Monday, December 31, 2007

End of 2007

Happy New Year in advance to all the bloggers and readers out there! I hope you had a lovely time at Christmas and you are looking forward to a lot of good things in 2008. It’s my last post in 2007 and I pray that the New Year will be a year of peace, joy and fulfilment for us all. Amen.
I had been unable to blog for a long while because I've been so busy running up and down. And then I came down with a bout of malaria the week before Christmas. It was horrible being ill during that week because I missed out on so many fun events happening around me including a wedding of two of my very good friends.

I had planned to write a completely different post, but in a moment of reflection this morning, I started thinking about the past year. So 2007 has drawn to a close, it proves again how quickly time flies. This year I had many ups and down moments in many aspects of my life. There were times when I felt so close to God and I could feel His love surrounding me on every side. And then there were times that I felt that God was very far away or He was ignoring me. I had times of happiness, hope and peace, and there were also times of utter despair and discouragement. But through it all, God remains faithful. And it is during the frustrating and difficult times that I have grown, and moved up to a higher level in my faith and journey with God.

Still, I have many things to be thankful to God for in 2007. I’m thankful for life, health, my mum’s life, my wonderful hubby, my new career, my family and in-laws, my friends, my experiences and my many answered prayers.

At the beginning of the year I had plans of how I wanted things to turn out but some things have turned out very differently. In some aspects, the course of my life has changed completely. In many ways, I have grown and I’m grateful for that. I feel like I’m in my purpose now and I can move forward confidently, knowing that I’m going in the right direction.

I’m sure that most people have goals, ambitions, aspirations and targets for 2008. I have mine too, some in my spiritual life, some in my career, some in my personal life. I’m realising though that some things are up to me, while some others are totally out of my control. But I’m promising myself that I will do all that I can to achieve the goals I want, and leave the ones I can’t control to God.

Okay enough of my sober reflections; I hope you are all having fun during this festive season. In Nigeria, it is full-on wedding season. I’ve lost count of the number of invitations I’ve received in the last two months, as in they are just too many. Last week, a friend of mine had six weddings in one day and she had to attend all of them. There are several other events happening too, my friends have been dragging me to high school reunions, engagements, house warming parties, cinema trips, concerts etc. I’ve been having a great time though so I’m not complaining. I went for the Sound City Blast Party just before Christmas and I enjoyed myself so much. There is talk of a blogger party happening early in the new year too. I’ll try to attend that because I want to meet some of my favourite bloggers.

I'm still trying to decide if I should go for a watch-night service tonight to usher in the new year, or I should just have a long conversation with God in my room. (It's funny, recently the way I approach prayer changed: it's not a religious ceremony, it's more like a conversation going on in my mind with my Father. It's fun, you should try it!). Whatever you decide to do, I hope you step into 2008 in peace and joy. I know it's going to be a great year!!

Happy Year 2008!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Only in Nigeria

I think I've given up asking some questions. Every time I make an observation, I get funny looks from the people around me. Like the day I was in traffic and I asked "Don't people know the roundabout rule?" or when I asked "How come the roads don't have pavements?". So I have decided to stop asking. It doesn't mean I have stopped observing though, it just means I am making a mental note in my head to jot down later.

I'm currently reading Teju Cole's book, "Everyday Is for the Thief" and it rang so true, almost as if I wrote it myself. His descriptions are so vivid and the observations about life in Lagos are on point. I guess some things may not be so obvious to someone who lives in this wonderful city, but to outsider eyes, there are many things that immediately strike you as odd or interesting. If you haven't read it, I would encourage you to do so.

Well apart from that, I'm enjoying Lagos with it's many ups and downs. I feel like I have to "re-learn" my culture. Which is something I find really strange. While living in England, I felt like I was trying so hard to hold on to everything that made me a Nigerian. But now that I'm back in Nigeria, I feel somewhat like an outsider. And I haven't even been away for that long! I can imagine that there are other people like me who feel that way, who have been outside the country for much longer. Do you experience a culture shock when you went back home after a few years? I don't even know whether that's a good or bad thing.

I think a lot of people who migrate don't know or expect the full extent of changes they will go through in a foreign country. You know you experience a different climate, different food and so on. But you don't really expect the changes that happen within you. How you start seeing things differently. How you start adopting the view and cultures of your new surroundings. And then suddenly when you visit your home country you feel like you are seeing things for the first time.

Well I would end my little moment of "deep thinking" here. Just until I come back online. Stay blessed and favoured!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Nigerian Police, Other Stuff

I’m still blogging from the Motherland and I’ve got things to say. So much has happened since my last post. I wish I was carrying a video recorder around, so that I could have a video diary of my experiences daily. It would be interesting to watch it over and over again.

I've been stocking up and reading lots of books by contemporary Nigerian writers. I went into a bookshop the other day and I was really pleased to see a huge shelf dedicated solely to Nigerian authors, mostly newly published ones. I bought seven books and I've already read three books and I'm on the fourth one. Seems like I can't get enough of them. And it's good because they really do inspire me. I've got my eye on a few more and I hope I can get them before I leave. Speaking of writing, I've come to respect people who do creative work in Nigeria. I appreciate that it is not easy for any profession, but it is especially hard for anyone to stick to a career in Writing, Music or Arts. In the pressure to survive by all means, the first thing that goes out of the window is creativity and desire to follow your passion. What if that passion does not guarantee a regular income like other jobs? Best thing is to bury that talent and look for something else to do. So great kudos to those people who are sticking with their passion, irrespective of the economic situation of the country.

Nigerian Police
Last week, I was thinking: it's been great to be in Nigeria for seven weeks without encountering police trouble. Seems like I spoke too soon, because the very next day, we got stopped by the rogues wearing police uniform. My aunt and I had gone out with the driver and we were returning home when we were stopped by four policemen at a check point. I asked them what was wrong and they said we had passed a one-way street. A one-way street! Several other cars were going before us and after us, but they didn’t disturb those ones, they decided to disturb us. They asked us to park and they started asking us questions: Did we not know this was a one-way street? No we didn’t. Did we not see the sign? Which sign? Where? Are we aware of the punishment for breaking traffic laws in Lagos State? No we are not.

With great glee, one of them explained to us: “For breaking the law, we will take you to the police station where we will give you a fine of 25,000 naira, we will impound the car, and we will require the driver to take a mental health test. He will have to bring the test results to us and confirm that he is fine before we release him. After that, we will wait six months, and you would have to pay another 15,000 naira before the car will be released to us.”

I could not believe what I was hearing. My aunt was trying to explain that we really did not know the street was now a one-way, when one of the policemen pulled open the passenger side of the car and jumped in. Then he said he would pardon our offence and let us go free if we give him and his colleagues 15,000 naira!! In essence he was saying, give us a 15,000 bribe here and now and we’ll let you go, or follow us to the station and face the penalty. Well I wasn’t about to give anybody 15,000 naira for nothing. My aunt started begging the policemen while I sat in the car fuming. We were in this deadlock for almost thirty minutes, the policemen issuing threats and my aunt trying to plead with them. ? Eventually my aunt had to pay them off with a third of the amount they asked for, so that they could release us to go on our way. I was so angry and sad. What kind of society do we live in when people who are supposed to be the ones upholding the law are the thieves and extortionists, harassing decent citizens? What will it take for the Nigerian police force to do their job and stop abusing their powers? Is this how corrupt our society is? God help us.

Mum’s Progress
On to other stuff. My mum is back home now, she came back early last week. I’m really glad with the progress she has made. I went with her for her medical check-up when she arrived and her doctor said she is recovering well. She just needs to practice some gentle exercises and have lots of rest and soon, she’ll be as good as new. I’m still keeping an eye on her though, so that she doesn’t stress herself unnecessarily. It is a tough environment to survive in.

The Experience
I attended the Experience concert yesterday and it was a real experience. My friends and I decided to get there early so as to get a good space, but by the time we got there, it was so crowded! It was a struggle getting into the main arena itself and then it was a scramble to get chairs to sit on. But it was all worth it in the end. We enjoyed the music and the acts that came to perform all night. I particularly loved Don Moen, Cece Winans, Tye Tribett, Mike Aremu and Bishop TD Jakes. There were three other acts I don’t remember, probably because I had to sit down at some point to catch my breath! I met a few old friends there, some I could only wave to amongst the crowd, and some I could actually get close to, close enough to chat briefly. We were there from 7pm till about 5am. I had fun although I was really grateful when I got to my bed this morning!

Let me round up my ramblings at this point. I hope everyone is having a great weekend. Hope to be able to blog again soon!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Aye Ole - Infinity

I've been missing for a while, due to many reasons. My internet access at home is not so reliable, and I'm so reluctant to go and update my blogs in the dodgy internet cafes around here. The last time I went into one, I experienced such a horrible nightmare, but that is another story for another day.
Anyway I recently bought the Infinity Olori Oko CD cos I had been hearing about their music when I was in London and I liked what I heard. I've enjoyed listening to it, I think their songs are thought-provoking, interesting, uplifting and encouraging. By far the best track on it is "Olori Oko", but I also love "Aye Ole" and "Only Praise". Anyway if you can, go get the album. Here is a video of their fourth track, Aye Ole:


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Funeral and Churches

I finally get to blog again, thank God. I have been very busy in the last few weeks; I’ve hardly had the chance to pause for a moment to gather my thoughts and blog about stuff. Hubby was around for a bit, and I was so happy to see him! I had missed him badly. The first thing he said when I went to pick him up at the airport was: “You’ve now got a tan!” which I though was quite amusing. Apparently I have acquired a tan while sitting in the heavy Lagos traffic. I had lots of fun while he was around and it was a bit strange because both of us had never been in Nigeria together until now. He’s gone back now, but I still have things to do so I’m still in Nigeria.

Then my grandma’s funeral was last week. I went to Ibadan where all the events were taking place. I spent the whole week running around getting things done at the last minute. Thank God in the end, everything went well. We all got a bit emotional during the church service and when we were at the cemetery. And it is hard to think that someone who was alive two months ago, is now gone. But life must go on. It makes me stop to think though. What is the real meaning of this life? If you consult the writer of Ecclesiastes, mostly he says that everything is meaningless. That is, without God, everything is meaningless and fleeting. That is something to reflect on.

I'm back in Lagos now and I’m still absorbing some of the funny things I see in Nigeria on a daily basis. Something that has struck me since I’ve been around is the number of churches there are. On almost every street, there is a church, sometimes even two or three! Churches and fellowships have sprung up in the most unlikely places, including old warehouses, a disused sports field, a Sweet Sensation restaurant, several uncompleted buildings, and the house next door. Then, there are also countless billboards, posters and flyers on the roads advertising this or that prayer meeting, healing service, special programme, revival, seminar, etc. I don’t know what to make of it. Is it that Nigerians are now far more religious than before? If that is true, then why does it not reflect in our mentality, character and attitudes? Or perhaps is it that churches are now big money-making businesses, selling prayers and numbing the minds of people with lots of motivational speaking? I’ll throw that question open to the public.

Now I personally have no grudges against churches. After all, I’m a Christian too. But I had it up to the neck two weeks ago and had to go and have a word with the church next door. This church is right next door to the house I’m staying, and they are quite annoying. Or perhaps I should say they are VERY annoying. Every single day of the week, at all hours of the day, they have a meeting or an event. And they make so much noise! They go on and on for hours with their annoyingly loud PA system, disturbing the neighbourhood. Imagine how much noise they make when we have to shout to hear ourselves in our own house. Everybody in the street complains about them, but nobody had ever done anything about it. I had joined in the grumbling for some time, but one day it was the last straw. Early in the morning, around 5.00 am one Friday, they started singing and clapping, abruptly disturbing my sleep and waking up the whole neighbourhood. I was soooo angry because I had a headache and it was as if their noise was right inside my head. I couldn’t sleep another wink so I had to listen to their noise until 9.00am. Finally the person bellowing into the microphone shut up and I was finally able to have some peace. The rest of my day was going well until 8pm when they started preparing to have a night vigil! Everybody in the house started complaining and hissing. After an hour I couldn’t bear the noise any longer. I could not imagine going to sleep with that racket right beside my window so I decided to pop down to the church to ask them if they could turn down their microphone.

You would not believe what happened next. I stepped into the church and a man sprang up from his seat. While I was still trying to explain why I was there, he said that I had committed an abomination by wearing trousers in the house of God! I had gone there with the intention of making a polite request but when I heard that statement, I became livid. What? I told him he should not tell me such rubbish, and anyway I hadn’t come to join their service, I just wanted some peace and quiet next door. The guy then said I should go and drink Phensic and fall asleep. I was like “What?!” The next thing I knew, I was surrounded by people. Some were saying that I had no respect for the house of God. Somebody asked me if I didn’t know their time table as they had a vigil every month. Another person said that I might end up in an early grave if I was not careful. I talked back to all of them. We stood arguing outside the church for almost 30 minutes because I was not going to take such rubbish talk from anybody- usher or not. Eventually one of the elders came out to find out the cause of the disturbance and I told him all what had happened and he agreed to turn the volume of their PA system down. I’m not proud of what I did, but I thought it was about time the church knew that their neighbours are not made of wood. They can’t just be making so much noise because they are the “house of God”. Besides aren't Christians supposed to love their neighbours?

Well I have some errands to run, so I've got to go off in a minute. I just want to say many thanks to those nice people that sent me an email, you know who you are. God bless you!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Update and Adjustments

Many thanks to everyone who left me a comment on my previous post. Sorry I can’t reply to everyone individually! Apologies for the long delay in updating my blog. I have been unable to blog for a while since I got to Nigeria. I had to leave rather quickly, so I didn’t have time to leave an ‘explanatory’ post. I have been in Lagos since the first of October, readjusting to the stressful and hectic pace of life. Internet access where I am at the moment is a bit sketchy, so I have been unable to come online as frequently as I would have liked. Plus I don’t really want to blog from other people’s computers, it just doesn’t feel right.

My trip was quite cool; I had been dreading it due to the horror stories I hear from friends and family who travel to Lagos. Everything was fine, from checking in, departure, to take off, to landing, going through baggage pick up and meeting my family at the airport. That is, until we left the arrival terminal and some guys tried to extort some money from my dad at MMA, over a parking space at 6.30 in the morning! I just shook my head when my dad said “Well that’s your rude welcome back to Nigeria”.

After a day here, I’ve realised that I’m addicted to the internet! I’ve been experiencing withdrawal symptoms from my emails, blogspot, facebook and a host of other websites that I visit regularly. Practically all of my communication with friends is done online, most of my social life is organised online and any information I need to find is googled and found straightaway. Not being able to come online often here is sooo boring. LOL.
I went to an internet café the other day and I nearly cried with frustration. I spent three hours and still did not achieve anything tangible. The connection was sooooo slow, it was unbelieveable. It was as if every page took twenty minutes to load. Since then I’ve been pestering my family to renew their home internet subscription.

I’ve been here for almost three weeks now and I have mixed feelings. Since I’ve been back, I’ve met my in-laws, many of whom I hadn’t met before. I’ve also hooked up with some of my old friends and met a blog pal – Writefreak! That was a lot of fun. We found out that we have so much in common; we were talking for ages for so long that we lost track of time. We’ll definitely meet up again before I leave. I’m missing my hubby though – we haven’t been apart for this long before, although we talk on the phone everyday.

It’s been fun readjusting to Nigeria and all the things it represents. When I met up with Writefreak the other day, I made us go to Tantalisers because I really wanted to eat those snacks that I had missed for so long! I’m sure some people in there thought I was a complete bush girl, getting excited over meatpies, donuts and scotch-eggs, lol. I went with my sister-in-law and her husband to C-Royal to have some nostalgic treats. I’ve also been going to all the newer places I had been hearing of but I hadn’t seen. I went to see a movie with a friend at the Silverbird Galleria, went to Shoprite and some other places on the island. Lots of things in Lagos have changed.

Some things in Nigeria haven’t changed one bit though. When I first arrived, I thought everywhere looked strange and then it all gradually began to feel a bit familiar – the erratic power supply, the appalling state of the roads, news and allegations of financial scandals in government, the mosquitoes, terrible traffic and general lawlessness on Lagos roads, police extorting money from road users, terrible customer service, etc. Yep, some things haven’t changed.

At the moment, I’m helping my dad with my grandma’s burial arrangements, and I’ve offered to write a short tribute to her. In the next few weeks, things will start to come together. Hopefully it will all go very well.

I’m looking forward to hubby’s arrival very soon and meeting some more of my friends, when they have finished forming “busy busy” for me. I hope I’ll be able to blog again soon sha, if I can wade through the protocols to get to the internet café, LOL. Until then, stay blessed!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Emotional Roller Coaster

It's like I've been on an emotional roller coaster in the last few days. I thought last week was full of highs and lows, until this week began! And it's not even over yet. I've already had good and bad news in the space of three days. Oh dear heavenly Father, help me before I drown! OK, enough with the theatrics, FG, get to the point of this blog.

Hubby and I had a nice time at the Christian Blog Awards last Friday. It was an honour to be invited to the event, as it was the first of its kind. We met so many people: the Bishop of London was there, journalists, other Christian bloggers, people from Premier Radio, and so on. Hubby and I sat on a table with a team from a church in Surrey, they were nominated for the Best Church website award, and it was really nice to chat with them throughout the ceremony. We had a champagne reception and a four-course dinner which was very nice. After the meal, it was time for the awards to be presented. Winners got a trophy and a chance to give a small speech. I was quite nervous when the list of nominees were being called out. I didn't win in my category, but I was the runner-up! I got a certificate with my name on it, which I am proudly looking at now. Here's a list of the awards and the winners:

Best Creative Christian Blog or Website - Dave Walker at http://www.cartoonchurch.com/
Most Inspiring Leadership Blog - Colin Adams with http://www.unashamedworkman.wordpress.org/
Best Christian Newcomer blog - Dr. Krish Kandiah http://krishk.wordpress.com/
Best Young Christian Blog (under 25) - Emily Woods with http://www.unfurlingflower.blogspot.com/
Best Church Website - King’s Church, Manchester http://www.makingjesusfamous.org.uk/
The Most Original Worship Blog - Worship Central- http://www.worshipcentral.org/
Best Provision for Youth Website - Soul Survivor http://www.soulsurvivor.com/
Best Christian News and Reviews Site - http://www.christiantoday.com/
Best Christian Social Action Website - http://www.stopthetraffik.org/
Most Successful Evangelistic Blog - http://www.rejesus.co.uk/
People’s Choice Award - http://www.mindandsoul.info/

After the awards were given out, the presenters thanked the judges, sponsors and everyone that made the event successful and the evening came to a close with a prayer. We got lovely goody-bags to take home filled with worship CDs, DVDs, chocolates, and lots of other treats. I'm glad I attended and got to mingle with lovely people. Many thanks to the good people at Premier Christian Radio for organising the awards and inviting me.

The rest of my weekend went well, I attended a friend's wedding on Saturday and that was lovely. So I was just feeling much better and my mood had only just lifted when I got some more bad news on Monday night! My grandmother had passed away on Monday afternoon. I can't describe all the emotions I'm dealing with right now. It's a mixture of sadness, disappointment and regrets. Mostly because death is so final, at least on this side of eternity. She was 79, and we were already talking of marking her 80th birthday, but that's not going to happen now. Since Monday, the memories of her have been swirling around my mind. The last time I saw my grandma was in 2005 and I've been wishing I saw her more often, I've been wishing I spoke to her more often and so on. I wish I'd I let her know I love her. I wish I had known she was ill. I wish I had seen her one more time. I pray her soul rest in perfect peace. She was a wonderful woman.

So I've been making plans to attend her funeral. If all goes well, I should be in Nigeria by next week. I haven't been home for a while and I do wish I was travelling under different circumstances, but what can I do? We just have to deal with the things life throws at us sometimes.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Criticism and Nominations

What a week I've had. I had been having a bit of writer's block so my work wasn't flowing very well and I got frustrated. I was feeling guilty because I spent all week in front of my computer and I still didn't have much to show for it. Then I finally finished writing the second chapter of my book and got negative comments! I was quite discouraged, to be honest. I had got good feedback with the first chapter and I was excited because that encouraged me to think I was good at writing. Now what? I was hoping I would continually improve with my work, not get worse. The truth is the criticism is quite valid too, which makes it more crushing. Gosh, dealing with criticism is so hard because I feel the person is critical of me and not just my work. I guess I have to go back to the drawing board and really assess what I'm trying to achieve with my writing. Maybe I should leave it for a while and come back to it when I feel better.

Then I got some bad news that made me sad for a couple of days. When I couldn't bear it any longer, I went on my knees to pray about it, and God gave me His peace. So I feel much better. The issues are still there, but I feel God's grace and assurance that He is with me no matter what happens. I'll be alright, I need to trust God to work everything out in His own time and in His own way.

Thank God I've got something nice to cheer me up at the end of this week. My Journey Down the Aisle blog was shortlisted for one of the categories in the Premier Christian Blog Awards so I'll be attending the dinner and award ceremony tonight! I'm taking hubby with me and I'm really excited about it. Well a lot of the stuff I've been writing on the blog is about him so it's only fair. He's also been patient with me when I'm glued to my laptop and I appreciate that. I would never have imagined though, when I started that blog that an organisation such as Premier Radio would find it interesting at all. I just started writing it for my sisters to read about my relationship and maybe learn a thing or two. I've been surprised with the response I've got from people who've read it. I hope I win the award but even if I don't, I'm still excited to attend the ceremony, wine and dine and meet a lot of inspiring people. I'll take my camera with me, so I'll try to get a couple of photos if I can. Should be fun!

I've also got a friend's wedding to attend tomorrow. Between now and the end of the year, six of my friends are getting married. I love weddings though and since I'm not under pressure anymore, I just enjoy the celebrations. So I'm looking forward to a nice weekend- I really need it. Hope you have a nice weekend too.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Another Start

So I begin another year on blogger now. It's almost unreal that time has flown by so quickly.(Thanks everyone for coming to the anniversary party, it was fun!). I hope we will all still be blogging for many years to come. Although I can imagine how much technology will change in the next few years. Perhaps, blogging will not be as popular as it is now. Perhaps some other Internet phenomenon will come around and take its place. Like we've seen with the social networking sites hitting the news almost everyday now. My parents' generation would never have imagined where the world is now, when they were in their 20s. I can't imagine too, where the world would be, by the time my children are in their 20s. Communication and technology will be so vastly different to what's the hype at the moment. My goal is to keep up to date with the technology, so that I won't end up like the 60-year olds of our time who don't know how to send an email or a text message!

Speaking of those social networking sites, has anyone noticed that hi5 is now copying Facebook lately? Before Facebook became so popular, hi5 didn't have a lot of features. Now I just checked my hi5 account after many months of neglect and I noticed that hi5 now has the photo-tagging facility, mutual friends, activity and news feeds, and some other features which were exclusive to Facebook before. I don't blame them sha, somebody only has to come up with a good idea and before long, other people copy it.
I spend so much time on Facebook right now, even I am getting worried. I only have to be away from my laptop for a few hours, and as soon as I log back in, I have to login to Facebook to see what's been happening since I left. Oh no I'm addicted! Somebody please tell me there's a cure for this. I may have to go cold turkey and not sign into Facebook for a few weeks, otherwise at this rate, my life would be more virtual than real. I suspect the interest will fizzle out after a while, fingers crossed.

Hubby and I were invited by a couple of our British friends to come on holiday with them to Prague. We agreed to go, but we told them not to book the flight tickets yet because we would need to apply for visas. They looked shocked! They could not imagine why we would need visas just for a short weekend trip. We had to start explaining to them that even though we are resident in the UK, we are not citizens, so we are still subject to passport and immigration control. They were just saying "So you mean you have to plan holidays in advance?" "So you mean you cannot fly to Prague as a last minute trip?" "You mean you need permission to go to Europe?" and so on. In the end, hubby and I just shook our heads. They just didn't get it. I now realise that they can never understand what it means to be a foreigner living in the UK. It has never happened to them. It got me thinking about so many situations that people try to explain to you, but until you have experienced the situation for yourself, you cannot understand where they are coming from. For example: If someone has just lost a parent, can you understand how they feel, if both your parents are still alive? If someone has just been told they have terminal cancer, can you really put yourself if their shoes? I doubt it. Even when I went with my mum to her physiotherapy session, the exercises they told her to do looked so easy to me, but she was finding them difficult. I had to remind myself that she is not as strong as me, so I shouldn't expect her to be able to do those exercises so easily.

I'm beginning to question my own fitness levels anyway. I went for an hour-long exercise class two days ago and I still feel uncomfortable! Now it's going to take me longer than I thought to get back to the level of fitness I'm dreaming of: where I can run for a bus or train and not get out of breath. Maybe I should keep dreaming... lol

Friday, September 7, 2007

One Year on Blogger!


Wow, it's been a year since I started blogging! I've had so much fun in the past year writing and reading other people's blogs. It's been like a hobby, a passion, a job and an addiction rolled into one. I didn't start blogging with any particular purpose in mind, but it's been a very interesting experience so far. It's been fun writing things that come to mind, and getting comments from the good folk of Blogville.
Soon I started writing another blog (JDTA) and I've been really encouraged to see that people actually read and enjoy my posts and find them inspiring. I've enjoyed documenting the changes going on in my life, life's ups and downs, random tit-bits of gist and thoughts in my mind. I've enjoyed getting a glimpse into other people's lives, and some of the episodes on blogville have cracked me up, some things have made me sad, some news has made my day or week! I've even gotten so used to my "Favoured Girl" pseudonym, it's almost like my second name now!
Sometimes I've been inspired to write something while I'm away from my computer and I couldn't wait to get home to blog it! Sometimes I've spent so much time online, blogging and reading other people's blogs that I've lost track of time. I would like to thank my wonderful hubby for being patient with me when I haven't made dinner because I've been blogging!
In the past year I've joined a community of "Blogville" residents, made both online and offline friends, laughed and cried over posts I've read, and rediscovered my passion for writing. Now I've even been so inspired, I changed my career path! It just goes to show that even the most insignificant things we enjoy doing can change our lives.

So, to celebrate my one year anniversary on blogspot, you are all invited to my palace for a grand affair tonight. There will be six-course meal, lots of drinks and live music, you don't want to miss it. Here's to many more "favoured" years in Blogville!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Many Thanks, Other Stuff

Thank you everyone for your kind words and prayers about my mum. I'm really grateful and I pray that God will bless you in return! Mum is doing much better now and I'm trusting God to fully heal her. She has already improved a lot since she arrived and I can see the difference. Hubby and I are going to see her tomorrow and we are going to her physiotherapy session together. I'm glad I can go with her, we may even have a small bonding time by going shopping afterwards! That is if she feels strong enough to brave the shops on the high street. I'm excited about that, I must admit.

Well my writing's been going well so far. I'm working on a short story at the moment and it's harder than I thought! I thought you know, it's just a short story of no more than 5000 words - how hard can it be? But I've realised it is hard. I have to tell the whole story and come to a conclusion in a short space so it's not easy at all. So that's my first learning experience about writing a short story. I'm still working on a novel as well so my head is full of different characters and story lines right now, really cool! I've actually started dreaming about the characters too, is that weird?

In the past week I've "met" and spoken to some amazing people who are writers and I've been awed, challenged and inspired. I feel like I've got so much to learn about how to continually improve my writing, how to carry out research, seek out inspiration and overcome writer's block. I formed the "Nigerian Writers" group on Facebook and I've met more writers that way and it's great! I'm developing a new obsession: stalking other Nigerian writers and their work. I'm not just interested in Nigerian writers though, I think I'm just particularly curious about how they express themselves through their writing.

Speaking of Nigeria, I've just heard about the currency reforms the Central Bank is proposing. They are proposing a revaluation of the naira so that the current denominations will be a hundredth of their value ie N1oo.00 will be worth N1.00, the N20 note will be the highest in circulation etc. I've read about the supposed benefits the revaluation will have. It will reduce the amount of notes that people have to carry around, it will make the exchange rates with the Dollar and Pound Sterling more comparable and so on. But I just can't help wondering: Did they not change the Naira notes a few months ago? Why didn't they reform the value then? Why do the new notes need to be phased out again? Are there not more pressing economic problems to sort out first? How about lowering inflation and creating more jobs? Would revaluing the naira make any difference to the average trader in the market or the average salary earner? I very much doubt it, but we'll see.

I know I shouldn't look back and regret things I can't change, but sometimes I can't help wondering why I had spent all that time at uni studying the wrong degrees, and then graduating and doing the wrong career. I feel as if all those years were a waste and I'll never get them back. An acquaintance of mine called me recently, we went to uni together and I knew her through a mutual friend. She was calling to invite me to an event and then she just asked: how is work? I told her I had left my job. She asked to why and what I did now. I told her I was now a writer and she was like wow, just a few days ago, she was thinking of leaving her job to follow her dream of starting her own business but she was afraid. I told her not to give in to her fears anymore because further down the line, she could end up regretting not taking the plunge earlier. She said she would think about it, I really hope she goes for her dream!

This summer has been such a dampener, it's so annoying. Imagine, it's raining in the middle of August! Hubby and I had planned a day out last week, but the weather forecast had predicted rain so we decided to move it to this week. Well it's been raining this week too, so we've had to cancel our outing. Sigh. I guess I shouldn't complain too much, I should think of the green grass and the lovely flower hedges enjoying all the rain. Hope you are all enjoying the summer where you are.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mummy, Health and Writing

I've been away from my blog for a while, I know. It's not because I didn't have things to say, and not because I was stranded on a remote island somewhere. I didn't have the inclination to blog for a reason, or maybe a few. I got a phone call recently that my mum was ill. My aunt didn't want to tell me what was wrong with her, all she said was that my mum had fallen ill and had been taken to hospital. I asked how mum was doing and my aunt said she was responding to treatment. I was quite worried because my mum is never sick. She is one of the most active and hardworking people I know. I can't remember the last time she was ill and had to go to hospital. Initially I thought maybe it was a fever or something, so I told hubby and we prayed for her. I called my dad and he was being very vague as well, he just told me that she had been admitted into hospital and she was getting better. But he wouldn't let me speak to her. So everyday all I could do was pray for mum to get better. It wasn't until a week later before he told me that my mum had had a stroke. A stroke?! I was stunned and I couldn't speak for what seemed like several minutes. The first thing I asked him was: why did you keep it from me all this time? There I was thinking she only had malaria or something! After I had recovered from the shock, I calmed down enough to ask more important questions about her health and how her treatment was going.
Well to cut a long story short, mum came around two weeks ago. I had been so scared that she would be permanently disabled or something, but to God be the glory, she is recovering well and she is able to walk and talk almost as normal as before. I spent the last five days with her and I'm really glad she is improving everyday. She told me what she could remember of when it all started happening and how she was rushed to hospital, how she was unconscious for many days, how she herself didn't believe she was so ill until the doctors told her. She is undergoing physiotherapy now, so she will be around for a while until she fully recovers. I'm just really really really grateful to God for sparing her life and I pray she will be perfectly healed - amen. When she gets better, I'm going to tell her that she must not stress herself again, she needs a long holiday.

That got me thinking about how much we take our health for granted. It is so so vital, something that cannot be bought in the market. I mean, for me that I had never seen my mum being in hospital, it did come as a shock. I had never imagined it could happen. I now thank God for my health everyday, it is a precious gift. I now appreciate life itself a lot more as well. My mum's friend said that after my mum got ill, she started appreciating that life is short, so she has started wearing all her nice clothes that she used to keep for "special occasions"! I thought that was funny but there is an element of truth in there. Why wait for another day to start enjoying your life? Who knows how long we will be around to live our lives anyway? I've made up my mind to live my life to the full everyday, because I don't know if I will be given another day.

I'm glad I could take the time to be with mum last week since don't have to be "in the office", but that does mean though that I've fallen behind my writing target for this week. I was hoping to have written a short story and another chapter of my book by Friday but that didn't happen. I couldn't do any work during the weekend either because I had to attend a wedding all day on Saturday, and I was so tired on Sunday. I'll have to adjust my deadline now but I intend to work extra hard and have something substantial to show for it by the end of the week. I'd better, otherwise my friends could start ribbing me like Brian in the funny clip below.



I hope not! LOL, have a blessed week everyone!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

One Month, and a Celebration

It's the end of July! Wow time really does fly. I can't believe it's been a month since I left my job. It's a good feeling though. It seems like a noose around my neck has been loosened. I feel I have made the third best decision in my life. The first one was giving my life to Christ. I have been complete since I made that decision. The second one was getting married to my husband. That I haven't regretted.

My work is going a bit slower than I expected though. Sometimes everything flows, I'm excited and I can't wait to get all my thoughts down on paper. Sometimes I have stuff in my head but I can't work up the enthusiasm to write anything. And sometimes I get on my computer and start stressing instead of doing useful work. Still I'm learning a lot as I research and write a little every day. I've resumed my passion for reading as well. In the last week I have bought four books that I want to read. That should get more ideas going.

If you follow my other blog, you might have guessed I had a special date this month. Yes it was our second wedding anniversary! Traditionally that's the cotton or china anniversary right? Hubby and I went out to celebrate and we had a great time. I still can't believe it's been two years already. Time really does fly. I remember talking to a couple recently. They had been married for 46 years. I was like wow! That's a long time to be with somebody. Sometimes I still find it scary to imagine being with the same person for that long, but that's the essence of making a lifetime committment. I pray that hubby and I will go on to celebrate 46 happy years together - and more!

I took up jogging recently. I finally stopped giving myself excuses not to improve my fitness level. I've only been doing it for two weeks and it's only early in the mornings for now. But I hope to continue with it and get better and fitter as time goes on. Maybe one day I'll be able to join blogville's long-distance runners: Londonbuki, Vickii and Calabargal at the London marathon. Ok maybe that's going too far....

Monday, July 16, 2007

Question?

I log into MSN Messenger this morning. A friend is online and he says hello. The conversation goes:

Friend: hello
Me: hi
Friend: I heard Shola is going to Naij for a year
Me: yes she's going for NYSC
Friend: are you not going?
Me: no, it's not on the books right now
Friend: when are you getting pregnant?
Me: WHAT?!

Friday, July 13, 2007

First Steps

It's been a week already! Wow, this week really flew by. I guess that had to do with the changes and adjustments I am making in my life and my career. Right now I still feel a huge sense of relief. I know it won't always be rosy and there will be challenging times along the way. But everything feels right somehow and I know I've made the right decision. At least I've decided to give it a go. And I'm determined to see my work through. And my dreams becoming a reality!

My first week as a "writer" has been good, I can't complain. (I'm wondering if I should start calling myself a writer already, since I haven't actually published anything yet. That can be rectified right?). Anyway, I haven't had to commute or follow a rigid working pattern this week so that's good. I've had to set myself some targets though, so that I can measure my progress everyday and every week. I think I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn. But hey, every accomplished writer, poet or novelist had to start from somewhere, and I'm starting at the beginning. I've enrolled for a writing course which starts in September. I'm hoping to have written enough stuff by then, so that I can get some feedback from the course tutor.

Now even though I'm just starting out, I can already see God's grace and favour at work. I mentioned in my last post that I met two girls at the London Literature festival last week. What I didn't know was that one of them was Funmi Odulate! She is a leading fashion expert and journalist, author of a vintage fashion book (see here) and she is currently working on her second book. I hadn't known who she was, I had simply introduced myself to them because they happened to sit beside me during the programme. Since the festival, we have kept in touch and exchanged several emails. She is very nice and down-to-earth and I've now appointed her as my unofficial mentor......

The Caine Prize winner was announced on Monday. The shortlist was as follows:
Uwem Akpan (Nigeria) for "My Parents Bedroom", Monica Arac de Nyeko (Uganda) for "Jambula Tree", E. C. Osondu (Nigeria) for "Jimmy Carter's Eyes", Henrietta Rose-Innes (South Africa) for "Bad Places" and Ada Udechukwu (Nigeria) for "Night Bus". The prize was won by Monica. I guess her novel stood out because it touched on a taboo subject in many parts of Africa : lesbianism. I'm looking forward to reading some of the works because they sounded so interesting at the readings and the interviews were good.

Hubby bought me a new laptop yay! It's actually a very late birthday present, but he said he gave it to me now, to mark the start of my writing career. Apparently I had to prove that I was serious about it. The only rule he gave me was that it should be for strictly business use, so I'm not to download messenger and fun things onto it! OK o. Meanwhile I've started working on my first novel. I have a vague outline and I've started working on developing my characters so that's interesting. I'm discovering there's a wealth of resources available to amateur writers on the web. I just have to sift through the fluff to get the useful stuff. Special thanks to Abidemi Sanusi for her website http://www.christianwriter.co.uk/ which has been a great resource. Her blog is here and I've just ordered her book, Kemi's Journal. It arrived today and hopefully I'll start reading it next week once I'm through with the one I'm currently reading. (Thanks for your comment, I'll keep it in mind!)

I'm looking forward to a nice, chilled out weekend. A friend is organising a birthday party for her baby's first birthday so I'll be attending that. I can't believe that baby is one already, when was he born? Apart from that, I'll be spending quality time with hubby *wink*. Hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Complete New Beginning

I'm sitting in front of my computer this morning, thinking I should probably get some work done. Except, I'm not in the office. I'm at home in my living room. Yes I finally did it. I left my job and career in accounting to become a writer. I had handed in my notice a few weeks ago, but the enormity of what I was getting myself into didn't sink in at the time. Now I have been without the secure structure of a 9 - 5 job for a week, and it's finally beginning to sink in! It's exciting but very scary. I realise that success in my career depends completely on me now, so I had better deliver. It's scary also because the security of the monthly paycheck is gone. I'm so blessed to have hubby and my family there to support me while I find my feet. Otherwise it would have been a much bigger risk to take.
I was going to put up this post last weekend, but I came down with a flu. Perfect timing, I didn't have to go to the office anymore so I could stay at home for five days fighting the flu virus - a parting present from the City of London. I had made plans to launch into my new career with so much vigour, instead I was coughing and sneezing and feeling sorry for myself. So last week didn't exactly go as planned. On Thursday, I started feeling much better so I finally ventured out of my house. And I realised that I was now free. Free from the straight-jacket of the corporate world. Free from working myself hard to meet another person's targets. Free from the monotony of the j-o-b. Free from office politics and power struggles. I came up with a list of things I won't miss about my former career path, and some thing I would miss.

What I now miss:
1) The regular paycheck, knowing I would get paid as long as I was in the office that month
2) The funny banter of my colleagues, their jokes and grumbling.
3) My former boss, she's a really lovely person, so warm and kind.
4) Meeting up with my friend in St Pauls for lunch. On nice days we used to go to the cathedral gardens and sit on the benches gisting our lunch hour away.
5) Exchanging emails with my friend, planning our weekends and meetings after work
6) My morning newspaper - free Metro!
7) My evening newspapers - free London Lite and thelondonpaper
8) The Krispy Kreme shop just outside the station where I used to work
9) The whole London vibe, you just feel like you are in touch with what's happening

What I most def don't miss:
1) Waking up in the morning to the annoying ringing alarm at 6.00am
2) Running to the train station in uncomfortable "office" shoes
3) Getting the train and having to stand all the way into Central London - just awful
4) Sharing a carriage with people coughing sneezing and spreading their germs
5) Getting to work already tired before the day has even begun
6) Having a limited lunch time break
7) Getting back home in the evening absolutely tired
8) Paying one-third of my salary to the railway company for the dodgy service
9) Tied down to spending that rigid block of my time in the office
10) Spending most of my Saturday cleaning and cooking because I haven't had time during the week.
(There's more but I'll leave it as that for now)

In the light of this new path I'm now on, I've been looking for networking opportunities and events. Yesterday afternoon, I attended the London Literature Festival at the South Bank Centre. It's a series of literary events spread out over two weeks but yesterday's event was dedicated to African writers. The first part was specifically about three Nigerian writers: Biyi Bandele, Helen Oyeyemi and Helon Habila. All three of them read from their books and discussed their work. They were interviewed and we were able to ask questions and stuff like that. It was cool. The second event was the Caine Prize 2007 Readings, where the African writers shortlisted for the Caine Prize came up to read their works and were interviewed by Zena Saro-Wiwa. Some of the works read were so inspiring and intriguing. I have three books on my mind that I'm definitely going to buy. The Caine Prize winner will be announced later today.
I met two Nigerian girls there and after the first session, we talked and went off to have a chat over drinks. One of them is a fashion journalist, and they are both writers so it was good talking to them. We had fun talking about works we had read, analysing different styles of writing, Nollywood movies and so on. After the events, we swapped details and I intend to keep in touch with them. I told them I was a blogger and gave them my other blog address so they might read this (hi girls!) In the meantime, it felt so good to be among like-minded people. That just inspired me. I've got ideas for my book now so I feel more confident about becoming a writer.
I still have one or two things to work out though. The options and opportunities are so vast, it is a bit overwhelming. I'm thinking I might take up some freelance work because I want to build up a portfolio of written published work. I want to look into writing articles for magazines and stuff like that. I could do also some short stories before attempting a full-length novel, and I might look into writing for children. In any case, there are so many opportunities, and at the moment I'm taking one step at a time and seeing where each step will take me to in future.

For now I'm off to start my day. I'm going to register for a creative writing course to help me brush up my skills and develop my ideas further. And then I'm meeting up with my friend that I haven't seen in the flesh since 1998 or is it 1997. Thank God for hi5 and Facebook that helped us to keep in touch again.

I'll be back...

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Having a Dream

I have just stepped out of a life of the ordinary. For too long, I have had the usual life ambitions. You know - finish school, go to university, get a good job, get married. That's all fine and I can tick all those boxes. But I never really had a dream a passion for something more than myself. I do now. I have come to realise that I cannot live a life without a dream. It would mean I will just drift anywhere the wind blows me. I certainly don't want that. So I have set myself some goals, and my dream is to fulfil those goals. So that is what I will invest my time into achieving. I'll be something more than ordinary. Be who I want to be. I now have a dream. Now I realise:

A dream makes life worth living
A dream gives you purpose
A dream gives you focus
A dream gives you ideas
A dream gives you inspiration
A dream gives you determination
A dream gives you tenacity
A dream gives you passion
A dream gives you vision
A dream makes you see possibilities
A dream helps you overcome challenges
A dream broadens your horizons
A dream gives you fulfilment
A dream gives you abilities
A dream gives you ambitions


Some notable quotes:

"To me, there is only one form of human depravity - the man without a purpose." --Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it." --Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

"It's never too late to be who you might have been." --George Elliot

"The tragedy in life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach." --Benjamin Mays

"By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands — your own." --Mark Victor Hansen

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Finish this Sentence

It's been a while since I did a meme and I am feeling too lazy to write a proper post at the moment. So I stole this off my cousin's page. Here goes...

Finish This Sentence

I am...: excited about starting my new career
My ex-boyfriend was...: a twat
Maybe I should....: try out Pilates, I hear it's good
I love....: strawberry cheesecake
I don't understand....: why I don't float in the pool
I lost my....: earings at a wedding
My current boyfriend is....: now my husband
People say I'm...: quiet and always smiling
Love is....: more than a feeling, it's a verb
Somewhere, someone is....: getting over a broken heart
I will always...: remember my first time
Forever is....: a very long time
I never want to...: have regrets
I think the current President is....: yet to prove himself
When I wake up in the morning, I....: turn off my alarm, thank God and greet hubby
Life is full of...: ups and downs
My past is incredibly...: interesting
I get annoyed when...: I want something to happen but it is outside my control
Parties are for...: eating, dancing, flirting and having a laugh with friends
I wish...: I was on holiday right now
Tommorrow I'm going to...: start training the girl replacing me at work!
I really want some....: more money!
I have low tolerance for people who....: are brash, slow and stupid
If I had a million dollars...: I would support a charity, sponsor a child and invest the rest in property.

Guess what? You've been tagged! Have a good week.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Reflections and Weekend gist

I'm awake at 3.00am in the morning and I can't go to sleep. What should I do? Blog of course! By nature, I'm a real night-owl. I've been forced to adapt to society that dictates I should be awake during the day, and asleep at night. Blah. This suits me better. Back in senior secondary school days, night time was the best time to stay awake. I used to go to sleep at 10pm and then wake up at 1am. Sometimes it was fun when everyone is awake at night and we could get up to all kinds of mischief. But most times I enjoyed the tranquility of having a quiet night to myself. I liked having my friends around me and stuff, but I also loved spending time alone, still do. I could write in my diary without being disturbed. I could read a novel I had been too busy to read during the day. I could just chill and reflect my life and the things that were important to me at the time. At some point I used to write lots of my thoughts down and tear them up afterwards. One time I wrote pages and pages of stuff and some of my friends found it. They thought I was weird, (like who writes about things that they are going through), and they were teasing me. I was mortified at the time and I guess they didn't understand me. Looking back now I think it was a form of release for me, and that was the way I dealt with all those confusing teenage years. I still have three of my personal diaries from 1998 to 2000. I looked at them last month and smiled to myself. It was interesting to see how I saw the world as a teenager.

In primary school I used to make up stories and write them down. Once I remember showing my dad a story I had written, complete with little cartoons I had drawn to go with the story. He had been pleased to see them and I remember him asking me if I wanted to keep writing, and I had said yes. But one day I was writing some stories in class and some kids saw my notebook, read what I had written and ridiculed it. That was it really, I lost interest in writing then, because my friends thought I was crazy. Looking back now, I realise that I have always been a writer. It is something that I have been born with. I buried it a long time ago because it wasn't "cool" enough and my friends thought I was weird. Later on, I knew I was good with subjects like English and Literature but never took it seriously enough to consider it as a career back in school and uni days. I'm glad I started blogging because I've realised that the writer within me is still there. I need to rediscover my talents and do something with it, whether it is cool or not. That's the way I can really express myself. So I'm taking the plunge soon. Here's to discovering where my gifts will take me.

On to other gist. I had a good weekend. On Saturday, I attended the Nigerian Carnival with my friends. There were four of us: two guys, me and my other girl friend. I was supposed to meet up with Mimi there as well, but she came down with a cold and couldn't make it, bless her. I still had a great time though. My friends and I had no expectations when we were going there. We had decided that we would turn up and see, and if it was boring, we would find another way to spend our afternoon. So it was nice to see that it was rocking when we got there and we stayed till the evening. It was more like a "party in the park" than a carnival but it was still fun. The weather was good so that helped too. There was a big stage and there were lots of different performances from singers, dancers, MCs and other artistes. There was a fashion show as well, which was really good. The turn-out was good considering that I had only heard about it by chance through a friend, and lots of people wore green and white stuff. BEN TV had a tv crew there filming the whole event. My friends and I tried to avoid that camera as much as possible, lol. Around the park there were lots of food and suya stands there, as well as snacks so there was a good variety of Nigerian food on offer. The dj was good, so there was a good flow of music to keep the party vibes going all day - the usual 2Face, D'banj and other Nigerian grooves. I met some more friends there and was introduced to some nice cool people so I had a great time. My friends and I took part in a draw and we won t-shirts! All in all we had a great time so kudos to the organisers. My feet ache now cos I was standing and dancing all day! Didn't attend on Sunday, but some of my friends did and from what they told me, Sunday was cool too, and there was an after-party at a club. I think it's a nice idea and I'll probably attend it again if they decide to do it next year.
Hubby and I taught sunday school today and the topic was about friendships. It was just amusing to hear the what the adorable 6 - 8 year olds were saying about their friends. After church we visited a family and spend the afternoon chilling with them. So that's how my weekend went. Gosh it's almost 4.00am now, so I guess I need to log off now and go and prepare for another week. Have a good one!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Health and Blogville

Thanks to everyone who wished me well on my previous post. I feel much better now! Got my test results back yesterday. I had been so nervous, I didn't know what to think. Thankfully, the GP said I'm not diabetic or anaemic! I'm so relieved. Still no explanation for why I was feeling drained the other week though. So I guess I just need to rest more. Stress less. Eat my greens. Do more exercise. The normal stuff.

Funny thing about blogging. I used to think I was anonymous and only a few known people read my blog. Imagine my surprise the other day. I was talking on the phone to one of my friends who I hadn't kept in touch with for a long time. Somehow he seemed to be pretty clued up on what was going on in my life. I was still wondering how, when he told me he regularly reads my blogs! He even told me about some of the things I wrote last month. I was like what, how did you know I had a blog, how did you find my blog address and how did you know it was me? Well that was easy. Apparently, my little sis had given him the link to my blog! Imagine that. I will deal with that girl when I catch her. (I know both of them will read this, so they know who they are).

I was watching TV yesterday evening when they showed the Orange Prize for Fiction Awards. I had been closely following the awards because I knew Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was nominated for her book "Half of a Yellow Sun" (read more about it here) . I was so delighted when they announced the winner and she won! I was excited like it was me that won. I'm really glad for her that her writing talent is being recognised and she has achieved success. I'm so inspired, I hope to follow her footsteps one day.

I've been away from blogville for a few days and so much is going on! I'm being updated by Mimi on what's going on. Blogville is having its very own Blogville Idols thanks to Pink-Satin and 9ja-opeke . Visit http://blogvillepopidols.blogspot.com/ for more details. I think it is all very exciting. Unfortunately I can sing as well as a frog so I won't bore you all to tears. I'll just be in the "audience" to cheer for the contestants!

Meawhile I've got the voice thing on my page now so feel free to leave me voice comments!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Life, Health and Privacy

It's been a good week, thank God. Hubby came back from his trip -yay!! So I'm not bored anymore. He said he had lots of fun, saw his friends and family but he missed me terribly. I missed him too. Awwww...

Didn't go to work today again. I had to go and have some tests done at the clinic. I'll ring up the clinic to get the results on Wednesday. I'm sure there's no cause for alarm. Got me thinking though. As far as I know, I'm in good health and I should live to be a 100. But we don't know these things for sure. I should live life live everyday is my last. I should make the most of the time I have right now.

I came across some articles that talk about the increasing use of social networking sites by employers to snoop on their staff. Most employers monitor the use of their employees' internet access and email while they are in the office. This is quite fair, I think. What I find uncomfortable though, is an employer checking out what the employees get up to outside of work. Some employers even use sites such as Facebook and MySpace to check up on potential employees. So before you have even joined the company, the interviewer already knows a lot of information about you. I find this quite creepy. Imagine, someone that appears to be a promising candidate for the job from their CV is googled or checked out on Facebook and never gets called back because the employer has seen something they didn't like on their profile.

Now recruitment consultants are advising job hunters to reduce the amount of information they display on their profiles, or change their privacy settings. (For more on this story click here and here ) There's also the story of the secretary who was sacked for talking about her workplace on her blog. She later took the employer to court and won the case (read here and here ). I'm really glad she won, they have to draw the line somewhere. I wonder what my work colleagues would think if they discovered my blogs?

Nothing much is happening this weekend. My sister has finished her exams now so she'll drop by for a visit (and she wants me to meet her boyfriend!) so that should be fun. I just want to rest and get better. I'm not liking the way I feel right now. Summer's approaching so I want to feel my best. Wish you all a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My Little Sis

I faintly remember that day, many years ago when I was just a tot myself. Someone came to my house to tell me that my mum had just had a baby. And she was my little sister. I was excited and I said I wanted to see her. They took me to the hospital and I looked into the cot to see the tiny baby. She looked like a doll to me. I asked if I could carry her. The nurse told me to sit down and stretch out my arms. They placed her carefully in my arms and I looked into her small, trusting face. She looked back at me. From then on, the bond of sisterly love was formed.
I've watched her grow up. We've had our disagreements. I've been so protective of her. Afterall, I'm her big sister! I might have bullied her a bit when we were little. But we've got lots in common. We even share the same month. People say we look alike. And she'll always have a special spot in my heart. And boy does she know it. And does she take full advantage! I know she loves me right back though. She has no choice.

It's her birthday today. Gosh she's becoming such a woman already. Little sis aint so little anymore. I called her a few minutes ago to say happy birthday. I don't know how she did it, but she managed to get me to promise her a new outfit. Men, the things we do for our little sisters....

HAPPY BIRTHDAY my darling!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Nigerian Proclamation

IN RECENT HISTORY, NIGERIANS HAVE BEEN OVERWHELMINGLY BETRAYED BY THOSE CHARGED WITH ADDRESSING THEIR NEEDS. INSTEAD OF SERVING THE PEOPLE, PUBLIC SERVANTS HAVE SERVED THEMSELVES TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE MASSES. THE RESULT IS A NATION LACKING ADEQUATE INFRASTRUCTURE, ORGANIZATION AND SECURITY.

THE INEFFECTIVENESS OF NIGERIAN LEADERS INDICATES A LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY TO THE CONSTITUENTS. NIGERIANS ARE NO LONGER RELEVANT TO THE LEADERS, THUS, LEADERS DO NOT FEEL RESPONSIBLE TO THEM.

THE RECENT FAILURE TO CONDUCT A FREE AND FAIR ELECTORAL PROCESS WAS YET ANOTHER ILLUSTRATION THAT THE NEEDS OF THE MANY ARE SECONDARY TO THE WANTS OF THE IMPORTANT FEW.

FROM THIS DAY, ALL NIGERIANS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FUTURE OF THIS GREAT & POWERFUL COUNTRY.

CONSEQUENTLY, ALL NIGERIANS MUST COMMIT THEMSELVES TO THE FOLLOWING:

1. WE MUST DEMAND THAT ELECTED OFFICIALS BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS AND IN-ACTIONS.

2. WE MUST EXPECT DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES TO BE HONORED, RESPECTED AND MAINTAINED.

3. WE MUST BELIEVE THAT ALL NIGERIANS ARE EQUAL UNDER THE LAW AND SHOULD BE TREATED AS SUCH.

4. WE MUST APPLY OURSELVES TO IMPROVING THE LOT OF EVERY INDIVIDUAL NIGERIAN REGARDLESS OF GENDER, RELIGION, TRIBE OR SOCIAL STATUS.

5. WE MUST STRIVE TO MAINTAIN A UNITED REPUBLIC DESPITE OUR DIFFERENCES.ONLY UPON ACHIEVING THESE PRINCIPLES CAN WE AS A PEOPLE FULLY LIVE UP TO OUR POTENTIAL AS A LAND OF GREATNESS. FOR OURS IS A COUNTRY RENOWNED FOR ITS ILLUSTRIOUS PEOPLE, AMPLE RESOURCES AND SHEER PHYSICAL BEAUTY.

This has been put up as part of Solomonsydelle's movement to show that Nigerian and other interested bloggers are unified in our disappointment with recent and ongoing political events. By using the same document with the same title on May 29th, we hope to attract some attention by making The Nigerian Proclamation 'rise' to attention on Google and various other search engines when anyone uses 'Nigeria' as a search term. Let the world know that Nigeria's people too are far from impressed.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Now Saner

Okay I wrote that previous post in a moment of intense frustration. Although I am dealing with different emotions right now.
I had been having a good weekend. On Friday I took the day off from work. I had to go and see the doctor to check all was well. He said a few things - nothing too alarming- and said I should come back next week for a blood test and a scan. So that went well. After that I went for a spot of retail therapy, there's nothing like a pair of shoes to make you feel better! Met up with hubby when he finished from work. We went to see Spiderman 3 in the evening. It was alright, not bad at all though not as cool as Spiderman 2.
Yesterday, we woke up early as hubby was travelling to Lagos in the evening. He was looking forward to this trip because he hasn't been back to Nigeria for more than 10 years! When he told me he wanted to go, I was pleased. In fact I was alright throughout the day, even seeing him off to the airport happily. Only when it was 5 minutes before he had to leave that I started feeling sad and I almost cried. He's only going for 5 days but I'm going to miss him so much. But as I left hubby at the airport, my dad called me to say he was around for a week. I told him I'll call him later. Got home and didn't go to bed until 3.00am. My bed was half empty :(
I was woken up this morning with a call from hubby to say he had arrived safely and already having fun. I wanted to tell him I was missing him but decided not to. Didn't want to spoil his mood. Later called my dad and we spoke for over an hour, just talking about different things. I told him I was fed up with my career as an accountant and I wasn't cut out to work in an office for the rest of my life. Surprisingly, he seemed fine with it! He even said I should start writing my book right away, that he wants to read the first two chapters before he leaves next week! He said he would be happy to help me if I needed anything. Thanks for your support dad - that means so much to me.

I just spoke to one of my best friends now. He has been having a rough time lately with his relationship. Now he told me that he and the girl had broken up during the week. I had known they were having problems, but I never really thought they would break up after all this time. I feel so bad now, even though it's not my fault. I just feel bad for them.

The weather is rather grey and gloomy, matching my mood. I'm going to find something to do to cheer myself up. Maybe I'll listen to my old Destiny's Child tunes, they always used to cheer me up before!

Today's Rant

Today I'm dealing with a cocktail of different emotions. I am very happy. But I'm also upset because I feel I still have limitations on my life. Who can feel happy when you are placed under restrictions? Why is there no way out? I need to let go of the ridiculous weight of expectations around me. Why should I be labelled? I am a unique person, why should I fit into another person's mould? When will I be free to express myself as I am designed to? Why do I have to succumb to cultural demands? Why should I act as "normal" as everyone around me? Who defines what is normal anyway? Who is really in control of my life and my circumstances? Who sees into the innermost corridors of my heart? Who should be predicting what I should do next? Who should understand my deepest desires? What about what I want? When will I really really be FREE...

I'll be right back.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

On Career Changes

For the past month, I've been having a debate with myself over my career path. As I wrote in this post ages ago here, I have been questioning my choice to become an accountant. I knew I was seriously becoming bored everyday at work - not with the company, but with the job itself. I have lost all motivation to continue studying for the professional accounting exams. I knew I didn't relish the thought of working as an accountant for the rest of my life. I knew I just drifted into the profession because it was such a "safe" bet, afterall there would always be jobs for accountants with the relevant qualifications and experience. But now I have to face it: I am definitely in the wrong job. Everyday I wake up and I feel like I am wasting my time. Why am I going to work in an office doing a job I don't like when I could be finding fulfilment doing something else? Added to this, is the fact that I detest the restrictive structure of the average workplace: You must be in by 9, you have an hour for lunch, and you are out by 5pm if you are lucky. That's eight hours dedicated to the company everyday. Plus 2 hours of commuting and before you know it, you've spent 50 hours of your week either working, getting to work or coming back from work. That's 200 hours a month! And to get no fulfilment out of such an important chunk of my life is essentially depressing.
Something else that I thought about was that I knew I had learnt the skills to become an accountant in school, but there was a part of me that was inactive - my creative talents. I haven't been using them and there lies the danger: I am not realising my potential in my current career. I have the ability to do much more, but I am wasting time in the wrong profession. And the longer I stay in my job the harder it will be to eventually leave.
Last month, hubby asked me if I would consider giving up my full-time job and do something else from home. I initially thought it was a crazy idea. Why would I leave my job and my social life in the city? What would I be doing at home? I don't have any kids to look after yet, so I would get bored quickly. And I absolutely hate being bored. I had experienced the "sitting-at-home-doing-nothing" period when I had just graduated and was job-hunting. And I didn't want to experience that again.
But when I thought about it, I realised that the only thing stopping me was fear! Fear of quiting my job, fear of losing some income, fear of failure in a new career, fear of the unknown basically. If realised that if I left my restrictive 9 - 5 job, I would actually have time to do the things that I really want to do! Like learning that language, writing that book and getting the publishing deal, going for that course and learning a new skill, travelling to that place I want to discover, etc. I realised that I didn't have to stay at home and do nothing, I could still be very productive in a career outside of the rat-race. So now what do I do? Take the plunge.
I'll admit I'm really scared because I've never done something like this before. It's taking a lot of my thought right now. I'm going to have to quit my job. I'm going to have to start from scratch. I've been praying about it because it is not a decision to take lightly. I also need hubby's support and he's agreed to support me 100% and I'm so grateful! While I'm finding my feet, it's going to be confusing for a while. So it's alright to be scared and worried, I think. But I can't continue to deny myself the opprtunity. At least they say "it's better to try and fail than not to try at all". And now's the time to do it before I have kids and continue procrastinating and then it becomes too late. So here goes..... I'll be keeping you updated.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Random Stuff

Been meaning to update my blog everytime I came online this past week. Have so much to say, but can't seem to find the enthusiasm to type. Someone sent me an "update already!" email, so I dragged myself here today.
I have been a bit down in the last four days. Not ill or anything but I'm feeling really tired and lethargic. It's like I have no energy at all. I wonder why. I haven't changed my normal routine or my diet. So I see no reason why I would suddenly start feeling like a very old woman. Lord help me o. I didn't go to work on Tuesday, managed to struggle on Wednesday and Thursday, but couldn't find the strength this morning. My mum said that it's my body's way of telling me that I need to rest. Oh well! The only problem now is that it's my aunty's 50th birthday party this weekend -big do on Saturday and a thanksgiving pary on Sunday. I have promised to go and help with preparations and everything. How am I going to do that now with zero energy?

Last weekend I attended an English wedding. Hubby and I were the only black people there. It was sooo different from the typical Nigerian wedding. For starters, there were only 80 guests! Imagine that at your typical naija wedding, 80 does not even cover the whole of the bride's family, lol. The couple had gotten married in Maurituis with a handful of close friends and family last month, and they were now throwing the reception. It was cool though, small and classy. They had a marquee in the garden of a nice country house next to a lake so it was a really cosy and romantic setting. There were 8 tables and 10 guests per table. It was a bit formal but the upside of that is that it was very well organised. Everything went in a particular order: Drinks reception in the garden, entrance, 3-course meal, speeches, toast, cutting the cake, first dance. Later on they had a DJ and a barbeque for the evening reception. It was well cool! And the menu was not jollof rice either, lol. Thank God I'm not a bush girl sha, although there were some things I ate that I can't pronounce! It made me wonder what they thought when they attended our wedding and had to eat Nigerian food. Lol.

Now I don't know if this is funny or not. I came accross this on Facebook. It's a group called "...So Apparently I'm Going To Hell" based on what some random guy said:

If anyone's had the chance to catch a Mr. Micah Armstrong (originally of the Assembly of God Church in Miami but left because they were hypocrites) on Monday, then you have probably drawn one conclusion...apparently you're going to hell. Reasons include:
Pot Smoking, Cigarette Smoking, Alcohol Drinking, Guitar Playing, Having a Tattoo, Showing Cleavage, Showing Bellybuttons, Girls Showing Their Knees, Girls Showing Their Elbows, Girls Wearing Tight Pants, Girls Wearing Miniskirts, Being Blonde, Being Fat, Cursing, Kissing on the Mouth before Marriage, Holding Hands before Marriage, Having Premarital Sex, Masturbation, Having Anal Sex, Having Oral Sex, Being Homosexual , Judging People (He wasn't though, he was being honest), Being Selfish, Playing Sports, Women Working, Watching BET, Watching MTV, Watching VH1, Watching TNT, Associating With Hollywood, Listening to “Gangsta Rap”, Techno, Christian Bands, and Rock and Roll, Believing in Evolution, Being Catholic, Being Jewish, Being Buddhist, Being Methodist, Being Protestant, Being Mormon, Being Muslim, Being Hindu, Being Agnostic, Being Atheist, Being a Woman (they're still paying for Eve's sin), Being In a Sorority or Fraternity, Owning a Pet, Sin, Have Sinned, or Plan on Sinning in the Future


Okay o. I wonder who came up with this list. It sounds like a man that is clearly so narrow-minded that he can't see beyond his own nose. Being fat,blond and female qualifies as a reason to go to hell? Anyway sha, thank God that it's by His grace and nothing else that we are saved.

Due to the interest in the cake/bag in my previous post, here is the address of the website where you can order your very own! Apparently she can make a cake of anything you want. I'm thinking of getting a guitar made for hubby's birthday. http://www.maisiefantaisie.co.uk/

I'm hoping to recover from this bout of tiredness. I want to have a good time this weekend. Imagine hubby has even booked us a hotel to stay in for the weekend, so I mustn't flop. He he he. Have a good weekend folks!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Happy Birthday to me!


Thanks everyone! I've had a lovely day so far, and it isn't over yet! Many thanks to everyone who posted a card, bought me a gift, called me, sent me a text, wrote on my facebook wall, emailed me, and left comments on my blog. You all made my day a very happy one! God bless you!

When I woke up today, I had so many things to thank God for. He has been really really good to me. I'm so so blessed. I have my life, my health, a peaceful home, my family, a job, my sanity... so so much! Even if I ask for nothing more, I know God has been good to me. My sister called me at midnight, my mum and dad called me first thing in the morning to wish me a happy birthday. I had to go to work today (boring!) but I still had a nice time. I bought treats for my department. Everyone was nice to me today and my work colleagues bought me two birthday presents too. I left the office early. It was too nice a day to spend cooped up indoors in front of a computer. LOL.
Got home and met up with hubby. He had bought me flowers and lots of other goodies. He did say that my main birthday present was still on its way. I wonder what it could be? Anyways we chilled out for a while at home, then popped out for dinner. I ate too much and now I'm too full. But it's all good. I've decided I'll be good with my meals for the rest of the week.

Also got some good news today. Hubby's sister gave birth to a baby this evening. Isn't that just cool! I've got a brand new nephew born on my birthday! I'm excited, I don't know many people I share my birthday with. I'll call my sister-in-law to congratulate her tomorrow.
Thanks again for all the prayers and good wishes guys! Really appreciate it. I'm off to enjoy the last few minutes of my birthday with some private celebrations....

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Counting Down....

In exactly 2 hours, 35 minutes and 26 seconds, it will be my birthday! To all the beautiful and intelligent people born in May, you rock!

I plan to leave the office early, after plumping for Krispy Kremes for my team. Hubby has promised me a nice birthday present so I'll keep an eye out for that. I'll be going out with my friends on Bank Holiday Monday so I'll have a quiet one, I think. I'm still excited though. I always look forward to my birthdays.

A slice of cake goes to the first person that wishes me a Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More On Marriage

Recently there has been a lot of talk going on around blogville about marriages and infidelity. I've just read Vickii's post, then I read Uzo's post, then I read T-Minx's post. I've also read a lot of the comments from both sides of the debate as it were. Is marriage still relevant in our society? Is there any need for the vows "till death do us part"?

Well I'm a firm believer in the institution of marriage. I think it is the best relationship two people can have, if it is approached in the right way. I believe that marriage was instituted by God and He meant for us to enjoy it. The problems society has with marriage (and why marriages are under threat) is because we have taken God out of the picture, and so His ideas don't seem relevant anymore.

I don't believe that there is such a thing as a perfect marriage. None of us is perfect, so no relationship can ever be perfect if it is made up of two imperfect people. I do believe however, that if we recognise the purpose of marriage, then we would see that it is more than just a love contract or a ceremony in church. It is a covenant where we solemnly swear to "honour, love, respect and cherish" our spouse before God and man.

We mustn't forget that we are human though. So we sometimes forget to keep our promises. Who among us has never broken a promise? When you get married, you spend 5 minutes saying your vows and you have to spend the rest of your life carrying out those promises. How well that marriage goes depends on how faithful the husband and the wife are to the promises they have made.

Ladies imagine your long-term boyfriend comes to you with a large diamond ring and these words:

My darling, you have been the best thing that happened to me. I want to take our wonderful relationship to the next level. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to wake up with you everyday. I want to have children with you, grow old with you. I promise I will always make you happy, I will be true to you and be faithful to you. If you give me this chance, I will spend the rest of my life making you happy. Will you marry me?"

Of course, the lady will say yes!

Now consider if the guy had said:
My darling, you have been the best thing in my life since I met you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to wake up with you everyday. I want to have children with you, grow old with you.But I can't promise to be faithful to you. I don't know if I will be able to make you happy everyday. You can't expect me to do everything to make you happy. I will expect you to meet my needs all the time but I can't promise to meet your needs. I might cheat on you if the opportunity arises. Will you marry me?"

What do you think the girl would do? She will tell him to take a hike!

As Uzo said, there are no guarantees that getting married will make the relationship any more successful than if the parties involved just lived together. I agree whole-heartedly. What underpins any lasting relationship is commitment. If that commitment is lacking, then a marriage certificate is worthless. So should we give up on marriage then? Is marriage then irrelevant? No, no, no. Life itself is a risk. We all take chances with our decisions. I definitely believe that marriage is the ideal committed relationship for all parties involved: the man, the woman and the children produced in that union.

On the subject of cheating, truth is, infidelity does happen a lot in marriages. I avoid making general statements like "All men are cheaters" or "There are no good men around". Those statements are biased because those are the only examples the speaker has seen. Women do cheat too, perhaps not in the physical betrayal of sleeping with someone else, but in their minds. Anyway the point I am making is, most people look at infidelity from the woman's point of view. Should she take him back after he has cheated on her?

Speaking for myslef, I honestly can't answer that question. I wouldn't know until I've been in that situation. Besides every relationship is different so what might work for one woman, will not work for another.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cupid Update

It seems like everyone likes a good love story! Sorry I haven't updated since. I didn't call my friend until last night. I wanted to give the two of them some time. Here's how that evening went:
I had decided to have the picnic with my friend so I left my place and headed down to hers. We were feeling too lazy to cook or prepare any picnic food, so we just bought some KFC wings, grabbed a beach cloth, a couple of drinks, cameras and our sunglasses, and headed to the park. Since the weather was so nice, the park was full of people but it was still cool. We stayed there gisting till about 7.00pm. As we were leaving the park, hubby and his guys called to find out what the plans were. I told him that they should meet us at a bar around 10.00pm. We got back to her place, she got changed and we went to pick up one of her other friends and drove down to the bar. Soon after hubby and his friend came in. While they were at the bar, my girl was checking the man out. Eventually the guys joined our table and they got talking. The conversation seemed to be flowing well. After about 15 minutes, hubby and I excused ourselves and melted out of sight. But by the time we were leaving the bar, we saw them swapping numbers!
I called her yesterday to find out what's been happening. She said they had been calling and texting each other and they've tried to arrange a date to meet up. So things are looking good. We'll be keeping our fingers and toes crossed!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Playing Cupid

Hey bloggers! How's it going? Hope you all are having a great weekend! Mine's been good thus far. I had plans to attend the Festival of Life last night. Then I remembered that I was having a function at work that wasn't going to end until very late, so there was no way I was going to be able to do both. Please if anybody attended it, come and tell us how it went.

Anyways today I'm going to be playing cupid for two of my friends. In the past I've tried to avoid hooking people up. Because if things don't work out, both parties come and start disturbing me and I'll never hear the last of it. Have you ever had that kind of experience? I always end up feeling guilty as well. This time I'm making an exception. These two people seem like they will act maturedly if things don't work out. (At least I hope and pray so). They met each other briefly last year at my get-together but they didn't get the chance to take things further. Since then the guy has been bugging me to hook him up with my girl friend. At first I didn't take him seriously. At the time anyway he was just coming out of a messy relationship and his ex was causing drama in his life. There was no way I was going bring my girl into that kind of situation. But he has been persisting that he really wanted to get to meet this girl. I informed the girl and she seems interested. So this evening I'm finally going to hook them up. Hubby and I will bring them together, and then retreat and watch from a safe distance. Fingers crossed! If something good comes out of it, good, fine, brilliant. If not... em... we'll have to deal with it. I can't really do Cupid's work for him.

Meanwhile in Nigeria, today is election day for governors and state assemblies. I'm praying that it all goes peacefully. I hope people turn out to vote, cos there is nothing worse that voter apathy, and then complaints later that the government is rubbish. Whatever happens, what we want is that Nigeria undergoes positive changes in the near future. We want is peace, prosperity and progress.

I'm off to start my day. The weather looks good outside, so I'm going for a spot of shopping and chilling in the park with my picnic basket and a good book till evening. Enjoy the rest of your weekend whatever you do!
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