Whenever Q&A time comes around at the end of every month, I am so grateful for those of you who look to me for advice on key life decisions, or just want to find out random things about what’s happening on my end. It’s a true reminder of how lucky I am to have a following that I can truly connect with, and who are in turn happy to connect with me. For March’s Q&A, I got some recurring popular questions, but also some new ones that I enjoyed reflecting on and answering. Check them out!
Moving to & Living in Kenya
How did you and Jonathan prepare for the move to Kenya, mindset and all?
I don’t think we did a lot of prep regarding mindset. Jonathan wanted to be closer to his family. I didn’t really care what I was doing as long as I was no longer in school. The only thing we specifically discussed was creating family boundaries. We were going to be living much closer to family than either of us had before, and would have a child, so we discussed how we wanted to protect the sanctity of immediate family time and space. Jokes on us because now I can’t wait for the weekends to roll around so we can take the kid to grandma’s house!
What did you find essential to move with when you moved to Kenya?
Nothing turned out to be absolutely essential, but if you already own things — whether clothing or furniture or otherwise — I’d come with them just so you’re not having to figure out where to buy stuff on top of all the other adjustments. Plus goods have the potential to be more expensive in Kenya than in the US.
How is life in Kenya and what is the best part about it?
Haha this is a question I’ve answered at least 5 times before but for my most recent thoughts, check out this video.
What’s your favorite vacay spot in Kenya? I’m looking to go soon!
Well you should definitely come for the Safe Journey Retreat rather than planning a vacation by yourself! But I think it depends on what vibe you want — a luxury tented safari trip would be wonderful if you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime/splurge experience (which I haven’t done yet but is on my list!). If you’re a beach person, then Lamu is ideal for a couples trip because it’s quieter and more idyllic, while Watamu, Kilifi, and Diani (dang, I’ve actually been all up and down the coast!) are all great for beach + sightseeing adventures.
How are you feeling emotionally about the third wave of COVID?
Very much over it at this point and looking forward to getting vaccinated.
Do you cook Kenyan dishes? What’s your favorite meal?
No, I don’t cook Kenyan dishes regularly. I have cooked a few things a few times, but our nanny is a whiz on the veggies so she usually makes the sukuma and kunde and whatnot, and Jonathan makes the ugali because when I was growing up, my dad did the hard work of making the fufu/eba so I don’t believe in slaving over swallow lol. My favorite Kenyan food is chapati. Which technically isn’t Kenyan. So yeah, not a huge fan of Kenyan food. Nyama choma slaps though!
Are you buying your house in Kenya or in the US?
Either, or, or both! We’re making all sorts of plans and still trying to figure out what makes the most financial sense.
Have you considered settling permanently in Kenya?
When are you coming to New York?
Motherhood & Marriage
What has been your favorite experience as a mom?
It changes week to week anytime my son does something new, but right now, having him walk up to me and give me the hug is the sweetest, most heartwarming feeling.
Would you let your child be part of a kids art class, despite the COVID pandemic?
Should I be worried that my toddler is neither standing nor walking at 16 months?
That’s a question for your pediatrician.
What do you recommend I use to treat my toddler’s teeth?
Also a pediatrician/dentist question! This is my first kid and I’m just winging it. I’m also not a medical doctor!
What is your kid’s name?
I share it in this video!
You totally don’t have to answer this, but what is your ideal number of kids?
I’d love a girl and right now am willing to give it one more shot but if we’re lucky enough to conceive again and it’s a boy, it will likely just be a wrap lol.
Was breastfeeding tough for you? Any advice for expectant moms?
I was lucky enough not to have any issues breastfeeding. My mom was here when I gave birth and she was, in her past life, a delivery nurse, so she basically grabbed my boob one day and positioned it correctly and taught me how to breastfeed. I do have a blog post with breastfeeding tips for new moms!
How did you manage pregnancy, marriage and school?
I was only pregnant and in school for 4 months and I was hyper-focused on just finishing my dissertation. But during that season Jonathan stepped up and took over almost all household duties, and we also used a meal delivery service so we wouldn’t have to think about food.
How do you know you’re ready for marriage?
Hmm, I don’t know if there is one particular answer here. I do think it has way more to do with emotional and psychological readiness rather than physical or milestone-dependent readiness.
As an intercultural couple, did you have any issues uniting your families?
I’ve written about our navigation of cultural and family differences here. In sum, my parents were hesitant initially but once Jonathan proved himself to him and showed he was a serious and upstanding man, it’s been smooth sailing ever since.
School & Work
What should a personal statement look like in an application to an Ivy League university?
It should look like a personal statement in an application to any school. Explain who you are and how that has shaped how you engage with and think about the world, and how you want to contribute to it.
Any tips on securing doctorate scholarships for an international student? I’m from Guyana.
We share scholarships each month in Cohort Sistas, and make it a point to find ones that international students are also eligible for! Join here.
How are the postdoc applications going?
I submitted everything. Should have a final update soon!
If possible, can we have videos every week?
I really do try to get videos up weekly, but I have a lot going on and sometimes miss a week or two. The goal is every week though.
How do you balance sharing just enough on Instagram, while maintaining a private life?
Talked about that in this post at length, but I think just being confident in who I am and having boundaries has helped me be ok with the fact that there will always be people who want more from me but I am in no way, shape, or form obligated to give them anymore than I already do.
Read more school & work content.
Blogging & Content Creation
Do you have any advice for a creative trying to get noticed?
Think outside of the box and create differently than other people. Collaborate with other people. But most importantly, be yourself and show your personality. Today, outfits aren’t what get people noticed. Personality, captions, artistic and out of the box thinking — that’s what does.
Read more blogging content.
Hair, Skincare & Style
Your hair is just blessing us!
Thank you!!! She’s blessing me too!
Do you have any favorite hair products?
What’s your hair routine?
I honestly, truly, do not do anything to my hair. I can’t overstate this enough. The fro you see is from when I took down my stitch cornrows and I did not wash or comb my hair, nothing. I put on a bonnet at night and take it off in the morning. If you’re looking for a step-by-step process of what I do in a month, check out this post.
Do you think the food, atmosphere, and sunshine in Kenya have contributed to your thriving hair?
Maybe, but I don’t think so. I’m not outside that much so I don’t think it has to do with the sun or atmosphere. I would say having a baby was probably the greatest contribution to my thriving hair. Both in terms of pregnancy hair growth and because I do WAY less to my hair now that I have a kid. A sis doesn’t have time for anything besides a monthly salon visit — which in fairness, I can afford now because I’m in Kenya.
Are you going to put any color in your hair?
Yes! Hopefully soon. Still strategizing.
Can you share your skincare routine?
How do you deal with hyperpigmentation?
I have a few posts on hyperpigmentation here.
What’s your favorite lipstick color?
Ooh that’s tough! I haven’t worn lipstick in forever. I honestly can’t even think of a favorite now, but the first that comes to mind is Fenty Stunna.
Read more style & beauty content.
How have you been?
Busy (somewhat frantically), but grateful at all the different ways God is moving in my life!
What music are you loving right now?
Random fact about me: I’m not much of a music person. I’m never up to date on new music. I like to do work in silence. What I listen to most these days is BINGO by Little Baby Bum lol.
Biggest lessons from your twenties? I just turned 20 and I need tips!
I have a whole blog post on lessons from my twenties!
Why weren’t you allowed to go to birthday parties growing up?
To quote Mama and Papa Eboh, “your friends are not your friends.” LOL. My parents were very protective and believed that the people we went to school with — mostly affluent white people — were not our “true” friends and thus we didn’t need to socialize with them. But mostly because they came from a culture where you know people’s families and since we lived somewhere where they didn’t know someone’s parents, or how they were raised, they weren’t comfortable having their kids spending significant time with them. We went to church friends’ bday parties though!
How can I overcome being shy when I speak English because of my accent? I’m from Congo and I live in the US.
I wish I had a good answer for this but I don’t think I ever had an accent since I grew up in the US. I think something to remember is that your accent does not reflect your intelligence, even when people try to make it sound like it does. I remember vividly convos where my parents would be on the phone with someone — say a utility company — and the person on the line would insist that they couldn’t understand my parents. Americans are pretty lazy and unwilling to stretch their ears a bit when it comes to language and accents, so I would just continue to persevere and don’t internalize their inability to understand you as a reflection of who you are. It’s their fault they can’t understand you, not yours!