “preferred” marriageable age is responsible for the downfall of the boychild. Is this true?

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Two Cousins and A friend.

There are friends, best friends, best friends forever and then then are friends who are family. These are the family that God gave us from different families. There is surely more to being friends than just going out and growing up together.

I remember a while back I was marveling at how my friends’ list on my social media platform had ballooned. A friend challenged me to name the ones I really knew from that list and it dawned on me I didn’t know more than half of them. In fact there are some whom I hadn’t even interacted with since we became friends.

Most of these so-called friends were just there to fill the bus but were bringing nothing to the table. Growing up my mama was strict and observant on the kind of friends you hang out. She’d always call me out on the friends that kept taking and ask me, “Where are you going? Ati to that friend of yours I have never seen? Get yourself something to do in the house.” And that was that. All grown up and I must say it’s the same, and as the Swahili say,”Imani ni kutiana”. Friendship is two traffic and you’ll know your friends when you are down not when your life is happening.

Lemme tell you about three of my friends that I would do anything for anytime any day, my ride or die friends. By the way it’s not that they are perfect or because we share a perfect friendship, on the contrary it is our imperfections that make us such good friends. Like I shared in my previous post,the power of three, we sort of complement each other since we are of different personalities and temperaments.

I met Emily when I was about nine years old and we’ve known each other since then. I know her first crush and she knows mine, we played house,”cha baba na mama” together, heck we even went to the same high school. We lost touch when I joined Uni but got reacquainted when I came back. To say she always has my back will be an understatement. I am probably the sister she never had, okay so am pushing it but I hope you get the picture. Anytime am admitted, in trouble or I just need someone to hold my hand she’s always been there. Even when I let go her hand will stay put to pick mine back. The other day when I went in for the arthroscopy she was the one I found waiting for me at 9.00pm and she only left when I dismissed her. It reminded me of a time before I broke up with Person but I had the intention, when it had started hitting our relationship was headed nowhere. She’s the one person who agreed to go with me into that foreign land to course havoc, to give me moral support. She was going to my shoulder as I cried my heart out after the heartbreak which I did not have the heart to go through with at the time. Sigh. Love is stupid, most of the time. Instead I ended up leaving her in the hotel sleeping all alone as I kept warm in Person’s bed. She is also the one person I can be brutally honest with, I can be a little girl and a crazy bitch at the same time. We invest together, in fact the hustles am in, you know farming, bee keeping and bag selling, we are always partners. I go on my vacations with her be it going to my home or her home, going to Magufuli’s land or just visiting. In fact she was the only friend who came all the way to Seme for dad’s funeral.

Catherine, hmm, I never know where to start. It is interesting to note that she’s Emily’s cousin but it is my friendship to each of them separately that binds us. I have known Catherine since I was in high school but more so after fourth form. With her infectious smile and enchanting deep dimples it is difficult not to make lemonades from everything life throws at you. I remember when I joined Uni my dad bought me a phone but what he never bothered with was to send airtime. Back then calling rates were high and a student needed a phone to receive and not make calls, or so it seemed to my dad. Catherine religiously sent me airtime which I never used on her but instead would call, Kedi, my crush at the time. And even when I attempted to call her she’d never let me use her airtime on her. Catherine is among my few friends that know that we sometimes skipped meals in our home despite leaving in a posh house. She knew first hand the struggles I was going through and even supported me in boosting my shoe business back in campus. She even financed some of my supplies and never asked to be paid back. She was my fairy godmother in my four years in campus. I can’t tell you how many times she’s come through for me but the time in campus will always stand out for me. Am hoping one day, very soon she’ll be available again to go with us on a vacay.

I have known Grace for more than a decade, okay maybe two decades. It’s difficult working around your age when you don’t want to disclose it. Sandbaby and I recently agreed that I’ll remain 30years till she grows up then I skip to 41. I don’t know how she worked it out but I liked it. People always wonder what Grace and I have in common, well I don’t know too. All I know is we’ve always been together, whether it’s same class, saloon, discussion group, same college. Interestingly our dads even worked for the same employer and both of us are second borns. Grace doesn’t know and neither do so many people, but she used to cover my ass during the 10.00 and 4.00 O’Clock break times. She’d somehow have enough to share with me even when I had no cash something that she’d not brag about or hold me ransom to. Whenever we go out we always drink to the old days. The time we went job hunting in the local EPZs and we were disqualified because we were overqualified. The Chinese didn’t understand why we were job hunting when our grades allowed us to pursue other courses. Then we got our first jobs, being waitresses in a bar somewhere in South Coast where we were being paid less than a dollar a day. Hmm the things life teaches you no school nor teacher can teach you. This year Grace has again come to save my face twice, before my mother and my daughter. I can’t say much because I know she would prefer it that way, actually all of them would prefer anonymity. But hell we live once and there is no way I can just be writing about sad things and never about people who’ve had my back.

Between these two cousins and my friend I can never say I am not blessed. I don’t know what I did to deserve them but I am forever grateful and always praying for their blessings. If nothing else is working for them I want them to always read this and know they have been my “neighbor”, ” the good Samaritan” in my life. They can always look back and say,”I have put a smile on one person.” These are my friends in deed, friends who become family, family that life gave me for real.

P.S The title has been inspired by Four Cousins.

Tis the season to be jolly Fa La La… La La La!!!

©2017

Happy Holidays!

  It’s a few weeks to Christmas and a few days into December. Now that I put it like that I realise the weeks aren’t as few but hell the year has been long. I am looking forward to December like it’s your birthday. Christmas for me starts on the first day of December and ends on the third day of January. I celebrate three special moments through the year, the Sand’s birthdays, Easter and the Christmas season.
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