I met a Pilot today.

I met a Pilot today.

She made my life look excruciatingly bland.

She told me about the lows, how she almost lost her life before she fulfilled her dreams. I did squirm at them, because they were really low, but I didn’t wish to be like her.

Then she told me about the highs.

Oh boy! They are really highs (I mean she is married to a pilot too). I still didn’t wish to be her because, you know, fear fear.

I have shared all the colourful things I’d love to do but too afraid to try. I feel like it’s reducing the pallete of this my life.

The last thing she said to me was “You need to believe that you are capable of all that and more”.

Maybe I believe it. Maybe I am.

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Memories I’ll have of this place.

Its lowkey been 10 years of making this place home.

That’s a lot of time to feel a certain fondness to this place.

Not that I feel the need to put a disclaimer, but every experience described here are personal and in no way intended to influence an action/reaction.

This town gave me a lot of firsts. Best part is that it has being home to my employers and good enough to them that in the past 5 years of my employment, I was never owed or had my salary delayed.

Having Grown up in a small city, I like that in a way this place gives you a similar vibe. That same feeling that you can guess a person’s location if you know who they hang with. As a newbie getting introduced to a group of people, it’s warming to become part of something, people who will smile and greet you like y’all are childhood besties when you walk into a place.

People-watching is one of my favourite pastimes. Beer barn is where I go on Fridays I get the itch to take a roll call and cocktail binge. I don’t know if the “Jamaican” bears same name elsewhere. Else, it will be sorely missed. However, I will not miss squeezing myself to fit others because all the people decided to find themselves in one small space.

I recently discovered the yum that is in the form of the best chicken wings I have had in this place on an evening of unwinding with Chidinma at Sky bar. The DJ in that place has never disappointed me. It’s also always a sane space (the bathrooms are almost always clean!). Heart it!!

I’ll always remember the Pepperoni on Evo road (yes! I finally learned the names of streets in GRA) as that place that had this portrait of O.C Ukeje that was beautiful and made me fall in love with his looks. I remember mentioning this to him and he had no idea someone somewhere was selling his market FOC. That was also a longtime ago. I think that studio moved or rebranded.

Sundays are literally fundays. The Adanne and I wake up and share our ideals for the day. 7am service at St Jude’s, breakfast at Genesis, grab moimoi at Skippers. Head home if sleep is prime or go avisiting if socialising is. The yam porridge at Genesis was my go-to order. I tried to replicate their style at home, it didn’t impress me so I’m sticking with my traditional style and if I’m craving theirs, they’ll provide it for a small fee. Presidential’s sunday buffet was where my sister and I went to eat till near food comatose. We sampled other places that offered Sunday buffet to find alternatives but somehow they didn’t displace HP (and also there is rice at home).

I joined a Bookclub. Gatecrashed their party and fell in love with them.They are an entertaining bunch. I learn alot from their diversity. I’m going to miss the meetings…fortunately the bomb daily conversations happen on the whatsapp group.. hopefully I can wager for Christmas party to happen when I don’t have to miss it 🤗🤗.

Bole, yam and Fish seems to be our most celebrated export. Needs no explaining why. Roasted yam has always been my favourite bit of the trio (duh, can’t you tell I love yam). When the yams are old and dry and sweet and you are fortunate to find a woman who makes a bomb palm oil sauce around you, *clutches chest* that’s like the best comfort.

There are certainly so many things I will miss about living here, but none of it comes close to my sister. She is the best part of this place for me. She broke me into this place and I loved it from her eyes first. It doesn’t help that we did almost everything together so almost everywhere is stamped with one memory or the other. The days I succeed into getting her to karaoke, just so I can show off her voice to all those people at The Office who probably thank god I don’t sing for a living. I am going to miss her asking my opinion about this and that, “Jem, should I….Jem, what do you think about…”

It’s been an utterly pleasant experience. I have a “basketful” of new family and friends. I think the english term for what I have enjoyed can be good fortune.

But my mommy said they haven’t given me husband so I should leave them and go, so I’m going 😀

Peace & love,always always

Jem.

(Not) Bucket list 

I was thinking today about all the many things I’d love to do, but may not. Then I decided to do this could-have-been-bucketlist-but-its-not bucket list, which is really a list of all the things that would be on my list if I didn’t have certain phobias holding me back.

Skydiving/Bungee jumping

I have a pathetic fear of heights. I still catch my breath when I’m in the elevator (this may also be a combined reaction of claustrophobia and acrophobia). You won’t catch me on a pirates ship, or roller coaster of any kind. I daydream about skydiving or bungee jumping but that’s all it ever is. I’m afraid that by the time I get to the other side my heart would have stopped beating.

Zip lining

This is very much similar to my skydiving ambitions. As long as I don’t look down, this should go well, but what are the odds?

Car-racing

I come from a family of wannabe speedracers. I mean that cartoon was a general favourite for years in the house (♪hums the speed racer theme song♪). In as much as this bit of information is revealing my age bracket, I also recently took driving lessons (yes, finally!) And can now legitimately dream of that wide open space harmless car race. I’m a better passenger than a driver though, so there…another unlikely dream.

Run for office (any office)

I am as uninterested in politics as they come. I hate large crowds. I have stage frights. I don’t suck up to people. I am always intrigued by straitjacket law abiding people (notice how I avoided saying I enjoy breaking rules) but when I’m in that my small sphere of management, I make a good leader (if I do say so myself), and if I was remotely interested in politics running for an office, even if it’s just to piss off the opponent, would be a brilliant idea.

Surfing

After watching 50 first dates, my sisters and I discovered my father’s “Beach Boys” CD…and then I fell in love with the idea of surfing. Only problem with that idea is I can’t swim (I plan to learn eventually) and at the slightest wave while I’m at a beach, I’m scurrying to safety (because I can’t swim, duh!) Good thing Beach Boys only sang about surfing in the USA, as long as I remain in Naija, I’m good.

xxxx

Jem

Black Privilege

The white community a.k.a Wypipo are most often than not bashed for being beneficiaries to “white privilege”.

Especially with the likelihood of them to be absolved or get lighter judgements on the crimes they commit,  there is also the part where they are treated superior to the authorities/owners of the land where they go to serve as Expatriate. This is the stereotype that gets thrown around a lot.

It was only until an incident a couple of days back that I realised that it is not all bad. 

My people have a proverb that translates that

 “It takes a whole village to raise  a child”

I had joined it in the same bracket as their inability to mind their business, but i saw it in a different light when I heard a certain story, totally random and so deep.

A certain teenage girl had become withdrawn and uncommunicative with her parents. As a result, there was no knowing what the matter really was. Another neighbour who had no social relationships per se with the childs parents observed this change in the childs mannerisms as well, bit because there was no formal acquaintanceship, she felt it too forward to go and share her findings. 

She however noticed that everytime the child was on her way to school, a car pulled up and picked her. She didnt pay so much attention to it as she considered it “good samiritan” behaviour. However as it became too often and pick-up-site precise, she was curious as to the safety of the child.

Opportunity for her to make a difference in the life of the child presented itself when she was in the neighbourhood mart, picking random items for herself when she overheard the childs mother lamenting her daughters recent misbehaviour. The minute she heard ‘truancy’ and ‘absent in school’, she apologised and jumped into the conversation. It definitely explained the car pick-ups.

She was able to share it with the mother who confronted the child and learnt that she was being hoodwinked by  an older boy to pursue lofty dreams and aspirations. It was a lesson to the parents to pay attention to their childs interests more but it got me thinking…

Had that been a white community where everyone respects everyones space “till it spoils”, the mother would have never been approached and fed the details of her childs misdemeanour. The child may have even run from the house by this time.

But, Black people being who we are, we are unable to see something around us and keep it to ourselves. 

Sometimes this is bad, but it has most of the time brought comfort because you know no matter how off gear you tether, someone is watching your back for free.

Now thats Black Privilege.

 Peace and Love,

Jemjem.

1st Hand Musings.

One of the characteristics of growing up in a traditional /conventional family in eastern Nigeria is that your faith gets handed over to you.

You grow up professing a faith that you never (hardly) quite got the chance to choose. if like me you were born in an Anglican home, you were baptised as an infant and when older, got confirmed and became able to partake in the Eucharist.

Then maybe, by mingling with a pentecostal crowd you got influenced to do an  adult baptism because somehow, your infancy disqualified the baptism you already got.

In the past months, I have caught myself in conversations that pertain professions of faith and religion . There was the voicenote series by NikNak.Co, that discussed random views on faith and how they came about (or lost) their faith.

There was also Mr Deinbofa at the last TEDxPort Harcourt, who discussed the complexities,or simplicity,  depending on your point of view, of faith.

Among my Christian brethren, there is always this attitude to “poach”(for want of a better description) members of another congregation to another. I don’t particularly find  it offensive but I have my reservations on why you would assume that I am illfit for the congregation I have chosen, and the congregation “you” chose for “yourself” would be a goodfit. Is that not already an encroachment on my freewill and a judgement on my choices (I know it’s not that deep, but it could  be).
So if I feel so strongly of people from a similar faith, “harassing” me with invitations, imagine how non-Christians feel about our badgering. I asked myself for the first time, If I wasn’t born Christian and had to be introduced to the faith, would I adopt it?

Fortunately I answered  yes! 😁

The Christian faith, as I have come to grow in it, and understand is about companionship. The one reason why God created Man, and created Woman.

God didn’t create us for praise and worship, the angels were/are already doing that. But for the communion with man, he made us. He didn’t create woman to fill the earth He had made with offsprings , He could have also done that  without the procreation of man and woman. At Christ’s return and our redemption, we may be yet returned to this masterplan.

The masterplan of loving, accepting and upholding one another.

The Christian faith is not about prospering in adversity, or being more than a conqueror. These are innate characteristics wont to manifest with or without your acknowledgment. The Christian faith is about Love, the very essence of God, and loving only the way God can.

As a Christian, I am not ignorant of the great commission; to speak and spread and share the gospel (which is absolute good news) to every corner of the earth. I also know that the great commision said nothing of enforcing the gospel as law.

When God gave us freewill, He who knows the end from the beginning knew exactly what would play out from events. I have a few “logical” questions that popped up at this point, but faith is not about logical.

Which explains why people’s faith and beliefs are sensitive matters to dabble with. Conversion, Reversion and whatever other verb changes in religion are described with,  we must learn to be more tolerant of other people’s faith.

Live and let live.

Tolerance is not acceptance. Be grateful for peaceful coexistence .

If someone practices a faith different from yours, it us  NOT your place to condemn them to damnation. It is however your place to pray for them and inspire them to adopt your faith as theirs by being a living example of the goodness of your God.
I know a couple of people who grew up Christian and turned to Islam.  They are also much better people than they were as Christians. I am fascinated to no end about this, I want to have long conversations with them (which is mostly because I want to feed my inquistion) but I can hardly engage them so much because we are barely acquainted…lemme not rub someone the wrong way.

This life remains a personal race. selah

Peace  and love,

Jemem.

A Dying but Necessary Occupation. 

I am one of those people who type in retardese for fun.

I am also one of those people who get irked when people type retardese to me when I am writing normal intelligent English.

Let’s just say I like to eat my cake and have it.

Or maybe I’m irked only because I don’t know you well enough to tell if this is how you type for real for real, or you are just having informal conversation.

However, in supposedly formal documents and articles, I find that retardese and other informal lingua is steady making its way to our pages.

There’s also the disaster of misspellings and inappropriate use of tenses (I’m trying to avoid saying bad grammar here).

For example, I once received an invitation to a seminar that read “Your invited…” instead of “You are..” and this is not a solitary case. It’s fast becoming a popular case. And my eyes bleed when I see these things.

Growing up, I once saw a job opening ad on a newspaper for a proofreader. I didnt know what it was or meant at the time, so I asked my Dad to explain what it meant to be a proofreader. I was way younger and unqualified,  but I remember thinking that it would be a fun responsibility to have.

Unfortunately I don’t think that’s a thing anymore. Being addressed as an editor is a more glamorous title. Besides with the rise in freelance journalism, writing and blogging, we seem to have convinced ourselves that passion to get the job done is more important than accurate content.who grammar epp?  The urgency of real time publications and updates hardly leave enough time for “skimming throughs” and “proofreading” so we have error-prone articles to serve.
I’m older and maybe informally qualified,  but I’d really love to proofread your articles for you. Because I know there will be many like me who share in my agony. I am volunteering to be the proofreading martyr. If you ever need help in that regard, I’m your guy.

Send me an email ☺

Peace & Love,

Jemjem. 

Adventures of a Trot.

I took a pill in Ibiza to show Avicii I was cool.
Lies.
Of course I didn’t.
Say No to drugs!
I didn’t even go close to Ibiza.

I went on vacation recently with my friends. One of us got married and had planned a vacation wedding.
The timing was near perfect.
Near perfect because the economic challenges were at an all time high.
Near perfect because the chaos we were having to deal with as a nation were nearing unbearable. we needed the respite.
I spent about 9 days away and after my return, while I sat down waiting for my local transport,  it occurred to me that I didn’t do anything particularly new.
I don’t kid myself to believe that I am adventurous, but I’m not entirely frigid.
I am open to new experiences in a manner of saying.
So, the significant new things I tried was go on the Indian ocean  (which was breathtakingly beautiful) (when I am wealthier I am going to have fellowship in the middle of there, worshipping God for the beauty of his works seems so much realer! ) and drink Swahili tea( which is basically regular English tea with spices , but those spices up its game!!!)
At another time (when I am not waiting in the airport) I will give a detailed animated relay of my journey.
For now, I’ll share this picture with y’all…

image

Thats my gospel for today.
Peace and love,
Jemjem.