Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hello. Still alive.

Hey, how you doing? Miss me?

Just a quick post to say I'm still alive. Life has changed a lot in 3 years, as you can imagine. Sorry I've been MIA :( Hopefully I get the chance to do a overview of those 3 years!

But the headlines:
- Started a PhD. Yup. Halfway through.
- Law career well and truly on the up.
- Been to quite a few weddings- actual friends, haha. Bridesmaid 3 times last year!
- Joel and I are still together. Oooooh!
- Life is great, but crazy busy.

Hopefully I'll stop by soon :-)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Subsidy. Was the strike worth it in the end?

So sometime last week, the nationwide strike in Nigeria which was called in protest of fuel prices was called off, and people could finally return to work. It begs two questions- especially for those of us a bit clueless about the situation, due to not being present in the country at the time-, the first one being why exactly was the strike called, the second what purpose it achieved, if any.

I was still half-pondering these two questions when I received a LONG email from my mum early one morning, pretty much giving her own view on the situation. Seems she was just inspired to write out her feelings on it, and I thought I'd share. She said she'll try sending it to Punch newspaper for publishing, so I'm sure she won't mind me posting it here, whether or not she eventually sends it to them. I found it enlightening, and hopefully, if anything, it'll be enlightening to you too.



If there was anything President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan promised those of us that voted for him in the last election, it was transformation. I was so willing to vote for him that I had to spend my election weekends away from my place of residence to where I was chanced to register, so as to be able to perform our very very important civic responsibility.

I not only voted for him, I did a lot of personal campaigning for him because I appreciated his calmness and tolerance during the death of our late president Musa Y'aradua. I watched with great interest how Nigerians fought the so-called 'invisible and invincible Cabal' for the transfer of power to him as the acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I saw in him a man that was faithful to his Boss even in death. This seemingly good attitude endeared many of us to him, and made us vote for him.

In my character, my interest in governance always ended at the polls. My vote vis-a-vis my governance right has been handed over to the candidate, and he could do and undo as it pleases him until another election period. I never bothered to ask questions as to what is being done or not, because being a Nigerian is enough of a burden for me to bear on a daily basis. The troubles and struggles of fending for my family, generating my electricity, my water, my security and managing my private business without any sincere and genuine help from the government and the search for how to pay the never ending levies from local, state and federal governments have dealt enough blows to me that I have spent major parts of my life running from pillar to post in order to make both ends meet.

Although I do listen to news regularly, this 'Garman Garman' lifestyle of the typical Lagosian ensured I never digested the information. I just listen with one ear, and it goes out from the other ear. I would only hear that the Federal Budget and the State Budget have been presented and that would be the end of it. I knew when the 2012 Budget was presented to the Senate but I never showed any interest in it. With me as usual, it was alright, and as the National Assembly was responsible for its approval on my behalf, what was my business?

I was opportuned to watch the Town Hall debate but I still could not make sense of the trouble the civil rights groups were making over the fuel pricing. I was just wondering how troublesome these people were. When the NLC and TUC were calling for a strike, I was very irritated about it, knowing that they would be disturbing my never ending daily struggles to make ends meet. I had spent a better part of my life trying to be my own government because I felt that was the only option left for my survival. I prayed silently that there would be no strike until the harsh reality of the hike in the fuel price was biting more and more from all sides.

I paused for a moment and reviewed everything and saw a great sense in the call for a strike. For the first time I lost interest in my own personal struggle for survival. I chose to join in this worthy cause. I began to tell everyone like me to be prepared for the strike by rounding up on essential jobs, loading the house with food in readiness for the battle not knowing when to resume work. For the first time I did not calculate how much I would lose in my business, rather I saw the need to liberate myself and even my children from oppression. It was one period in my entire life that I never thought of my business. All I did was to listen, digest, investigate every argument on different television stations, and I was buying newspapers to learn more about what has been done with my vote and right as a citizen of this great nation called Nigeria.

For the first time I discovered what a careless Nigerian I had been. I realised I had carelessly mortgaged my life and the future of my children in the hands of “Political and Economic Theorists” who when the chips are down cannot even run private businesses successfully, except to fight to occupy political offices where money-making at our expenses is easy. They go about quoting big, big figures and terminology that never solve any national problems. Their statistical data never rhyme and you often wonder about the source. They have succeeded in brainwashing us to belief they have the solutions to the nation’s problems. Instead, our problems go from frying pan to fire. I sincerely felt disappointed with myself for this unpatriotic attitude of mine. For the first time I read the proposed budget, I studied and digested it. I could not believe the figures being quoted for government expenses. I then realised I had only been searching for solutions to life challenges in the wrong direction. As good as it is that I should manage my business, run my home and my life, it would forever be an uphill task if I should neglect the very core of my being a Nigerian. That is, knowing how the economy of my nation is being managed and how I am being governed.

If there is anything that we have all identified as the bane of our nation it is this ten-letter word CORRUPTION. I buried myself studying the proposed budgets and listening to the different presentations of patriotic and intelligent Nigerians, and staring me in my face with piercing clarity in our proposed national budget was this ugly word Corruption! For the first time I appreciate the struggles of the different civil right groups, I appreciate the Odumakins, Olisa Agbakoba, Femi Falana and Pastor Tunde Bakare, Professors Pat Utomi and Tam David West who I had carelessly branded trouble-makers, but knowing better I now salute their courage; their defiant boldness is appreciated. I tolerate even their so-called “excesses” in this struggle. I appreciate the entire team of Nigerian artistes that took part in the stuggle; they made us proud. Kudos to the youth activists that made the difference indeed. Because if there was anything they have achieved in the lives of we hitherto sleeping Nigerians, it is that we have woken up from our slumber and things, I believe, will never remain the same.

Throughout the five or shall we say seven and a half days of the strike I cannot remember eating seriously or even sleeping much. Though I was not able to be at the freedom square, I was so engrossed in the monitoring and researching of facts and waiting for the outcome of every meeting as if I was in Abuja. I was quite nervous and worried that there may be compromise on the side of Labour leaders. I spent time praying for wisdom for everybody involved in the struggle. I waited all night for the outcome of their meeting with the President. At about 1:30am when the NLC president came out alone to talk to the press I was there. I was however more worried about his look. He was looking like somebody who had escaped from the battle front to come and relay information to the press. As much as I appreciated that, I however smelt a rat in the whole thing as I could not make sense in the information he brought, and I was getting more agitated and was beginning to sense a possible betrayal from Labour.
I decided to be patient and wait for President Jonathan’s address to the nation at 7:00am. I was even more disappointed with the speech as it was not a fatherly speech to children who have been bruised and disappointed. It was not reconciliatory either. I saw in that speech that he was disappointed with us for protesting, he was not even as tolerant as I thought he was. I felt more pain and anguish with the speech. To add more salt to injury was the fact that our freedom square had been barricaded with heavily armed SOLDIERS as if there was war. This I saw to be political, rather than protective of us. And this was supposed to be a democracy! I was still pondering over this and not knowing what to do or say when I learnt the Labour leaders would address us. I tried to encourage myself to wait for the next move from the address at 1:00pm. To my greatest shock and surprised the strike was called off by Labour. All I could feel were pains, betrayal, disappointment and of course confusion.

In moments like this I always result to prayer and it did work for me, because suddenly I realised I have been in another realm of life for the past seven days. A part of me that I never explored, a part of me that was probing for truth, a part of me that was ready to fight for my right. I was prepared to be on strike until God knows when, now realising that prior to this I had lived a life of suffering and smiling. Honestly speaking, I tried to recover from it all. It was like I had been catapulted into another realm and now trying to face reality. I could not believe the TRANSFORMATION the whole revelation had done to my life. I became a new Nigerian and I now know better.

In all of it I saw God at work. I believe it was a divinely orchestrated “ERROR” on the part of Government to remove subsidy at the same time they are presenting the national budget, because if there was anything I could say I enjoy as a Nigerian, it was the fact that our fuel is not really expensive. So, removing the so-called subsidy in a chunk like that was like removing the hope of the common man. It is the only blessing we enjoy, leaving the rest to the Government to do as they like. It is the only hope of the ordinary Nigerian. It is very fibre of our tolerance. The audacity to remove the subsidy led us to actually probe the spending. This then opened the can of worms we have been living with as Nigerians. I believe that if the subsidy removal was done much after the budget, we would not have seen the light. I must however appreciate the role of Labour and their decision to end the strike, though I may have been disappointed with them, but it was a wise thing that they so did. This really helped to douse the tension.

I believe a lot was achieved, but even if it seems as if nothing was achieved, the fact that we Nigerians have woken up from slumbers and our eyes of understanding have opened is a big achievement for us. We must now be in control of our destiny by asking questions. This is a window of opportunity for us to seek the truth, demand for the truth from our leaders, and I believe God purposely permitted it. We must maximise the use of the Freedom of Information Act. I know that should we have succeeded in bringing the pump price of petrol to sixty-five naira, the next weapon of the government would have been fuel scarcity. We must realise that there is no way we want to fight corruption that it will not fight back, as we saw with the soldiers at the freedom square. But we remain undaunted. We shall not give up.

One thing however surprised me in the whole saga. It was the role played by our spiritual and royal fathers. I would have thought it was a golden opportunity for them to lend their voices to condemning this evil called corruption we have all been praying and fasting against. They all had the opportunity to condemn it in the open, but none did except for an Anglican Bishop in Ado Ekiti that lead a protest, and the Islamic clerics that spoke at the freedom square. I cannot remember any open condemnation of this evil from majority of our spiritual and royal fathers that we all look up to. We did not expect them to leave their lofty thrones and anointed pulpits to come out on the streets to protest, but perhaps a staff of office message from the pulpit would have gone a long way to add credence to this sincere struggle. Well, I take solace in a message once preached by my Pastor from Luke3:1-2, that when the Word of God was to come, it bypassed the governors, priests and all manners of leaders of that time and it came to John the Baptist in the wildernesss, who one would likely describe as an ordinary man compared to the listed leaders in the passage. We must not be too disappointed as we know God moves in mysterious ways to perform His wonders.

Another thing that was a surprise to me was the fact that one would not have thought the moment was a good opportunity for the mysterious and so-called Boko Haram to strike. I cannot remember any seriously documented attack. This leaves a question in my mind as to wonder if this mysterious group is not the handy work of some disgruntled Nigerians, though the SSS Chief claimed it was because they never abdicated their responsibility. I sincerely pray so, but I know whatever the truth is, time will tell.

And to the critics of our peaceful Lagos protest because many wondered if it was a protest or carnival. If anything should be learnt, it is that you must always find a positive way to channel your pain and your anger, and that was exactly what the music did. It gave strength and succour to the protesters, and you will notice there was no vandalism of any sort, despite the mammoth crowds. This was wisdom at work and you could only experience such for the first time in no other place that our Centre of Excellence. I can only say to the critics, WELCOME TO LAGOS- The Centre of Excellence.

But one message is very loud and clear in all this. It is that we the youth (I believe I am one as I am not yet fifty) of this great nation must rise up with one voice that says YOUTH AGAINST CORRUPTION. We must fight it with all our being because it is our future at stake here. I know many are still angry with the aborted protest. It is not a case of going home to lick our wounds; rather we should channel our bitterness by never giving up. It is still a case of our popular saying of “NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER”.

I believe in change, I believe there is a greater weapon to change than violence, I believe in living to fight for my right than dying not achieving my course. I believe in resilience and wisdom, though it may appear a longer route to change than violence, which does not necessarily guarantee change. I have never been more convinced of a better Nigeria. A Nigeria that will indeed be the giant of Africa! A Nigeria that we will all be proud of! A Nigeria that will be the envy of nations!



I guess that's where I got my ability to write LONG blogposts in one sitting! ;-)

But there it is, food for thought for every Nigerian, or anyone that has an interest in the country. I guess we just have to wait and see what happens next, and keep praying that God's hand continues to rest on this country.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Forever last-minute!

So I'm supposed to be going to Paris on 25 February with a bunch of other girls for a day trip. Sounds like fun! It's a little less than two months away, but I might not actually be able to make it. Story of my life. Why? Having a Nigerian passport means I have to apply for visas all the time, and whilst this isn't too much of a problem, except for spontaneity, I always almost run out of time. I'd initially said I wasn't going, when my friend Esther mentioned it to be last year, because I thought I wouldn't be able to make it, as there are 3 weddings in Nigeria in consecutive weekends in Nig, of family and friends. I'm not too bothered about the first, but the other 2 are people I know well, and as I thought the Paris trip was in early February, I wouldn't be able to do both. It isn't, so in theory, there's no reason why I can't do both.

But as luck will have it, I might not be able to make either, and it's all to do with the annoying fact that my current UK work permit ends bang in the middle of February! If it ended in January or March, it wouldn't be a problem, but as it's in the middle of February, it certainly has to be renewed before Nigeria or Paris. Renewing it is pretty straightforward (amen), it's just that it takes what seems like forever. Before Paris or Nigeria came into the picture, I'd planned on sending off the application and all this month, get my passport back whenever hopefully with the extension. But then, both came into the picture, and it became apparent that sending off the application in January might be cutting things a bit too fine, if I plan on going to either, as it apparently takes 4-6 weeks to process, and if I was to go Paris, I'd have to make another application for a Schengen visa, and this takes about 2-4 weeks. This hit me on the day payment for Paris was to be made which was in the middle of December, which was incidentally when I realised that it wouldn't be early February as I'd initially thought. So after much hmm-ing, I decided to pay for Paris, send off my application in December, and hope that I get the passport back in time to then apply for a visa, my calculation being that if I sent it before work closed for Christmas on 22 December, 4-6 weeks from then would be very early February, and I can then apply for the Schengen visa in time for 25 February, or just get a Schengen visa in Nigeria, if I do end up going for the weddings.

So true to my word, I sorted out my application in about a week- filled the ridiculously long form, asked the Uni for my payslips and gathered all the required documents, and paid the bloody expensive fee by way of postal order. Good thing payday was early in December!

But despite having sent off the application in December, there is a real possibility that I won't have my passport back in time to make it to any of the weddings, or to even make it to Paris. An ideal situation would be buying tickets to Nigeria well before February, but I certainly can't do that right now, because I really don't know when I'll have my passport back. I initially thought the 4-6 weeks was from the date the application was made, but what with the move for biometric residence permits, the processing times is actually based on the date you register your biometric information, and you can't do so until you've received a letter from the Home Office confirming that your application has been received. It's exactly 2 weeks today since my application was received, and I'm still waiting for the said letter. I put my correspondence address as my work address, as I included a self-addressed special delivery envelope in my application so my documents could be returned securely, and there's no chance of the delivery being missed, as opposed to at my flat. But then I'm slightly worried that as the Uni was closed all through Christmas, so if the letter was sent to me by special delivery- which really, it shouldn't be, it being just a poxy letter- it would have been returned undelivered, as there would have been no one to sign for it. Other regular post would apparently just be held at the sorting office until the Uni then opened in January.

So I'm hoping that the letter just hasn't been sent yet, due to the them being very busy over the Christmas period as if it has been sent and then returned undelivered, I'm really not sure what their next step would be. I'd hoped I'd have received the letter sometime this week and enrolled my biometric information (which can be done not too far from me through a walk-in service for £20) so time can start counting. But it's all getting very tight right now. 6 weeks from today is 15th February. Wayyyy to late. Damn, I've just checked, and the first wedding I really want to go for is 4 February. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah! :'(

But fingers still firmly crossed- at least for Paris- because I have a history of successful late applications!

The last two times I've had to apply for Schengen visas- first on tour to Spain with my football team at the time, and second to Spain for a Christmas cruise in 2010- I applied outside the recommended timeline, and I remember that they almost didn't even take my application for the Christmas cruise, but I applied, hoped and prayed that I'd get my passport in time, and I did! I think for tour I went to collect my passport the last working day before we were to fly out! And for the Christmas cruise, it got posted back to me in time, even with the postal services always going to pot round about Christmas!

Seems like I'll be in the same boat third time running! I pray it works out well again this time! Although it really isn't going to be my fault this time, I probably need to promise not to leave it to the last possible minute next time...

Maintaining the status quo

First of all, happy New Year, Blog! Hope you had a lovely time of nothingness, like I did. I've not been on here lately, but I won't lie and say I've been busy- I really haven't- I've just not really felt like it, like so many other things. It'd probably be unbelievable to you if I said I haven't really been up for much sport of late, but it is true! There have been a whole LOT of football matches of late all in a short space of time, and in the past, that would have been like heaven to me, but I've either been forgetting (or not even being aware!) or I've just not felt like it. There have been so many times my dad has called me up of late to discuss a match currently on, and I'm like "umm, what? Whoops, didn't realise it was on!". Unbelievable. And it's not just football. There's cricket on right now down under, late night cricket. In the past I've been staying up late to watch, but now I never even remember to check the updates in the morning, not to talk of staying up all night. And then there's tennis. I was at the O2 at the beginning of the World Tour Finals in November, I think it was, and I haven't watched any matches since the tournament began. I've just realised that the Australian Open in starting in about 2 weeks, and I'm not even excited about it!

Very weird. So don't feel bad, Blogger, it's not just you that I've been neglecting of late. I'm not sure yet whether this is all a good thing or a bad thing, but I hope I get back on top of things soon! Oh, I've just thought of what could be the cause of it! I recently stopped drinking Coke, round about October/November last year. I  used to have it all the time, and I suddenly decided to stop, because too much of Coke can't be good enough for you, and I didn't want to be addicted to it, but hmm, that has sort of coincided with my declining interest in things I used to love doing. Withdrawal symptoms? Maybe I should get back on it? I have been falling ill a lot lately too, and my energy levels feel very low. Maybe it's just the Coke detoxing process! I'll give it a month or so, and if I still feel low and not entirely interested in sport, I shall be getting back on the Coke-wagon! Not as much as before, but just a little to keep me going! That said, it could all just be Joel's fault, taking up all my time and stuff! :p

Anyways, last time I checked in, it was in relation to my work dilemma. The deadline for applying for Johanna's job was in December, just after we closed for the holidays, and I didn't make up my mind what to do until the last possible moment. Funny enough, after I'd decided to talk to Filippo about it first, he came up to me and was like we needed to talk! I was worried initially that the whole thing had blown up on my face, or that he had bad news for me, but it turned out to be a good conversation in the end. It was about career options, and even though I didn't mention Johanna's job directly, it helped me in making my decision. I explained to him that I was considering going into the academic side of things, and he pretty much said that there's no hurry, and it's best to keep my options open. It's never too late to join academia, or early I guess, but he felt that at this stage, and with my qualifications, experiences, etc, that it would be a good time to consider applying for training contracts and going to law school. There's this process going on at the University right now, called REF, whereby academics are getting their works graded, and need to be up to a particular standard. Academics prefer to do research on whatever area they want, whenever they want, but right now, they are being dictated to as to what they can or can't do, and when they ought to do it by. You also have to publish a certain number of work in a certain number of time, and they have to be up to particular standard, and he explained that it is really hard to get into academia, in maritime law, right now and that there really is no funding available at the moment. It might be much better in a few years, but in essence, now is not the best time for it, especially if you have better options available.

The reason why he wanted to speak to me initially was because he'd been going through some training contract applications for a particular law firm that he is a Consultant at, and he felt that based on the CVs he saw, there's no reason why I should not be able to get at least one, and he felt strongly about it, which was why he wanted to talk to me about it, so that I start considering applying. He also said that he had mentioned me to one of the Bosses at another maritime law firm where he's a Consultant, who was willing to have a look at my CV. It all brought home the point that my mum is always making to me, when trying to convince me to go to Law School, that once you're qualified, you are qualified, and if you have the opportunity to do it, why not take it? And as Filippo said, it's easy to get into academia, or a P&I club, if you are a lawyer, than the other way round. But the bit that really got me was when Filippo was explaining to me how law firms work behind the scenes. One of the reasons why I felt I didn't want to be a lawyer, is that I felt there wasn't much room to get involved in research, unlike as an academic, as research is my strong point. But Filippo was telling me about a conversation he had with one of the lawyers, who explained that a huge percentage of staff they hire are primarily for research purposes. You see some lawyers at the front of the house and imagine that that's how all the others are, but at the back of the house, there's a huge team of researchers. Not just legally trained researchers, but qualified lawyers. I've only ever thought of the "front of the house" lawyers and felt that really wasn't my cup of tea, but there's certainly no reason why I can't excel as a "back of the house" lawyer, where I can put my research skills to use. And also, most fronthouse lawyers- the ones who deal with the clients face to face most of the time- always start from "back", and as they gain more experience, then start to feel more comfortable with being fronthouse, but the point really is that I can choose to be qualify as a lawyer, without having to give up research. Not bad!

I did apply for training contracts straight after Uni, with no luck, but with my experience so far, I'm beginning to see Filippo's point that it shouldn't be as hard to get one this time round, God-willing. I worked on my CV a few weeks after that meeting with Filippo and have sent it to him now, and hopefully when he's back at work next week, he can have a look at it and forward it to the contact. I definitely will be on his case! So yes, I have decided to apply for training contracts this year. I need to have a look at specific deadlines, but majority of them will be in summer, with the odd ones in January. Most training contracts, however, are 2014/15 starts, and with you having to go to law school for a year prior, if I do get one, I'll most likely have a year or so to play with. More on that when the time comes...

But that's the future anyways. So how did I resolve Johanna's job dilemma? If you haven't figured it out already, I decided not to apply in the end. As much as it's a fabulous job, it doesn't do a lot for my career prospects really (even if I was hell-bent on an academic one), and as they say, "don't fix it if it isn't broke!" I still didn't shut out the possibility of applying until the last day I work, when I sent Johanna an email, saying I wouldn't be applying. This was Thursday, with the deadline being Saturday. And Saturday came and went, and I didn't feel as if I'd missed a trick not applying, so seems it was the right decision in the end. Another time, maybe, and I'd have jumped on it, but there were just too many factors making it a too risky one, especially with renewing my work permit and all.

So the 5-month saga is over, and I'm very glad it is! Hopefully they'll find a suitable replacement, and as I said to her, I wouldn't mind helping out in anyway I can, but I think I'm better off staying put. Oh yeah, I tried to get two of my friends to apply. Funmi decided to, but Faye chose not to in the end. Fingers crossed she'll get called up to interview!

I guess I'll let you know if there are any developments on that, as well as my training contract applications and stuff.

Thanks for reading! :-)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Corporate espionage and things! Okay, I'm somewhat exaggerating...

Hey blog, it's been ages, but I won't bore you with excuses. Let's just crack on with it.

I started writing this post on the 1st of September- yeah September- and although I didn't finish writing it then, stuff has reared up its head, and I feel now will be a good time to talk about it. The beginning is all fun stuff, but it'll eventually get to the point. So here we go.

Yes, I know I haven't finished my last post, and neither have I mentioned birthday runs, but I will get back to it, I promise.

So the last couple of weeks at work have been pretty easy. I could have done it all in my sleep! No stress whatsoever, no late nights- very welcome reprieve from the usual. The reason for this is that we're running a course at the Hilton Hotel - "Southampton Short Course"- for 3 weeks with delegates from all over the world, and majority of the lecturers I work with are involved with that, so they're busy with it. Also, the majority of my work is done before the course, so I've done my part, all that's left being minor things that can be done easily.

So I've been taking things easy at work. 3 weeks is a long time to be cooped up in a hotel studying, so the Institute organises events for them to attend, for a small fee. The good thing about this is that we that work at the Institute have the option to attend these events, but free of charge! Good times!

The first event I went for was just dinner at the Hilton- a British themed dinner- the whole point being to mingle with the delegates and show our support. When I first heard that the dinner was British-themed, my immediate thoughts was fish and chips! There actually was the option for fish and chips, but most people went for Roast Beef, and it was quite good. We had some soup for appetisers- pea soup I think- and it was quite nice! Couldn't stay for pudding though, but if I did, it would have been bread and butter pudding. No real loss I guess. But anyways, glad I went, becuase well, that was dinner sorted! That was last week Wednesday.

The next event I went for was definitely the best. It was the next day, and we went to Chichester Festival Theatre to see Singin' in the Rain, with dinner afterwards at the Brasserie in the Park there. It was absolutely brilliant! The show, that is. The food was good too, but the show was incredible!

I'd been saying I hadn't been to the theatre until Thursday, but I realised the other day that I actually had been. That was at Uni, in my first year, when there was an adaptation of "The Country Wife" in the Weston auditorium. I'd been so excited! I'd read the book at A' Levels and loved it, so was over the moon that it was being shown as a play. I remember going alone, because no one I knew could be bothered. But I was too excited to care! I even remember sneaking in my own microwave popcorn! Haha.

Weston Auditorium, UH- outside

Weston Auditorium- inside

But anyways, glad I had forgotten, because it was nothing compared to this. I hadn't actually seen Gene Kelly's Singin' in the Rain, so had no idea what to expect, but it totally blew my mind! Saw the movie post-theatre, and it wouldn't surprise you to learn that I preferred the theatre production. It was simply brilliant. The stage was fabulous, the acting on point, and they even had real rain! On stage! I was captivated.

I've just 'stolen' some pictures from Google. Million miles away from the Weston auditorium. One of the bosses hadn't seen the film either, and he was as excited as me, too! The Singin' in the Rain song performance was just before the interval, and he was like saying how we wishes he could go on stage and play about on the water that was on the stage! I won't obviously spoil the show for you, although I checked, the last showing is on the 10th, and it's all sold out! :'( Yes, I wanted to go again! But I heard a rumour that the show- same cast, I think- might be returning next year, in London! I'm so there! [I've just done a quick google search just now, and it seems it's is coming to London in February! YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!!!!! I really am so there! "I'm singing in the rain! I'm singing in the rain! What a glorious feeling I'm happy again! Hey Joel, We are so going to see this, just so you know! :-*]

The stage
The star of the show, Adam Cooper, 'singin' in the rain'!

You really need to see it! Okay, I'll stop banging on about it now. :'(

We didn't get back to the hotel until really late, as we then had dinner at the Brassiere in the Park at the theatre. Nice touch from the skies, as it was raining outside when the show finished! It was raining even harder when we got back to the Hilton. Torrential rain, even! Got a lift from a work colleague, and I think I got home about 1am or something, but I don't remember. Glad it was a work-do, so need to rush in to work the next day! Awesome.

That was the height of the work perks, but I got to go on other not-as-cool-but-cool-enough events. The next event I went for was a boat trip on the next Tuesday, a cruise around the Southampton docks. I've been on it in the past, as every year Maritime Law LLMs get to go on the trip, as it's quite educative, and I went when I did mine. It was good fun though, and as it started at about 2pm, didn't have to go back to work. The funniest bit of the trip was towards the end, when we got chatting to the delegates. There were some Nigerians, and as me and one other colleague are Nigerian, they started teasing us about finding us rich husbands in Nigeria, and arranging a wedding, and all we need do is turn up! I was laughing/smiling so hard, my cheeks hurt. They were like they'd charter a private plane too, to transport our other colleagues if they wanted to attend to! Hilarious.

It really is a small world though, because a few days before the course started, one of my Nigerian friends from Southampton had to move back to Nig, as she couldn't find a job, and shortly after the course, I find out she's gotten a job in Nigeria, so I send her a congratulatory message. She then replies saying, that "Oh, my boss said he met you guys at the Short Course in Southampton!" Turns out her boss was the leader of the Nigerian-wedding chat! He's like a top maritime lawyer in Nigeria. So I guess if I find myself back in Nig looking for a job, I know someone I can turn to!

Some pictures...

We were on the Princess Caroline.  Obviously...

The view from just the docks, before we sailed.

At some point at sea.

Uhh, not sure what this is... Oh yeah, cars are being loaded onto a ship. It was interesting at the time!

Something something.

Good trip!, back to the other trips! The next one was the next day, actually, this time Wine-tasting at a Vineyard in Winchester. Sounds like fun, but most of the time was spent being taught about how wine is made, and we were shown round the vineyard, the wine-presses, etc. It was long! The only thing I really remember from it was the way they plant their grapes, using the "Geneva double curtain".

Can you see it?
Our tour guide, and I think Boss of the Vineyard. I took his picture because he  reminded  me  of one of my former lecturers.

Professor Nick Gaskell
Can you see it? More obvious in the previous picture, I think...
 We eventually got to the wine-tasting, and- if I can say so with my limited knowledge of wine- it was good wine! We tried wine made from just one type of green grape, a combination of two types of green grapes, a combination of red and green which was Rosé, but eugh, he saved the worst for last. Red wine! *puke* Red wine is the most disgusting thing ever!

Wickham Vineyard wine. Notice how there's no Red in the picture. Much better.
Another successful dinner! I only really got to go for one more event, and that was a themed dinner at the hotel, this time Indian. Turned out much better than the British one. This time it was a buffet, and it was really nice food. Lots of it. There was also a 'surprise', which we knew nothing about.

We were all just waiting in the bar area, making small-talk and wondering what the surprise might be, when we heard the loudest noise! It sounded like a massive clatter, like someone dropped a lots of pots and pans in the kitchen, but then the 'noise' settled into music, and it turned out to be two Indian drummers! They were really good. And was it a good surprise? I think so. It fit with the theme, obviously, and other than the fact that we had to suspend conversation while they were drumming, it was a nice surprise. Another successful event!

The main event of the 3 weeks though, was the Gala Course Dinner at Osborne House on (in?)  Isle of Wight, but I didn't get to go, as I had Joel staying round, and it was only for staff and delegates, but it was fine, really, as I can always go next year! And ah, that leads on nicely to the main topic! Apologies it's taken so long to get to it, but you gotta set the scene! ;-)

So the day after Singin' in the Rain, still on a high, and not in a rush to get into a work, I get an email from a work colleague (remember my lecturer-friend from a previous post?), asking if I want to go for coffee. I'm like 'no problem, we'll go as soon as I get in'. So I get in, and we go for coffee. There was me thinking it was just ordinary coffee, but there was more! Ooooo...

She tells me that she's off on maternity leave in January for 6 months (I didn't even think to ask if she was pregnant because well, if she wasn't explicitly volunteering the information, I wouldn't ask, and neither would I assume), and she was going to put me forward to replace her. She pretty much sold it to me there and then, and I was going to consider it. She basically has the same job as me, but I am a Research Assistant, while she's a Research Fellow and a bit more. I work for a number of lecturers, but she pretty much works for just the one- Professor Rob Merkin. He was actually my dissertation supervisor for my LLM, and I actually got him to be one of my referees, when I applied for my current job, so he knows who I am, and Johanna was like Rob's happy for it to be me to replace her for those six months.

But our conversation was off-the-record, she was just informing me, just so it wasn't a shock to me if I was asked about it. She's like my Boss will probably contact me soon to let me know about it, but she kind of warned me that my Boss might not be too keen. As I was (am?) initially on an 11-month contract, which runs out end of January, with the option of a further 11-month extension, and my issue was whether when the 6-month job is over, I'd get to go back to my old job. That'd be the perfect scenario! But my Boss is err, different sha. But anyways, before we get to that, my off-the-record conversation with Johann finished, and I headed to my office.

As soon as I got in, and before I had time to gather my thoughts, I get told that my boss was looking for me, so I pop down to his office, and he starts to tell me about Johanna's job! But the way he's telling me about it, it's like 'err, don't you even consider it!' He pretty much was saying that if you go for those six months, you won't have a job to go back to. Not in those exact same words. Not even in similar words, but that was the vibe I was getting. He's like Johanna's job is a lot of work, and it's not really relevant to you for your future career, it's only 6 months, etc. I asked about the possibility of a job-share, we hiring one more person in our department (it's slightly confusing, but the department I work at- the Institute of Maritime Law- is quite separate from the Uni, who Johanna works for. Although I did find out recently that she's a member of the Institute too, but like I said, it's confusing)- and we covering Johanna's tasks, so I didn't have to leave the Institute, but he wasn't having none of it. Johanna had mentioned that he's very protective of his staff, he likes to keep them to himself, if that makes any sense, that he's rather keep the Institute work separate from the University's work, and he pretty much said the same.

He then says that our conversation is 'strictly confidential', then asks if Johanna had already mentioned the job to me, and I'm like err, no, remembering she said it was an off-the-record conversation. So Filippo is like the next thing that will probably happen is that Johanna or Natalie (the head of school) would contact me about it, but that he'd go about processing the extension of my contract. The same way Johanna had sold the job to me earlier, was the same was Filippo pretty much 'unsold' the job to me. It was funny, because Filippo was like Johanna would probably try to convince me to take on her role, and that she can be quite persuasive! I think they both know each other quite well! Actually they should, seeing as Johanna had my old job!

But anyways, I kind of decided that I wouldn't take the job, what with it only being for 6 months, and Filippo not being too keen. I discussed it with my cousins when I went back home a few days afterwards, and we decided that it'll be a good idea not to take the job. The question then, was what to do next. Johanna was expecting Filippo to talk to me about the job, and Filippo was expecting Johanna to talk to me about the job, but none of them knew that I'd spoken to the other, as both conversations technically did not happen. So I'm like, do I go speak to Johanna, tell her I'm no longer interested in the job, without mentioning that I'd spoken to Filippo, or do I go to Filippo and tell him that I'd subsequently spoken to Johanna, and tell him that I told her I wouldn't be taking it? On like the final day of the Short Course, there was a farewell lunch for the delegates which I went for, and I got a lift from Filippo. He asked me again if I'd heard from Johanna, and I just had to swallow hard and say no! Lies.

It was such a tricky position to be in, and it proper felt like I was somehow involved in some corporate espionage! But obviously, that's over-dramatising! It was a sticky position, but nothing more than that. I was worried one time though, that Filippo would find out that I'd spoken to Johanna already and that I lied to him, and he won't be impressed, so I was careful not to send any emails to Johanna that would give me away as having spoken to her prior to Filippo, just in case my emails were being monitored! Talk about paranoid! Considering that both conversations happened pretty much right after the other, either could have easily come before the other. Amyways, wasn't too comfortable with the situation. I guess that's what happens when you have "confidential" conversations!

I eventually decided to send Johanna a carefully worded email, saying that I wasn't really interested in the job anymore, as it was only for 6 months, and I wouldn't have any job security after that, so I left it at that.
[today's thoughts, now]

But Filippo was right though, she doesn't take no for an answer, and even though she keeps saying that she's not trying to convince me to take her role, she's *kinda* succeeded.

I've been thinking of late of what direction I want my career to go, and we recently had this event in London, the Donald O'May lecture, an event which has been run by the Institute of Maritime for the past 29 years, and I was involved in setting up for the event, and we displayed a number of recent books that had been published by Informa, but had been written by the members of the Institute. I'd seen most of them before, except one, by Ozlem Gurses, a recent Ph.D student turned lecturer, and I couldn't help feeling that I'd LOVE to have a book published one day. I've had a couple of articles published, but how amazing would it be to have my own name on a book!? Like how cool!

And that's why all of a sudden, Johanna's job looked even more attractive. She has lots of articles published, as well as books, in conjunction with Rob Merkin, who I mentioned earlier. She runs the newsletter, Shipping and Trade Law (which was where I had my two Articles published), so she's responsible for sourcing articles from willing LLM and Ph.D students, as well as other contributors, and if need be, she writes articles for the newsletter, to bulk it up if there aren't enough. She's the editor. She also does other weekly newsletter-y type things. I always get an email once a week from her, and it includes a brief summary of all the maritime law cases that have been decided in the past week. She also runs this book publication, the Ratification of Maritime Conventions. It is an already published book, but it is updated online as soon as a convention is ratified by a member state. So basically, she's on top of all the recent maritime law happenings. And to add to that, she is also Rob's Research Assistant, and Rob is even more busy than she is! Oh, and did I add that she lectures, too?

That seems, and is, a whole lot of work. Can I handle it? Well, maybe. But first things first, I have to apply for the job, if at all I will be. It'd be great if I got it, because I'd get to work for Rob, and actually do full on research work, because at the moment, I don't do strictly research work. I pretty much do the bits the lecturers can't be bothered with. Proof-reading, finding new cases, and the occasional research work. I love researching, and it'd be work-heaven for me, even if it might get overwhelming. But then, it's only 6 months. I'm considering maybe doing a Ph.D afterwards- either after 6 months or 11 months, which ever the case may be- and I'd want Rob to be my supervisor. Working for him now, I'm thinking it'd be a good opportunity to find out possible ideas for a Ph.D, or a research project- something long-term. But then, I'd be nailing myself to the mast for an academic career. Am I ready for that? I don't know.

But the question now though, is what to do next. I really want her job- hmm, am I finally admitting it to myself?- but I don't want to cross my boss, whom it didn't seem, was pleased with the idea. But he did say that if I was interested, I should speak to him about it. 

I guess initially, I wasn't sure whether it was a viable option for me, but now I think it is, and having talked about it with a couple of people, I've decided that the best way to approach things is first of all to speak to Johanna, find out what EXACTLY the job will entail in those 6 months, and if I am convinced that I can handle it, I'll go directly to my Boss and lay my cards on the table, explain why I think it'd be a good option for me, but at the same time make it clear that if at all I do 'leave', I don't want it to be on bad terms. To be honest, if he's going to be very upset, I'd rather just stay where I am! Me I don't like wahala. Obviously he wants me to stay because I do a good job, so I always have that as a bargaining tool, in asking whether there's a possibility of me deferring my extension until after the 6 months. (my contract has currently been renewed until July 31, not December. It was split into two, something about HR wanting contracts to run in line with the financial calendar). It gets slightly confusing when it gets to work permit extensions, but that's a bridge to crossed another day!

You might have wondered why it all kicked off again, as I'd said I wasn't going to bother, but Johanna kept drip-feeding me info, like she's writing up her notes for her replacements; she's found someone for my former boss, Aleka (I saw her at the Donald O'May lecture, and she said she was looking a research assistant, so I told Johanna about it as she knows lots of capable ex-students), and she's also considering him as her replacement, but she thinks I'll be her perfect replacement; etc etc. Then she told me that the job was going to be advertised in the next few days/weeks, and I should have a look when it comes out, see if I'm still not interested, and that's kind of when the cookie crumbled.

I know her job is going to pay a bit more (how much, I don't know, and I'm not too bothered), and it hit me that if I'm going to act on it, I better do it now, before it gets advertised and the salary then gets revealed, because it'll seem (probably) to my boss that I'm only after the job because it pays more! I'm not sure when exactly it'll be advertised, but I need to speak to my boss beforehand, so he doesn't think I'm 'running away' because of the money. He's away now for a week, but I aim to speak to Johanna today, so I know for sure that I'll be applying, then I'll send him an email asap, knowing that I need to speak to him when he gets back, about the conversation we had all those months ago!

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

I planned on finishing this blog last night, but I was still typing it at 1am so had to stop, so here I am, finishing it up at work. It's past 3pm now, and I really ought to head to Johanna's office now and speak to her.

But first though, need to mention other stuff. This story (it's crazy long already, apologies), is far from over, but I'll continue when there are any further developments!

In other news, it's Joel's graduation today, woohoo! Yes, we are in November! University of Hertfordshire are silly like that. Mine too was in November, despite the fact that courses have ended in May/June, and you know already what your results are. Heck, some people have already found jobs and have moved on! But it's November UH graduations traditionally hold, so November it is. It starts at 7pm today (another ridiculousness), so I'll be popping down straight after work today. I'm not actually going for the ceremony itself, because you only get two tickets, so he's going with his mum (who flew down from Georgia just for it) and his Uncle. I'll meet up with them afterwards. Slightly nervous, as I haven't met either before! But it'll be the briefest of meetings though, as it'll be late by the time it's all over, and they have to head all the way to Harrow. I'll just spend the night at my Aunt's because the graduation is in St Albans, and she lives there. Easy for me.

The plan was to head back down to Southampton in the morning- I took tomorrow off- and play football with  my team (yes, I joined the Uni's ladies football team this academic year, like I did when I did my Masters!). We always play Wednesday afternoons, but as I work full-time, I haven't been to any, so the plan was to finally play. But the plan has changed now.

Seeing as Joel's graduation starts at 7pm, all the way in St Albans, there's no scope to actually have a party or celebrate on the actual day, so he's decided to use Wednesday to celebrate somehow. The plan is to go see Wicked! (it might seem like it, but this blog isn't about shows! :p)  in the afternoon, and probably go out to dinner afterwards. So now that I've cancelled football (gutting, but there'll be other Wednesdays), I'll be going with him and a few family members to see Wicked!, not sure yet if I can do dinner afterwards, but we'll see. It'll be another chance to meet his family, as I have only met his sister so far (and well, I'll be meeting his mum and uncle tonight). Should be err, interesting. I better be on my best behaviour!

I'll let you know how it all goes, as well as how it goes with Johanna and my boss. I've got to go now, but I guess you'll be right in saying that this blog is finally back! Again, apologies for the length, but it just had to be written!

See ya! ;-) xxx

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The love of my life :) And birthday! :) Warning- LONG post...

So you've probably been wondering about me and Joel, and now seems like the perfect time to tell you about us :), and how we came about.

So, a long time ago, in 1988, on this warm summer's day in August, two different sets of parents were going through the pain and agony of childbirth, and, oh wait, that's not what you wanted to hear about, my bad! ;) We were born the same day though, so I'm sure there's a story along those lines. One I don't know about, for obvious reasons!

So yeah, it's both our birthdays today. We're both old, man. 23. Ouch. But I digress!

Part 1.

I don't actually remember when we first met, actually, but I do know how we met. It was way back in 2007, in my 3rd/final year at Uni. I was a total geek at Uni, it was (un)believable! I was always on StudyNet, the Uni's web portal, either answering law questions other students had posted on the discussion pages, or listening to lectures, but I was almost always on it.

I remember seeing an advert on StudyNet, at the start of 3rd year, looking for people who wanted to join the International Students Association team, either as secretary, president, public relations officer, etc. I don't know why, but after seeing it, emailed the gut placing the advert, Roy Cotton, saying I was interested. If anything, it was the wrongest year to want to get involved in any extra-curricular activities, but for whatever reason, I put myself forward as secretary. It was a very small society, because most people hadn't heard of it before, even me! I got elected as Secretary, because I made a couple of my friends come just to vote for me, and there were only a handful of people there, so that was a smart move!

So yeah, I became Secretary, and this other Nigerian guy, Kennedy, was the Campaign Officer. We used to have meetings in the library every week, and even organise events, mostly serious stuff though, like safety on campus talks with a member of the local police. Numbers were thin, so people used to bring their friends, although none of mine turned up, because it was on the other campus,! Even though it was the main campus, none of my friends ever went there, as we had absolutely no dealings on there. We lived on the other campus, and the law school was even in a different town! So if not for ISA, I probably wouldn't have been anywhere that campus, College Lane. But I digress again. So Kennedy used to come along with his friend, Joel. Those 2 were inseparable. If you saw one, the other one was probably there as well, or round the corner! So that's how we met. It just used to be 'hi' and 'hello' stuff, and we never really saw each other outside ISA gatherings.

I was a year ahead of them, and towards the end of the year, since I was leaving, I had them round for dinner, as well as one of their other friends. Kennedy's very friendly, so we sort of kept in touch. After that year, I left Hertfordshire, and went to Southampton for my Masters. Kennedy and Joel both went on placement that year, Joel to Littlehampton, Ken to somewhere somewhat near Littlehampton, can't really remember where. We all weren't close, per se, the odd text here and there, but I remember they both came to see me in Southampton one time, and it was raining, unfortunately! But we went to KFC first, then the cinema, afterwards. I remember I'd not yet been to the cinema in Southampton before, so it was a bit of an adventure trying to find it in the rain! But we managed it! I think it was Casino Royale we saw, but don't remember clearly. Let me see if I can find any photos... Ah, found some, but only putting up a couple...

Me and Ken... No, the scarf belongs to me, not him. He's a United fan. Meh.

So this was right after the movie, and we umm, won something in some raffle draw thingy, according to Bow Tie man. Riiiight...

Me and Joel. There's just something about this photo...
Me and Joel's glasses...
Anyways, them coming to Southampton was a mini-surprise, but a good one! I see from the date on the photo that it was November, which was close to (UH) graduation. I didn't see Joel then, so not worth talking about! ;)

So again, the odd text here and there. The next time we really talked was sometime in the 2009, towards the end of Joel's Littlehampton placement, about May/June? I remember him calling/texting me, telling me I had to come visit him in Littlehampton, because it was close to Southampton and I'd never been, and it was like his last weekend there soon. I said yes, seeing as there wasn't any reason not to, and I wasn't uncomfortable around him or anything. Got there late on a Friday, and he'd booked a table at this restaurant close to his, but I was too tired, and lazy, so we just chilled, then slept in his room, while he slept in the spare room. We went to Brighton the next day, as his mates, from work I think, were meeting up for a drink. His flat mate, can't remember her name, also worked where he did, and if I remember correctly we all headed down together. It was a fun day. We went to the Red Snapper, had a fabulous meal, then headed back down to Littlehampton. I remember something funny one of the guys did- one of the other guys left the table, either to go to the loo or have a meal, so the other guy says to the waitress, 'It's XYZ's birthday today'. So she said she'd bring a cupcake with a candle when he was back at the table, like a surprise. So he got back to the table, no one said anything, and right on cue, the waitress brings this cupcake on a plate, and places it in front of him, and we all sang happy birthday (including staff and other guests, I think), trying to hold in our laughter! Why? It wasn't his birthday! The guy was as surprised at anything! But at least he didn't blow it and ask who's birthday it was! So so funny! Would be a good thing to try one day... So dinner over, we went to a nearby pub for drinks, and headed back home afterwards.

I was leaving the next day, so Joel had planned for us to see like a carnival thingy in the area? But I was too lazy, and there was cricket AND F1 on (hey, don't judge me! ;)), so we just stayed indoors, played catch with a baseball bat and gloves, and I made him watch F1 and cricket! Sorry! Haha. But yeah, it was a good weekend, and we became a little bit closer. I do not have any Littlehampton photos, unfortunately!

Funniest bit of the weekend, now I look back, was speaking to my friend Oyinda on the Friday, and when I told her I was off to a guy's house for the weekend, and I'm sure you can guess her reaction. But I was like, 'nah, he's just a really good friend, nothing's happening at all'. There was this male friend, Kelvin, who was really close to the girls (another story for another day!), and he was round theirs a lot, them round his, but he wasn't going out with any of them. It was never really going to happen, he was just a god friend. And I remember telling Oyinda that Joel was just like how Kelvin is/was to them. LOL now, right?

We talked more after that, but we pretty much were just friends. He obviously moved back to UH for his 4th year after placement, and I moved back to St Albans after my Masters, although a bit later, as I was in Southampton until September. I kept saying I'd come see Kennedy at him at Uni, but it never happened. Then I found out we were birthday mates! It was the year I had a barbecue for my birthday at my Aunt's, and I told him he had to be there, and he was like it was his birthday as well, but he wouldn't be able to make it, as he was going to America. Disappointing, but you know, I couldn't like tell him not to go to America! At this point, ofcourse, there still wasn't anything there.

The next time we got to hang out was in November (2009), this time in St Albans. There was a fireworks display in town for Guy Fawkes, so Joel, Kennedy, my cousin Derin, and I all went. It was good fun!I took a few photos, mostly of fireworks, though. I found out later on though, that I was a bit anti-social that day, tweeting away and taking photos, not really saying much. Ooops!

Only non-fireworks photo...
We got to hang out not too long afterwards, this time in London. We're both massive tennis fans, and there was the ATP Tour Finals in London. I wasn't expecting there to be tickets available, and was just checking the ticket website and realised there were some available, most likely a Roger Federer match! I was on the phone almost straightaway to Joel asking him if he was interested, and I must have seemed crazy, because I was literally on the moon! He said yes, we bought the tickets, and we went to the O2. It was amazing! Joel was/is such the perfect gentleman! Maybe I should have noticed the signs then, but I was just crazy excited! I remember there was a Champions League match just before the Federer v Murray match was about to start, and as it was Arsenal playing, I HAD to find somewhere in the O2 where the match was showing. And we found somewhere! He bought drinks for both of us, and listened sweetly while I went on about the match. He's not much of a football fan, and he was well within his rights to not be happy about watching football while there was a perfectly good tennis match (doubles) going on before the Federer match, which our tickets were valid for. But he didn't mind at all!

Arsenal match found in a bar, yippee!
Post-match smiles.
Awwww! (If I may say so myself...)
And King Rog, after dispatching Murray in 3 sets!

Loved it. And this time, even though I took loads of photos on my camera, I wasn't as anti-social as last time! Right, Joel? ;)

Part 2

Now it gets interesting! ;)

So we kind of lost touch a bit shortly after the O2. I guess he was busy with Uni work and stuff, I was trying to find a job, etc. And as far as this blog is concerned, we've almost come full circle. This post, which I wrote in early March 2010, was about the day it all started. But before you go running off to read it (but who am I kidding?), it doesn't say anything! I remember when I was writing that post, contemplating whether to mention what I will mention now (haha), but deciding against it! You know, you don't want to be jumping the gun and end up with egg on your face, so I played it coolly.

That post mentions how my friend Esther got me and Chris to go for her cousin's graduation party in Hatfield, but it doesn't mention anything about the party. So I said I hadn't kept in touch with Joel much after tennis at the O2, so I was pleasantly surprised to see him at Esther's cousin's graduation party! He lived closeby, so not too surprising, but totally wasn't expecting it. I hate parties, just in case you don't know, because I hate small chat, because it seems to me to be fake more often that not, and I'd rather do something active (dancing doesn't count!) with strangers than be in a room with loud music and food with strangers. Totally not my comfort zone!

So yeah, I was very happy to see Joel there, and I bored him some more with Arsenal talk, because we (Chris and I) were coming straight from the Emirates. I'd gotten Nikky B's autograph (don't have it anymore, as it was useless- dark background+dark pen=pointless autograph) and was really excited about it and the game itself. I was tired too, so socialising wasn't top of my list. I ended up just sitting on the stairs instead of going into the (unlit) room, but Joel stayed with me. He even got me food and drink, and tried to make me dance with him. I did eventually, but it was horrible as I was so embarrassed, but he says otherwise! As I was spending the night with Esther in another friend's flat, I pretty much couldn't leave until Esther was ready, but I had good company, so wasn't too worried about it. He didn't stay with me all through, because unlike me, he isn't anti-social, but he stayed with me as much as he could. But eventually, it was time to go. He left before me, and just as he was about to leave, he kissed me on the cheek! I was kinda surprised, and almost didn't think much about it, except Esther and Zainab, another friend, were both there, and after he left, Zainab was like, "Is that your boyfriend?" and I was like no. Then Esther was like "You look cute together." and I guess that was pretty much when the wheels started to turn in my head. Oooooooo... ;) It was like a lightbulb moment!

He'd mentioned that night that one of his friends hadn't been to London before, so they were planning on taking her to London sometime, but he wasn't sure when, and would I be interested? I said yes, and he was like he'd let me know when. But anyways, with the wheels turning in my head, I text him the next day, something along the lines of "fancy seeing you yesterday!". But I didn't get a reply or anything, and the wheels pretty much got stuck that day. But I heard from him a few weeks later, about the London trip. Turns out he didn't get the text, or he say it wayyyyy late, one or the other.

I know you'll ask why our meetings seem to have Arsenal connections, because the day of London trip, I had to be at the Emirates, for a match screening. Spurs away. That match brings with it so much hurt, so I'm not even going to go there. But yeah, with both events happening the same day, as contemplated for a long time whether or not to go to London, as I only knew Joel and Kennedy, and there were going to be other people there (obviously), but well, I eventually did. Was late, but it was fine. We met at London Bridge, I think. The one with the London Eye? We had some food, then continued the 'tour' they were on. I've got some photos! :) None of both of us, unfortunately...

Building somewhere I do not remember...

Clocks? Same place as the previous picture...

Kennedy. Oh, and Buckingham Palace gates! ;) Saw the changing of the guards!

Great view!

Can't remember what shop this was!

That's a photo of a bus that had hit the bus stop earlier on. HAD to take a photo. And Joel thought it was funny.
It was a nice day out, and *cheese alert*, I just wanted to be next to Joel all the time. I tried as much as I could, and tried to remain cool, too! Haha. We both aren't much talkers (it's true!) but he kept asking me questions, most of which I had no answers to, but he said he was just trying to know me better! "Favourite food?" "Umm, I dunno." "Favourite colour?" "Umm, I don't have one!", etc. I think it was also because I was trying to suss out whether or not he liked me or not! So many times I thought yes, and so many times I thought no. But that's all part of the whole thing, isn't it? Random, but I remember him buying me waffles, and ice cream, because I wanted some. It's the little things, isn't it?

So yeah, it was time to go :'( I remember there being a problem with the tube, so we had to take the bus for just two stops or so. Packed bus, so we stood instead. Do not laugh, but we were standing kind of next to each other, holding the same pole, and I wanted SO badly to put my hands over his! I almost did it, if not because we were getting off the bus. It was a bit weird, and I think that's where he hit me that I definitely like him. A girl's worst fear, isn't it? Knowing you like a guy, but not being sure whether he likes you or not. Torture. SO much better the other way round...

But I got off the bus, wished I didn't have to, but I had to dash to the Emirates. Awful. Not talking about the Emirates.

So this was April 2010. 14 April to be exact (thanks, camera!) I was off to America the week or so after, and we pretty much text back and forth before I left, while I was away. All. Through. It was awesome! (to be continued...)

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Weekend almost over, 3 days to birthday, woohoo!

So the weekend's pretty much done with. It dragged a little, in a good way, because I kept thinking yesterday was Sunday, for whatever reason! Probably also because the weekend *kinda* started for me on Thursday, because Joel came round Thursday evening (even though he was a bit ill, bless him), and didn't leave until Sunday, although I had to go to work on Friday! :'( We didn't really spend that much time together, as he got here Thursday evening, did some food shopping, got back home kinda late and tired, then I had to go to work on Friday. I made sure I left work at 5pm, so we could spend as much time together, as he was leaving early-ish on Saturday for a barbecue. I'd hoped for the weather to be awful so he wouldn't have to leave, but that didn't happen. But yeah, enjoyed the little time we spent together, and he's back on Tuesday evening, so it isn't all too bad.

Finally went to church in Southampton today! We moved to a new building fairly recently over a month ago, while I was away, and I've been back almost a month now, but it's actually the first weekend I'm spending in my flat, so was finally able to go to church here. It used to be somewhere far, and I had to depend on the church bus to get there (cabbing it costs about £15 one way!). But the new place in on my way to work, so it's much easier to get to. It's a nice church and everything, and I was contemplating finding a new church during the service, as I don't really feel 100% at home there. I've been going there a long time, but I don't speak to anyone there. Like today, I just went in, and as soon as the service was over, I disappeared! I think I was even the first person to leave! Obviously it's not the church's fault, I just find it difficult to talk to 'strangers', and when I don't know people somewhere, instead of being friendly, I almost always have this unapproachable look! I do go for the weekly life group on Tuesdays ans speak to people there, so even if I do end up going to another church, I'll probably keep going for it. I might just stick with it, seeing as church isn't about making friends! Anyways, it doesn't matter much, because I'm hardly ever in Southampton weekends, these days!

So got back home after church at about 1pm, and I finally cooked! Was slightly worried that I'd mess it up, seeing as it's been well over a month since I cooked, but I've still got it! It's like riding a bike, isn't it?! I also cooked and cleaned, and add that to laundry yesterday, it's been a productive weekend! I also unpacked my suitcase (yep, same suitcase I took to America),and I even had Joel help me out! I hate unpacking! But it's done now, so yay!

So I've done everything I planned on doing this weekend, all I have left to do is watch tv, but I never need a second invitation for that! Oh, I'm also waiting for my cousin. She's got work experience relatively close by for a couple of weeks, so she'll be staying at mine, which isn't a problem. I hardly ever use my bed, so she can stay in my room. So I now have a legitimate reason for sleeping on my sofa! It's actually a sofa bed, so ideally I should use it as one, but it's just long transforming it into a bed, so I just sleep on it as it is. I probably wouldn't if I was taller, but I'm not, so whatever! :)

Really looking forward to Wednesday! I don't think I've mentioned it yet (ofcourse I haven't! ;)), but it's my birthday on Wednesday! And I've got the day off! Not sure what I'll be doing on the day, but I'll be spending it with Joel, which is more than good enough for me! Then at the weekend, I'm umm, Go Apeing? How does one say it? "I'm doing Go Ape"? "I'm going for Go Ape"? Anyways, so long as you know what I'm on about, it doesn't matter, right? The best way I can describe it, is that it's like NYSC boot camp! Having said that, I haven't actually done NYSC, so I could actually be wrong! Idiot, right? But yeah, it's a physical activity thingy- swinging through trees, zip-wiring, stuff like that. This video's on their website, so it explain it better!

I'm going on Saturday, with a group of 13! Should be fun! I'm looking forward to laughing at people! But I won't be surprised if I'm one of the ones being laughed at! We couldn't get an early slot, so we'll be starting fairly late, at 3pm! I split is into two groups, so 8 people will be starting at 3pm, the remaining 5 starting at 3.30pm. That way it's kinda flexible. the 'slow' ones can start at 3pm, or people who are late can start at 3.30pm, and we'll all finish roughly the same time. It lasts between 2-3 hours, so we'll probably go out for drinks afterwards or getting something to eat, depending what everyone feels like doing. I actually wanted to do this last year, but people chickened out, but they're surprisingly up for it this year! I guess everyone's growing up, haha.

Anyways, that's next weekend sorted. And it's in London, so probably another weekend I won't be spending in Southampton. I'm not sure whether my cousin will be staying at mine over the weekend, but if she is, I'll probably just go for the day on Saturday, but I doubt she'll be. I haven't got any friends in Southampton anyways, so I don't have mind staying in London another weekend, except it's expensive, and I don't have unending pockets. Wish I did...

But umm, not sure there's anything else to report on from the weekend. But my memory 'leaks' sometimes, so I'm probably missing something out! I'll stop typing now, as I'm just rambling! Have a good week, whatever you get up to! I'll be sure to report on my week, and weekend, sometime soon!


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Weekend update.

It's quarter to six, I'm awake, I don't need to be up until 8.30am. No better time to blog, I guess!

My last post was about the weekend plans, right? The weekend went pretty much according to plan. Finally dragged myself away from the cricket and went to my Aunt's. Got there about 8.30pm, and basically just chilled with my cousins. Good times. Didn't go to church on Sunday for one reason or the other, so headed for the Emirates, with a brief and pointless detour to Watford. My cousins were going shopping, and the plan as to get there early-ish, so I could get back in time to catch the train I needed, but we left too late, and barely 20 minutes after getting to the mall, I had to leave. Pointless, right? Didn't even get to look properly in any shops!

Anyways, made it to Fiinsbury Park, where I was to meet everyone, in good time. Was meant to get there for 1.30pm, but seeing as F1 started at 1pm, I made SURE I was at Finsbury Park before 1pm, just so I didn't get stuck underground and miss the start, which is like the best part of the race. I did miss it in the end, pesky internet reception. Was in the Arsenal store trying to buy a replica kit, and at the vital moment that I needed the internet on my phone to load really quickly, it just took it's bleeding time, and I missed the first three laps! Annoying, but at least I got to watch it in the end. Didn't watch everything, though, and when we eventually got to the Emirates, they were actually showing it on the screens in the food hall, so I watched the last 10 or so laps there. I was recording it at home, so I just re-watched the whole thing when I got home. Don't judge! ;-)

So yeah, jersey bought, F1 on my phone, all I had to do was wait for the others to turn up. Chris and Ibukun turned up first, then we had to wait for Joel and his sister, but not for too long. I was a little nervous, but really didn't need to be. They turned up, she gave me a hug, I said 'happy birthday', then we headed off to the stadium. She's actually a bit similar to me, in the sense that we're both crazy, I'm talking random dancing and singing on the street! It was funny, and good to see that she was having a good time. It was her first time at the Emirates, and she seemed to have a good time throughout, so I guess it was a good idea, afterall!

Not going to bore you with details of the games. There were two matches, the first one being the irrelevant one, as it didn't involve Arsenal, that's why I was able to watch F1 during the first game. The second one was the good one, and it had Henry playing against us. It was all good fun, and apparently, according to Twitter, there was some booing at the end, because we drew, but I honestly didn't hear it at the time. Oh yeah, probably because I was a bit tipsy! No, I'm not an alchy! But I was forced to down a bottle of Smirnoff Ice! After watching F1, a wanted to get some food, and I noticed they had Smirnoff Ice, so I thought, 'why not?'. Bought it and headed to my seat, but the steward was like 'Sorry, you can't take any alcohol past this point.' Annoying, because I wouldn't have bought it if I realised. So I had to down it, so I could go to my seat, the effect being I was a bit intoxicated, prematurely, the effect being that I was sleepy! But anyways, it was a good day out, and the weather was lovely. Took one or two pictures, but seeing as we were on the upper tier, it's hard to tell who's who! Here are a few of them:

F1 on tv at the Emirates, with fellow losers :) There were quite a few of us, actually, and this was only one tiny section of the Ems.

Oh umm, AC Milan at the Emirates. I think he got confused...

Arsenal players warming up at the top right.

Pre-match line-up.
I think it's Henry just on the edge of centre circle, left side of the photo.

This was after the first goal. Our only goal...


Post-match. Podium also being set-up for trophy presentation to Henry's team.

Henry being a sweetheart and doing a lone-man lap of appreciation. We love you too, Titi!

The rest of the photos aren't much better.

So, match over, time to head home. Was so so sleepy on the long train home, it was ridiculous. Kept falling off, but didn’t want to miss my stop! But when I actually got in, about 10pm, I all of a sudden wasn’t tired! I don’t why your body plays these mind tricks on you sometimes.

Oh yeah, so I got my iPad 2 from my Aunt’s house on Saturday, and I’ve been using it a bit since. It’s cool and everything, but so far, it hasn’t added that much to my life. It’s just seems like an overpriced toy, and because I’m not an Apple person, the first couple of days were annoying, as I kept getting stumped as to how to do one or two things. Much better now, but I guess I need to find a good use for it. Bought a book on Amazon for the Kindle app, and I actually started reading it. Girl with the Dragon tattoo. The beginning is a hell of a lot boring, but Janine, Joel’s sister, is a huge fan and she said to keep with it, that it starts off slowly, but gets a whole lot better. I have no idea what the book is about, as I try avoiding reading book covers (not like a got the option this time, seeing as it’s an e-version!), but I even have no idea what genre it is. Guess I’ll find out soon enough. Anyways, I digress!

I mentioned that the iPad had a story, didn’t I? It’s a funny story, but I’ll try to keep it short. A while back, before we went on holiday, my mum was asking me about getting an iPad for herself, and she wanted to know whether to get a 3G one or a Wi-Fi one. I told her 3G was best, especially as she lives in Nig and all. The plan was to get my uncle in America to buy it for her, so she could pick it up when she got there. They all got to America a day before me, and when I got there on Friday, the iPad was bought already, but it was a Wi-Fi one. My mum didn’t want the Wi-Fi one, so she planned on selling it, then buying a 3G one. Not sure who’s idea it was, but we decided to auction it on eBay. My cousin, Tolu, was the one sorting it out. We were sort of impatient, so we only let it run for about 3 days. It was exciting, because I’ve never sold anything on eBay! My mum wanted it to sell for $750, and my cousin kept updating us with bids, when they came in. There was a bit of a mini-drama, like a day before the bid was to end. Scammers kept sending my cousin emails saying, O, it’s my son’s graduation, I’ll pay you a huge amount, but I need you to send it to XYZ address asap, blah, blah blah, and one of them kept bidding, and was the highest bidder at the time. My cousin actually had an encounter with the scammers once, so he’d already learnt his lesson! He tried selling his iPhone one time, and one of the scammers actually had him, and he’d already posted the iPhone, I think to Nigeria or something, when he finally realised it was a scam! Lucky for him, there was like a rain delay, so the postal services people were able to get the iPhone off of the plane before it departed! Talk about lucky escape! So this time around, he was more cautious!

Anyways this was Sunday, and we were at my other Aunt’s house, and Tolu  got my other cousin, Bimbola, to become the highest bidder, just to see it the person wanting him to post it to XYZ address would bid higher or not. But they didn’t, so umm, Bimbola was the highest bidder, with only a few hours to go! Tolu was panicking for a bit, because he hadn’t told anyone else that my cousin was going to bid, so he was hoping and praying that someone else bid higher! Someone else did, phew, so that was Bimbola off the hook! The bid was about five hundred and something dollars at the time.

So yeah, the auction eventually ended, and the highest bid was $635. My mum wasn’t too happy with it, but she was okay with selling it at that price. All that was left was for the winning bidder to pay, and the iPad to be sent to him/her. I think eBay gives you 48 hours or so to contact the seller to arrange payment, but umm, the winning bidder never did! So after all the time and drama, the iPad 2 didn’t even get sold on eBay. Time wasted, but it was good fun monitoring the bid and everything.

We really couldn’t be bothered to go through the whole thing again though, so we had to think of alternatives. My dad eventually decided to “buy” it off my mum, so I thought it was case closed. My mum bought herself a 3G one, which she named “My Beautiful iPad”, which was all so very funny at the time, and it came in handy at one point during the holiday. I still need to blog about this holiday, and I will. Eventually...

So holiday over, went back to England. My parents and brother stayed like a whole week longer than me. Lucky them! Shortly after they got back, a got a call from my dad one evening, asking if I wanted to but the Wi-Fi iPad 2, and how much I'd pay for it. Seeing as I didn't really need it, and didn't really mind having one, and seeing as I would be doing him a favour getting it off him since he obviously didn't want it, I said maybe £300. Not like I could really afford it, but I just said that. He laughed, said he'd think about it and get back to me. He called me the next day, said he'd thought of my offer, but that they decided to give it to me as my birthday present! Totally wasn't expecting it! Was tempted to say no, but you can't really turn down an offer like that, can you!? So yeah, since my Aunt was in Nigeria at the time, it made perfect sense to send it through her, to me.

So yeah, that's the story behind the iPad. Now that I've told it, it doesn't seem as interesting as it was in my head. Oh well! I need to make it worthwhile and find useful apps. I should get back to reading that book, too.

It's quarter to 8 now, I better get my act together and get ready for work. Was extra late yesterday as I woke up at 9.30am! Unbelievable!

Hopefully I get to blog before my birthday on the 10th. Actually, I plan too! ;)

Have a good week!