The permanence of change.

I remember when I turned 27 and I wrote about it here, and worried about how I had pictured my life up to 27 and didn’t quite have a clear picture of how the years after it would go.

I am glad it’s been 3 birthdays since and I am still here, standing, flossing-ish, deliberately happy, working on my success.

Single.

I felt like that one needed it’s own space because it inspired this post.

In the most unlikely of circumstances, I was asked if I was married or had any children, to which I responded in the negative. And then I was asked again if it was something I wanted. I didn’t sound as excited as I would have loved when I responded that “it will be beautiful to see what a unit that springs out of me looks like”. Such a technical response for an “emo” question.

I realise that I am changing. My ideals, my interests. I thought I was controlling these but it turns out my general experiences were lurking in my subconscious and changing some things.

Including my ambitions of a family.

In the past week, I have had conversations with people who do know me and people who are getting to know Me, related to marriage and children, and my responses have generally surprised me.

5 years ago, I probably had a list of names of all the children I might have and what murals I would paint on their walls. 5 years later I still haven’t painted my first mural. And now I don’t really know when and if I will.

Family is important to me, has always been. Life for me has been redefined to mean the time space between which humans who have bonded over time and chance, by blood or by association live in communion. Honest loving communion.

It’s in my father accepting that I’ll never be a medical doctor.

It’s in my mother realising that persuasion requires skill in application.

It’s my sister’s being the best landladies at different epochs and keeping my life epic.

It’s in my relationship with my brother adjusting to the new dynamics of him having a family that comes first.

It is in me celebrating with my friends and adjusting to the changes their new jobs, marriages, cities and/or children bring.

It’s in adjusting that I was wrong about my faith (or lack of) in a person. Because while I have been changing, and growing, they too have been experiencing stuff I may never know about.

It’s in being comfortable that nothing lasts forever. Embracing change head on, no fighting.

I started writing this piece months ago, and somehow abandoned it in the drafts. The mood may have gone. The inspiration changed. But you find that the message remains relatable in a whole new light.

The only thing permanent in nature is change. The person who coined that ironic statement must have patted himself on the back for his wit.

I know I would have.

Peace and love,

Jem

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Roaming Rome

Rome was the city I went to spend the Easter holidays. Easter is big in Italy, so the holidays started early and lasted longer than the usual 4 days we’d get in Nigeria.

It was a last minute decision and a very busy holiday which meant that the train tickets were shooting for the sky, and my budget could only get me bus ride. I’m not going to moan about the length of the bus rides and what it took from me but I’m possibly going to discourage anyone who doesn’t have the stomach for road trips from doing it.

In Rome, I was on my best tourist mode.

My lodging was in the centre of the city. Close to everywhere.

Comfortable shoes ✔

Sunglasses✔

Petit purse/slingbag✔

Comfortable clothes✔

I was ready for whatever. Or so I thought.

I’d have breakfast, take a bath and then head out.

In the “beningin”…

I’d made a list of all the tourist sites; Colosseo, Pantheon, St Peters Basilica, Spanish stairs, Trevi Fountain etc, and mapped their proximity to each one. I was to be in Rome for about 3 days, so I spread the list, especially as my intention was to commute most of these locations on foot.

Tourist in Roma

My first thoughts about the city were of disappointment, I had grander pictures of the city in my head, which the narrow, old cobbled stone roads didn’t fulfil. All that disappointment soon waned, as I began to see the beauty in the city. I also noticed that unlike Milan, which has a heavy middle class – upper class undertone, Rome has a good representation of all the social classes. It’s a town that feeds heavy on tourism, so everyone was pretty much welcoming with their English language.

Pantheon, because I learned I’d find Vittorio there..

From my arrival at the Tiburtina Station, to walking the length of Corso Vittorio Emmanuele II, till the time I had my last meal in Roma and headed back to Tiburtina, I remember the feeling gratitude that the journey ignited. It is still in an Italian country and my cut and join Italian was good enough. As a heavy tourist city, English deficiency or fluency was not a handicap.

Two things happened that made me really glad. While I was walking the long stretch of Via Nazionale/ Via Napoli on the Saturday before Easter Sunday, my Easter miracle happened. I found AN ENGLISH-SPEAKING ANGLICAN CHURCH!!! I had been so church starved. Italy is heavily Roman Catholic (obviously), and church services were hosted in (No prizes for guessing) Italian. I’d tried to find other denominations I could attend their service, they were all a trip away so I had naturally settled for being my own high priest and congregation. I was very grateful to have found this church because it meant I could participate in the Easter service. I pinned the location on my map and continued home (read hotel). It was about 20 mins walk from the hotel to the church. If I did nothing else that entire trip, I’d be okay. Thank you St. Paul within the walls!

The second best thing was happening upon Vatican. It’s something hilarious when you think about the fact that the Vatican is a whole country. Easter Sunday had turned wet at about noon (that icky spring rain that has no momentum but just won’t stop) and I’d decided to get on a bus and try to make it home (hotel) while sight-seeing. Two birds, one stone. That quickly changed as I sighted the Corte Suprema di Cassazione.

Behold the beauty, Corte Suprema di Cassazione

I requested next stop on the bus and skipped to the other side of the road. My phone and power bank had given up on me at this time (it was probably 5pm or later) so I had no idea where I was or what I was looking at. I just know that it was a beauty and the beginning of a long line of beauties. I couldn’t take pictures and that hurt. I walked past it, I had sighted the Vatican obelisk and the distance between us was inconsequential. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know where I was headed and how far from home it took me. The River Tiber, the Ponte’s I walked through, the Castel Sant’Angelo, the length of Via della Conciliazone were all gems on my path. It was like following bread crumbs and showing up at St. Peter’s square.

At the end of the day, I went back to Piazza Navona to people watch some more. Made friends with some toddler babygirl next to me and giggled about nothing until she got cranky because she was hungry. I handed her back to her mother and called it a day.

Anyone wanna guess what I wished for??

As I returned back to base, I decided that it had been worth my while. Seeing the beauty of the city and experiencing the much that I did. I even saw the tomb of Vittorio Emmanuele II in the Pantheon, and knowing how important he is to the Italian story, I think that symbolises that my Italian immersion was complete.

Jem

Ps- it’s my Twincess’s birthday today. My goal-getting sister. I love you Eky baby, Happy birthday!

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!

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.

#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)..

Starstruck: Tom Cruise

You know, when one of your favourite faculty suggests a movie, you have to find it and you have to see it.

My relationship with Tom Cruise associated movies was mostly pop culture inspired. Until “Vanilla Sky” happened, and I have been looking for who will give me back the time I spent watching it and hoping for It’s redemption (in their defence, it was the era of doing movies with your significant other, & he needed to mark attendance with Penelope Cruz).

Then I found out how untall he actually is. I rolled on the floor laughing. My senses can be unkind sometimes.

But redemption comes in the morning.

Last year, after our first exam as a class, to unwind we turned our classroom to a mini theatre and we projected “American made”. There were lots of lessons to be learned there. I really loved it. Seeing Tom again made me realise I had missed watching him ( I had skipped all the MI installations of the years past).

Now, to the movie that tossed the salad.

The Firm.

*soft sigh. I thoroughly enjoyed the underlying themes of the movie.

There was brilliance.

There was providence.

Friendship, forgiveness and faith.

And a strong ache for vengeance.

This is not a movie review so I don’t want to get carried away giving away all the fine details, but I remember thinking as I watched through scenes reasons why Tom Cruise was the best guy for the Mission: Impossible franchise.

When it was time to run, I was like “yea…for real my guy can run“. When it was time to squeeze or climb into odd spaces, I was like “my guy small before na why e go size am

In all, he has had a very interesting acting career, and that ability to fit into roles (save for Vanilla Sky..rme) is the reason why Tom has remained relevant all these years.

It’s not a bad thing at all that he has good looks too, and is a squinty when he smiles.

We 🖤 you Tom.

StarStruck: Hugh Jackman

StarStruck is a series I thought about writing when I found myself thinking of all the celebrity influences that I have in my life, and how they may never know because the groupie in me is dead (read as never existed). I mean, I love Darey and Naeto C, but I remember bumping into them at different occasions and acting so cool like I no even see them. Maybe another time and place. Maybe.

So I thought if I am going to bump into them and act like they regular, I might as well write about how unregular I think they are!

Hugh Jackman is fortunately the first one to make my list because I haven’t stopped listening and singing the songs from The Greatest Showman in my head!!

I am not the least surprised to find out that Hugh’s middle name is MICHAEL! (Surely I am not the only one who thinks that there is something about that name?)

Hugh successfully transited from being my favourite action hero to being my favourite musical star. I am so happy that such a versatile talent graced the screen in my lifetime. I remember going berserk every time Wolverine made the slightest appearance on screen. I am such a fan. Of his nonconforming ways and how he still remained everyones favourite. I know Wolverine is a character that was scripted, and may not be a true representation of how Hugh is, but I also believe that if a man can pull off an act that efficiently, there is a part of it that comes innately.

Wolverine
Wifebeaters were made for Wolverine and Wolverine for wifebeaters…

I was very sad to learn about his recurring carcinoma’s and haemorrhage and how they were getting in the way of his work. It is linked to why the Wolverine character had to be killed in Logan (plus Baba was aging physically too). I know Les Miserables was not a bad act at all, but Hot damn!!! The greatest showman was ICING!!

Hugh Jackman IS the greatest Showman!!!!

Okay, I’m getting excited again, but reading about Hugh and all the work he put into improving his craft shows an admirable degree of dedication. An inspiration of how passions/crafts/gifts should be pursued. He plays more than one instrument, dances, sings and is your favourite action star.

Full package anyone??

Hugh Michael Jackman