A few things about me

Archive for the ‘Denmark’ Category

On my mind

On the news today:

After the release of the national budget or finansloven as they call it here, a total of 44,000 Council employees are to be fired by end of next year in effort to meet budget cuts.

On the news yesterday:

A school put out an ad for a maintenance man and recieved 625 applications in comparison to the usual, 15-20 applications recieved when such a position is advertised.

In the news a few weeks ago:

The third largest employer in Denmark fired 2000 people.

Keep in mind the following fact. Population size is 5.5million. Workforce is approx 2.4million making the afore mentioned job cuts a significant knock on the economy.

You’re still wondering how does this affect me.

Here we go.

My plan was that at the end of my maternity leave I would not be returning to my job. (In case you are not in the know I work at a laundry folding and packing away hospital clothes). Instead I would have secured a job more in line with my desires and mentality of “this is the kind of work I am supposed to be doing”  or I would have started my own gig (those plans have been shelved indefintely… maybe one day I will tell you guys about it) These cuts signify that the economy is still shaky even though I thought it was on it’s way up after  house prices had started creeping up . The fact that intrest rates are still  low should have reminded me otherwise. To sum it up things are still shitty economically and I find myself very interested in this meeting taking place in Seoul with all these powerful heads of state.

In the midst of all this depression one little thought/fact keeps me bouyed. I got a job for life, I have an income for life. So for now I just have to ride this tide and keep my plans in focus.

One sure thing is that I am not quitting this gig until I know that I have another source of income at hand.

A part of me feels like I am stuck between a rock and hard place and the other feels.. just thank -God you have work and thus a decent income.

Hello world!

Meanwhile;

I looked at the bank account and almost fell off my chair.  A deeper look at the statement revealed that YES WE have been careless this month, spending on this that and the other. The amount left for the next 20 days is rather appalling. The challenge is on though, see if we can live off it with out going into red. All plans of going into town to manga manga and treat myself to hot chocolate, a waffle and some magazine have been postponed til further notice 🙂

Have an economically sound day.

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Alias

PS: KK is developing habits like her big brother.. this business of the only place to fall asleep in on mummy or next to mummy anything else is upuzi. I am not liking this.

About the Alias. When I first joined facebook I joined under an alias because I did not know what it was and I could not pre-view  without joining.. so Missy Elliot was born. I stayed with the fake name and was glad to keep it.

After KK was born we got a gift from Big Al’s workmate. The card was addressed to Big Al and Missy Elliot. I was like.. what the heck. Obviously the person incharge of buying the gift and sending the card does not know my name and someone must have said.. oh check his facebook, lo and behold, his wife is called “Missy Elliot” don’t bother facebooking me.. .. read on and find out why.

 After laughing it off and realising that Danes have no clue who Missy Elliot is I decided change to my real name.. well sorta. I have not officially taken on Big Al’s name. Mynew facebook profile name is my real first name and Big Al’s surname

Since then the  very thing I had been avoiding by use of a fake name has happened. Folks crawling out of the woodwork asking to be my friends and blowing up my numbers and no, i just cannot say no! it’s rude.

meanwhile i will not b ur friend if u do not have pics… fair is fair come look at mine only if i can look at yours  you voyeur!

Woes on the Job

For the past two weeks I have been posted at another hospital washing beds and  making beds. I HATE MY JOB. With that out of the way let me proceed.

It’s 06:22 in the morning. I am showered dressed and ready to leave the house. I have had the car since my commute is a little longer and without the car I would not be able to pick Nikh on time from the day care lady. Big Al cycles him to daycare then gets the bus into work. I pick him up in the afternoon. It’s working fine for now. I hate that washing bed thing so much, more than my usual gig which is ironing and folding clothes. At the other place I have my pals, we get a long, there’s lots of people. Here, I work with three other people and they are fine and all.. we just don’t blend, a lack of chemisty.

One of the guys keeps pulling or touch his penis. It is so disgusting and unsightly. And because he keeps using his forefinger and thumb I can’t help thinking “kwani how small is it” 🙂 . He keeps adjusting it or them, me I don’t know and it just ugh! yuck! I feel like yelling, keep your hands away from your crotch or do it in private. Or maybe his underpants are tight. Gross!

The other guy is a thug. Walks like one, talks like one, has the air of one. He is the kind of guy I do not want to meet alone. I swear he looks like those rightwing, “keep Denmark white” , I hate all non-white people thugs. We do not talk, he does not talk to me, I do not talk. I can’t even look at  him. He just creeps me out totally.

His mother is my supervisor.. would you believe that. She asked me if I like this new gig, I was like, I would rather go back to my other place. She was not expecting that response and I could see she was taken aback.  I am through with lying to make people feel comfortable. So later she comes back saying, it’s because you don’t smoke and because there are not so many “foreigners” working here as opposed to the other place. I was like “whatever”. Then the ball grabber had been giving me orders and directions all the time. “you gotta straighten out the edeges of the sheet, this is how you do it, blah blah blah, good job, now you just have to be faster.. ” Yesterday I told him off. He started on his orders and I said in my nice polite way with a smile “you’re irritating me with your orders. I know what I am doing and if you want it perfect then stop asking me to worker faster. I have been here 1 week, 3 days. You have been here over a year, lay off with the orders” He was taken aback too. Started saying stuff about just wanted things to look good blah blah blah, I wanted to rid him of his balls. Idiot!

Back from work and continuing this post at 16:00 (Big Al and Nikh are out in town bonding, the roast is in the oven, pototoes await peeling, usual back from work housework awaits.. but I’ll get to that when I am done here)

Yesterday’s word of the day was VUMILIA (persevere). As I worked the only thing I could think was  “I am slowly dying here, I need to get out of this place, I will die in my soul if I keep doing this, I cannot take this any longer”  So that was clear, then I asked myself  “ok then , so you quit your  job then what? What are the alternatives? I came up blank. Job hunting is totally out of the question.

I resolved in myself that I never ever want to be employed by anyone ever again. Me going to work for someone, me begging or hunting for a job is not in the cards. I DON’T WANT TO. I HAVE HAD ENOUGH. So I have been working on something, something that is so long from fruition, I loose hope and I gain hope, all the while working and strategising towards this thing that I am planning on doing. I am scared out of my bones, but fuck that, I tried the employment thing, and it ain’t cutting it, so I’m going to try this other thing and see what happens. It fails, it fails, at least I tried.

So if I am not job hunting and if my other thing is not off ground then what, sit at home and be bored, poor and upset… hence “VUMILIA mama! just a little longer sweets, you have a lot on your plate right now, get that out of the way then get cracking

Today’s word of the day has been “count your blessings” and that I did on my ride to work, aloud in the car, like a mad woman beating away at the blues that want to make home in my mind.

That which has brought the hate for my job into focus is working with these new guys. Honest to God, there is nothing wrong with them at all, apart from what I said about, it’s just that we don’t gel and already I hate what I do, now add lack of chemistry and hey presto. But I am a fly chick, hot chick, tough chick. Tomorrow is my last day. Even if they beg and cry there is no way I am staying there next week. I want back at my other boring mundane job. At least I get to laugh and see my buddies.

So if you are having a tough ride at the moment, VUMILIA. It never ever last forever. That’s the beauty of life, nothing is static, everything changes in time and with time. It’s just a matter of time.

Kisses folks.

Last Night – Ladies Circle

So let me tell you about last night. I am still pumped.

First, I was really really proud of me. I held my own, didn’t display my stupidity which tends to rise when I am amongst new, what-I-think -to-be-impressive people! (what a mouthfull). I was calm cool and collected, like James Bond, only the chick version.

Remember I have mentioned that I joined a women’s association and got matched to a mentor. Well my mentor thought it would be good for me to get into another women’s association that is primarily danish. The idea is that through the association I would learn (or as the goverment likes to put it “intergrate”) better into Danish society. Anyway my mentor, let’s call her Annie, thought it would be good for me to get to have a “network” of proffessional danish women. Her being a member, she hooked me up. I passed the “screening interview” back in January. I would have joined then, but I had just started school, and my job so was not willing to commit to something else til i was finished with school. So we agreed that I would attend my first meeting after I was out of school and after the summer break.

That was last night and wow! Oh wow! It was like another world all together. For the firstime since I came to Denmark I was in the presence of women like myself. Duh! not the skin color, but career women with jobs and families. The group is called Ladies Circle. (www.ladiescirlce.org) You can read more about them, but basically it is more like the  Chama za Kina mama groups back home of which my mother has been a member of countless number. Her most current seems to be her most fun. Same principle, though with the added extra of somtimes having presentations from companies etc etc.

So on to the women. These women si kidogo. As in without this hook up, I would never have seen this side of middle class Denmark. My social contacts here are limited to less than a handful of African friends. Actually 3, who are university educated, middle class women. The rest of my of social life consists of my husband’s family. My best friend (if you are reading this, I do consider you my best 🙂 ) lives in England and she is like my main “friend/conversation outlet. Without her, I would basicallyhave given up on Europe and been a hermit. I love you!

So it was interesting to see what life is like in this part of the social ladder  and very EYE OPENING. Here is the thing, it is the same, whether is it Kenya, Uganda or England. Middle upper class is the same accross the world. Same aspirations, same values, same same same. But I had not been exposed to it here in Denmark.

It was fun to see the number of BMWs, Audis, Toyota (in DK it is a high end car). To note the expensive shoes and clothes, the watches… salala.. the rings.. oh my!

But heres the best part, I held my own baby not in terms of clothes or jewlery, but my own in terms of I was ok in my skin and I loved that. There was a time I would have been awed but I have slowly come to realise that just because my career is in the dumps it does not take away from the fact that I am a sensible, smart, intelligent, self-loving person who has a lot to contribute and add. Due to the financial situation a number of the women there have been dealing with being fired and there I was totally understanding how they feel and thinking.. “we are all the same” no difference at all.

So what did I get out of it apart from the obvious, becoming a member etc. It reinforced that Mrembo has it going on. That I am a woman of worth and as long as I keep on doing my thing to be the best I can be in all facets of my life I am totally ok and I love that.

Be fulfilled.

MJ and Buying property in Denmark.

I watched the live transmission of Micheal Jackson’s memorial last night.  A tear almost fell.. the mango in the throat was gigantic. RIP. Al Sharpton’s speech was superb. I loved Jennifer Hudson’s performance and Lionel Richie had me wanting to attend service at Kampala Pentecostal this coming Sunday. I love love that song.

Houses.

Perhaps some of you can shed light on this. I have been comparing the house buying procedure here in Denmark to England and Uganda and find it very interesting. I am thinking that my memory may not serve me right hence the need for some clarification.

When shopping around for a house in Denmark, among the paper work you recieve is something called a “Tilstandsreport” this is a suveyor’s report about the condition of the property. Whatever he can see with his eyes (no machines are to be used) is noted down and this report is available to the buyer. It is valid for only a year.  On this report one can also see how much money the seller still owes the bank.  Big Al and I were getting really shocked because we would go see a house being sold for the equivalent of say$400,000 and on reading the report would see that the seller still owes say $300,000 and has been living there for 17 years and still has 30 years left on the mortgage yet the seller is in mid fifties or sixties. I was not understanding how that worked.

Anyway so when we were at the bank I just had to ask (that’s how one learns) and the bank guy explained it thus. In Denmark, the age of the buyer is not an issue because the house is a security. The bank will usually send out an independent valuer to the house to value the house. Because the value on the house is confirmed by this guy, the bank knows that they will get thier money bank should the buyer die hence if you are seventy and you want to buy a house at $1,000,000 and have at least 10% of the deposite they will loan you the money.  He also explained that many pensioners who have finished off paying thier mortagages also take out big loans on thier house as a source of income. So say you are 65 and your pension income is not good, but you have paid off your house, you go to the bank, get a very big loan and live off that money for the rest of your life, the bank secure in the knowledge they can also sell the house to recoup thier money. So your monthly payments on the loan are not very big.

When I compared this to England and Kenya (I may have my facts wrong so please correct me) the older you are the higher the deposite the bank will want and will offer you a shorter life span on your loan because you as the buyer are deemed a high risk. About a year ago, the bank that had fiananced the estate my mum lives in sent a representative to sell loans to folks on the estate. The loans were for folks wanting to re-do thier houses, you know things like painting, changing windows, redoing roofs etc. Mum was not approved cause she was not working at that time though the house is paid off and could have put up the house as security.

Anyways I find it interesting and would like to know if I have my facts right as regards the age of the buyer affecting the loan process in UK and Kenya.

Big Al is convicinced the main difference lies in the bank’s valuer’s presence. The fact that he goes out and ensures that the said value of the house is actually that. We are not sure if this happens in Kenya or UK and if it does then why do banks give older buyers a bit of a hard time??

Past few weeks

Nimekula nimeshiba, mpaka tumbo yani uma! Gluttony at it’s best. I will not be repeating this any time soon, I am sooo uncomfortable. can’t sleep.

I don’t know about where you’re at lakini hapa it is hot hot hot! There is no doubt that the sun in Denmark in summer is hotter than any other sun I have been exposed to in my many few travels. It burns. Sit in it for 10 mins and it starts to sting and burn like sharp needle points. Very different from Kenya or Uganda. My memories of it is more like a flat burn. You know like when you are seated in a car driving and the sun gets really hot, the burn is not uncomfy.. here it another story all together.  Let me just say I am loving it all

Denmark in summer is very lovely. Town feels like one big party f. Everyone and their mother is in town, colors abound, more flesh on display both male and female and may I say just say I am enjoying all the fleshy display :-), folks are eating out on the terraces. I am loving going to town, loving the heat.. just loving the sizzling atmosphere that is summer.

My life:

So so much is happening right now. So much that I am finding it hard to catch a moment to breath. We have finally FINALLY found a place of our own and have been running up and down doing all the necessary paperwork. Just so you know.. the law in Denmark states that a non-danish citizen cannot buy property if they have not been living in the country for more than 5 years. There are a few loopholes in that law that can be circumvented.. but I think this is what AFrican countries should be doing to protect their assests. As explained to us, this law is to protect against foreign investors coming in and siezing big chunks of land etc etc.. Anyway back to the property stuff. I’m in a place of shock, fear, excitment etc because for sooo long I have wanted my own house. FOR SO LONG. Those who know me can attest to this. When we moved to Demark I felt like I had kissed goodbye to so many things and this was one of them. For it to finally be happening is like a wow moment. I am a bit behind schedule 🙂 but I have gotten there.

All this stuff with the house got me thinking as to why my move to Denmark caused such emotional and mental upheavl in my life and it is basically this. (I know I have probably said this somewhere before..) All my life.. growing up, I was a good girl. Was not a rebellious teenager, never bothered my parents with boys, didn’t demand anything, did my best in my studies (though I was and remain a very “average” student…yup, I passed my course with very average results.. boring!.. but decent pass). I did all these things because I believed after being taught that being good paid off. That if I did all as I was to do.. my dreams and life would pan out as planned. Bollocks! After my BA degree I had a rude shock. When all my former classmates were getting jobs in corporate Kampala.. I was still floundering in the streets of Kampala trying to get a hook up bila luck.  Then I went to UK to do my masters .. after really carefully considering what I should do.. and bought into the whole thing of .. “so and so’s daughter did her masters and now she works for XYZ blue chip company and is minting money”. Bollocks again.  Didn’t pan out for me like that.  When I look back I can see why.. first.. my average results throughtout my academic life, secondly my ignorance during those first years when it came to filling out those long ass application forms that bluechip companys so love, thirdly, my lack of specialisation or niching…and last by not least my age and last perhaps is just plain bad luck or it was not written.. who knows.

So moving Denmark had me losing my job, my identity and my opportunity to build a career life… .it just about killed me because my expectations of myself were not matching with the reality that was my life. In UK I had worked so hard to get my foot on to my career ladder and just when I had, I decided to follow hubby here. Colossal ass mistake. My first year here was horrible. Horrible for me, horrible for my husband cause I bitched like crazy. It is only last year that I was able to tell him…. “if I had not been pregnant.. I was so leaving you”. That year I went home twice.. twice… and both times it about me trying to decide if I was living him or not.. actually i went home once then went to England….whether I could do the single mother thing, cause at that time.. love was just not enough for me.

I look at where I am today and I kind of marvel. One, that we didn’t break up as a couple (cause I tell you I was not nice to be around, I complained about Denmark, I blamed him indirectly for not knowing how shit Denmark was to foreigners with career hopes, I blamed him for destroying my life, I blamed me for being stupid… ati.. I love a man so much I followed him) Two.. I marvel at how much I have gotten to know myself and look at all the stuff that I wanted, thought I wanted, stuff I have let go of , stuff I have held on to..Sometimes I look at myself and I think.. “dang girl.. you are the shizzle (ala Snoop Dog). Three…that a a couple we are in a good place right now. I said to Big Al the other day, I am so looking forward to moving in with you again”. It’s another new begining for us and I am looking forward to it. This time I am prepared. No false expectations. I am ready to for the good, the bad and the ugly.

So there you have it, that’s what’s happening in my life right now.. I am gloriously happy, stressed, busy and moving along with life. Sometimes I feel fearless. Like.. I know what it means to have shattered dreams (am talking about my career and the fact that my career was greatly tied to my identity of my self). I now know I can survive that and move on…so bring it on baby.. I’m ready

I know that this post has no flow….

3rd Year Anniversary

Its exactly three years to date that I arrived in Denmark to begin this chapter of my life and what a ride it has been.

The three have felt much longer than three. Chalk it down to all the life that has happened in that time.

So how are things on the whole:

  • I speak good Danish. I can watch news and understand 90% of it. 2 or 3 words in a sentence will usually throw me off.. but generally I get it  and Hello! I am doing a course in Danish (which I am so looking forward to completing..mothering + working+school + homework = having no time for anything). Case in point.. I am taking a break from reading a chapter to type this.
  • I became a mother: That still leaves me in awe. Sometimes. I  look at my son and think to myself “Good heavens, I am his mother, he is mine, who would have thought”. Motherhood is a ride and a half.. sometimes it has knocked my confidence, many times it warms my heart and makes me all lovey dovey. That animal protective instinct is so not a cliche. I used to think it was overrated.. me thinks it is actually overrated.
  • A lot of personal development and growth has happened and still is. That I think is more to do with growing older than it is to do with being in Denmark.. though being out of my comfort zone i.e “home” has magnified things and added a few extra chinks is the wheel thus making things rather interesting!

I don’t know how I feel about Denmark. I have accepted that I am here and made the decision to be happy here since my son is DANISH and this is his home. It is interesting when I talk to my friends about going back home.. they are like “what the hell you going back for” My friend R really shocks me with her sentiments about going back home. She was transfered here late last year and it has been very refreshing to have someone from home whose at the “same level” with me (sounds elitist and snobbish but it’s true) here. She has such a different take on things and its not like she was struggling finacnially or otherwise back home. She has the career life that one once part of my dreams.

Anyway whenever I gripe to her about Denmark, she has a way of asking me hard questions, telling me how things  back home actually are. She is a trained accountant and does all these economics/Economy/accounting stuff so she sees things from different perspective compared to me. Strangely enough she plans on going back and has no intention of being here longer than necessary.

The question she asked that staggard me was  ” Mrembo, apart from your father.. what ties do you have to Uganda”. The answer was clear “None”…

She went on ” so why the hell do you want to go back.. you want to go back to something you left behind 8 years ago ….” she went on breaking it down for me.

That ka-question of hers really shook me so ofcourse I was on the phone to mum telling her about this Ug-connection and mum was like…” but it is true … apart from your father… there is no one.. the only other aunt whom you are close to migrated to the US….. (we were not even that close and she got on my nerves when she told me to start calling my step mum “mommy”)

Like most people I am close to my mum’s relatives and feel more rooted there than Ug because it was in Kenya that I grew up with cousins etc ….yet again having left Kenya to live in Ug…I am out of touch with my relatives.. … but my closest relatives are in Kenya and not in UG.

So that’s Denmark for you. I am not hating it but I can’t say I am loving it. Many times I feel like I am in transition and I know that has to do with getting our own place. Lord knows I really want us to buy our own place. When we manage that, then I guess it will begin to feel like home. For now it is kinda home cause my life is here. My husband and my son are here and even if things were to end with my husband (I am not being negative.. just practical) I would still stay here for my son’s sake. But I do not want to grow old here. Salala.. that is why I still hang on to home. Ati being old here in winter…no

So what rating would I give Denmark on a scale of 1 to 10.. 10 being heaven

that’s so hard. Here is why:

In Denmark or Western world. Things work. You turn on the tap, you get hot or cold water. There is no going to the tap and wondering if you have to boil water in the kettle for a bath. Electricity does not go out. No fuel shortage, free medical care, no paying bribes to cops and government … basically things work. You flush the toilet.. there is water.. no rude shocks there 🙂

BUT BUT BUT.. the price we (as immigrants) pay is high. The emotional conflict. One foot here another one at home, the loneliness (that really stinks by the way), the isolation (no radio you relate to, no plethora of magazines featuring people that look like you, not some many people like you on the street). That’s the price we pay. (this fabulous speech is a direct quote from my friend N whom I was talking to today about this very issue)

so back to the scale. I want to give it a 4.5.. but that is dishonest. So a 6.5 all factors considered. yeah 6.5

I have not bitched about my career because I think this is not the year to do so.. everyone or rather many people.. broken dreams or not are facing some challenging times career wise juu ya FINANCIAL CRISIS!