Hello From The Other Side!…

Hello from the other side, literally! I am sitting in my old room, on my old bed writing this heartfelt post. A lot has happened since the last time I was here. The most monumental of them being that I moved back home for now; well, not really, I live in Nigeria once again. *mentally inserts “for now”* it took a lot to move my life around, to pack three years of my life into three suitcases but I did it! Amidst all the conflicting opinions and all the emotions and everything, I can sincerely say that I am glad to be home, there truly isn’t any place like home and all the minor inconveniences seem like a small price to pay.

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February 21st 4:35 pm, my flight touched down in Lagos. I had been staring at the window as soon as I was able to see the trees and houses gradually start to appear, and as they grew from tiny specs to fully formed images, it was all I could do not to cry. I promptly forgot all the tediousness that came with twelve straight hours of flying, the TERRIBLE food and three slices of fruit that Delta Airline served us, LOL. I forgot my snoring, drooling seatmate who by the way wasn’t so bad when he wasn’t snoring like a freight truck. I peeled myself away from the window, hastily removed my socks and my jacket, stashed my book, my scarf and my passport in my hand bag and mentally prepared myself for landing. Boom! We landed and as is the norm on almost every Nigerian flight, there was hearty applause for the pilot in gratitude for the smooth landing and loud sighs of relief, followed by copious choruses of “thank you Jesus”. I was oblivious to all of that, I only had one mission, get my suitcase and head to immigration, oh! And pee, as I hadn’t peed in fourteen hours and then some. (Don’t ask why)

Ah! the blast of humid, hot air that greets you as soon as you get off the aircraft, never disappoints. Nor does the instant itching and sense of mild disgust at the state of the airport, but all that though was tempered with the thought that in a few short hours my niece would be in my arms and the delicious eforiro and white rice my sister made for me specially would be in my belle. So who cared if the airport was as hot as hell? Or that the stench from the nearby toilets made my eyes water? Of that it took forever to find my luggage? Or that my mum was late to pick me up? All was forgotten as soon as I walked into my sister’s home and I saw my niece! Dear Lord is she gorgeous??? Shes the cutest little thing and I still cannot believe my tiny sister made a chunky baby like her, God is awesome! Really.

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So I am back home my people, and its almost like I never left. And all the preferential treatments I had been enjoying such as specially made meals, running the generator all night and making my brothers run all my errands are officially over because my “IJGB Status”- (I Just Got Back) has since expired and its back to jumping buses and fanning myself to sleep. Wouldn’t trade it for the intense loneliness in America though, never!

God knows I missed you guys but I am back now, for real! It was my birthday a few weeks ago and I just might do a post on that later.

“it don’t matter where we go, we always find our way back home…”- Andy Grammer

“Nothing is better than going home to family and eating good food and relaxing.”- Irina Shayk

 

A Stranger’s Kindness

 

Dear Diary,

It was a really long day. Emotionally tasking and physically draining. Walking to the bus station seemed like a herculean task and as I struggled to put one foot in front of the other, I found myself doing that which came naturally to me; crying. So I stood there, in the middle of Lindbergh station, bawling my eyes out, feeling the weight in every inch of my body. I could care less if anyone was watching me cry, I just knew I needed to ease the tight feeling in my chest and too bad if I was on the road. It was a windy day and my tears dried before they reached my lips, leaving streaks in my makeup and what was left of my eyeliner, I looked a mess.

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I needed to blow my nose so bad so I dug frantically in my handbag looking for tissue and I could not find any, somehow that made me even sadder. Now this is America, if you strip naked on the road people will probably walk right through you, because everyone is always in motion, and they just keep moving. Still digging through my bag in a frenzy, I felt a hand on my shoulder and the person said to me; here, you need this and handed me a pack of tissue. I took it buried my face in it for a minute, finally feeling shame and remembering where I was. When I looked up, the person who handed me the tissue was a man, dressed as a woman, make up and all.

He led me to the nearest park bench and asked me what was wrong and if I wanted to talk about it and the words came spewing from nowhere and we talked and talked. The bus came and went and we did not notice, this stranger somehow, had taken my pain away. He offered to buy me coffee but the next bus had come and I really wanted to go home so I declined politely. He encouraged me some more, gave me the warmest most comforting hug and thanked me for not looking at him like a crazy person. He was walking away and I called out to him and said; thank you so much, God bless you and Jesus loves you…His eyes lit up at that and he gave me his card and walked away.

I finally got on the bus and I thought about the experience I just had with a total stranger. I  was standing in the middle of the road, crying my heart out and straight, regular people walked by without a second glance. Not that they owed me anything but still, they did not care. This man, who is kind of confused about his gender and  judged by many to be crazy was the only one that stopped to show me basic human kindness and a love that trumped race and orientation. We are often quick to judge, condemn and dismiss people based on their outward looks, quick to label and call them names forgetting that we cannot reach anyone unless we do it in love and tolerance and humility. How as a Christian, do you hope to convert an unbeliever if you refuse to associate with them or talk to them? How will you tell them of God’s love, a God they do not know and  cannot see if you who they can see refuse to show them love? We cannot change anybody by sheer will power, only the Holy Spirit can do that. Our job is to obey the greatest commandment of all, to love our neighbors and to show them the way to God’s heart through love and patience rather than condemnation and disdain, at the end of the day, we are all broken. Whether or not we admit it, we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God and we all need Jesus.

Your life style, the words you speak and how you conduct yourself might be the only Bible an unbeliever ever gets to read, your life is a message, what are you saying? I made a friend today, and somehow someday I will invite him to Church but until then, I will be loving and kind to him, to show him a glimpse of the restoring power of the Love of God.

“It’s not our job to play judge and jury, to determine who is worthy of our kindness and who is not. We just need to be kind, unconditionally and without ulterior motive, especially when we’d prefer not to be.”- Josh Radnor

 

Oh Danielle!…

 

I think my obsession with Danielle Steel’s books is a universally known fact. Been reading her books for over ten years now and I own a lot, seventy to be precise. There’s just something about her books that makes me happy. Danielle doesn’t write the typical boy meets girl, boy falls in love with  girl and they live happily ever after, no. With her, its girl meets boy, boy falls in love with girl. Girl dies! Or they get a divorce, or there’s an accident and boy goes blind, I could go on and on. I know it sounds a little sad but it’s not, and I think that’s life because plans fall apart, things change, people fall out of  love, accidents happen. Nobody really lives in a bubble filled with rainbows and unicorns or happily everafters. Life happens and it pokes a hole in the bubbles we so naively build around ourselves.

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So out of the blues one day I sent her an email and I forgot about it. I never imagined she would reply me, much less send me an autographed picture and a letter. Oh you already know I lost my mind screaming and dancing like a drunken fellow. I was so happy and of course I put them up on my wall. So I thought I would share, and that’s really what this post is about. *covering my face* I’m finding joy in all the little things, we all should…

Peace & Love

Friends In Unexpected Places…

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Tosin and yours truly…

This post is dedicated to my friend/honorary big sister/ gist partner Tosin aka sisto.

March 7 2011, I stood on the queue alongside hundreds of my fellow freshly minted corps members in Lagos state camp. The sun was exceptionally hot that day and the NYSC staff were taking their sweet time to pay us attention and appoint rooms to our tired selves. I didn’t serve with my original batch, so I literally knew no one in camp and I just stood by myself on the queue, my box behind me and my red bucket beside me. It was so so noisy and I wished fervently that I had my ipod with me but alas I left it in my mum’s car when she dropped me off.

Out of all the noise and clatter, I could make out a distinctive voice with some sort of accent and it inexplicably made me so mad, I found myself rolling my eyes and wondering what was wrong with her and her posse of friends. I finally turned back to look at her and there she was, in her navy blue top, black pants and oversized sun glasses. Well, her Ghana weaving is fine sha…I thought to myself. The NYSC officials deigned to attend to us and they started assigning rooms, and as the queue moved along and I noticed the random pattern of the assignment, I prayed fervently that she would not be in my room. I didn’t come to camp to make friends biko, and I honestly didn’t want to deal with her. I just wanted the compulsory three weeks to fly by so I could resume my job at the bank.

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The queue got crazy and I lost sight of her so I concentrated on looking for my room, the epic room 11 and I found it. I walked in and found my bunk, and as I was trying to focus on something else to drown out the voice of my bunk mate who was already talking my ear off, I saw her! Ahhhh why me? I thought to myself. I was determined to stay out of her way and mind my own business and besides I was trying to wrap my mind around how filthy the hostel was and how I was going to survive for three whole weeks here. That night, my red bucket, my bottle of dettol, my soap dish, my sponge and my towel mysteriously disappeared when I left the bathroom line briefly to charge my phone. I had to buy a whole new bathing paraphernalia the next day and I didn’t find it funny!

I managed to avoid Ms. Thing and her crew until one fateful morning on the parade ground. It must have been around 8am and as we stood waiting for the soldiers to tell us what to do, this girl walked by, fully made up! Powder, concealer, foundation, eye shadow, red lipstick, and false lashes to boot. I couldn’t comprehend why anyone in their right mind would wear all that make up for morning exercise. I looked around to see if I was the only one that found this situation amusing when my eyes met with hers and we simultaneously burst into laughter and we laughed till we almost cried. I walked up to her platoon and she said Hi, my name is Tosin and that was it! PS: we nicknamed the girl makeup chick and for the life of me I never knew her real name. From that moment, I forgot that I didn’t like her before and we spent almost every waking moment together in camp and frankly she made my camp experience bearable. I met some of the most amazing human beings I have ever known in that camp: Yemisi, Cee, Mide, Dr. Efosa, Jesse, Yetty, Tosin(boy), Cheekway, Skar and most importantly Ajay! These people were literally the best thing that happened to me, and they made my birthday celebration in camp the best one I have had till date! Thanks guys…

Tosin and I have been through so much together and sometimes when I think about I her I honestly can’t imagine my life without her and it occurs to me how I would have missed out on knowing such an amazing soul, so this is a heartfelt shout out to make up chick! My sisto is beautiful, smart, kind, a talented singer and event planner, and she makes my life brighter with her presence, I am super grateful for her and to my camp crew who I am still friends with till date, love you guys!

When I think about it, some of my closest friends were met in unexpected places, I met my loving friend Kemi on a BRT bus from Lekki, I met Sheila at Lekki bustop, My darling friend Emmanuel I met on the bus as well, and how can I forget Achalugo and Mfon whom I met from blogging? they have all been so good to me and it never ceases to amaze me how we just meet random people and they come into your life and just stay. I am truly blessed, and I hope this post made you smile, reach out to your friends today and tell them how grateful you are to have them in your life, I am deeply grateful for mine…

 “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met.” –William Butler Yeats

If You’re Feelin’ Blue…

Its 3:47am, I should be asleep, but instead I’m on my phone and just as I finally decide to put my phone down, I see the picture on my home screen, it’s a picture of me and my little sweetheart Lola. Now, those who know me are very aware of the fact that dogs petrify me. I don’t play with them, I don’t look at them, I am generally not an animal lover, not since I was a kid but this dog came into my life and changed the game on me.

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Her owner went out of town for a couple of days, so we only have her for a few days, and I am actually  dreading the fact that she has to go home soon. I was safely keeping my distance until one night I went to the kitchen to get some water, and this dog set her paws on my legs and she wouldn’t let go. Took me a minute to get over my initial shock and fear to actually realize that she was just a sweet little dog who wanted to play.

How I went from not caring to worrying about her is quite baffling. I worry if she has eaten, if she likes her food, I worry that she is alone when we go out, I want to leave the lights on for her so she won’t be in the dark or get lonely. I think I might now understand the attachment some people have to their dogs, there’s just so much love and trust in their eyes. So I’ll just be honest and say I haven’t had anyone feel that way about me or vice versa in a while.

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Me and my little love…

I don’t mean to sound weird or overly emotional but these past couple of days I’ve been battling with loneliness.  My whole family is a thousand miles away from me and there aren’t any words to describe how much I miss them, add being single to the mix and it’s just a sob story. The last few weeks have been very challenging for me to say the least and so it was such a breath of fresh air and such welcome affection from a tiny little brown dog. I think in a way it’s just God’s way of reminding me that I am not as alone as I think and that it’s about time I stopped feeling sorry for myself.  Also that there is love all around me and I just have to open my heart and accept it. If you’re reading this and you are feeling a little blue like I am, this is a loving reminder that you are not alone, if you feel like nobody loves you, remember that God Himself loves you and is concerned about you, because in this crazy world we live in its so easy to forget how loved we truly are.

If I have said it a thousand times, I will say it again, you are not alone. Maybe all you need to do is to pick up your phone and call your family, or your friends who you haven’t heard from in a while. Take a walk, read a book, learn a song, try a new dish in the kitchen, dance in front of your bathroom mirror, say hi to a random stranger, whatever it takes to ease that hollow feeling in your chest, do it! Life is too short and too precious to be unhappy, and if nobody has loved you lately, be rest assured that I do.

“Why do I write? It’s not because I want people to think I am smart, or even that I am a good writer. I write because I want to end my loneliness.” – Jonathan Safran Foer

The Little Things…

 

Life moves really fast, and if you don’t stop once in a while and look around, you will miss it. The little things that we sometimes take for granted and forget to enjoy are really the yarn that memories are woven from and memories are really important, well to me at least. Living so far away from home has taught me the art of storing up memories in my mind, in a neat little box marked home. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my family and its so comforting to know that there is a photo somewhere, a video, a funny story that I can just think of and in that moment everything is right with the world.

Last month when I went home, I found my old wallet. You see I had given up hope of ever finding that wallet so you can imagine the joy I felt when I found it. That wallet was dear to me because it had all my letters in it! Yes, I am that girl that makes her friends write her letters. So I found my letters, all of them intact, some of them dating back to almost eight years, the papers worn thin from opening and refolding and one even had a tear stain on it, and as I sat on the floor rereading my beloved letters, I realized

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how wealthy I was indeed, very wealthy in love because I know how my friends are, they’re not quite like me so I know what it took for them to actually sit down and write me those letters. Recently, I hung out with one of my oldest and dearest friends and imagine the shock on his face when I showed him a letter he wrote to me in July 2008! These are the priceless little moments that make me smile.

I don’t know what the little things in your life might be, but I know that mine are always somewhere around the corner every single time, like a long phone call from my mum or sister, or cooking for my friends or watching an old video, or getting a random message from a friend, or even this night when my friends and I screamed so loudly while watching Game of Thrones. It can be anything really, anything that makes you stop and smile and remember how beautiful life really is, despite all the hurdles we might face.

Be intentional about finding and enjoying these awesome little moments in your life this week and see how much happier you will be. Have an amazing week my people and cheers! to the little moments that make life beautiful.

“I think it’s important to find the little things in everyday life that make you happy.” – Paula Cole

 Photo credit: Google