genius loci

“The spaces where life occurs are places…A place is a space which has a distinct character. Since ancient times the genius loci, or spirit of place, has been recognized as the concrete reality man has to face and come to terms with in his daily life. Architecture means to visualize the genius loci and the task of the architect is to create meaningful places, whereby he helps man to dwell.”

Christian Norberg-Schulz.


Can one add ‘day dreaming’ to their list of skills on a CV? Because I think I am a professional at it. Just as I’ve noted ‘Professional wanderluster’ on my Instagram bio, I have a penchant (and utmost urgency) for wanting to see the world – as I’m sure we all do. I always manage to find myself on Louis’ and Raya’s YouTube channels on a daily basis to get my much needed dose of inspiration, in hopes that my subconscious will work in my favour and attract more travel in my life. That, and an added bonus of good vibes through my day (which almost always ultimately takes me back to the daydreaming).

Sounds crazy, but have you ever been so immersed in a place or experience that your soul identifies a certain feeling with the place? Nostalgia becomes a different emotion every time if you’re as sensitive as I am to these things. Today I found myself missing how I feel when I’m at The African Heritage House (read the first post here). It’s more than just a house/ museum, but an experience of it’s own. What comes to mind is this book we were made to read for a certain unit in my third year of architecture school, “Genius Loci: Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture”, where the author Christian Norberg-Schulz describes the concept of ‘spirit of place’ or genius loci. Some places can be described to have a strong spirit of place, and this is one of those spaces for me.

I was last there on the afternoon of New Year’s eve, with the intention of starting my new year on a rich note, dismissing the ordinary coffee shop experience (saving it for countdown a few hours later). It was my second visit to the house in the year 2016, and I’m sure I will be a regular in 2017 – perhaps even have lunch or dinner there one of these days. The tour is always a new experience because there’s so much detail you’d always find yourself picking up on something new. It was all the more charming with the delicately themed Christmas decorations, and I guess I was more present and therefore emotionally attached because of the new year clocking in just a few hours. Or maybe because it hits me more every single time that I am surrounded by art from all over the world, I can feel the richness, the presence of history.

There is something about resilience that I find so attractive. In people, things, culture, history. Because these things transcend time and serve a larger purpose. Knowing the history behind this house makes it earn my respect even more each time I go.

Putting up this post is a way of following through with my energy and ambition from 27 days ago. 27 days ago. Can you imagine January is already coming to an end? I hope you have managed to follow through on your goals, I’m trying my best over here 🙂

Let’s keep chasing our dreams, yes?

The African Heritage House

Location: Google Maps link opens in separate tab.
1000 Ksh. for a house tour (accommodation available on inquiry).
More information on their website here.

PS. How great is it that my first article about the house was shared on their website? Scroll to the bottom of the page, just fantastic 🙂 🙂

saturday shenanigans four

It’s been a while, but I’m back now 🙂


12345Life has been dealing me a few blows recently but I’ve been taking them like a champ, or at least I’d like to think so. It’s not as serious as it sounds. Everything is pretty much the same, the only difference is that the expectations I have for myself keep growing tremendously on a daily basis.

The past two weeks have been quite trying – creatively, emotionally, physically.
With all melt downs, it’s like a chain reaction. Starts slow but keeps building up – when one thing doesn’t go according to plan, everything else seems to shut down. One minute I was desperately trying to resolve my project, the next I was second guessing my entire life and abilities 😀 I can laugh about it now but if you know what I mean, then you understand it’s the furthest thing from funny. This two week build up of frustration reached it’s peak somewhere mid last week. It’s now gladly over, and here I am – a phoenix rising from the ashes once more. The ashes don’t symbolize a disastrous finality, but a joyful rebirth. A new chapter – more growth.

I allowed myself to feel the emotions and then tried to unscramble what the cause of this frustration was. At my ‘breaking point’, when I can’t remedy it on my own, it helps when I get some external support – I visited my friend Elsa and cried about how miserable I felt. I kept switching between talking about how, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing with my life’ and then talking about my ridiculous big dreams. Between the tears, tea and butter cookies it hit me – hey, this is all about the expectations I have of myself. It may sound shallow but hear me out. I said to her, ‘I’m so scared of failing’. And she told me something very profound, ‘Whenever I’m scared, I ask myself what do I have to lose. The answer most of the time is usually nothing‘. *Mind blown. Sees the universe in it’s entirety- galaxies floating around in space. Big Bang Theory intro imagery plays before my eyes * DAMN SON! 😀

Shortly after this conversation, I came across this Youtube video that perfectly described what a melt down is. We experience melt downs when we crave growth. You want more out of life – from yourself – and feel stuck when you can’t see or plan the way forward. And the only way to be able to move forward is by putting in work. You will either succeed or die trying. And both options are better than never trying in the first place.

It finally makes sense. With this busy world, sometimes we get carried away in the motions and forget that we are human and growth is an intrinsic part of life. We are built to grow.  And it is a daily process we have to work hard for. You won’t just grow by sitting there feeling unhappy about yourself, you have to get up and feel another kind of pain. Hard work. Perseverance. And repeat it every single day – every single moment. If at first you don’t succeed get yourself up and try again. And as Beyonce aptly put it, slay trick or you get eliminated. Whether you’re an Aaliyah or Beyonce fan you have to see there’s a common thread here.

So after a tough couple of days, and finally understanding what my body, mind and spirit were trying to tell me, I decided to do something nice for myself and had my brother tag along. We spent our afternoon feeding giraffes at The Giraffe Center, drinking tea and topped it off with some dessert at Coldstone. Get this, they have a cake called ‘A cheesecake named Desire’. Best believe that’s what we had and it was delicious. What a way to start off my week ❤

I want to end this post by saying how grateful I am. For life, the people who love me – friends and family. And for the love I feel for them in return. I am grateful for this blog and the continuous growth it keeps pushing me towards. And as a creative outlet that keeps me seeking and attracting more beautiful experiences. For you, and you, and you, and you who keep coming back to read my endless ramblings here! 😀 For everything.

I am grateful for the opportunity to grow each and every day. I now understand more and more every day that I have the ability to make every day better than the previous. It doesn’t matter if I didn’t meet up to my expectations yesterday because I have the chance to change and keep moving forward TODAY. I hope you realize this too. Make today beautiful ❤

PS. This is my 50th post on the blog! Yay!

The Giraffe Center

Open 9:00 AM to 5 PM everyday, including weekends and public holidays.

Entrance charges:
250 Ksh for resident adults,
50 Ksh resident children, and
1000 Ksh non-resident adults.

Location: Google Maps link (opens in separate tab).
More information on their website here.

the hills

“The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything”.

– Theodore Roosevelt.



Random question – Did The Weeknd’s song ‘The Hills’ start playing in your head when you read the title? Is it playing now? Because from the time the thought of going to The Ngong Hills Windmills came to my mind, I found myself humming the melody of the song and singing out, ‘The hills have eyes, the hills have eeeeeyes, who are youuu to juuudge, who are youuu-oouuu-oouuu’. Now do you understand why I dubbed myself comedian on my Facebook page? Haha. I changed it to ‘artist’ because no one seemed to get the joke and it is a more accurate description of who I am anyway. Please like and share the page, I’d really appreciate it 🙂

I type this post with a need to revive my spirit. Of course with the new year, most of us find ourselves reflecting on the previous year – trying to set goals and come up with a plan for a ‘new and improved’ version of ourselves. See I’d always wondered why they’d say that on adverts, ‘new and improved’. It makes sense to me now. Growing up is more than just aging, it should be a process where you keep improving on who you are. A new and improved version of yourself emerges after every chapter of growth. My goal is to open such new chapters on a daily basis because it seems like the only thing that keeps me sane.

Part of the reason why I try to explore and take on more adventures these days is because well, I do struggle with myself. I think we all do sometimes – for me, all the time. It’s not about wanting other people to approve of me, but I want to approve of me. I want to do more things for me. Not for anyone else’s approval or admiration – not for popularity or numbers. I do this for me, to boost up my confidence and get the rush I always get from being my goofy self and still getting things done. From seeing that, me, Fatma, exactly as I am, I can still get things done – and that is a victory. Even the smallest of victories give you that little boost and make you walk with your head held just a little higher.

I do this for me, and post about it here with hopes that someone just as shy, or someone who is struggling to feel better about themselves can see that, “Hey, this goofy chick is sorta trying (because truly I’m just trying so hard) to chase her dreams and maybe I can too”. In moments when you’re craving for growth and progress chap chap, just get started on something small and trust the process. Today, I encourage you to take on more adventures, however small they may be 🙂
And even if you fail, it’s all good because you learn something and you can try again. Which is better than never starting, don’t be too hard on yourself ❤

Ngong Hills Windmills

Entrance – 400 Ksh ( which has to be paid via MPESA on arrival so make sure you have enough money on there).

Dress up warm. If you feel sick, short of breath and develop a headache just go back down in case it is altitude sickness.
Pack a picnic 🙂
Go with great company ❤
And just chill.

You can find more information by following this link.

Happy second week of January!