Money

Money Mistakes in My Twenties.

I woke up this morning thinking about money choices I had made in the last ten years. Some fantastic, others outright ludicrous. I had a good laugh looking at my records and pondering over what state of mind I was in when making some choices.

Ten years ago I met an insurance salesman. I had no understanding whatsoever of what he was offering. His explanation, in retrospect made no sense. He succeeded in planting and appealing to my hitherto non-existent dream of saving money for my unborn babies.

“Lorna, If you sign up for this product with me, in ten years, your first born should be joining primary school. This savings plan will mature right in time for first term. Won’t that make it a lot easier for you to get your child admitted to a good school?”

I did not do the math. The vision of a mini me in a brightly coloured uniform going to a good school got the better of me. Just like that I got stuck with a ‘small debt’ to the insurance company for ten years. Did I mention that failure to make payments would have meant losing out on all the money saved? I did not know that. That wasn’t all bad really as I learnt how to set aside money monthly. The returns however were not worth the effort. Inflation eroded all the benefits that would have accrued had I been more keen on something that brought better returns.

I had no idea that I could literally sign off my savings to another person without coercion. It began all too simply. You see, on the first day of joining this organization, I was told about the firm’s SACCO (Savings and Credit Co-operative Society). I could save and borrow money, which sounded like ‘adulting’ to my twenty- something year old mind. I actually had no goal for saving, just thought it would be a good idea to have something set aside somewhere.

As a member of the SACCO,I would be eligible for a loan worth three times the value of my contributions in six months .That prospect of free money excited me. I just jumped in on day one of employment. I did not read the fine print.

I came to find out that co-signing or being a guarantor for other people’s loans was sort of the norm with SACCOs. So, in the spirit of being a team player and all round lovely human being, I co-signed for two ladies who forfeited on their loans. Being a guarantor, my savings paid off their loans. The good book says it is unwise to guarantee other people’s loans. Wise words right there

My ability to throw money at ‘seemingly lucrative’ ideas floated by friends , colleagues and a popular media personality converged at one point -buying land. This land according to these ‘local experts’ would miraculously appreciate in value one day and make me wealthy. All these stories of how so and so bought a piece of land 20 years ago and sold it for a handsome profit several years later got to me. Granted, real estate has over the years proven to be one of the most profitable investments, but I did not quite understand the Kenyan scene .I should have done a little more research. The run arounds I have been taken through pursuing a piece of land I now objectively view as a semi-arid wasteland is epic. I still persist though.

Knowledge on how the stock market works is power. As part of the reward programme at work, we were awarded ESOPs – Employee Share Option Plan- for good performance. Basically ESOPs are almost like promissory notes, except instead of money,you get the company’s shares at a super low price redeemable in the future for a better price. All I had to do was complete the paper work, get the money to buy the shares which were dirt cheap and sell them at almost three times the amount I had bought them for in future. That would have been the easiest money I would have EVER made in my twenties…but no, I took the letter, filed it neatly and only saw it the other day as I was decluttering. I really wanted to raise my hand and slap myself. Ignorance is expensive.

Still on shares, there was a time when jumping onto the IPOs – Initial Public Offers -bandwagon for new companies getting listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange was the thing. I jumped in, very blindly. The particular stock I chose was absolutely ill advised. Several years on that particular stock continues to perform dismally. I sold my shares a while back, I lost money, I lived. Such is life. Single stocks remain my least favourite investment option.

Nothing beats the feeling the suggestion that ‘free money’ brings. Of course there isn’t such a thing as ‘free money’ as I have come to learn over time. Introduce a credit card, mobile loans and an unsecured loan at ‘low interest rates’ to a twenty something year old with a love for travel, books and bags and you have a disaster. I once took a loan first, then figured out what I wanted the money for after the loan was disbursed. I cannot remember exactly how that money was spent. I look at this couch in my living room and suspect I used the money on it. But how? Money quickly moves from those who do not know how to use it to those who do.

Until fairly recently, It hadn’t really sunk in that interest on loans is an expense. Even with a downward interest rate adjustment on a loan I had taken, I excitedly requested for the monthly repayments to be reduced so that I could have more cash in hand. I would have paid less interest had I kept paying the initial amount. Focus on the short term small wins instead of the long term gains, I guess. I refuse to believe the amount of interest on loans paid in the last ten years…Way too much interest.

I made a couple of good choices too, very good choices…but who loves a good money story? Hmmmm.🙂

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Dr. Google

Falling ill is a reminder of human frailty and vulnerability . I think illness gets you closer to your ideal self- no masks, no pretences, just plain old you. A sudden onset of excruciating pain causes panic as all the worst possible scenarios play out in your head. That puts into perspective what is truly important to you.

Wisdom is resisting a painkiller or resisting the urge to consult Dr. Google before a proper diagnosis is made by a doctor. Pain however beats wisdom hands down most of the time.

A good doctor knows his stuff so well that he can engage you and help you understand your ailment using the simplest of explanations. A headache is a head that aches is really not a suitable diagnosis.

Resorting to Google with the doctor’s diagnosis sometimes becomes an option. Dr. Google may give a simpler explanation of what the problem is than the doctor will.

A simple understanding of what ailment one is suffering from makes the interaction with the doctor much more beneficial to the patient,I think.

Simplicity is the highest form of sophistication after all yet jargon seems to be the bedrock of medicine. Such irony.

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Black Friday!!!

Budgeting is difficult! I feel like it goes against the human impulse to live ‘La Vida Loca’ – to literally go on a manic spending spree without a care in the world, take beautiful photos to post on Instagram and basically live it up like you are on the set of ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’.

Manic spending spree

Budgeting feels like being confined to a box, maybe that’s why it triggers a form of claustrophobia – no one likes to be confined in a small space.

I found a way of getting around this fear. I track my expenses – everyday. Initially a chore and bore, it’s gradually grown on me .Been at it for a year now. I do not impose hard and fast rules on myself with regards to what I spend, as long as it is within the limits of my allocation for that month. When money allocated to a particular expense runs out, that’s it. I don’t spend more. It works for the major expenses.
This wasn’t always the case though. In the past I always gave myself a reason to buy stuff -shoes and clothes mostly. Nowadays I figure I have enough items already so why add others to the collection? I have embraced minimalism as a way of life on everything, except food. I love healthy food.

I tell myself less is more, especially for stuff. In that spirit I stopped getting new outfits for every event. Not all functions warrant a new outfit. Creativity, a little work and some solid pieces does the trick. I decluttered my wardrobe. It feels good!#StyleRepeats.

I had three seamstresses. Why three? Experience taught me that just like Farmers Choice sausages, one seamstress is never enough – their ability to deliberately treat deadlines as mere suggestions is legendary. My blood pressure always used to rise a notch a day or two before making a visit to a seamstress. I’m sure by now I would have ordered a new Ankara outfit for a December function only to get a rude shock on the material day.

Hair is expensive! Heavy rains and Nairobi women’s tresses are like oil and water, it’s a disaster when it suddenly rains. I notice it is suddenly trendy to wear an Afro. Quite a good number of videos on YouTube and blogs are dedicated to natural afro hair care. That choice is not for the faint hearted. I tried it unsuccessfully and looked homeless for a bit. It is clearly not for an impatient lady with 4C brownish hair like me. I opted to cut it short instead.
Loans are expensive, the faster you pay them off, the lower the interest payments on them are. As the saying goes, Dawa ya deni ni kulipa- haraka.(The cure for debt is fast repayment).

I indulged in take-away coffee for an entire month in September. A cup of coffee as an expense sounds pretty small, until you calculate the monthly expense. Coffee costs Kes 8000 per month! That is about a hundred dollars worth of Americanos, Mochas, Cappuccinos, Caramel Lattes and Caffee Macchiatos. Thankfully that coffee was free,thanks to a food app I downloaded. I brew my own coffee. Take away coffee is expensive! Generally, eating out is expensive.I also carry lunch to work.

I work out at least three times a week with the aid of an app. I occasionally go to the gym and make payments only on those days I go there. I realised over time that the massive new year crowd at the gym reduced to a handful of people towards the end of the year. Paying an annual membership fee and dropping out is a waste of money.

‘Bora uhai’ is one of those Kenyan expressions that loosely translates to ‘live and let live’. It’s a freestyle approach to life. There’s an almost spiritual justification for letting the Almighty take care of one’s needs as He does for the birds in the air. That said, having a little money set aside for emergency savings is a good idea. Murphy’s Law states that ‘Anything that can go wrong will go wrong’. We cannot really predict the future but having something set aside for eventualities helps .Cars break down, loved ones suddenly fall ill, phones get stolen ,’matatus’ go on strike. Such is life.

Some girls might disagree, but a new handbag on sale is not an emergency that warrants borrowing money from a mobile loan app. Black Friday sales are not emergencies. That bag will make you happy, for a bit, until a better,pricier, classier one comes along. Then the cycle continues. That’s how one gets hooked and becomes a slave – to fashion nonetheless, but still a slave.

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Money Money Money Money-MONEY!!!

Money – we all seem to have a very intimate relationship with it.

Each of us has a unique way he or she relates with money, making it,spending it,investing it, donating it or even losing it. It’s interesting how this affects our every day choices. From how we sleep, eat, travel or spend our leisure time . Money or lack thereof affects one’s mood. There has got to be a money shaped hole in each of us that can only be filled with…you guessed it…money!

Last year I embarked on a deliberate money journey to get myself out of debt, build an emergency fund and have more peace of mind with regards to money. It’s been fifteen months of ‘adulting on steroids’ with my finances.

I have slowly been making changes with regards to how I think and act where money is concerned. A few small changes here, a couple of radical ones there and a little reliance on luck and chance has in fifteen months put me in a better place financially than I was before.

Since plastic bag use was illegalised in Kenya in 2017, I made carrying my own shopping bags when I go shopping a habit. I don’t have to buy new bags everytime. Tuskys Supermarket sells excellent heavy duty cotton bags at Kes 100 (USD 1) . These are washable and reusable .Carrefour also sells shopping bags at Kes 40 (USD 40 cents) each. Replacing an old bag with a new one is free.

I occasionally shop online using a prepaid debit card. I ensure that my card details are not cached to my browser and the card itself is out of my reach. That forces me to look for, find and key in the card details every time I need to make an online payment. That small inconvenience discourages me from making impulse online purchases.

Sale

There will always be a sale somewhere – buy three get one free, new items that come free gifts , stuff like that. I take full advantage of those. I am not loyal to brands. If Ushindi soap is on sale, I will prefer it over, say, Sunlight which is not on sale at that particular moment.

The holiday season has began. As people dream of a white Christmas, all I am dreaming of are ‘Big Sale ‘signs with regards to money.

I buy items I would have bought in future anyway when there is a sale. Premium brand toilet paper and serviettes for instance are usually on sale when they first hit the market. I stock up on those as they don’t have expiry dates.

I love buying and reading books on just about everything. I have an impressive collection .In the past if a book caught my fancy, I would buy it without giving it a second thought. Lately, swapping books with friends makes makes more economical sense. I find it really hard to lend others my books. They are never returned.

I just might organise a book sale or start a library when the attachment I have for my collection wanes.

I rarely watch TV. I have not subscribed to pay TV. I however have access to 20 free-to-air channels. When I have guests over I find a channel that works or a movie.

Free newspapers at work, subscriptions to newspapers sent via email, YouTube and Whatsapp pretty much suffice as my news sources. Watching the news is depressing anyway, at least with newspapers I get to choose consciously what interests me.

I take full advantage of free Wi-Fi zones and download YouTube videos that catch my fancy for offline viewing on my phone. This phone does too much though.

Phone bills contribute to a large chunk of utility bills. I treat my phone bill as I do water and electricity bills – I make monthly payments. I subscribe to a monthly bundled phone plan that lasts an entire month.

To access internet at home,I use my phone as a hotspot. I also have home fiber. My service provider installed the hardware needed free of charge. I only make payments when I want to.

I stopped visiting Abdul the movie guy’s shop. I used to walk in to buy one hyped movie. Somehow he would always convince me to buy four more with the -buy four, get one free marketing gimmick. I would do that twice a month. Can’t remember the last time I saw him though.

This year, my friends in ticketing and events management have come through with complimentary tickets. I have attended FREE functions I enjoyed immensely. Free is good. Much appreciated. Do keep the tickets coming. All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl…Might even do a piece on the good times.

I eat a lot of plant based meals – lots of traditional vegetables and dried legumes. These are fairly priced compared to meat. I include chicken, pork, fish or meat occasionally in my shopping. I also buy six packets of milk and ten eggs a month. Pancakes anyone?

I carry packed meals to work – mid day snacks , a fruit, lunch, a stash of cereal. I thus have control of how much I spend on meals and what I eat.

I reduced my alcohol purchase and consumption. The bottles of wine I have had all year long have mostly been gifts from friends. Keep them coming especially this holiday season. I have actually spent zero bob on alcohol in my house this year. Most of the free alcohol I had was drank by other guests anyway. That’s a win-win right there.

I work on weekends so it is hard to find time, motivation and energy to go out. Closer to the holidays I plan to spend more time with my friends on my days off as I figure that most of my friends will be on leave.

Deliberate effort and some planning will go a long way in making this happen. I realise friendships are like plants, a little time spent tending to important relationships goes a long way.

Personal financial management for me has been less about having random knowledge from fancy books and experts and more about having knowledge -AND USING IT. Changing age old habits has been an uphill task.

I still feel really good when I spend money on things that matter – memorable experiences. Life after all is about moments. Moments like that outing with family at the park, the ‘Black Panther’ movie première that plays out in my mind in 3D (Child: Papa, tell me a story. Father:Millions of year ago…) or the weekend getaway to a breath-takingly beautiful part of Kenya with a friend. Looking forward to many more epic moments in future.

I have read a couple of books and watched a few financial experts who continue to influence my financial choices. I will definitely share the best ones in the coming weeks.

The money journey is personal for everyone I guess. Mine is coming along well. Failure and success in equal measure. The journey continues.

Follow my blog to catch part two of this continuing journey, won’t you?

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Hail a Cab

Taxi hailing app drivers have for the past six months received a lot of flack for poor service, overcharging ,threatening to go on strike ad infinitum and generally being on their worst behaviour.

Despite this,they provide a popular service that beats public transport or the more traditional ‘Njoro wa taxi’ in the neighbourhood.

The interesting thing about the apps is that one driver can have as many apps as he pleases and switch as he fancies.

The switch from one app to another is like a lesson in personality transplants.

On one app,a driver is polite, friendly and quite engaging. On another, he is rather nasty. Going by one driver’s admission, the cheaper the ride ,the worse the quality of service he provides.

When a driver picks a client up using the cheapest app, he doesn’t really take his time to deliver the best service. In fact he only turns on the ‘inferior’ app when making return trips from destinations after dropping clients on better paying apps. As the popular adage goes, ‘you get what you pay for.’

I have heard interesting stories from these drivers since they carry all sorts of characters.

One driver called George narrated his experience in the hands of gun-totting gangsters who stole his vehicle.

So this Saturday evening George parked his vehicle at a popular joint in the city’s outskirts. It was end month and he hoped it would be a busy night.

He got to work at around 10.00 p.m., packed his car at the entrance and waited for his first customer. Just then,this couple who appeared drunk walked past.

He didn’t pay much attention to them and only noticed them again when they walked back in the direction of his vehicle and knocked his window. They said that they needed a ride to an estate a few minutes away. He unlocked the car doors and they got in.

The man sat in the front seat and the lady sat at the back. He asked them to request for the ride and as he was reaching for his phone ,he found himself staring down the barrel of a gun. ‘Hand over your phone and keys and step out of the vehicle.

Just like that,he lost his car. His efforts to recover his vehicle have since borne no fruit. A vehicle can disappear into thin air in Nairobi.

My favourite cab driver to date is Frantz, like Frantz Fannon, author of ‘Black Skins White Masks’ and ‘The Wretched Of The Earth’. When he introduced himself to me, I mentioned that he was named after a really famous author. He already knew that and was  surprised that a random client did too. I mean,this driver is very well read .

I hadn’t signed up for a literary exposition of ‘The Godfather’ by Mario Puzzo or ‘The Bourne Trilogy’ by Ludlum or for an explanation of how so much is lost in translation when a book is adapted into a movie, but that taxi ride was what I needed after a long day at work.  It was like a book club on wheels! This right here has been the highlight of my taxi hailing app experience.

I have met really good drivers and a few slimy ones. Some who will deliberately try to make you pay more than you should by driving slowly, turning off the GPS on their phones or using longer routes where you are likely to run into traffic.

The funniest story I have heard has got to be about a client who requested for a taxi, made a request that the driver starts the trip, pass by the local drug-store where he would talk to the  pharmacist via phone to order for some medicine which the would driver pay for and be reimbursed later on.

The client also asked for a packet of  cigarettes – Dunhill Double Switch- to be exact.  I understand Dunhills are the Mercedes Benz of cigarette brands. Surely, a man who smokes them must be a sophisticated gentleman, a man of his word, the driver thought.

He met the client at a nearby hospital, gave him his medicine and cigarettes, got the payment for the trip and purchases made via mobile money and drove off.

Barely an hour later, Humphrey, the driver walked to a money agent to withdraw the money only to discover that the client had called his service provider and requested for the payment to be reversed.What kind of person does that?

Honesty is truly an expensive gift to expect from cheap people.

Switch from your normal seat on the  back left to the front seat and engage the taxi driver next time you request for a taxi. It just may be the highlight of your day.

 

 

 

People

Inked

What do tattoo artists and bankers have in common? Not much.

Banking is conservative and image is important. The image one portrays to clients matters. It actually can make or break a business deal. Visible tattoos are a definite no-no. Doesn’t mean bankers don’t have tattoos, just means they keep them covered under sleeves, shirts and high collars.

This random Sunday afternoon, I meet a man who has lived his life as a banker and as a tattoo artist- and in his words, is living his best life yet as a tattoo artist.

I got to know about Newton from Facebook. I can’t remember the exact post, but he was tagged on a comment I was reading. I clicked on his name and just kept clicking away. I was intrigued. His work is beautiful, never thought of the human body as a canvas until I began looking at the tattoos he has done. He is talented no doubt

Newton is also on Instagram and has shared quite a number of pictures of his work. I could see that he puts in time, heart and soul into every piece .I had always toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo but the horror stories of pain and botched attempts to create masterpieces I have seen on T.V. that end up looking nothing like what one intended scared me. Looking at his work convinced me that he knows his craft .I contacted him and set up a meeting.

Newton has a ready smile, an easy demeanour and an interesting take on life. This man has lived! I spent about 30 minutes with him and left inspired. Right off the bat I asked Newton how he chose his line of work and how long he has been doing what he does. My assumption was that he had learnt his trade abroad, how wrong I was!

Looking at Newton, one could never quite guess his age. He has what I refer to as ‘Methuselah genes’. He says he has been practising his craft for sixteen years and had held an eight to five job in a global bank for nine years. I guess he could be in his forties though he looks much younger. His story sounds so very ‘unKenyan’ – if that’s even a word.

Banking is repetitive. Processes, rules, regulations and codes abound. An exciting day probably signals that something has gone horribly wrong. One morning, Newton woke up and decided that was not his potion in life. He had had enough of the rat race…punda alikuwa amechoka. He used to work in the cards department. I guess a call from an irate customer or a system glitch that made him work late reconciling some account or other was the straw that broke the camel’s back, I didn’t really ask why he quit. He says he just couldn’t do it any longer. On the day it happened, he woke up early, penned his resignation letter and dropped it at the company’s head office. He did not go back to his work station. That’s what I call a ‘naenda hivi niki come’ exit. With no five-point plan or elaborate strategy, he just up and left. In hindsight, Newton says that was both the dumbest and the best decision he has ever made- he wouldn’t recommend it to anyone though.

Walking out of a job everyone thinks is prestigious takes guts.His mother was livid. I mean, who resigns from a permanent and pensionable job when the unemployment rate is at an all time high?

Choices for the artistically inclined recently jobless man in the early 2000s were few. Most opportunities lay in the beauty industry so getting into it made sense. Male hairdressers were all the rage as female clients seemed to prefer them over their female counterparts. Newton enrolled into one of the beauty colleges in Nairobi. Four months into a nine month course, confident in the skills he had acquired and eager to earn money again, Newton literally walked into his first job.

This Monday morning, bright and early, dressed to the nines, Newton walked into this upmarket salon in a high end mall with the gait of an inspector. As if to show satisfaction with the standards of the establishment, he walked in, walked around, nodded his approval as he ran his fingers on the work surfaces as though inspecting for dust and bugs. The employees there were a little shaken as they did not know who this mystery man was. I mean, he could have been kanjo – the notorious city council officials who shut down business premises for small infractions. He asked to see the owner of the salon.

‘Hello, how may I help you?’ asked a tall white lady with blonde hair.

‘Hello, my name is Newton and I am looking for a job’.

‘Is that how you ask for a job?’ She had been watching him from the time he walked in and was a little surprised by his request.

Newton replied in the affirmative. To cut a long story short, he was given an impromptu interview-a wash and blowdry -which he aced and was hired immediately. His terms were simple-keep the place clean, arrive on time, do a good job and expect no pay- he could keep the tips though.

Newton must have loved this place because he says he was always the first one in and the last one out. He also perfected his hairdressing skills and soon had a steady client base, the tips kept coming. He could at least afford lunch and bus fare.

‘Did I mention that the salon had a spa and tattoo parlour? I used to wake up early and clean that space too. I would ensure that the entire place was clean by 6.45 a.m. every morning. I used to do it on auto-pilot….dust this, move that, sweep here, wipe there – that kind of thing. I worked hard, and I loved it! I was always the first one to get into the salon in the morning and the last one to leave in the evening. Passion I tell you.’

So this morning Newton was cleaning the tattoo parlour as usual. The salon’s tattoo artist had been working late the previous evening and had not cleaned up after he was done. He began to clean as he usually did and got to the tools on the table.He held a tattoo gun in his hand for the first time and that was it! ‘Ding,ding,ding!’. That was his eureka moment. He says he felt like he had been struck by a lightning bolt. He knew exactly what he wanted to do for the rest of his life,I mean, it was all so clear, yet so fuzzy, exciting yet strange.He knew that instant that that tattoo gun held the key to his destiny. How had this been hidden in plain sight all along? He knew he was going to be a tattoo artist.

The enthusiasm with which he embarked on learning everything he could was crazy. During the day he would go to work and spend some time at the tattoo parlour. At night he would accompany a neighbour who worked the night shift to his place of work to have access to the internet. That was before smart phones and home WiFi were the norm. He read everything he could find on tattoos and sought connections in online chatrooms. He ‘met’ someone from the United States to purchase and send him what he needed to set up shop. There was one problem though – money. He needed to send him Kes 40,000 which he did not have.

Newton’s brother had taken an interest in what he was doing and soon joined him in his new pursuit. The two brothers decided to ask friends and neighbours for money. The grand plan was to ask for a thousand shillings from forty people. With a list in hand, they approached the first person on it. He surprisingly lent them the full amount!

When their shipment was delivered, they began to look for work. On a whim they relocated to the coast and put up with a relative for a while. The idea was to capitalise on the tourists who liked tattoos. Their plan worked and slowly but surely, their client base grew ,they began to earn a living from their work .First thing they did was to pay back the money the forty thousand shillings.

Today they work independently, but combine forces on big projects. Newton told me that he does tattoos for foreign troops that visit Kenya. That explained why he insisted that I keep time. He had more client appointments that Sunday afternoon and a full schedule the entire week.

That meeting with Newton certainly got me thinking about my life.

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Life Mimics Art

You know how they say that you learn nothing you can actually put to use in real life from the random books you read in literature class in college ,and also how what we learn at the university is mostly hot air and nonsense? Well, I agree to an extent, that a great number of classes I attended in campus were for the sole reason of passing exams. Still there were the lessons that stuck, lessons that found  real life application a few years on. Whenever  I find practical application of classroom lessons in real life I get this sense of déjà vu.

 

In one of  my Creative Writing classes ,we read a short story by the Frenchman Guy De Maupassant.This story, ‘The False Gems’ is a work of fiction about a  lady described as a paragon of virtue and humility who marries a poor man. Her hobbies included playing with trinkets and going to the theatre. I guess in the 17th century those were typical French past times, nothing sinister about that.

 

The couple  live quite well, until the lady dies. That’s when the poor husband Monsieur Lantin, broke as can be decides to sell off  his late wife’s trinkets at the local jeweller’s. To his shock, he  discovers that what he thought were worthless false gems were indeed precious jewels  worth several thousands francs. He sadly came to the realization that his late wife must have been having an affair with someone richer than him to procure such an extravagant collection. Those gems were worth a fortune! He sells off the ‘false gems’ which were actually the real thing, quits his job and marries a new wife.

accessory amethyst birthstone bright

I believe someone somewhere  today is  living Monsieur Lantin’s life , with the economy being what it is, a classic case of life mimics art. Society hasn’t changed one bit. My summary does not do the story justice though. Follow the link here below and read it yourself if you can, I promise it’s  a good story.

http://www.online-literature.com/maupassant/212/

 

In another class, we had an assignment to read stories from ‘The Reader’s Digest’.  That was my first encounter with Patti LaBelle .The Blues began to make sense from that time on. That lesson added something to my musical repertoire which before was mostly Kapuka Benga ,Soul and Rn’B . Songs aptly capture my mood and most good memories are accompanied by a soundtrack. This week in a very happy moment, Nina Simone’s, ‘It’s a new day’ was the only song that captured the moment. Speaking of Benga, the Crown Prince of Benga-Dan Aceda is launching his fourth album  on 26th of this month. This man’s stage  performance is spectacular! See you there.