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5 Reasons to love New York City

May 4, 2011

Your lovable galavanter extraordinaire has just returned from the most awesomest trip to NYC ever. Like seriously, this kind of fun and excitement should be tagged with warnings explaining the risk of spontaneous combustion.

This trip was all the sweeter because it had none of the hallmarks of my first trip to the fabled land. In short, I was staying with a dear aunt and uncle in Maryland in the indian summer of 2003. As part of our fun filled two weeks (yes, they gave me and my lil bro a full two week schedule on arrival), they decided we would drive the 4 hours to New York and spend a day there. Thing is, it was so hot, my uncle decided it was best we didn’t get out of the car, so we drove around looking at the city through the car window. My dissapointment and distress was almost impossible to hide. My aunt did manage to bag a stop at a service station off the New Jersey Turnpike but seriously, by that point I was too mortified to speak.

Fast forward 8 years and this time I did it right! 6.5 spectacular days in this awesome city that’s not that different to London, but I gotta say it’s got that edge…

So, Rather than just randomly ramble, I thought I’d mention 5 things I loved about this trip, if you’re already a yankee then this may be preaching to the converted. If you’ve never been, may this inspire you to go make the most of this awesome metropolis.

Disclaimer: I still consider myself to be anti-US, but my San Fran trip a couple of years ago and this trip are chipping away at the rock….but I’m still anti-US so there!

1. Revive the Live Jazz concerts – G.U.R.U. Dedication

It helps to have a local on tap, fortunately for me, my local is a friend I met only once, up a mountain in Peru (Machu Pichu to be exact). Born and bred in Manhattan, this lady had her finger on the pulse, and first thing she invited us to was an event where jazz greats are reunited with contemporaries who are influenced by them. On this occassion, it was a dedication to G.U.R.U. who passed away last year. IT WAS AWESOME! Live performances from a lot of hip hop dudes (many whom I didn’t recognise), including the guy who sang “Uptown baby, uptown baby, I gets down baby…” and an appearance by DJ Premier himself (G.U.R.U.’s Gangstarr partner). The live jazz band was serious and the icing on the cake had to be the four tap acts who came on to tap to hip hop….go figure! All Revive the Live events are meant to be serious so look them up!

2. Greenwich Village – Bleecker St

It is much hyped, but this area is a goldmine. Small specialist shops, cafe’s, galleries, restaurants basically anything. I even ended my 6 month hunt for a new pair of glasses in an optician on the corner of Broadway and Bleecker. I made a personal promise to go back and visit the shop where they make bespoke leather handbags….(not quite in my budget just yet). And it’s not just commercial lifestyle stuff, this place apparently also rocks for accomodation as well. The quintessential Manhattan lifestyle.

3. The Meatball Shop – Lower East Side

I have no words. First time I went to this place was at 1am in the morning. Second time was at 3pm in the afternoon. Both times it was busy, both times my meatballs rocked the ocean and the world. They do every kind, and everything is delicious. You know it’s good when a vegetarian takes you to a meatball restaurant and both the meat and veggie options make your mouth water. Plus it’s extremely reasonable. Making me hungry just thinking about it…

4. Studio Museum – Harlem

Ofcourse we had to do Harlem, on Easter Sunday no less. Wish I took as many photos as I should have done of the gentry folk in their Sunday best. Those pimp suits serve as well for Church as they do for Friday nights. Best thing about this area is the hustle, everyone is selling and people watching has to be the name of the game. On our wanders, we came across the Studio museum which features art from African-American artists. And when I say art, I use that broadly, they had performance pieces, video, sculptures, letters anything. A small, inspiring corner on the busiest street in town. It’s also free, def worth a visit.

5. Chez Ozkar & Cake Man Raven – Brooklyn

We wouldn’t have done New York if we didn’t go to Brooklyn. I have to say if I ever live in that city, Brooklyn will be my home. We went for brunch (seems popular over there) at Chez Ozkar. Lovely atmosphere, brilliant food (damn near licked the sauce from my mussels off my plate) and some pretty interesting art on the walls too. We finished off brunch by getting desert at the Cake Man Raven shop. It only sells Red Velvet Cake. Nothing else. They really don’t need to, the cake was so good, it nearly make my eyes water. I want some right now. Probably the best cake I ever put in my mouth.

Other notable activities, obviously the general tourist things, Times Square, Empire State Building (do not pay the extra $15 for the 102 floor, it’s a bump), horse ride in Central Park, High Line in Chelsea, Rooftop bar at 230Fifth, shopping in Soho….I think I’ve left out a lot, but I think you get the drift; I love this city!

Will I go back? Heck yeah! If only to make the most of the gazillion free concerts going on in the summer. I tell ya that place is so ripe for Lolobloggs….just don’t be surprised if I make movements….serendipity, do your thing.

Bringing home the chicken

May 2, 2011

I was going to call this post bringing home the bacon but as the subject is really not interested in and would not appreciate any references to the swine I figured I’d give it a twist to my favourite meat so there.

Now, on my last post, one of the commenters (thanks for the prod Chichi) noted that I have not followed up on my relationship status. I realised that whilst I whined and complained about the state of men and dating over and over again on this blog, I have not been so forthcoming since my status has changed. Ahem, yes, for those who may have missed it, my status has changed to ….. not single.

Unlike the many movies where two strangers meet at a party/bar/library/airplane/street/supermarket/hostage scenario (I tried all but the last…trust me), I met my guy….lets call him Alan, via a mutual friend. I am not surprised. Many of my relationship successes (I still consider my past relationships a success) have been via introductions because let’s face it, a random dude scares the living daylights out of me and it’s all about the pre-vetting. Mad folk need not apply.

Some vital stats you may be interested in, he’s a geek (woohoo!), 5’9, size 9 feet and ……… he’s not Nigerian. This is where you may want to take a short break and catch up on the time my parent’s tried to pimp me out.

At the risk of sounding mildly smug, I think my emotional growth over the years I’ve been writing on this blog has rewarded me with being right about the kind of person I need to be with and the way I approach my relationships.

I’ll sum it up in one major affirmation…..don’t play games. It’s pretty simple, but it works. I’ve read so many things about what women want, what men want, what women should know about what men want, how to make sure you don’t give him too much, tease this, play with that etc etc etc. On my bookshelf alone I’ve got, He’s just not that into you, It’s called a break-up because it’s broken, Act like a lady, think like a man and more nonsense than I care to admit.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is not my first serious relationship (but everyone please say a quick prayer that it could be my last…ahem…), but it’s the first time I have been strong enough, emotionally strong enough to not front about any little bit. I am who I am, I know exactly what I have to offer and I’m willing to uphold my side of the bargain; I’m woman enough to stand by the woman I am.

So when I look at….Alan, I’m pretty certain that he is seeing the best I have to offer. I’m pretty certain this mindset is mutual, and so far, this is relationship has been real easy. Drama does not live in my house!

Is he the one?….Well, like the post title say’s, I’ve brought home the chicken. Time will tell if he is willing to go get them cows for my daddy if ya get what I’m saying.

I’m an alien

April 11, 2011

In August last year I took the decision to leave the best job I’d ever had. Like evar! Crazy as it seemed then and still does now, I genuinely felt that it was time. I’d invested 3 years, been given a whole heap of opportunities, I loved the work environment and the people had become more than work colleagues.

All my friends were bored to death of me discussing how great it was and yes, there was an element of snobbery involved with knowing I worked for a company others would do anything to get an opportunity with.

But still I left. For two specific reasons which my darling been-at-the-same-job-for-27-years mama cannot really grasp.

Number one on my list, I’d been promoted too quickly. It happened easily because it was a very small company, but I still felt I wanted more time learning to be the best at my discipline and less time managing.

Number two, which is perhaps stranger for an ambitious person such as myself, vertical promotion does not interest me. My aim in life is not VP, CEO or managing anything of a company I didn’t start myself. Simples.

So, what did I do next, well I joined the world of contractors and started at a project in a bank. If you can imagine being a surfer living in Hawaii and then taking a job as an office teller in Moscow, then you may grasp somewhat how drastic a change I made in work environments. It’s a lot!!

Were it not for the specific project I’m on, you wouldn’t see me working in a bank. I’m thankful for the large numbers of creatives they have too cos if I had to be a lone soldier in this world, I would have long since gone AWOL!

How do you bankers do it? The crazy early starts are one thing, but add to that a culture of dick-waggling, foul mouths, unnecessary bureaucracy, outdated hierarchy, and the assumption that all time can be judged by how many trades could have been made (ok, so maybe not everyone is like that) and what you have is LoloBloggs feeling like an alien who has been kidnapped.

Is the project worth it? Maybe. They say all experience is good experience. A colleague often says to me, if you don’t like your reality, then change your perception of your reality. In other words, become delusional.

So, anyway, here I am, 7 months later amidst an economy where many have been make redundant and jobs are not exactly an abundant feature, I’ve handed in my notice and I’m about to have no job. There are options on the table, but I’ve chosen to be jobless for the next 6 weeks and I’ve booked a couple of trips overseas to occupy my time (if you read my blog, you know how I do.)

I’m interested in what others think of the world of work and the ‘career’ ideology, should you stay in a job you don’t like just because it’s more important to always have a job? Does promotion mean going up the career ladder or getting better at what you do? Is there even such a thing as a job for life anymore?

I’m having some mild guilt, I know there is potentially some arrogance in leaving a job without another to go to, but the other part of me says if you don’t capitalise on your abilities, it’s a waste…..

Albert and his demon

April 5, 2011

Hello blogworld. It’s been a while, and today I feel moved enough to share my thoughts on an issue that has been developing over the last year and came to conclusion just last week.

I’d like to talk about Pastor Albert Odulele of Glory House Church in London. Not one iota of my being is surprised that in the last year, the unfortunately familiar stories of the Catholic priests who can’t keep hands off vulnerable children is now being joined by those of pentecostal pastors. We were all shocked, and then floored with the obscene nonsense around the situation with Bishop Eddie Long. Well here is pastor Albert to add to the pile.

My first experience of Glory House is when my sister was a regular member there over a period of about 5 years (thankfully she left 3 years ago). From the second time I went there, I knew I hated it. It was bad enough I was already struggling with my ideas of religion and trying my hardest to define my personal spiritual identity, going to that church certainly didn’t help much.

I felt like I’d walked into a cross between a polo match, ladies day at Ascot, a celebrity wedding and the x-factor. The deity-like worship of the pastors (both the Odulele twins at the time), the level of glamour and expense in the outfits and cars, the scale of the church (thousands in the main hall, two overflow rooms, plus a TV feed), the brazen “I’m here to find me a wife/husband” attitude of the singletons (of which there were plenty), and probably most significantly, the out and out begging/guilt-tripping tithes and offerings collection strategy just plain got my gait way up.

Now the reason this issue with Pastor Albert is worth posting on my blog is two fold.

Number one, the dude is claiming to have “struggled with [his] sexuality for years”. Poor him. Whilst I accept that he is clearly a man with crisis issues, any inference that proports to align his struggle as primarily an issue with a desire for the same sex, needs to be put in check. The christian massive who wish to both condemn and defend him need to learn that homosexuality and peadophelia don’t live in the same village.

Secondly, and to be honest this is what boils my blood. This man is being SUPPORTED by his church and pockets of the christian community. Yes. Not only was there a consistent cover up and pressure applied to his victims (only 2 out of a known 10 followed through to testifying due to pressure from church elders), but idiotic, sycophantic, foolish, eeediyat people (yes, I had to go a bit street there), continue to support him.

People are quoting bible passages calling him a fallen man, saying the paths of the righteous are treacherous, bringing parodies with Paul & Silas. I’ve even heard people saying he was such a powerful prayer warrior that his actions are the result of spiritual attack.

If you are reading this and find yourself somewhat upset by my opinion, slap yourself twice and wake up.

THESE MEN ARE NOT GODS. No, we don’t need to turn our backs on everyone who falls, but you know what, if joe bloggs can be named, shamed and told to carry his own burden load when it comes to protecting our children, then this dude should suffer his punishment without proclamations from others about how holy he is because of the magnitude of his sin.

The rise and glamour of these churches is something that scares me rotten. Spiritual men should be humble men. All the prophets of any holy book you wish to pick up, you will always find men who led through humility in every action. See that humble. It is not about published prayer books, £100k a year salaries, glamorous clothes, first class travel to go pray for corrupt leaders, churches with thousands, TV stations or anything else. If anything in these modern times, humility should be even more important than ancient times.

Knowing that the church Pastor Albert founded supported his Michael Jackson-esque access to small boys by covering up his indescreditions and maintaining his position should make every single one of us shudder and run to protect our children.

If you ask me, a true man of God isn’t leading a mega-church right now. You cannot and should not commoditise spirituality.

People shouldn’t let themselves be fools for any man in the name of spirituality or a relationship with Christ. Wisdom in all things, all decisions, always.

***************

Search Facebook for Albert Odulele to find all sorts of nonsenese supporting him.

Read here for the Channel 4 news segment about him.

Read this for a sometimes confused, but ends on a good note outline of the case.

True Reflections

January 7, 2011
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I’m coming to the end of another eventful two weeks in my darling Nigeria. I have such a love hate relationship with this place. Kinda the same way I feel about England I guess.

As well as the usual stream of visits to family galore (every time I come, there is a new aunty or uncle I’m supposed to have known since like forever!), there has been a long line of pastors come to pray for health, wealth, husbands, children, more husbands, even more children…etc etc.

This is a seriously over religious country! But, to my surprise I met one pastor this time who gets my attitude to spirituality, and was cool with it. Anyone say progress?

I’ve also spent a week in Lagos, damn that town is nuts. It just never fails to surprise me.

We went out one night and paid what I consider to be a ludicrous amount of money to go clubbing (spent £200 in one night as opposed to about £60-100 in the UK).

Then to top it off, what I thought was a simple Hennessy hangover turned into a full blown mad fever that carried me into the New Year. So much for party hard.

And then there is the bane of everyone who lives in Lagos’ life….traffic.

One crazy minded day (I blame my mother), we set out to go from home in Lekki to the other side of town into the suburbs and a place called Ota. (Like going from Edmonton in North London to Redhill in Surrey via central London…its already far!)

We spent 6 hours in traffic, and were still about an hour away when we decided to turn around and go home. Turning around then proved to be an hour long episode at a roundabout where people were going round in the wrong direction to avoid traffic only to create more…..even I was crying out for salvation from Jesus Christ. Sheesh.

So, one thing I’ve been thinking about while here is that I maybe need to think about doing my National Youth Service. If I don’t do it, it would be unlikely I could ever get a job in Nigeria. Not sure I wanna keep that door closed.

I’ve heard that as a ‘foreign graduate’ I’d only have to chose between doing it in Abuja or Lagos (which means in both cases I can live in the family home). That removes my fear of far off distant towns where I’d be the pepperless oyinbo girl in town.

What to do? Can I live for a year in Nigeria? With the ups and downs of this place I have a bunch of equal advantages and disadvantages.

Decisions decisions……

Maybe when I’m sitting back on my couch in London with the heating on full, a blanket around my shoulders and a ceramic heater at my feet it won’t be such a complicated choice eh!

Real-Life: My Mum and Dad tried to pimp me out

December 20, 2010
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Yes-o!! Just like on one of those 60p women’s magazines I have a story to tell. A torrid, awful story of parental betrayal, a daughters virtue and the trauma that took place on one fateful night.

Picture the scene, its a very chilly November night. A Sunday. A Nigerian traditional wedding is taking place somewhere in south-east London. There were easily about 1000 people crowding the halls, trying desperately to avoid standing by the draft of the door, taking refuge from the biting winter cold. [sidebar: I fundamentally disagree with winter weddings. Messes with my outfit mehn]

For this special occassion, my mother had flown in from overseas and it felt like the entire state of Oyo was in attendance. Gele and Fila were everywhere, accompanied by some serious agbada and the uniform outfits.

So, we had been there only an hour. We had nowhere to sit. My mother had been asked to perform the duty of introducing the cake cutting and saying a word or two for the couple. My Dad had managed to secure himself a seat amongs his crew of increasingly old and mildly camfour smelling men (I’m guessing many an old trunk was popped that night) and me and my little sister were hugging the hallways planning when we could drag our parents away to go home.

Cut to the next scene, its post eating (which we had to do standing up), I’ve gone to get my Dad and tell him I’m ready to go if he wants a lift home. I see him nursing a can of Becks….hmmm. Go back to find my mother who now happens to have been given a seat and is about to take the final swig of brandy from her lil airplane bottle which she sneaked into the very nice clutch bag I lent her (no longer in my possession or even the country I might add!). She calls over my cousin and asks him to re-fill the bottle for her, so I go to help him out. It’s all for the cold you see…hmm.

It is during this unfortunate time that my mother spots a group of boys and decided to attempt to pimp her daughters out. Now my parents are far from alcoholic, if anything they’re  straight up lightweights so I have to believe alcohol played a part in this atrocious incident.

So Mum sees 5 young-ish looking dudes standing in the same area as us, she spots a particular one and starts to flirt. Her window of opportunity on this occassion was one of those photographer people who had been sniffing around taking various shots of the family. She asks this guy to take a photo with her, tells him he is cute and bold as brass just says “I have two daughters over there, they are both single you know.” I literally wanted to die.

What ensued was probably the worst 15-minutes of my life where despite my protests (and I went ‘brat euro-kid’ on my parents, stopped short of swearing but there was a lot of “What are you doing?!?!?!?!”), my Mum AND Dad, questioned this dude about his background and inspected his wedding finger to make sure there was no ghost band.

Did you read that? They actually picked up this dude’s hand and inspected his finger?! What kind of behaviour is this!!!

As a final act, my mother then sends over another dude to go hang around my little sister and made us take one of the most unbelievable photos of my life. From left to right there is me, grimace/laughter refusing to look at the camera. Then this guy with his arm around my mama’s waist and her arm very nicely hooked around his. In her left hand she is holding this other dude’s hand, while my little sister, bless her, actually leans as far away from this dude as she can without falling out of shot.

What traumatises me to this day is that even my father took part. Where is the crazy Nigerian father stereotype when you need it!!

Now, before you ask, my mother knows I have a boyfriend. Yes she does. The guy she took a shine to for me, was told that I have a boyfriend, and his immediate response…”I bet he’s not Nigerian”. CULTURE FAIL! I pulled my mother up on this when we finally managed to drag her away and this was her reponse:

“I don’t care if your man is Chinese, if somebody is there he needs to present himself otherwise we don’t know he exists.”

I love the woman, but deym. It’s been a month since this incident and I’m still getting over it. I might need some Dr Phil for this one.

Revealing our history and present

December 15, 2010

You would have to have been living under a very large sound proof rock to have missed the debacle around Wikileaks of late. Personally I think the situation developing around Julian Assange is equivalent to a modern day witch hunt but I’ll get to that later.

I first heard about Wikileaks when they released information on Trafigura (sorry the original Wikileaks entry no longer available). This was a case where the law firm Carter-Ruck (oh ye ethical men) had obtained a super-injunction from the British courts to prevent any information about the activities of Trafigura and in particular a question presented during a Commons session at the Houses of Parliament (imagine, enforcing silence in a democratic arena) being reported on by the media. A super injunction means the press cannot report a story, and neither can they report on the fact that the injunction exists i.e. report no evil becomes see no evil. Enter Wikileaks.

The backstory was that a British firm called Trafigura were transporting toxic waste and dumping it on the coasts of West Africa, nearest to Côte d’Ivoire. Was it legal? Well what do you think? It was a huge story in the UK, not least because this new vehicle of super injunction was being used more and more to help cover up cover ups and keep joe public totally in the dark. Even more alarming was that the super injunction was granted regarding commentary within the seat of government and the home of so called democratic activity in the UK.

That was last year. Fast forward to now, we see continued evidence of things people don’t want us to know about. I don’t believe the leaks are putting lives in danger, the people who orchestrate the war mongering, corruption and culture of secrecy do. Their exposure should tell us only that vampires continue to hide from daylight. The only place they can suck your blood is in the shadows ya heard?

They say knowledge is power, well go read Solomon Sydelle’s views on the cables relating to Nigeria and the activities of the late Yar’Adua, his wife and our beloved Shell (never one to miss out on a bad PR party). Latest releases today look to Ghana and the drug smuggling within the seat of government. Quite ironic this information comes up on the day the oil wells started pumping. Oh Ghana, I hope you look east and learn some serious lessons.

Lets just say these cables show us that there is no grey in the realms of those in positions of power and government. There is nasty nasty muck. Pure unadulterated shit and it does not have mine nor any of your best interests at heart. Simples. Remember that next time you go to vote.

Now onto the case against the founder. This is a very dangerous situation. Sweden has gone from having probably the most flexible process for supporting victims of sexual assault and exploitation, to being the scene of potentially the most vindictive piece of revenge by women or a US backed honey trap like no other.

To my knowledge, there is no report of violence. The two women involved “sought advice” (a Swedish mechanism allowing victims to avoid filing a formal report) after they found out about each others encounters with Julian. Also, the question here is about the Swedish legal system’s assertion that sex without a condom is essentially rape. Now that’s one allowance too far for me. You can read up on the full murkiness of it all on from The Guardian.

His arrest in the UK is interesting, as an internationally connected man, one wonders what it is about British law that makes him feel this is the best place to hand himself in? His expectations may have been a bit high. In the same week a man accused of arranging his wife’s brutal murder gets bail, Julian Assange doesn’t for a case which has been filed in another country, by victims who have not formally filed a complaint, on a charge that has not been formally placed. Erm….yeah….this doesn’t sound dodgy at all.

Wish I could be alive in 75 years time when either the CIA or MI5 documents with extreme redactions come out to explain just why it is that this man can in modern times be so hated after the deed is done.

Like a very astute person said on Twitter, if Assange was Chinese and releasing information solely about China, he would be hailed a dissident, be up for a Nobel Peace Prize and be invited to dine with Sam-Cam at a Con-Dem-nation sponsored event. Go figure.

Go here to access Wikileaks and a list of all the mirror sites. Keep them alive.

 

Give Thanks….Selah!

November 26, 2010

I’ve felt like blogging about a million times in the last two weeks and I haven’t. The good part is that I’ve actually felt like blogging!

I’ve mentioned previously that I rely heavily on the catharsis that is outpouring both on this blog and in my private journal (here and here). But when I picked up said journal yesterday, I realised I hadn’t touched it in months! Months! There was dust on it, and the pen I leave within had dried out. Kai!

Am I ok? Actually yes. But also no. You see it’s complex, I’m complex. I totally embrace my complexity in all its forms and I understand that to be at my best I cannot normalise. My blog, my journal and my ex-bff were all my channels and conduits for embracing me. Talk about anything, feel anything, be anything and it’s cool. The best ideas come from that place where nothing is boxed and everything is possible.

I realised the other day there was a strong correlation between the period where I lost my bff and when I started to lose the ability to use my blog and my journal. One channel closed and I became unsure about what to share and do with the others. It’s a no brainer, when you feel exposed and vulnerable, you start to cover everything up. Unfortunately for me, the consequences of this cover up period just weren’t that destructive. And yet everything was different. Did I say I was complex?

My life has continued, my progress has not been hindered and I continue to have amazing experiences everyday. But I have not been embracing as I should. So many things I have done and been through this past year could have been sweeter, richer, more painful, more depressing. Instead of going with it, I normalised and just continued forward. That isn’t the person I want to be.

I’ve been thinking on this for a while, not least because I continue to have people come into my life who hold up a mirror and allow me to see things about myself (thank God for His messengers), but because I am worried that I’m moving to a stage where feeling ok is acceptable, whilst being exceptional is unavailable because my fear of pain and inadequacy has shut down my most creative instincts.

Two things from the interweb (oh ye bringer of light) this week, have helped make this more solid in my head (enough for a blog post anyway).

Yesterday, poet extra-ordinaire Innua Ellams’ twitter stream was given a shout out by Phiona of Afripop. In the 24-hours that made up Thanksgiving (I will not mention genocide…ahem)…he created Thanks Tweeting Day. A day where every 15 minutes he tweeted something he was thankful for. And as his twitter stream came through, I laughed, laughed and then cried (yes, I cried) and came out the other end utterly inspired. I wrote in my journal for the first time in 4 months yesterday, proper catharsis.

Today, I passed through my Feedly subscriptions and saw a recent post, “A weakness is a weakness” from Ms Afropolitan. Thank you Minna. It was this line that did it:

“Because I think that feeling groundless is what comes before feeling weak.”

Embracing my complexity means being ok with being weak. Those who know me in the real world know that I come across as a bit of an alpha female (but soft on the inside), so allowing myself to be weak is hard to do, especially when I’m buying into the normalised version of me.

I’m thankful I am who I am. I’m thankful I can see and read the world, that I can feel every emotion that passes through me. I’m thankful that all the good, bad, crappy and awe inspiring things that happen in my life exist, for without them…..nothing would be the same and I wouldn’t be me.

I even give thanks for the small ego moments that I get when I see my blog stats despite quite haphazard posting habits. You, my readers, rock!

Selah!

Struck

November 3, 2010
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So, I’m….a bit overwhelmed. You could say floored. It’s .. exciting. Thrilling. Scary. New ..

Never before has it been like this.

Not usually short of what to say, but I am. I’m Awestruck. Dumbstruck. Struck.

Hello Negro!!

October 31, 2010

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that I love travelling. Whether for work or pleasure, I make my passport work hard. My latest escapade on holiday took me to Malaysia. And what a beautiful place it is as well. In 3 weeks, I attended my friends wedding and managed a lot of indulgence. It was the much needed r&r that will always be worth the money and the 13-hour flight that took me there.

No matter how much I travel or how far out I seem to go, one thing I will never get used to however is being a ‘rare event’. Certain places I have been to have helped to remind me that seeing a black person is just not common everywhere.

On the island of Borneo there is a small-ish city called Kota Kinabalu (KK) which was my base for the majority of the trip. From day one, people would call out “Hello Negro!”, “Hey Negro!”, “eeeyy Waca Waca”….erm…waca waca? This was new to me, I didn’t really pay much attention to Shakira’s world cup contribution, so not only did I not have a clue what they were going on about, but since when was it ok to just turn that into some kind of ethnic identifier? Its just odd!

Now don’t get me wrong, I found Malaysians to be some of the most warm, inviting and sociable people ever. Much of the calling out was jolly and basically was just pointing out our novelty more than anything. Only on a couple of occasions did the actual ni***r word come out and even then it was completely ignorable. In some ways we really courted the attention, it was one thing that my mate spends time in the city with her now husband, but for her wedding, there was an influx of 10 more black people all hanging out together including mother of the bride resplendent in a 2ft high weave!

I can tell you I will be back there, no amount of name calling is going to keep me from coming back I can tell you that much. One of the most amazing things about the trip was being able to experience about 6 holidays in one! I had a full on city break, a paradise 5* resort, a jungle trip (erm…) and finally a budget desert island with no running electricity but the number one highlight of my trip. Ok, so that’s only 5, but still GO TO MALAYSIA!

So, about that jungle trip….in short, it lasted 6-hours, saw me complaining every step of the way and ended with me experiencing dehydration and having to charter a boat back to civilisation as I just couldn’t walk any further. Nuff said. I ain’t no jungle baby that’s for sure!

Pic below is of my spot on paradise. I got through many a book in that position. Loved it!

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