Just Do It!

One fine weekend I went out of town to visit family and jointly bask in the joy that God’s special blessings bring. It was a short, lovely trip, but the subject of this post is neither the indescribable warmth that the unconditional love of family can envelope you in, or the mischievous antics of my lovely little children (allow me to claim them in peace please). Rather, today’s gist is of how I got to my destination.

My brother with whom I was to make the trip decided that rather than take a taxi, we should drive.

Ha!

For a bit of background, I’m that girl who thought she’d never be able to drive. It probably sounds silly, but the thought made me nervous. After putting off the purchase of a car for a while, one Saturday morning I was on my way out, waiting at the gate for transportation when it suddenly started to rain. Luckily for me, my sister had suggested I carry an umbrella just because. Even though it helped, it didn’t stop me from getting half drenched from the slant rain drops; neither did it stop the keke Napep that drove past and splashed dirty water on me. While laughing at myself and walking back home, I decided in that moment that I had stalled enough and it was time to buy a damn car.

Not long afterwards, I was lucky to get a good deal and so I got it, and got tarpaulin. After the car got a nice wash and I had taken a few pictures to share with friends who had teased me about my ‘carlessness’, I covered it up. After all it wasn’t going to be leaving that spot anytime soon. Only then did I enroll in a driving school, and I spent the next few weekends taking classes. Even after that, I always had one reason or the other not to – expired learner’s permit, no licence, bla bla bla, before I finally, finally ran out of excuses and got on the road. Hallelujah!

Thanks to Apapa driving, Danfo drivers and trailers have got nothing on me now. However driving out of Lagos on a highway was nowhere on my bucket list. And so when my brother suggested that we drive out of town, my first reaction was hell no! When I mentioned that I was travelling to a couple of my friends and they immediately assumed I was driving and were struggling to understand what my scruples were, I started to think it probably was not such an alien idea. By Friday night, I had made up my mind to just do it (Hello Nike!) and on Saturday morning I made an early visit to a service station to replace my four tyres and get my wheels balanced and aligned, and after a quick stop at a store to buy snacks for the kids (today’s equivalent of “Mummy Oyoyo!”. If you were born in my generation, try yourself and lie that you don’t know what that is!), we set out on our merry way.

Although I claim to hate driving, rides are actually nice. In the 1 hour 30 minutes or so it took us to get to our destination, we chatted about the randomest of things. From updates on the latest social media scandal to Big Brother and the issue of consent and consequences (or the lack thereof), to business and money, we succeeded in making the trip without any proper cursing of errant drivers. And after a lovely, lovely weekend, I did it again in the opposite direction, heading back to Eko with my bro in the front seat making sure we don’t take the wrong turn to end up in Benin City, and notifying me of when I need to “mash carbon”. We had a comfortable trip, got back home in one piece AND with bragging rights just because I grew a pair.

Here’s what that episode taught me: That thing you’re afraid of is probably not a big deal. If it won’t kill you to do it, go ahead and bite the bullet!

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This Semi-Fit-Fam Life Is Tough

It’s 11:48 pm. I have no plans to go to bed for the next hour and right now, I am hungry.

 

 

 

 

 

In a bid to be more responsible about my eating habits, I decided to cut out all that late night chowing I have become fond of. Feeling like someone whose birthright was slimness, I’ve been known to start cooking in the middle of the night and have dinner way past midnight because …well just because. In light of recent events (Re – last post here ), old habits are dying. However, days like this test my resolve. I have just eaten half an avocado – cos the other half was not fit for consumption and I was too hungry to toss the entire thing. That has done little to soothe the pangs, but as my six packs need some help to shine through, let me ‘face my forward’ till I can have my next meal guilt free at an hour holier than now.

Here I am whining about my self-induced hunger. I can’t help but think about those who are hungry because there is nothing left in their pots, pantries or pockets.

Spare more than a thought tomorrow. Find someone who’s in need, and give.

Happy Holy Week everyone!

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When Motivation Finds You

Some years ago, I conceived a dream of having washboard abs.  I’ve gone through the time that has passed since that dream began with way more talk than action about my future six pack abs. At some point, with the cockiness of the naturally skinny, I made the grand declaration that ‘the gym is not for me’, and I have gone on to become the bona fide Chocolate Keeper on my team at work – the one who stashes away sweets and soda and the extra bags of chocolate travelling team members bring, to make sure we have a steady supply for as long as they last.

And then one fine day a few days ago, I looked in the mirror.

While I was ‘carrying shoulder up’ and acting like the self-appointed president of #SkinnyGang, all my reckless eating has steadily been finding a home around my waistline.

I looked in the mirror to find that I suddenly will need to suspend all bodycon-related activities till this muffin-top that is forming around my tummy is appropriately handled. With my tail between my legs, I quietly packed long-abandoned workout gear into my bag and have retraced my proud steps to the gym.

Until further notice, the gym is now for me. 😐

This seems like a really shallow post as we are a lot more than our body proportions, dress size or numbers on a scale, but here is today’s lesson: Some days you find motivation, other days motivation finds you. Whatever it is you want to be, do all you can to make sure you and your motivation remain in the same space. Keep your eyes on your target, and reach it.

(Off to do some flutter kicks with pot-bellied tears in my eyes.)

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Will This Be Hello, Or Welcome Back?

Coffee makes me feel like a superstar.

I’ve been gone a long time, cos in addition to my laziness, I decided to switch webhosts.

You see, if you’re remotely connected to Nigeria, you’d know that in the ‘spirit of recession’ (whatever the hell that means), we’re all on the lookout for anything that seems like a better deal. And that’s exactly why I decided to go with a less costly host to save a lot of money. And me being me, I figured I could do the transfer myself. Hello DIY!

Like a good friend once told me, if you do not want to spend money, you will spend time.

Indeed, time have I spent. Let’s just say that this life is not by gra-gra. One month after my old plan got cut off – and website went down- and I’m still on the matter! Files on the old server have been deleted, so it’s time for this to become a prayer point.

Knowing me and my strong head, I still shall not give up on DIY’ing. Matter of fact, I really should go and install my window blinds – drill in hand, stool under my feet, all by myself!

I really hope this doesn’t turn out to be the very first post on a new onenigeriangirl page with old posts stuck in my back up files ‘unrestorable’. Either way, it wouldn’t hurt too badly cos I’ve still got you. We’d have more to share. 🙂

Speaking of super-stardom, yesterday was International Women’s Day. I don’t mean to be such an ostrich, but am I the only one to whom this feels like the very first IWD? I don’t recall the day ever being celebrated this widely. It really does make a difference to listen to life lessons and draw inspiration from the lives and achievements of women who have made a mark. Sometimes we all need reminders that we’re not here to just get by and go. We actually are put here to thrive and rise above it all. Above our challenges, above our weaknesses, above our pain, above our limits.

Coffee does make me feel like a superstar. But that lovely feeling passes after a few minutes. The kind of feeling I’m ready for now is that which comes from crossing out the items on my goals list. New tip to use: keep your eyes on a star. Or a few stars. Remember how those three wise men found Jesus? Find your star, follow it, trust the process, believe, and you will find the manger you seek.

And one of mine is getting this website back up!

 

ADDENDUM:

 

 

 

 

 

Mama we made it!!! To the Glory of the Most High, I’m back at ya! After tinkering under the hood a bit, I finally fixed the glitch.

Welcome back guys!

XO

 

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Remember When Life Was Simpler?

child-happyI had a good dose of laughter at lunch today, swapping stories with friends about childhood, our silly juvenile antics and dramatic discipline.

Growing up Catholic was interesting. I vividly recall preparing for my First Holy Communion. I must have been seven years old or so. We had to go to church for Catechism to learn the teachings of the church. There was a little red book, written in question and answer format, that pretty much served as the syllabus. I still remember the first few questions by heart.

“Q1: Who made you?  A: God made me.

Q2: Why did God make me?  A: God made me to know him, love him, serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.”

Q3: Is whose image and likeness did God make you? A: God made me in His own image and likeness.

Q4: Is this image and likeness in your body or your soul? A: This image and likeness is chiefly in my soul.

(Recalling the exact way we emphasized the ‘chiefly’ just made me laugh out loud!)

We recited the answers from memory in a sing-song way, and I still remember Brother Augustine the teacher – who made us get punished one fine Saturday afternoon.

My mum had dropped us off at church as usual. Unfortunately for us, the day’s session was over earlier than the time she was meant to pick us up, and rather than wait with us till she came, Brother Augustine decided to walk us home. Nah, that’s putting it nicely. He decided we should all trek home together. That was probably great of him, however, we grew up with a few ground rules. Following strangers was a definite no-no. And it didn’t matter that he was the Catechism teacher who we saw in church every week. We should have known better than to agree to go with him. While we were on our missionary journey, Mummy had gone to pick us up, and did not meet us there. As you can imagine, she panicked. In the middle of her panic, she comes back home and sees that we’re there already. I recall her being livid, and us getting punished. I still remember we had to kneel down and there was some butt whooping that day.

That was definitely the last time I did any nonsense waka with anyone as a child.

Speaking of rules, I remember bedtime. 8 pm at the latest. Matter of fact, we usually got sent to bed by 7:45. Once in a blue moon, we got lucky and were allowed to watch New Masquerade. Too often, we fell asleep on the sitting room couch, and woke up in the bedroom. We loved it! So much so that sometimes we pretended to be asleep so someone could pick us up, only to ‘wake up’ laughing while being carried to the room. This bedtime routine was definitely reason why I slept so much during night prep in boarding school.

Boarding school. Yet another library of memories – from the silly songs we sang in pretend Tiv accents, to hiding at the sick bay in the mornings in order to avoid going for breakfast(?!!) to that time someone snuck a sulphur compound out from the Chemistry lab and placed it all over the mattress and locker of someone who had bullied her, leaving her corner smelling like rotten eggs.

Now we’re grown. Time to make new memories.

Got any hilarious ones you’d like to share? Go ahead, tell 🙂

 

 

 

 

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My Weekend Miracle

 

Saturday night.

After a long day filled with chores, I was headed to the other side of town to visit family. Here I am driving alone, listening to The Economist and feeling funky when above the sound of the narrator’s voice, I hear a weird noise that is somewhat like the combination of hoots and whistles. Slightly alarmed, I lean in towards my dashboard – I’m not sure how that was supposed to help- to listen more carefully and after a few confused seconds, realize it’s coming from the trailer that’s beside me. Phew. A few minutes after, my relief is cut short when I glance at my dashboard and notice my heat gauge is at a disturbingly unfamiliar level and I realize with alarm: I didn’t top up my radiator water today!

A bit of background information: My car generally doesn’t give me wahala. Apart from routine servicing, I hardly have to go to the mechanic except when someone ‘jams’ me, which hasn’t happened in a long time to the glory of God. (Kindly note that I’m never at fault please. Thank you.) However, in the last few weeks, my radiator has been acting funny. I have to religiously pour a few litres of water every morning as it appears to dry out at a rate I can’t explain. With the car also sounding like it has a sore throat when I start it, I know it’s time to get it checked. However (contrary to what some of my friends think), I am a girl. We don’t like mechanics. So I’ve continued to quench its thirst every morning, and drive it around like that.

Tonight however, it looked like I was about to reap the fruits of my procrastination. Of all places in this entire world for my engine to start overheating was Apongbon. In traffic. At night. Lagos people will understand. The worst!

I calmly begin my game of move-stop-rest car-start again. Switching lanes here and there to avoid having any heavy duty vehicle being right behind me, I continue this while keeping my eyes peeled on the heat gauge, with the level almost getting all the way to the red end at some points! My goal is to get to Bonny Camp but the heating is not letting up. I begin to think of the time my two sisters got robbed on that road. I remember when another sister got threatened by a man with a gun in traffic when she refused to wind down to be robbed. I remember when my friend bargained with a thief there to take N5, 000 instead of her phone. Interestingly, still no panic. At the point where I’m wondering when and how I’d successfully make it to my destination, my phone rings. After initial chitchat, I tell my friend I’d have to call him back after I sort myself out. After telling him what the problem is, he asks me to turn on my car heater as it will help with dissipating the heat.

That was legit the voice of God. It worked like magic. With my window wound all the way up to avoid stories that touch, I commenced the sweaty drive into VI, where I decided to make a stop, shop for a bit while waiting for the engine to cool properly before I add water into the radiator, and continue my drive home. I could literally feel the heat on the eyeballs (which reminds me, avoid Hell!) At the end of the day, I learnt a few lessons: 1: NEVER FORGET TO CHECK YOUR WATER. 2: Don’t procrastinate (this seems to be a recurring theme) 3. Finally and most importantly, my God is still in the business of doing miracles. Cos that phone call was a major miracle. I would never have got the tip that most definitely saved my mind, saved my money and maybe more.

That being said, my birthday is this week 🙂 And so speaking of miracles, if you are led in your spirit to bless me with a car just because, please DO NOT RESIST. Allow God to use you. Feel free to go ahead and be an instrument of the Lord in my life. Thank you in advance.

*drops mic*

XO

 

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A Little Sleep, A Little Slumber…

I can’t believe it’s been months since I was here. I can’t believe we’re in the eighth month of the year. I can’t believe the year is almost up. There are a lot of things I can’t believe, but no one needs me to believe because like it or not, time has passed. Time is passing. We are getting old. The days go by; sometimes slowly, sometimes fast. Not much changes from one to the next. Yet we look back and see how so much has changed. How? Why? When did it all happen?

Ever felt like you’re so preoccupied with making it count that you end up wasting time worrying about how you’re not making it count?

Breathe in. Breathe out. Live.

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He Broke My Heart

broken-heart-1207381_1920

It was a glorious Saturday. The kind that was just perfect for a visit to the PHCN office to pay light bills despite it being humanly impossible to recall the last time a bulb flickered with government-generated current. It was that kind of lovely day that a few hours were spent getting a car checked and oil changed while gisting in the mechanic’s workshop with my brother and thinking of the future. It was the kind of day when the search for duct tape took me on that ill-fated journey to The Palms mall at Lekki, the venue of the event of the shattering my tender heart.

In the process of running some very banal errands with my brother, we made it to the Game store at the mall in search of duct tape. If you’ve been to that store, you may have noticed a shopping area close to the section for appliances, where random items which have been heavily marked down are displayed for sale. On lazy shopping days, I like to stroll past and see what oddities they happen to have there. On this lovely day, sitting in all its glory was a Kenwood Premier Major kitchen machine. (Well, four of them actually.)

Now, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about cakes. A lot. I’m constantly ogling pictures on Instagram and I follow maybe a dozen bakers for my steady supply of cake picture medicine. And so naturally, I began to think that maybe baking may be my thing. I started to shop around for a kitchen machine and settled on the same little Bosch model that I grew up baking with. Little, functional, plastic, ever faithful. I was on the verge of ordering it on Amazon for the equivalent of less than forty thousand naira, when my sister suggested I get one with a larger bowl and food processor-ish features. And it looked like this was my day.

So here in Game I see this Kenwood gem – stainless steel, 6.7 litre bowl, three whisks, glass blender, meat grinder, chopping attachments, you name it. Best of all, it’s on sale. However, there are two prices on the same item. One large yellow price sign placed on top of the box reads ‘Was N76,000/ Now N45,000’. Another sign close enough but not directly on the item says ‘Was N250,000/ Now N120,000’.

Confused but hopeful, I point out the two prices to a shop staff and ask what the correct price is. She confidently tells me it’s N45,000. I’m struggling to breathe. I decide to wander through the store while checking the price online. I’m chattering away about how I’m so excited and I’m imagining all the things I can do with it. I see it for four hundred pounds on Amazon and two hundred and twenty thousand naira on Konga. At this point I and my brother are convinced the lady I got clarification from has no idea what she’s saying, so after finding what brought us there in the first place, we decide to walk to the information desk and ask again – as we were not about to carry the item to the counter only for my bank account to disgrace me there. I fetch another member of staff from the desk, show it to him, and he tells me it’s N45,000. My smile could have lit up Nigeria – PHCN be damned. My brother adjusts his stance in preparation to lift the large box, only for this bobo to say ‘Wait, who put this price here?’ I respond ‘I should be asking you.’ He goes on to say the N45k price tag was actually for a water dispenser displayed close by, and that the correct price was N120k. I felt like I should slap him. But you know how humble you are when you can’t afford stuff? I jejely walked away without protest, bought chocolate chip cookies and Amstel Malta to heal my pain, and went on my way.

I’m not sure you’d understand, but that guy broke my heart. He lied to me. How can I learn to trust again? That kitchen machine was meant to be mine, and right now I just might have been whipping up some batter or dough to make the cakes and cookies that will make my friends at work grow fat while devising strategies to build my empire à la Martha Stewart, but here I am, thinking of what should have been and nursing what’s left of my heart.

It hurts.

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Mismatched

Socks
There are five frogs sitting on a log. One frog decides to jump. How many frogs are left?

Five.

Because deciding is entirely different from doing.

Too often there’s a mismatch between what we want to be, and what we actually do. Think about it – you want to be multi-lingual. You want to speak French, German, Spanish and Arabic yet all you do is watch Africa Magic and listen to Wazobia FM. That sure will help with your accent.

You want to build an empire. You want to be a boss, but each day after toiling at your 9 – 5, you head back home to spend your life on Instagram, rather than draw up a business plan. It shall be well.

You want to be fit. You want to run a marathon. But that tub of ice cream needs some eating and the burger guy needs a reward for his labour. Gym what?

You want to be rich and all the things you’ve done so far haven’t brought the much anticipated wealth. But you stay where you are, changing nothing. Your helper is on the way.

You are much more than you think you are, and you can be all that you dream of.

The secret is easy: Believe, and put in the work!

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Wanderlust

iminlove

I’m dreaming of a land far, far away. Of strange, new stars and friendly winds.

I’m dreaming of leaves on trees I’ve never seen. And scents of flowers in fields so green.

I’m dreaming of tastes and textures and smells. Of time passing too fast, making memories that last.

I’m dreaming of things that have never been.

I’m dreaming of dreams.

Of you.

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