So here I am, just a few hours before we say goodbye to 2021 for good, and I am writing this round-up like the procrastinator I am. Sigh. I almost didn’t write this round-up, but I saw that I have some time, and here we are.
In a funny way, that’s how my 2021 has been. Meeting obstacles and almost giving up. Almost. Then I get back up, somehow.
I have been in many valleys this year, which is one of reasons I haven’t been blogging as much. To begin with, I started the new year in a whole new environment. I got a job and moved to the capital city where I was a newbie, living in a place with confusing areas and infuriating traffic. I was really forced to grow… away from my comfort zone. The job is absolutely a win, but the settling down was a challenge.
Barely a month into my new job, I developed stomach ulcers and actually thought I was gonna die. I threw up any food that touched my stomach; I was so starved and weak, until we changed hospitals, and a kind doctor finally diagnosed the condition correctly. As if that wasn’t enough, I tested positive for COVID-19 somewhere in July and I kid you not, I was ready to surrender my passwords, my non-existent will and bid farewell. There were some days I struggled to breathe, and at the peak of it, I lost my sense of taste (I discovered this one day as I was drinking black tea with no sugar and lots of lemon, and it tasted like… plain water). It was the pits! But I refused to be hospitalised because I was worried that would slow down my recovery. Instead, I drunk questionable concoctions and tried to keep myself busy with some minor tasks. Thankfully, I had people who checked on me every day, who made the illness much easier. I also think the jab I got prior to catching COVID is the reason why I am still here (and here is a reminder to please get fully vaxxed!).
As I reflect on 2021, I ask myself a question that I think of frequently: why am I here? Why am I still alive? I am a firm believer that each and every one of us was born with a purpose. I believe there is a reason we are alive, when so many others didn’t make it this far and each one of us should find out what that reason is. There is no way we were placed here on earth to just eat, drink, work, sleep and repeat. There must be more to this life. Surely!
Okay, now that’s out of the way, let me get into my usual list:
Top 5 places I visited:
This year, I didn’t travel as much as I wanted. In my mind, I planned to travel during the weekends, but I soon discovered how much I had been lying to myself. I spent most of my weekends catching up with sleep and just resting really, so this year’s list was not difficult to come up with:
I’m even embarrassed to admit this, but I had never been to Senga-Bay till this year. It has always been on my list, but I never got round to it. The place is beautiful, and the sunrise is just a marvel!
Sigelege Beach Resort was also a surprise to me. I loved the interior, and I was very happy to see the effort the owners put into the place.
I really wish I spent more days in Salima, but I hope to someday. I know there are a whole lot more beautiful places to ‘discover’ there.
2. Ntonya Hill
By coincidence, I spent my birthday weekend at home with my family. It was one of my favourite birthdays and I think this is especially cause I did not expect anything from anyone so everything was a total surprise. On the Sunday, we decided to hike Ntonya Hill. It is a hill in Zomba, Sadzi area. As usual, I underestimated the hike (I never learn, guys). I thought it was going to be a very quick hike but I was so wrong! The hike was steep in some places, mostly because the hill is pure rock. At some point, we had to get on our hands and knees, and just crawl. When we finally arrived, we were over the moon! The view was very beautiful and it made the pain feel like nothing. It was a great way to start my new age.
3. Mulanje Mountain
Mulanje to me, is one of the most beautiful districts in Malawi. The scenic tea plantations, the ‘island in the sky’, the streams and rivers… Mulanje is a gem!
I visited Mulanje in December, although we didn’t get to see much of it as we went there for official business. We did go up the mountain one morning and I was reminded of my dream to hike to Sapitwa Peak. One day is one day. I will put away my fear and get myself ready (I will not underestimate the hike this time ‘round!)
4. Maravi Bakery
I am yet to go to more cafes and restaurants in Lilongwe (brokeness, be gone from me!). My friend, Euni and I did manage to go to Maravi Bakery to catch up as she prepared for her wedding and I absolutely loved the place. The croissants were to die for!
It is located off Chilambula Highway, and I am yet to check out their new spot at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre but the pictures I saw gave me serious FOMO!
5. Amaryllis Hotel
A-Mary-Llis. A-Maury-Llis. Ama-Llis. I still don’t know the right way to pronounce this word, because everyone pronounces mmene waimvela lol. Amaryllis Hotel is by far, one of the best hotels in our country. The interior design is what I love the most.
Of course, the view from the pool area reminds us why Blantyre truly deserves to be called a city.
Just FYI, I created a guide on my Instagram on places to visit in Malawi, and a separate one for Zomba. Do check it out, hopefully, I’ll be updating it frequently.
Top 5 books I’ve read:
This year, I did not read as much as I should have. I have really slacked. I actually looked at everyone who hit their target ngati akungofuna kutamika because where do y’all get the time to adult AND read ALL THOSE 50 BOOKS? Teach me your ways! I did get into podcasts tho, so God willing, I’ll create a list of my fav podcasts in the next round-up. Anyway, here is a list of my favourite books this year:
1. I’ll start the list with a tape that I listened to that is one of my all-time favourite sermons by Brother Branham. It is called The Lamb’s Book of Life – 56-0603 and I highly recommend this message. There are so many gems in this book that put many things into perspective for me as a Christian.
2. Helium – Rudy Francisco. I love me some Rudy poetry! Brilliant book. You can check him out on YouTube, his spoken word is equally good.
3. Funny You Should Ask – the QI Elves. This is one of those “Did You Know” books, but written in a fun way. Very random but interesting.
4. Home Body – Rupi Kaur – another poet I never get tired of. At first I thought, “huh, this one set the bar so high with Milk and Honey, will they ever release a poetry book as good?” So glad I was proved wrong!
5. An old classmate of mine, Frank Chidampamba released a very ‘blunt’ book called “Install the Happiness Software in You”. I really enjoyed the honesty and self-reflection the book forced me to have. I do hope more Malawians publish books. We need more authentic stories from Malawi (mukumva ma writers? Ulesi usiyeni mu 2021!).
10 songs on repeat in 2021:
- He’ll Hold You – Selah
- A Prayer for Grace – Morgan Harper Nichols
- I Made It – Jonathan McReynolds
- God Will Work It Out – Maverick City Music
- Changing – Sarah Mwakikunga
- Proud – Influence Music
- Victorious – Christian Kalambaie
- All Present and Accounted For – Sheri Lafontaine, The Lafontaines
- Muli Nane – Wambali (Rest in Peace to one of Malawi’s greatest)
- He Has Time – Common Hymnal, Jamie Macdonald
I made a Spotify playlist which you can find here.
And there is my list! What an interesting year it has been. I hope you look back and see how grace has carried you through.
As we enter 2022, may this be your best year yet. Full of wins. Fewer L’s, more time spent doing the things that make your heart glad. May your cup run over, and may you reap what you’ve been sowing (you’ve been sowing, right? Right???? 👀). I also hope you find your purpose and pursue it.
Happy new year! Thank you for stopping by!