What’s In Your Handbag?

Hey people!

So some days are for deep, reflective posts, but days like today are for fun, totally random discussions; like what exactly is in your handbag? I never really paid much attention to the contents of my handbag, I just “grab n go” but today, I actually looked inside my bag and here’s a list of what I found:

  1. Two chapsticks ( that I never use, and didn’t even know I had)

  2. One Eos lip balm ( ok, I actually use that one because it’s kinda sweet)

  3. Two safety pins! To think that I had been searching all over for a pin all day!

  4. Six pens. What am I writing? Really???

  5. A pack of gum. That’s a staple, I always have gum.

  6. Three rubber bands and one black hairband.

  7. The lip gloss I stole from my sister that I have NEVER used!

  8. My cute note pad because well, inspiration.

  9. My wallet ( In which you’ll find passport photos of my nuclear family, letters from more than 10 years ago, complimentary cards from people I no longer recollect meeting, coins, dental floss, atm cards, etc because yes, there’s more.

  10. My spare earphones

  11. A Daniel Steel novel that I have been trying and failing to read.

  12. Numerous receipts from grocery shopping and miscellaneous buying.

I didn’t realize I had all that stuff in my handbag, I might get rid of some of them or not, who knows? What’s in your handbag? Tell me, I would love to know!

Oh! Nothing to see here. Just me, goofing around in my PJs on a Friday night 😉

Oh! Nothing to see here. Just me, in my cool PJs dancing the Friday night away😊

Ps: if you have any topic you’d like for me to write about please, please leave a comment below!

XO,

Adaugo

Five Things I Wish I’d Known Before Schooling Abroad!

So you’ve decided to school abroad? Awesome! It’s an amazing decision and I wish you Godspeed. It’s an exciting phase, after all the visa hassles and the mountain of forms and emails and phone calls, you’re finally set, but before you set things in stone, stop and reevaluate and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes I made when I went for my MBA.

Here’s five things I wish I knew:

1. Adequate Information About My School– In my case, I was in such a hurry to leave Nigeria and school abroad and unfortunately, I didn’t do due diligence on my choice of school. I happened to be in America for work and when I had free time I looked at a couple of schools. My school got back to me first and the fees seemed reasonable so I just committed and boy! Did I pay for it. If I had researched properly, I might have found out that since F1 visa holders cannot work while in school except on the school campus, it was imperative to get into a school where I could find employment on campus. I didn’t ask and as it turned out, I couldn’t work on campus because my school didn’t have provisions for that!. Also, I didn’t check for the rating of the school or their credibility or how helpful their alumni association was, There were a lot of things I was in the dark about and it haunted me so please, ask, ask and ask. Do your research online, send emails to your academic adviser, until you are satisfied with all the answers you have!

2. Figure Out Your Accommodation Before You Leave- Again, my school did not have provisions for accommodation and though I was lucky enough to stay with a friend who lived nearby, when I eventually moved to my own place it was far from school. The bus routes were as complicated as further maths and if I wasn’t blessed to have friends that drove me to and from school every week, I would have been toast! (Heartfelt shoutout to Bube, Kem, Rukky and Ugo for the countless rides to school, y’all are the real mvps!!!) so be sure that you can live on campus, work on campus so you can afford to live elsewhere or save ENOUGH before you leave home so that you won’t be stranded.

3. Read ALL Your Paperwork- I cannot overemphasize this point! Read it all!!! No matter how much it is, before you sign anything be sure to read and reread it because once you sign, there’s not much room for change. Again let me give you my example. So like I said, when I found my school, between my mother and I, the fees were doable so it wasn’t really an issue. However, half way during my second quarter, 7,500 dollars was “miraculously” added to my fees! And I couldn’t do jack about it because I had signed the papers! If I had read it with a fine tooth comb, I wouldn’t have found myself in that fix so again, read, read and read some more until you are completely sure.

4. Be Sure About Your Next Step After Graduation- I did my MBA in America so I cannot really speak for other countries but typically, after your masters degree, you have one year to work in the field which you studied. Now, you won’t know that it takes about twelve weeks for the permit that will enable you to work to come through, and that when it eventually comes, finding a job in your exact field might not be a walk in the park. If you eventually get a job, you must leave the country sixty days after your one year is up or you’ll go out of status and become illegal unless the company you work for files H1B which is basically an extension for you. What nobody might tell you is that unless you’re in the medical field or IT, it might be very difficult to get a job where the company will be willing to spend thousands of dollars to keep you in the country. So you might find yourself at a crossroad. My advice is to plan ahead and leave nothing to chance, looking back now I sincerely wish I had known this.

5. Be Sure You Are Getting A Useful Degree- Times have changed, times are changing. Before you spend millions of Naira on a degree abroad, be SURE that it is a relevant degree that will make job placement easier for you, or will boost you in the path you have chosen for your life. Don’t get a degree just because. Put thought and deep reflections into it. Again, be sure the kind of school you’re attending, is this a school employers will bend over backwards to employ you when they know you went there? Check ratings, accreditations, history and all that. Be very sure.

Bonus!- Don’t be intimidated by the visa or admissions process. Everything is “figureoutable” just do your research! Before you pay anyone to do it for you, be absolutely sure that you cannot handle it yourself because nine times out of ten, you can.

There you have it! Five things I wish I had known before leaving Nigeria to study abroad. That being said I had an amazing time at school and I met some outstanding individuals, still I could have had more and had I done my research, I would have had it!

There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living. The other, how to live.” – John Adams

A Random Post On Letting Go.

So I had a cut on my thigh. I don’t know how it got there but it did. My body has been working hard to heal the cut, but I won’t let it be. Each time the scar tries to dry up, I pick at it till it bleeds again (sorry for the TMI &don’t judge me🙈🙈) it feels good when I pick at it, but when it opens up and starts to bleed again it hurts like crazy and I sit there and ask myself why? Why did I have to put myself through that unnecessary pain that my body is working so hard to help me avoid?

It went off like a light bulb in my sleep deprived head just now at 1:44 am, that this is exactly how we sabotage ourselves sometimes. We put ourselves in situations we know will hurt us and then wonder why it hurts so much!. Transparency moment: I am very guilty of this. Sometime ago, I learned the art of accepting my portion of the blame when something happens to me. Over a period of time I have seen that I sometimes lead myself into these situations that cause me pain. Most times the warnings are right there! Flashing like a neon sign, but loneliness tends to numb my ‭instincts and then I find myself in a world of pain.

Liken my scar to a break up. Let that pain go! Let it go. Rereading old messages and stalking on social media and reminiscing is picking at the scar that’s trying so hard to heal. You’ll pick and pick and you’ll start to bleed again and the only person who’ll be in pain is you.

Letting go is the best thing you can do sometimes, it might even be all you can do, so do it, let go. The scar will heal and you’ll be brand new again. Now that I have shared my little epiphany, it’s time to switch off this phone and attempt to sleep… thanks again for reading my ramblings on my little old blog.

All you can do is all you can do; but all you can do is enough…- Art Williams

When Grace Found Me.

Some truths aren’t easy to admit, or share, or write. They weigh a ton, sitting there until one day you decide it’s going to be the day of your freedom and then you let it all out. Today is one of those days for me.

I want to be dramatic and say I was a troubled teen who wore only black and listened to punk rock music, but that would be stretching the narrative. The truth is I was indeed a troubled teen, mad at the world, filled with so much rage, fighting demons only I could see and I was losing the battle. You see, I was dealing with the mental torture of abuse, and I couldn’t really tell anyone. Nobody really saw me or had an inkling that I was fighting, nobody except my sister. She repeatedly asked me but I sent her away so much that she stopped asking. Then I got mad at her for stopping, you see how messed up I was?

So, I was living my life in bondage and pain and one day shortly after my sixteenth birthday, I decided to take a break from life. The thought of suicide became so glamorous to me. It seemed like this end, this peace, this respite from life and pain. The devil filled my idle mind with how blissful it would be and how much peace I’d have when I died. So, I wrote a note, and decided to go for it but mercy said no.

We had a weekly morning service at Church; Moments of Mercy.  My mum made us go every week, no excuse. The service was short and sweet because people had to go to school and work afterwards. So that morning was no exception. I got to Church and sat at the back, willing the service to be over so I could finalize my stupid plans, but the joke was on me because that was the day that Grace found me.

It was as if someone had told my Pastor my plans, I remember crying and thinking, how can he know??? Who told him??? I cried and cried. After the teaching, he made an altar call, I don’t even remember how I got to the altar, but there I was in my green dress, bawling my eyes out, completely overwhelmed by the grace, mercy and love of God. I gave my life to Christ that day and God saved my life, literally saved me from myself.

The journey since then hasn’t been hitch free, not even remotely; but the difference is that God’s grace is always there. His love is unrelenting and never ending, actually our little minds cannot comprehend the love that God has for us.

So this is not an abstract post telling you not to give up, this is coming from a place where I have walked. I can tell you with absolute certainty that I have been there, in that place of depression and pain and wanting out, but I can also tell you that I have seen the Grace of God, I can tell you that I have seen the face of God in my sister who wouldn’t let me go, in my family that loves me unconditionally, in my friends who instinctively know when something is not right with me. I have seen God in my niece when she wraps her tiny hands around my neck, in dogs when they run up to me and lick my hands. When life gets overwhelming and dark, just look up, look up to the sky and see that the God that changes night to day, will never give up on you. You’re not alone, it’s not hopeless and no matter how dark it gets, the sun will shine again.

Fun fact: The literal meaning of my name Amarachukwu is the Grace of GOD…

30 And Oh! So Thankful.

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So yesterday, I turned 30. It was also the first birthday since I turned twenty five that I didn’t cry or feel unaccomplished. I did not have one cloud in my sky yesterday, I actually had a beautiful day! You know, I didn’t set out to. I honestly assumed that anxiety would kick in and I would be again faced with all the things I still hadn’t done, blah blah blah. Ordinarily, I would have but as soon as I opened my eyes, I was filled with a sense of pure joy and gratitude to God. I really cannot explain it  but it was deep and so real. I didn’t even have to try to smile or put up a front pretending that I was happy when I was wailing inside. Every smile, every laughter came from deep within my soul and was as real as can ever be.

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Maybe I have indeed gotten wiser with my new age, but really what is the point of being filled regrets and what ifs? I wasn’t supposed to make it to my first birthday, how much more my thirtieth because the Dr didn’t think I would make it, but I have survived and I am still surviving. I have survived pain, depression, the loss of loved ones, bitter disappointments, I have gotten my heart broken, and I have cried and cried but still I am here, alive, healthy! Eye brows thriving, edges growing, my point is I am here even when I didn’t think I would be.

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The only regret I do have is all the time I have spent crying and whining for things that are in the past and cannot be changed. I have made mistakes and learned from them, and it is time to move forward, bright eyed and optimistic and completely sure that my life is about to become everything I know it will be. Yesterday was amazing, I can officially say I have the best family and friends a girl could ever ask for! They went out of their way to make sure I had a swell time! To my sister who is a million miles away and still managed to sneak a surprise past me, my darling friend Tosin still million miles away, still sending cakes and candles, I love you all! Thank you. For every call, message and gift I am truly grateful. For those who forgot, next year you’ll remember. My path in life has never been more clear, I am so ready. Ready for  love, ready for life, ready to fall, ready to rise, ready to learn, to dream, to hope, I am standing here at the threshold of the beauty I know my life will be, arms stretched, eyes looking up to God, and ready to take on the world.

Happy birthday to me!

“what if we lived everyday like it was our birthday?…” Anonymous

For My Girl Michelle…

 

It’s a beautiful day today. It’s also my birthday eve and I am sitting here reflecting on the awesome people I have had the pleasure of meeting in my life time and my girl Michelle is definitely on that list so I am going to celebrate her awesomeness today!

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I met her my first day of work at Wells Fargo, I was a nervous wreck. You see, I hate maths and numbers confuse me. Yet here I was starting a job at a bank where I had to balance my work every day and pay customers the right amount etc. The day had barely begun and I was ready to quit till I spoke to Michelle. She just had a way of calming me down me and assuring me that it wasn’t a big deal and I could do it. Turned out she was right. I was a lot calmer and though I know she might have been tired of all my questions, she was a very patient teacher.

However, the dynamic of our friendship changed one afternoon. She was giving me a ride home and we stopped at the store to buy some things and before she parked the car we just started talking, turns out that she and I had gone through so many similar ordeals in life, we spoke openly about our battles with depression, anxiety, anger and guilt and gosh! I felt so free, so comforted in the fact that I was not alone. Our friendship was born that day in that parking lot because she gave me the rare privilege of getting to know her and I have never had a moment of regret since. Michelle truly is an amazing person, I could make a list of all the nice things she has ever done for me and that wouldn’t be enough. There’s one I will never forget though. She drove all the way across town at around 1am in the winter just to bring me some food and keep me company, and that night I knew she would be in my life forever. Like when we are old and grey I’ll remind her of that  day and we will laugh about it.

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Michelle is smart, gorgeous, hard working and resilient. She took her power in her own hands and her life is so much better for it, the changes she has made are so visible and I know that this is just the beginning. She is also a gifted writer and you can visit her blog here!(thank me later).

Thank you for the gift of your friendship! You know how much I love and appreciate you and the distance is nothing because I will see you again soon! Keep shining my girl, I gat you #message! (Inside joke)

“As your best friend, I’ll always pick you up when you fall, after I finish laughing...”- Anonymous

This Is Me…

 

This is me.

This is the part where I say goodbye to everything that has held me bound.

This is me breaking up with depression, anxiety and stress.

 This is me kicking all these meaningless situationships that are neither here nor there to the curb.

This is me reclaiming my time, my joy, my pride, my smile.

This is me screaming: out with the old, in with the new.

This is me accepting my portion of the blame and moving on…

This is me telling myself the truth: this bottle of coke might kill me if I don’t quit.

This is me attracting and accepting the love I deserve.

This is me loving myself with my heart and not with my mouth.

This is me learning to say NO and sticking with it, no explanations.

This is me remembering to put coconut oil on my scalp.

This is me drinking a lot of water and minding my business.

This is me loving fiercely, giving completely and expecting nothing in return.

This is me saying I forgive you and meaning it.

This is me accepting my flaws and coming to terms with my numerous imperfections.

This is me rocking tank tops and shorts with pride cos hey! I am not the only one with stretch marks and flabby arms.

This is me speaking up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.

The upgrade is complete, this is the new me.

 -Adaugo 2018

 

 

 

 

Get To Know Me, Again!…

 

Hi guys! I know, I know. If you had a dollar for every time I disappeared and reappeared, you’d all be fairly rich!!! It’s been an intense couple of months, but I thought I would stay still long enough to gather my thoughts and put them down. Having said that, please, pretty please, love me again…*insert fluttering lashes*

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So I know I have done a random facts about me post before, but that feels like a life time ago and a lot has changed since then. I am still me, but with a few new quirks, a few grey hairs *wailing copiously* and new favorite things. Here goes: recently, I have found myself making new friends. The old me didn’t care much, I might see someone on social media or in real life that I like but I would be thoroughly unbothered to try to get to know them, but these days I just go for it and I must say I have met some truly amazing human beings and I love it! My love for makeup has resurrected from the dead. Yup! You read that right. I used to loooove makeup before, always obsessing over my brows and my lips and all that but somewhere in my mid twenties I just stopped. At first I was going through a breakup, so heartbroken and did not care if my brows aligned or that my lips were chapped. Then I got better and got over it but I never really got back into the art of makeup again, I mean I would barely draw my brows, slap on eyeliner and sheer lip gloss and call it a day! Things like foundation and concealer were as foreign to my brain as further maths and I never knew if there was any going back but then, boom! I woke up one morning and took a hard look at my face and said nope! This crap has got to stop and so I went on youtube and also took notes from my good friend who is a makeup artist and voila! The girl is back. These days, I actually sit down to conceal my brows and contour my face, who would have thought? Yup! You guessed it, Adaugo got her groove back!!!

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In case you forgot what I look like...

I am still obsessed with novels, but guys guess what? My love for Danielle Steele has greatly dwindled. Somewhere along the way her books just got too serious and I found myself gravitating back to Nora Roberts and back to happy, bright and shiny and romantic books. I recently discovered Sophie Kinsella and I am blown away by her.

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Still love perfumes (that will never change) still love jewellery and red nail polish, I am still a badass cook; my cooking skills are getting better and better(my brothers will testify!) still obsessed with TV series but I must admit that I am completely, irrevocably over Grey’s Anatomy! I know I was the number one fan of the show but come on! All my cherished characters are dead and I just quit. My current number one is This Is Us. Gosh! I cry every episode and I love it. It is just so beautifully written and really, there is no flaw.

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photo credit: Google

I am still in love with Game of Thrones(I might need therapy cos it’s the last season) and all the usual suspects. Still obsessed with frozen grapes (although Lagos and erratic power supply won’t allow me to be great) still winning the daily battle with depression and anxiety and allowing the peace of God to reign in my heart and calm my soul and for the grand finale….*drum roll* I have a nephew!!! On the 16th of February, my sister gave me a bouncing baby boy and I am completely and utterly awestruck and in love.

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meet my yummy nephew: Baby Philip

There you have it my people. Hope I haven’t changed too much?

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself…”– Andy Warhol

For My Father’s Mother: Mama Ekaette.

The women in my family are strong, hardworking, affectionate and powerful in their own rights. Truly, in my eyes they are all heroines and their stories deserve to be told. Follow me on this journey as I try to bring  to life these women both dead and alive who have made me who I am today…

Mrs. Catherine Ekaette Uwanaka was my grandmother from my father’s side. She was one of the bravest, kindest and most loving person I ever met and losing her was very painful. My grandma was a conundrum. I could never really understand the way she thought sometimes but she always made perfect sense to me. She was a very very discreet woman who believed that everything should be said in hushed tones and that not all thoughts should be said out loud.

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When my sister and I were much younger, my parents sent us home to her for every long vacation and she insisted that we leave our English language behind in the city and adapt to her way of life. She would take us to the farm and the market and we could never keep up with her startlingly fast paced steps. For an old woman, she walked very briskly and we always ran to catch up with her. I remember vividly one time I went somewhere with her and on our way home we saw a man who was deaf and dumb. I asked her: mama, is that man deaf and dumb? She was so embarrassed because she was very proper and didn’t like to talk about other people. She looked at me sternly and asked me if I needed a microphone to ask the whole community my question! And then she burst out laughing. It wasn’t until we got home that she quietly said: yes my daughter, he was indeed deaf and dumb…

My grandma was the most enduring woman I know. She got married very early, was widowed very early and buried five of her children in her life time, still she was always cheerful and completely submissive to the will of God in her life. She taught me how to forgive quickly and completely and she was a perfect example of never keeping a grudge. She taught me how to cook by the fire, how to plant a seed, how to pray in my native language, how to sit. She had her quirks, oh she sure had them. My grandma would never throw away anything! She saved everything. One time she went to Church with the price tag hanging out from her scarf! We had a really good laugh about that one. She drank a cup of tea with every meal. She would reheat the tea over and over and over…She was our angel, but she wasn’t without her flaws. She would conceal rather than confront, she always wanted everything to be hush hush and sometimes she would rather be quiet than speak up and give correction. That is probably the only flaw she ever had. Oh! She was gracious and very grateful for every little thing given to her. I remember giving her a wrist watch that my mother had given to me, she wore it till she died. Mama danced her gratitude whenever she was given anything regardless of what it was. She absolutely hated red nail polish, long nails and loud makeup, she believed completely in modesty and God knows I loved her deeply for all the lessons she instilled in me.

She has been gone for  many years now, but if I close my eyes, I can still see her standing at the gate of our country home, screaming her welcome and full of hugs whenever we came home from the city. I can remember her long hugs and prayers and her deep sadness whenever it was time for us to go back…and if I listen hard enough, I can hear her saying the Grace in our language: “amara nke onye nwe anyi Jesus Christ, ihunanya nke Chineke, na nmeko nke mmuonso. Nna duru anyi ugbua ruo na mgbe ebiebi…amen.”

I love you mama, I will always miss you.

The World Is Full of Strange Men!…

Can we just agree that the world is filled with strange, weird men who do things that we might never understand? While I will be the first to admit that I know a lot of wonderful, amazing, smart men, I will also say that there are some of them that once in a while shock the crap out of me. Let me tell you about one I encountered some days ago.

So my brothers and I decided to hang out somewhere other than our living room and it was a beautiful night out, a lot of fun was had and  the evening was almost coming to an end when one of my brothers decided for us to check out the seafood restaurant next door so off we went.

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We scanned the menu, placed our to go order and just stood around waiting when the manager walked up to me and inquired about the service that was being rendered. He was super nice and so easy going and somehow we got talking and it became a really interesting conversation. You know those rare times you are able to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger and like; you really talk? Yeah, we had one of those moments and I was really excited to meet this new guy who seemed to watch all my TV shows and shared similar interests with me. We stood talking for a really long time but I had to take my brothers home and so we reluctantly brought our conversation to a halt, exchanged numbers and I headed home. Soon as we got into the car, he texted and we pretty much texted the entire ride home.

So I got home, and somewhere along the conversation we switched to face time and the conversation was going smoothly until suddenly he got up to get something and when he came back???? You guessed it! He was in his birthday suit. While my mouth was still hanging open from utter shock, he goes: “yeah…so you wanna get comfortable too”? I honestly couldn’t think of a word to say so I just clicked off, blocked him and  attempted to sleep. How on earth did we go from talking about our craziest Christmas experiences to him being in his birthday suit? Strange, strange, a little shocking, a tad funny, but mostly weird.

I was really bummed out because he seemed like a really interesting guy! Seriously though, this New Year, I am in the mood for some normal. Normal as in: not married or engaged or serially dating or weird enough to strip naked on face time to someone you met two hours ago, sigh.

If you want some normal, say: me!!!

…”And suddenly, we were strangers again“.- Anonymous