Ciao Bella!

The accompanying cheese of the usually older man who greets you as you walk into the store is definitely one to miss.

My first sighting of a tall building.

It’s now the eve of the end.

I can hardly believe all this time has passed, except that I have pictures (tons?) to prove that I did live those hours.

Europe has been something to see. My Pidgin Italian and French were most useful to making sure I didn’t get entirely lost (you might say, hey there’s Google map for that, but have you witnessed me read a map before?). I remember the restlessness I felt when I went to german/Deutsche soil and the only words I could remember easily were Ich and liebe. Not guten whatever time of day or danke schön. Nothing useful enough for me to actually use. I think I froze whatever part of my brain stored the more useful vocabulary (which is very thin).

I’m ready to go back to the life that I know. This constant electricity, fast and cheap internet, dependable public transport system has been real. I think about some of these gains/wins and I want to kick and grovel. But this is the end. For now.

No more walking through landscapes and streets, corsos & piazzas, and appreciating the thoughts that led to this point. Back to architectural designs that seem to focus so much on aesthetics with little consideration of functionality. No more walking everywhere because it’s a more rewarding sightseeing and you can gratify yourself afterwards with hot schioccos and foccace and possibly contrast it with a Pistachio/salted caramel gelato combo!

I didn’t try much with food, because picky eater but for pasta that will remain single and not turn to eba, I am certainly wistful. For my random (read as constant) pancakes and wurstel breakfasts, it definitely made sure the summer body didn’t load but I regret nothing!

In these past months, I think I have been in more stores than I had been my entire life prior to this move. I even found that I actually enjoyed cooking. What I hated/why I stayed away from it was I hated going to the market and the accompanying heat (that is about to be refreshed inna me head). I tell myself I haven’t been gone long enough to pull the “ijgb, OMG this place is hot” line.

I’m grateful to have been able to do this. It’s reinforced the need to build for posterity in me and why storytelling breathes life.

I am going to write about these places.

Sure. Why not?!

Ciao Bella!

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Dear Prof. Moghalu,

Dear Prof,

I heard this morning of your withdrawal from partisan politics.

I let out a sigh and the first thought that came to my head was “ What if Buhari resigned after his first attempt?!”

Prof. Moghalu

While the 14th position in the last poll is absolutely ridiculous, (who knew there were that many contestants) I’m afraid that stating your disappointment with the youth of the country is not enough reason to give up on a cause. A good one at that.

If at first you don’t succeed, Try and Try again, that is what the old saying told us. Reinforcing the power of persistence and the wisdom that comes from doing.

I imagine a comeback season, where you put all your learning from the past election to use, and come up with a stronger campaign strategy. Top of the mind awareness is always a successful “marketing tool”. In the following years, we could build a better campaign, increase popularity and share the vision with the mass populace.

Unless you don’t think your value proposition will be widely accepted. In that case you might be right. My father taught me to always quit while I am ahead, when the applause is still loud.

But I believe that you have a value to the nation. I believe that these youths whom have disappointed you, that you can make them a believer.

We may never know how it plays out, but I propose that it’s worth a second go. The current president only succeeded at his 4th attempt, hopefully yours doesn’t get to that.

But we will never know that now that you have quit, will we?

Regards,

A Nigerian rooting for you.

Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu is a Nigerian lawyer and political Economist, a former United Nations official, and professor in international business and public policy at the Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He served as deputy governor of financial system stability and the director of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from 2009 to 2014. In 2016, Moghalu founded the Institute for Governance and Economic Transformation. He was the 2019 Young Progressive Party (YPP) presidential candidate in the past presidential election.

I went to France!!!

I want you to shriek that title when you read it.

Because even as I am typing the rest of it, I imagine that I am still internally screaming.

I have always been fascinated with France and everything french (think more along French toast than French kiss) and it is a bucket list input to live a year of my life here. It is still W.I.P to determine what year that would be.

My visit started from the small towns and graduated to the major league. I do not exaggerate when I say my body knew the exact moment we arrived France. I had flown to Brussels and took a bus to Lille, where I would be meeting my friends. I’d been snoozing and certainly jerked up. Adjusted light sensitivities and glasses later, I read the first road sign that confirmed that I was indeed “home”.

While the visit has been nothing short of wonderful thanks to my Parisian and Lillian hosts, it had a life lesson lurking.

Like all great romances, France wasn’t perfect. The metro stations had a smell the Milanese stations I had grown used to didn’t have. In Paris, there were demonstrations and protests disrupting the order of things. Routes were inaccessible and public transport shut out the affected routes, which were popular tourist destinations.

It cost me my walk along Champs-elysee. My Louvre moments. The possibility of a French kiss on the Seine Bridge.

On the bright side, I was on the bridge replaying the dunk scene from Inception in my head. And I WENT TO DISNEYLAND.

Disneyland is a fantasy I hadn’t even considered. It was enough consolation for all the disillusions past. I didn’t know how to behave. Singing along to the overhead music, gasping at beautiful things, or pointing and laughing at adults playing dress up (& I don’t mean Disney staff).

I even got me an Edna Mo keyring!!

Since my brief stint in Europe, my sister, Fatima, has taunted me with: picture or we don’t believe you. Lucky for all of us, I have “a” picture to share

🙂🙂🙂

Me highfiving Jack Jack.
Palpable excitement ✔
Disney’s fangirl

Love & Laughter,

Jem

Ps- is it necessary for me to reiterate that I will come again?

O jewa ke eng?

Social media works hard at making the world everyone’s oyster.

I learned about a southern Africa language, Setswana, spoken in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Wikipedia says about 5 million people speak the language, but thanks to Twitter, a certain phrase has broken borders and is familiar to over 5 million people.

O jewa ke eng?

For a 240-character enabled platform, this 14 character tweet has appeared in different threads, and revealed a very important truth. Mental health is assumed to take care of itself.

I didn’t count how many threads, or versions sprouted from that one question, but the honesty and sadness in the responses alarmed me.

O jewa ke eng? What’s eating You? What’s troubling You?

First time I saw that tweet and learned it’s meaning, I read it in a soft voice. Like the one enquiring really cared what response came, and was not moved by the façade that aal izz well.

I bet it hit a good number of people in the same way, hence the reactions under the tweet.

So often, we assume that our family (this is beyond blood and name ties), our tribe are also living their best life and forget that we all have access to the same life. Typical nature of life is to have ups and downs… at the downs, it eats at us, and one known effective remedy is care.

Self care.

No need to be looking outside, for something that can be internally generated. The mind and body is not like the universe that finds a way to purify and renew self. It’s a conscious mental activity.

It’s in words of positive affirmation.

It’s in exuding great vibes.

It’s in protecting your personal space. In this era of social media and being easily accessible, you consciously build walls to preserve your privacy. It can be as simple as protecting your accounts.

It’s in managing the content you consume. No knowledge is a waste they say, but don’t be a dumping ground for content creators.

Find joy in little things. Eat ice cream, and lick the trickles down your hand. Snooze while getting a pedicure. Lie in the dark and have conversations with yourself.

The replies to O jewa ke eng proved that we are walking about with more baggage than necessary. There’s hardly a chance that you will be able to fix what’s done and broken.

Own the sadness and overcome it.

This too shall pass, only if you let it.

Peace & Happiness (always),

Jemjem

The Legend of the Sunk Costs

It’s about 11 days to the start of a new year, what a year 2018 has been!

I’d like to think the theme of this year has been along the lines of the Sunk cost principle.

I came around this principle for the 1st time in the course of my MBA. The Sunk Cost describes any investment (time or money) that is forfeited because of its inability to “return on investment” as required.

So this year, I found that I applied that principle a lot around issues affecting my time, money, affection, etc. Generally it was a guiding light that I didn’t even see until I began to reflect on the year I have had.

I find that I am ending the year lighter-headed because there’s hardly any baggage to pull along.

The first event on the list of happenings that brought me here was losing my phone. Since 2012 I have become more fortunate and careful with my phones, and as a result I have been able to carry “baggage” of memories on a phone from all those years with every phone I had going forward (technology is a beautiful thing). Until in April when my phone was stolen in the most unlikely place and I lost everything. No backups. Nothing.

I groaned because I lost a tonne of pictures and drafts with the phone, then I eventually made peace with losing them all forever. I called it the Sunk cost of memories (that were not helping me if I was being honest).

Starting over with a new phone and finding little stashes of my data from online sources was nice. I also lost EVERYONES number so right now I’m only able to be in touch with people who have since that time tried to be in touch. It’s exhilarating to find people who check up on you when it’s not just birthday or Christmas. So there is also less access to people outside your tribe or relevant to your current cycle.

In all, the learning, unlearning and relearning process have made me a better cohabitant of earth. I’d definitely recommend the letting go/moving on/starting afresh to any situation that is causing less joy to one than anticipated. Consider the investments as sunk cost, cut the losses and embrace freedom on the other side.

A bientot!

Jem.

Eternity and the innumerable number of days

It’s starting to look like death spurs the writing in me. It’s only a look, I promise.

It’s 20112018 today, I wake and go for my morning run on Twitter and find out that Tosyn Bucknor passed. While I didn’t know her personally or ever listen to her, something about her vibe was right. Cheery. I particularly loved teasing Chu’s huge crush on her. As is usual with most of such news, people have flooded timelines with eulogies. It’s a unanimous verdict that she was a good person.

Only a couple of hours till we go back to regular programming, and heaves now and then when the thought of her crosses our mind.

I particularly felt sorry for Harry, in about a calendar year, Sickle cell had robbed him of 3 friends (that I know of). I remembered to pray for the ones we still had on earth, and for the seemingly whole ones too.

Reading all the eulogies and getting sad anew that all these kind words and sweet thoughts of her mean nothing to her.

Actually, this here is my piece of befuddlement.

The life after death side of things.

I am a Christian, and accordingly my faith attests to an eternity in heaven or hell, and the purpose on earth is to make heaven, return home.

Beginning or end?

Mans mind is conditioned to see a finite picture. The paintings have a beginning and an end. It puts perspective to things. Or does it?

Am I going to spend eternity in my 1 year old body, or 16 year old or this current Fat Albert stage that I am on?

I have read jokes, even my sister made one about wearing fancy designer clothes while on earth, because in heaven every one gets to wear the same white robe. Or is it the one where people don’t think a daily routine of singing hallelujahs is a prime way to spend the days.

We didn’t ask to be born, and the consequence of having to exist ad infinitum is a choice we didn’t even get to make.

I take consolation in the thought that if humans, mere mortals, can find ways to make these finite days we have created count, God is certainly able to do better.

Do you have any concerns about eternity?

xx

Jem

#WAD2018

I grew up in a house that was a curious architectural piece.

It was modelled like a boat and round in shape.

It was the first home I knew and the only home I had for most of my life.

The eccentricity of the style made me very proud of my father’s tastes.

The verandah at the left.

The boat pockets around the house.

The see-through glass windows.

The flower gardens in front.

The driveway such that you can drive around the house.

The see-through fences, such that you can stalk a neighbour without moving a bone.

In 2007, when my father decided he wanted to remodel the house, I was sceptical because I thought the house was about to lose it’s eccentricity.

Thankfully I was wrong.

My father’s tastes were still intact and architects are still brilliant individuals. I got sturdy pillars, storey buildings, and a compound you couldn’t drive around after they were done.

Home it was still.

In uni, I spent a lot of my 1st year hanging out in Archi. studio in school. Mostly cause my cousin was one of them, their studio was sane (always had stools I could sit on) and the people were so cool we had fast become friends (Hi Eddie!)

I loved hanging out there and enjoyed it because I admired what they did.

I have a queer disability, I can’t use a ruler (I said it was queer, remember?) I have never ruled a straight line in my life, and I have friends who teased me that a freehand line I drew was straighter than one I employed a ruler.

This “disability” meant that technical drawing and other related ones requisite for a career in the field was moot.

So I lived vicariously through them.

Today is World Architecture Day.

I have been fortunate to be around people who revere architecture. My coins will soon join finish and I can afford to go to renowned architectural locations; a European tour should fix that. I once read a piece by Jumoke Adenowo, whom I started to respect because I learned she was first an architect then a pastor, where she said she chose that career path because it was important to build in consideration of our weather conditions- more Windows, less wood, roofs with gutters and beauty in execution.

I see houses who defy a lot of what that article said, and how uncomfortable they seemed. I could never live in them I said.

Special shout out to all the beloved Architects I know: Uncles Amaugo & Ephraim, The G!,Eddie, Chiago + Chiwi,Abii, Eric..

Shout out to the beautiful people of Nigerian Institute of Architects, Abuja chapter.

They are hosting a Barbecue at 5pm today (see flier) (if you read this post after today, my sincere apologies)..