Life Lately - First Family Holiday, Hair Cut and Life Lessons in Between
Life lately! I don't think I've ever done one of these kind of posts.
I thought of updating you guys via an Instagram caption but that would have been a really long caption! And coming from one who writes long captions - that's something. But secondly blog posts come easily to me than Instagram captions. The latter is often a task and requires way too many edits. Plus not every blog reader is on Instagram you know? But if you are you should follow me @kacheetee (I'm really hoping to get to 10k followers sooner than later and have that swipe up feature which makes it easier to catch up on blog posts!)
So why is a life lately post necessary?
First off, I'm in Johannesburg and typing this up on my phone at 7am in a rather cozy bed (with too many pillows!) with my son in my arm and Tee still sleeping. Yes, I'm with Tee and our son (still not sure what to call him for blog purposes. I'm thinking Jee - you know like Tee and Jee. Hahaha. Does that fit? See his names in this post.). So yes, we actually flew together for the first time - whoop! and of course after our thwarted attempt at flying with him at 5 weeks I need to let you all know how it went!
So while I usually do these catch ups via my regular Weekend Notes x Fun Links - I haven't done one of those in a couple of weeks. But that doesn't mean I haven't tried. I have - but they just don't move from drafts to published!
So where to start? What were the highlights I've been meaning to share.
I think the starting point of the entire update is the fact that about a month ago, I spent 5 nights alone with our son. Tee had to go for a work trip and while I'd have loved to convert that work trip to a workcation (work + vacation) with him - like we did in Malaysia, that was not to be. So, I guess I just had to be alone with our son. That's one thing I miss most about not being back in Nigeria - having so much family around!
Anyway I spend all day with him, so I didn't think nights would be any different. I mean he was 4 months old, a good size and we pretty much had a routine set. And so despite a few concerns, that went very well! In fact, I must have had too much time on my hands and did something out of the ordinary for me.
You probably saw those Instagram story get-to-know me templates that circulated on Instagram story. Well I decided to create a few related to blogging. This process took me about three hours as I struggled with Canva to design the templates. And guess what? I was doing this at about 3am in the morning - when I ought to have been sleeping soundly after a full day of being with baby!
So, the person who created the original templates had an incredible geometric IG follower growth. Was I doing this for a similar response? Absolutely not. I only thought it was a great way for bloggers to share about their blogs / blogging! But I wouldn't kid you - I remotely fantasied about becoming an instant IG sensation. So while that didn't happen, it was good to see a few people actually use the template!
But the most important thing in creating these was the warm fuzzy feeling it left in me. I think they call that fulfillment. I really was just happy. It wasn't perfect, not many people used it, but I was genuinely happy. I'd done something I wouldn't ordinarily do and I'd done it for myself. It reminds me of the last line this Humans of New York Instagram post - somethings will be like taking a leak in a dark suit. Not many people may see it but it leaves a warm feeling. Strive to do things that leave a warm feeling in you! Even if it seems like not many people see it.
The other point from this was how I almost backed out from sharing - after all of my effort. So I sent a quick message to my friend for her opinion. But she was in a different time zone and wouldn't see my message till much later. So what did I do, I imagined her response. She's a pusher. You do not tell her your goals because she will chase. And I knew that she was going to tell me to undoubtedly share! Everyone needs those kinds of friends. The ones who push you and hold your hands even when you're scared! Who asks you the deep questions you'd ordinarily avoid asking yourself. And sometimes these friends don't have to be physical or real. They could be that Instagram person who pushes you by their actions - imagine for a second what they'll advice in that situation.
Third, I thought of how I'd done this at a time when I was supposed to be stressed out being with the baby alone. But I ended up being so productive. (It reminds me of of one of my early blog post and how I started my blog when I wasn't with Tee). Sometimes, tough situations reveal inner strengths you never even knew you had! I've heard of women who started their business or made massive progress only when they became mothers. And I almost sort of see that around me so much lately. One of my new fave persons for spitting out practical wisdom @myliek recently shared how last month was her highest month of revenue in business - the same month she had a baby!
Ok and the final lesson from this template creation - was the fact that I didn't even use these templates myself! I mean, how can you create a product and intend it to be successful if you don't even use it? Maybe I didn't like it enough or I thought there were better ones out there or I didn't want to come across as promoting my own template. But it makes absolutely zero sense. You got to believe in you first, before others can. You have got to self promote without apology. No one else would, if you don't. Ok that's about it from my template and alone time with baby session.
Tee came back from NY with a really bad flu bug! Ughhh. But the worse part was that I caught it too and then the baby got it too! Oh dear - seeing a baby ill has to be one of the worst things ever. So helpless. And so Tee took him to the clinic at about noon for what was supposed to be a quick check. They ended up being there for over 12 hours! I had a meeting earlier and had assumed they'd only be a couple of hours. As I rushed down to meet them with my heart in my mouth and wondering why the train couldn't really go any faster and why I couldn't teleport, I thought of my eventual return to work - and realisation that we can't be with our kids all of the time. But can only hope and pray for them and the people who help care for them! Thankfully, he didn't get any infections and was back to himself pretty soon!
The final part of this catch-up is our Johannesburg experience so far! First off, it's a workcation! Well at least for Tee. He's here for work and rather coincidentally it's the same time as my cousin's wedding. So I'm pretty chuffed because quality time with family and also in my head, I pictured handing my son over to my mum for a bit and getting a well deserved break! But that hasn't happened yet per se. I think mothers often say these things but still stay attached to the kids!
Anyway just one night in and so much has happened already. It's been a day of catch-ups, hugs, conversation, dancing, eating, barbecue. We have grandparents and babies here. The youngest being five weeks and they came in from Nigeria. See! It's okay and do-able to travel with babies. I've also tasted chalakala - a popular South African meal!
For us though, the experience started way before we arrived. First, with the visa.
Sigh - you know how much I'm not a fan of visa applications. My first approach to vacations and travelling is "is it a visa free destination or at least a visa easy destination?" South Africa is a relatively visa easy destination.
We applied together as a family and as expected, I got regular updates about our application being received and processed. I get three emails and SMS about each of the submissions. So when I finally see an email about "your passport is ready for collection" I understandably assume that all three passports are ready! And then Tee gets to the collection centre and says to me "only two are ready, yours isn't"
At that point, I definitely start thinking the worst.
- "Why did they separate my application"
- "oh my goodness are they going to deny me"
- "but we applied together"
- "why would they give a 5 month old a visa and deny his mum"
- "I mean he's even flying on my ticket"
And why did I think my application could have been separate? Because I still have a different surname on my passport! I talked about that in this popular post on women keeping their maiden names - and it has actually happened on one of my near travels to Dubai and before our eventual UAE vacation. I was told mine took longer than expected because I was travelling with a man who didn't have my surname!
Anyway, this visa got me worried. I can be a worrier and that's really bad. I worried because I had clearly suggested including a marriage certificate in the application documents but the visa attendant casually waved it off and said "not necessary". "I should have insisted", I said to myself! Applying for a visa when you only send documents without an interview can be tricky.
And so I started to overthink. I'm ashamed to say I even subconsciously thought of my rants if I wasn't granted the visa. So it was a weekend of uncertainty. The first two visas had been approved on Friday and mine was to be released on Monday. Our flights had been booked for Thursday - pretty close timeline.
I'd looked forward to this trip because I needed some fresh air after having a baby and close to 6 months of full-on baby sitting! So the prospect of not going (and Tee still being away for work) was sad.
But why do we very often tilt towards the worse outcome? Why panic even before the result? Why couldn't I believe that I'd be given a visa. There was honestly no reason not to. Everyone around me was being positive and explained that my passport probably didn't make it in time by close of business Friday. After church on Sunday, and a sermon on peace - I really felt at peace and honestly was going to be fine with whatever outcome!
But I'm glad I got it - and when I looked at the date of the visa, it was given on the same day as the other two! So I had a couple of wasted days of worry even when my visa was already in my passport!
So with the visa secured, I was in a happy mood to do something I'd wanted to do. I cut my hair! After I featured the stories of these 4 amazing ladies who rock a low cut, I really got tempted. I often play it so safe with my hair. I wanted to do something exciting and new. I was also tired of wigs and rather shabbily having cornrows at home - remember my husband's reaction to my cornrows? and this post on being too comfortable in relationships?
Anyway I lost courage for a full low cut and decided to go with some sort of pixie cut. I'm loving it so far and probably run my hands through and touch my scalp way too often! It's amazing. I often forget how I look until I see a mirror. Some people say I look more mature - I kind of see it. I also often catch a glimpse of a boyish look I think. But for the moment it's perfect! Plus it's low enough that I still wear a wig. I hear that maintenance of such styles can be tough, but if you have any tips - pass them on please!
Cutting my hair makes me feel so grown up. In a weird way I feel so brave and empowered. I'd have to agree with the saying that "a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life". I'm ready for all the good positive changes and growth!
Finally how did we do with the baby on the travel? I feel like that could be a separate post. And I wasn't going to say this (because really you'd probably roll your eyes) but we had a bit of a drama again! When I told my sister, she said "You guys! Well I guess you should add that to your travel mishap stories for the blog". I couldn't tell if she was slightly mocking us.
But after that post, I really wanted no more drama. And so I had planned meticulously. I wasn't taking chances. I stayed up late till 2am to get everything done. I forfeited my manicure session to pack. And I was happy with the results!
By 4.30 pm on Friday, we were in the taxi and airport bound with all the suitcases - or so we thought! About 20 mins into the journey - rather randomly and out of the blues this happened:
- Me: Babe is my hand luggage in this car?
- Tee: Yes
- Me: okay, cool.
I honestly don't know where that came from and why I had reason to suspect. You may say instinct or a nudge from the Holy Spirit. Or I thought "how can this saloon car nicely fit all our suitcases in the trunk". I really should have looked back to check. I should have! Because alas we get to the airport and my hand luggage was missing
Sigh. We must have forgotten it somehow. I hope it's at home.
And ever since my Barbados experience - my most important items are often in my hand luggage. So me and baby's clothes for the wedding, my shoes, jewelry, makeup, and a few important accessories!
So this weighed us down for a bit into the journey. But the takeaway lesson: is to always count your luggage! And this lesson is key because just as we strolled away from the carousel to the airport taxi, Tee thankfully cast a glance at the carousel and spotted our son's suitcase which we had forgot! I mean we had lot of baby items and suitcases and just seemed to forget that he had that one too. And I guess if you're traveling in a group, please carefully count the people too. And I mean their faces - no one wants what an occurrence of what happened in epic movie "Home Alone".
The rest of the trip went very well. We had a stopover in Paris & then on to Jo burg. I finally tried Quinoa on the flight! It was one I had hoped to try during my no rice for 46 days challenge, but I forgot. It didn't taste bad (but I still didn't eat a quarter of the quinoa salad).Our lil son was so good! Slept through most of it (night flight tallied with his normal sleep time though) and basically charmed everybody while awake. People generally love babies no doubt! Plus it has its perks - priority boarding for one!
Anyway, we arrived yesterday morning and after so much time catching up, headed to the mall to attempt my buy last minute outfits - because I barely have any other formal clothes. My two options were in my hand luggage and they were old clothes. I really didn't want to buy new clothes. So I was planning to re-rock my the outfit in my pregnancy photo shoot - which is a non-maternity outfit!
And so I got exhausted of shopping for a cute outfit - was this outfit shopping solely for photo purposes? I know the dress code said formal and I would love to look lovely but but no one would chase me away if I didn't dress formally. And in a jeans and T-shirt, I'd have fun! And that was my priority. So we simply snagged an outfit for baby while I decided on my course of action!
Thankfully - I have in my suitcase the same dress I wore for the Cape Town wedding last year. I had planned to dress it down rather casually with sneakers but I guess I'd be dressing it up and attempting to restyle. If you have any tips, please share as I can only think of bold earrings and different shoes! I mean, isn't the whole purpose of outfits to rerock and get your money's worth? Instagram and social media could make it seems like it's a faux pax but we know that's so wrong! Men wear the same suits all the time!. It's helpful to ask ourselves how much clothes and other material items we really need.
So I'm exited about re rocking that white dress. And the fun part, it's exactly a year letter. First wedding - April 16th 2017, Cape Town. Second wedding April 14, 2018, Jonanesburg!
A whole lot has happened in that one year. First time, 12 weeks pregnant. Second time, 5 months old baby. In this one year gap, we've bought a house, we've had a baby (full pregnancy diaries here), I've made some notable career moves (blog post in due course), I cut my hair and definitely gained some weight.
So, same dress - but I'm sure it's much more snug now.
(Update: the white dress didn't zip. Ouch.)
A lot can happen in a year! A lot.
I've had a lot of fun so far and I've even danced - much to everyone's surprise. In this 25 facts about me post, you already know about me and dancing! I'm looking forward to to the rest of it and a proper recap post! I'll honestly try to get some decent photos - and no jokes but I'll be referring to this handy guide to taking perfect instagram holiday photos. I often forget to capture moments and photos but I'll make an attempt.
One thing that's made me happy on this trip already is my cousin saying how much she loves this blog! I hardly make family and friends read this blog. In fact, I almost avoid it. And I know many of them who don't exactly read it all. I know because they ask me questions which have answers on the blog that they would know if they read. But I don't fuss. I don't believe in forcing people to support you - even if family or friends. So this was good to hear!
And speaking of the blog, I'll announce this formally soon, but heads up I'm opening up slots for permanent contributors to the blog! The aim is to create epic lifestyle content and your favourite relatable lifestyle blog. There's so much to share and despite my new found super mummy powers I don't think I can get to it alone. So if this sounds like your thing and you're a huge fan of the blog - be on the look out for details and feel free to shoot me an email!
That's pretty much for now. This was a lengthy random post but I just had bits I wanted to share with you! Thank you so much for reading. Have a great weekend and tell someone about this space. Remember that 10k followers goal?
How have you been? Anything exciting or concerns? Life lessons? I'd love to hear!
pS: I find myself alternating between English and American English in this post. Vacation vs Holiday for example. See this post on 85 words that are different in English and American English.