Monthly Archives: December 2011

DUSK 2011, DAWN 2012

2011, to-date the most unforgettable year of my life…

Adventure, pain, disappointment, dreams, constant evaluation and re-evaluation, sickness,lifelong lessons, fear, adventure.

My sister fell sick, one of my best friends IS sick, a friend finally graduated, I drove my sister to her wedding, I became an uncle again, I started a blog, I questioned myself, I doubted myself, I learnt…

I claimed 2011 as ‘The Year of The Chase’…I was not going to sit around and wait for opportunity to come my way; I would try, fail, not settle and keep trying. That’s how I came to Pakistan, after failing an interview for Rio (complete opposite scene eh? 😉 ) this was probably my biggest achievement to date, leaving 2 solid job offers to chase my dream and live alone abroad…in retrospect, it seems like quite the mundane goal but the experiences that came with were and continue to be more phenomenal than I expected.

The lessons of 2011 will set the theme for 2012. The failures of 2011 will be the goals of 2012, and the achievements of 2011 will hopefully become the habits of 2012 and beyond.

DUSK 2011

Recently, I remember in campus how my friends always complained about my speaking style. They all said I was too harsh, too matter-of-fact, apparently lacking in tact of any sort. They said I was too abrasive…maybe they were too sensitive.

The other day, I suddenly realized that I no longer see that abrasive guy.So I looked for him, but instead I found the complete opposite; a diplomatic guy too careful not to offend the people around him, a guy riddled with politeness. Polite behavior is fine, but I also saw that this guy would compromise too often in order to avoid conflict, and I hated that part of him…that part that held back when all he really wanted to say was F*CK OFF. His name is Pussy-foot.

I wondered where Pussy-foot came from; and I realized he was the evolution of Abrasive. Unlike Abrasive, he was no longer in a predictable situation, i.e. school, home, party, school…he was in a situation where he needed people to survive, he was in a situation where he needed to make new friends, to re-establish himself, he was lost in a crowd, it was a whole new game – with new rules to learn. His first instinct was to avoid the fights, blend in with the pack, and so he evolved into a careful guy, Pussy-foot. Pussy-foot was quite popular,and with some disappointment(even mild disgust), I noticed his own  popularity was the most useless kind, the kind that comes devoid of respect-the ‘nice-guy’ popularity as a result of his unrelenting compromise.

Not to say that Pussy-foot didn’t achieve his goals, but looking at him, Iwas embarrassed and I missed Abrasive’s methods. Abrasive was the kind of guy that shot on sight; Pussy-foot shot only after long questioning debates about the consequences of shooting and the rules. Admittedly, Abrasive wasn’t much of a thinker; but Pussy-foot was too much of a thinker, he was too careful. A balance was/is necessary, between evaluation and shooting on instinct/ guesswork (cc Kenya Police)

Pussy-foot was possibly a necessary evolution. From his peaceful corner, he was able to re-discover himself, and observe this game quietly and from a distance and decide on a strategy. Now he puts on his boots and is rearing to get back on the field. He gave Abrasive a necessary break, but he sees Abrasive is an extremely essential ally on the field…they need each other, they area a team.

They say good things come to those who wait, but I recently read that the good things that come to those that wait are only those things that were left over by those that went chasing…so cheers to‘THE YEAR OF THE CHASE – 2011’

~ DAWN 2012 ~

2012 – New challenges, and the significance of mid-twenties, with the lessons of this past year, I Chase harder, fight as necessary, give respect and EARN it, so God speed.


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Jere’s Book of Conclusions

The wider Pakistan is very unpredictable, and Karachi is worse. You are never sure something will happen until it’s happening.
Take this Christmas for example – right this minute, I was meant to be on an 8hr long trip into Larkana. It’s in interior Sindh (Sindh being the province that holds Karachi) I was meant to have MY OWN shotgun, 48 bullets, and a raft. We were going duck-hunting, planned it 2 weeks ago then it got cancelled yesterday. (btw if I go missing, please Google missing persons in Larkana ‘cause a lot of people get kidnapped over there 😀 don’t tell my folks, hehe, but seriously, Allah Malik)

About Larkana, my point is not much here is ever set in stone. Public holidays have been declared at 11pm for the next day, some work days have abruptly been cut in half because there’s a political strike going on so it’s HIGHLY advisable to be indoors. (Once this happened and we got an escort home, a twin-cab with 8 armed guards.)

Every day,we get driven to work by Saqib (I must post a photo of him and his beard soon). He picks me and my Moldovan workmate and housemate (Moldova is in Europe, few people know it ;-)) On these rides to and from work, I realized that though Saqib speaks very little English, I had a much easier time understanding him than my housemate did.

In the flat I share with my 2 housemates, we don’t have water running from the main lines. We have to buy water around 2 times a week. It comes from a guy called Atif, a somewhat annoying conman, who comes to our house on his white donkey. (Yes, it’s white). Atif speaks sub-zero English, but my housemates used to ask me to translate what he is saying…and no he doesn’t speak Kikuyu.

My housemates have had a hard time getting used to the unpredictability we experience. They have had a hard time trusting people because they always cancel plans at the last minute, or don’t do what they promised to do, or don’t reply emails, or like Atif- the water guy- rip you off the first chance they get.

I thought about it for long. I wondered why I found it easier to adjust to life here and especially why I was the one who always ended up being the translator.

No doubt China and possibly most of Europe are very organized compared to Kenya and Pakistan. Their systems work allowing you to be more independent. I remember the culture shock I experienced in London (omera); I had never been in a place where EVERYTHING worked. Everything had systems and rules that everyone followed… even the damned escalators had rules- if you are standing on the escalator, keep left, if you are running up the escalator use the right. And because all systems worked, I saw NUMEROUS disabled people out and about by themselves, and am talking quadriplegics. They could take the bus alone, because the bus will come at 11.17am every day, and will have a ramp for them to get on. Have you ever watched a person on a wheelchair trying to enter a matatu in Kenya? #THAT AWKWARD MOMENT WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO HELP

If you live in an efficient-system society, then suddenly you are thrown into a situation where you NEED people to survive because the systems do not work, i.e. my housemates coming to Pakistan, I can see why everything is so hard to understand. I can see why you do not understand how people do not keep time, how plans get cancelled at the last minute and how am sitting in the office and not shooting ducks.

Definitely, to some extent, unpredictability is all about planning and commitment, and for us, street-smarts in dealing with people. But often, shit happens and I of inefficient-system society is used to it, so I accommodate, making it easier for me to adjust to life here.

My conclusion about the translations- In inefficient-system societies, relationships with people matter more than they do in efficient-system societies (Modern China and Moldova here). BECAUSE systems do not work, we sometimes need to go through people, so interpersonal communication is KEY and that includes BODY LANGUAGE. I have been brought-up more dependent on body language and therefore in this case, I can reach across the language barrier a little more…

And that’s how I know Atif is a conman, who else keeps a suspicious white donkey.

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