The ethos of my times demand that I go to the country side during these festive times. I had been a little homesick in the weeks preceding Christmas and I yearned to be in the country side. So now, I am in a small town in western France called Niort. Niort is my ace in the hole, like Embu. Not the Embu in South America, the Embu in East Africa. Calm, graceful, old and pretty. Like a good pair of sunglasses.

The keyboard of the big Mac I am now using is french and so I am typing slower than usual. My host’s son keeps passing by every two minutes with a different robot asking that I join in his combat games so this piece is proving Rome to write. He is as cute as a button and I cannot keep turning him down for much longer. That and the fact that he asks if I am doing okay every now and then. Sean is five and cultured.


The lady of the house is preparing Cassoulet; a mixture of pork sausages, goose, duck and white haricot beans and the aroma is giving me such a hard time concentrating. The husband has left the building altogether if he has to wait till the meal is served to have a taste. He is now in the the garage fixing or pretending to fix something. In essence, I am making an apology in advance if this piece ends up all thumbs down. But que sera sera.

2012 was good to me. Like a female dog well tamed. Unlike the 31’st of 2011 when I got stuck in traffic for four hours, hungry and seated next to a lady who wouldn’t share her mandazi’s, this year’s 31’st will see me carpooling back to Paris for a party (fête). (and secretly hoping one of us flashes the people in the passing cars). Aah, to be young and foolish. But que sera sera.

Whatever will be, will be (que sera sera). Those famous last words were first written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingstone in 1956 for the film, ‘the man who knew too much’. Do I know too much? Not even close. However, I know a little more than I did last year. I have fallen far beyond I thought was possible but I have risen too. So gather around the fire place and let me share an earful of what I learned. These lessons are dressed up with nowhere to go. Please lend me your time and let them get out for a minute, if only to breath.

It was past midnight on a weekday of  October and I was watching Dwayne Johnson (the rock) on Ellen when he said, ‘it is nice to be important but it is more important to be nice’. Have you seen the rock? Does he even need to be nice? But all of us act like ninjas especially on social media and pay no regard to being nice. Reply that message, smile at a stranger and hold the door for someone in 2013.

Tears don’t mean you are more sensitive, it just means you cry more. So ladies please stop with the blackmail. Men who cry too often, like when your favorite football club looses, are nonsense! (losing a close relative is excused),

A friend recommended that I read the longreads. You should too. I came across a piece with the title, ‘the chase is the thing and the thing is chase’; to wit, refuse to arrive, start again and enjoy the heck out of anything you do. Success will follow.

Listen more than you talk. Silence is golden. All those things you feel need to be in a conversation probably don’t. Sift through your words, self sensor and speak succinctly. That doesn’t mean you should be as interesting as drinking water. Funny or interesting is not necessarily loud.

Pick your battles carefully. Like underwear when going for a date. You never know how it might end. Curiosity killed the cat and I am sure, many other animals not mentioned. Snoop at your own risk. Seek and thou shalt findeth.

As women, we have a role in the world. We nurture. A degree and a salary does not exclude you from cooking for your man. Learn how to make those Chapatis or lobsters. Mr man, I can change a flat, but you look better doing it.

Men are more open with their envy and thus have learned to be more diplomatic about it too. They will tell you who they don’t like and quickly but tactfully point out how big their nose is. It will seem like a joke and it will not lead to a fight. See that diplomacy? Ladies, your competition is not a loose bunduzstar and her weave cannot be confused for a nest. Let us learn this diplomacy thing in 2013 ey?

Relinquish bitterness. More often than not, those who wont be taken are the same ones who cannot seem to give. Forgive yourself faster than you forgive others. Live a little, don’t be a big girl’s blouse. Bad things happen, leave revenge to God. He is still the sheriff around here.

STL sang haba haba and made me dance. But when she said, ‘when I was a little girl my grandma told me, it is the little tings that count’ in that song, she made me smile. It really is the little things. That text that make’s your stomach lining turn pink (for the blacks like me), the stranger that pays your bus ticket when headed for work, the toothless grin of a baby or the brush of lips on your forehead when being held close that leaves you feeling luckier than Kate Middleton.

Surround yourself with smart people. Move out of their way and observe the manner in which they carry themselves. Change is the only constant, get comfortable with it. Fall often, rise up even quicker. There is always a lesson to learn from any situation. Take pride in your work, however humble.

Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything or anyone that no longer profits you or makes you happy.

Learn how to read people. I knew two ladies who were kidnapped and murdered by people they thought they knew in 2012. Again it is the little things. The uneasy eyes, or the eyes that are too calm, unmoved by emotion like laughter or pity. Getting angry at silly or small things does not necessarily mean he is in love. He could be a sociopath

Lo and behold the wonders of cosmetics. Tattoo eyebrows? Such abhorrence.

If you call me with a new number and ask me to guess who it is, I am sure there is a special place in hell for you.

That said, one shoe doesn’t fit all. Take what is useful to you and leave the rest.

Enjoy 2013. Que sera sera.