All posts filed under: Series

What’s In A Name? Living Two Lives.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Romeo & Juliet. Someone called me “Jennifer” today. It’s been a long time since I answered to that name. It’s been a long time since I introduced myself as “Jennifer”. 14 years to be exact. It’s typical to have a first name and a middle name. In my family, we took our Esan names first, and then our baptismal names. Odd, when you think that our parents did the exact opposite. Their baptismal names first, and then their native names. My husband’s family did the same thing. Baptismal names first, and then native names. It’s a thing of curiosity how we choose which takes priority. For the first 9 years of my life, I used both names interchangeably. Osemhen. Jennifer. At home I was mostly Osemhen, except for a few aunts who preferred to call me Jennifer. In primary school, it was a 70/30 split. The teachers called me Jennifer. Some of my classmates called me Osemhen, especially …

That Time I Went On A “Blind Date”

Early 2011, one of my aunts (not so much aunt, as friend of an aunt but everyone is an aunt) called me to find out how I was doing and what my romantic prospects looked like. At the time, said prospects were zero. I was 22, right smack in the middle of youth service and obsessing with what my future would be. I was neck-deep in applications for Masters programs, scholarships, writing residencies. I had a crush or two and the feeling might’ve been mutual but I was more concerned with becoming an independent adult. To Auntie, however, I simply remarked, “No.” She’d found someone for me, she said. A relative of her husband. Let’s call him Julius because I can’t remember his name. He was “eligible”, meaning he had a job and she thought we’d be a good fit. She suggested I attend a wedding the following weekend so she could introduce us. “I can’t come, I have other plans with my Dad.” Okay, she said. Why didn’t I come over to her house the …

28.

I turned 28 two months ago. Usually, I’d write a blogpost to commemorate but I wasn’t in the right place mentally at the time.  I am now. What does 28 mean to me? It’s a question I’ve struggled with but also a question that’s very easy. 28 is familiar, like an old sweater. Like I’ve spent all my life waiting to be 28. Like I was born to be 28. I’ve never felt this way about any other age. Does this make sense? Physical identity meant a great deal to me when I was 28 years old. I had almost the same kind of relationship with my mirror that many of my contemporaries had with their analysts. Don DeLillo, Americana 28 is… The age of  “unlearning”.  The age of courage. Of being able to unpack the baggage, the myths, the cliches, the “home training”. They were useful…once. When we were younger and life was easier with a playbook, a rulebook. But life’s so much complicated. And it’s so much work to be likable. And how …

We Should All Be Mad

What are you mad about? When I was younger, I was taught/told that all I had to do was get good marks, pass my exams and graduate with a good degree. I’d have a job, and with it financial security and independence. The lines would fall in all the right places. And they did. For some people. Some are lucky to have jobs when they graduate. But for the majority, there are no jobs. Not because they’re unqualified, not because they’re incompetent. No. Sheer (bad?) luck. A tragic game of musical chairs and I am mad, so mad that my family and friends are unemployed or underemployed and there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel. What are you mad about? My friend’s mother died earlier this year because she couldn’t get emergency dialysis done in the middle of the night. Another friend slumped while jogging. Government hospitals ask expectant mothers to come for delivery with candles, diesel, rechargeable flash lights. Women die in childbirth of the most routine causes. Babies …

The Art of Balance: Creativity and Your Day-Job

My friend, Ozoz, is a phenomenon. She’s a geologist, a blogger, a recipe creator, a “traveller by plate”, a photographer and a cook. She’s also a mom. She’s  given a TedTalk, appeared on TV a few times, held a photography exhibition and recently collaborated on #TechmeetsArtng. I, on the other hand, struggle with staying awake long enough to update my blog. Forget work-life balance. I’m not even sure what that is. I think about this often: how to balance my day-job with my creative life, my social obligations, my family life, my spiritual life …and a need to sleep. Sleep is winning, I must admit. Someone commented once that she’s not sure how I do everything. The truth is, I don’t. Some days, I should be writing and I just want to bake chocolate chip cookies instead. So I bake the cookies and eat them as I mindlessly scroll through Pinterest and Twitter. I console myself with this TedTalk by Nigel Marsh. I’ve listed it in my post on the  5 TedTalks Every Young Professional …

Nigerian Blogs I Love: Ihunda’s Musings

One of my blog resolutions is to share bloggers I love with my readers. I think it’s important for you to know there are so many good bloggers out there.  I don’t remember exactly when I started following Afoma’s blog and Instagram feed. Right now, it feels like a long time ago. What delights me about her photographs? The colors, maybe. The charm she captures…the details. Her mindfulness (something I’ve been working on forever). We share a fondness for H&M blouses. And I must admit to a slight envy. Of her talent with the camera and the fact that she goes to school on a beautiful island.  And yes, she’s a student. A medical student. How cool is that?  Describe your blog with five words. Personal. Inspiring. Delightful. Happy place. Why did you start your blog? I was in dire need of self-expression. I was 16 and tired of talking to myself constantly (which I still do). I somehow caught the oversharing bug before I even knew it was a thing. If you look back …

Eurekanaija 2015 in review

Hello, guys. So 2015 was a good year. I was genuinely and pleasantly surprised by the number of views I got. Thank you all for sharing this blog with your friends, for reading, for commenting, for liking. Thank you for all the love. I’m currently restrategizing for next year. I’m owing blog posts (I know!) and I really want to host at least one face-to-face event and proper giveaways. I’m also looking forward to doing collaborations with my favorite bloggers so look out, world! Your feedback is invaluable. I really need you to tell me what you’d like to see more of (or not!). So please, get in touch with the form here. Tell me what I should keep doing, start doing or stop doing. What would make you read this blog more? What would make you comment more? What would make you share posts from this blog with your friends? This is really important to me. In fact, it’s so important that I’m going to tie my first giveaway to this. Three people will …

Internet Shopping in Nigeria: The Good, Bad and Ugly

So I’m very lazy when it comes to shopping. (The husband would disagree but it’s true. Lol.) I love shopping online. It’s so…precise. I want x, I google whether someone sells it online in Nigeria, I make it happen. Clothes, I’ll google. Beauty products, I’ll google. Food items, Google! Even if they don’t sell online, simply confirming that they have what I want is enough for me. So if their Facebook page has a contact number, I’ll call first before I make the journey to their shop. That said, a few weeks ago, I had a bad experience. I needed an outfit urgently for an event happening a week later in Lagos. I wasn’t in Lagos, and my usual tailor is the kind that simply cannot meet a deadline so tight. I needed someone to buy fabric of a particular hue and then sew it based on my measurements. I turned to the internet, specifically to Instagram. I have a few friends who make outfits often so I reached out to a vendor one of them …

The 3 Types of Morning

The Perfect Morning Wake at 4:00 am. Wash face. Study till 5:00 am. At 5:00 am Read Bible. Read Mass Readings. Meditate. At 5:30, change into sneakers and workout pants. Go for morning walk/run. At 6 am, shower. At 6:30 am, review work plan for the day. At. 6:40 am, sit down to “fit-fam” breakfast of oatmeal, boiled eggs and one slice of bread. At 7:00 am, brew first cup of coffee and start the day with morning meeting. The Imperfect Morning. Snooze alarm till 5:15 am. Wash face. Read Bible. Read mass readings. Meditate and say a vocal prayer (just in case you don’t get time to say it later.) At 5:45 change into work out clothes. Notice slight cramp in right part of abdomen. Debate the wisdom of running/walking around till it goes away. Decide to do simple, non-calorie burning stretches. At 6:00 am, check Whatsapp messages. At. 6:15, shower. At 6:50 sit down to breakfast and scoff down (fat-fam!) fried plantain and scrambled eggs to beat the 7 am deadline. Wrap a slice of …

On Writivism, A Great Book I Read, Klo5 and Holiday Season in Nigeria

I’ve meant to blog about this for a while but I kept losing my drafts… Super late, I know but our Pemi won the Writivism Prize 2015! I say our Pemi because she’s ours… Lol. I’m not famzing, I promise. We’ve shared a bed (now I sound like I’m famzing). Anyhow, I’m super-pleased for her, and slightly envious that she got to go on holiday to Uganda as part of making the Writivism shortlist. And now I want to write more stories, so I can enter competitions that allow me go on holidays. Have you read Pemi’s deliciously scary story? Have you checked out the super-cool blog, Nik-Nak.co she collaborates on? Thank me later! I got this amazing book, The Art of Possibility by Ben and Roz Sander, a year ago from Ozoz of kitchenbutterfly.com fame. It’s slightly strange in that it’s not your typical self-help book. It’s not teaching you how to be the best XYZ but how to get to a point where being the best XYZ doesn’t matter. Here’s an example of one of …

The 21-Day Gratitude Challenge

We like to think that we’d be happier if we were richer, better-looking, taller, thinner, fatter, married, single, (had more fuel in our tanks), American, British, more successful…  Shawn Achor (see TedTalk above) says that it’s actually the other way round. If you’re happy, then you can perform better. I’ll take it a step further and add that happiness isn’t pleasure. Happiness is a decision. It’s less effervescent than joy, it’s deeper than pleasure. It’s a state of mind, of being. And luckily, that state of mind can be cultivated. I’d like to invite you to do the 21-Day Gratitude Challenge. Everyday, for 21 days, do at least two of the following: Write down 3 things you’re grateful for. (You survived the heat last night) Write down one positive experience you’ve had in the last 24 hours (trying to get past the 6-hour long queue for fuel) Write a thank you note (or email) to someone in your social support system (e.g. The fuel station attendant who alerted you when they started selling) Meditate for …

Why The Presidential Elections Don't Matter As Much As You Think

   The short answer: because this is a democracy. The long answer: because this is a democracy and not a monarchy and there are multiple arms of government. Let me paint a picture for you, citizens. Let’s take road building and creation. You want good roads. The President does not fix roads. But let’s say he makes that a priority. He selects a minister to head the Ministry of Works and submits this person’s name to the NASS for screening and approval. Simple enough, right? But what if he nominates an incompetent, dishonest person? Well, that’s why your Senate screens and approves. If they let an incompetent person slip through, they have failed you. You should call them out on it. Let’s assume that the minister starts out good and then turns bad later on. They give him a budget and he shares it via dud contracts to his cronies. What happens? Well, your Senate can summon him to defend his job. If investigations prove it, he should be fired, arrested and tried in a …

Resources That Make My Life Easier… (Part 1)

Hello, everyone So I thought I’d share some of the things I use/do that make my life easier. This might help you if you’re trying to get a handle on living as a responsible adult (I wish adulthood came with a manual!). First, my top 5 apps (they’re all available on the iTunes and Play Stores): Any.do: Amazing app that helps me create and track my To-Do List. It prompts me to plan my day, and then rings a little alarm when tasks are due to be started. Duolingo: Another amazing app that teaches me languages in bite-sized lessons every day. I’m now learning Spanish. Moneywise: Helps me track my daily expenditure. It requires a bit of work (you have to enter every single expense) but it’s worth it. At the end of the month, I can compare my expenses to my planned budget, identify the areas where I spent the most money, and make corrections to my spending habits as necessary. Nike Training Club: A free fitness app. Yay! Basically it’s a personal trainer on …

I Will Be Young Forever

I will be young forever. We. Us. Just listen to our raucous laughter, our gist, our stories. We are forever cool, Forever 21. Does it seem possible that we won’t be young forever? That we won’t always be strong, alive, effervescent, fiery? That we won’t always be this indolent, sprawled on sofas, straddling dining chairs, peering at screens that reflect in our nerd glasses? That our bellies won’t be taut forever? How won’t we be like this forever? And we will never be bald. Our hair will never grey or fall out. Our eyes will never wrinkle, our flesh will never sag. We will be young forever. Don’t speak to me of Paradise. Don’t speak to me of hell. Don’t speak to me of purgatory. Don’t speak to me of death. This is what I know, this is how I feel. I am here and now and present and I will be young forever.

My Dirty Little Secret :)

Disclaimer: this blog is rated G. That said, here’s my secret. I’m a pretty slow learner. (Don’t tell my bosses!). S. L. O. W. I never understand anything the first time and this used to break my heart because, you know, I’m supposed to be smart. And you need to add, “I’m a fast learner” to your CV else no one will employ you. I’d go for career fairs and hear the company reps say things like, “You need to be able to think on your feet, adapt to changes, deal with uncertainty, learn fast…” And I’d think, I’m hopeless. I hate thinking on my feet, I’d rather sit and muse with a pen and paper. But this is the 21st century, with its obsession with speed, fast, now! No one has time for musing! I tried to be a fast learner and thinker. I used MindMaps and all sorts of gimmicks. Nothing. I wished I could be like my quicker-minded friends. I wanted to be a genius, effortlessly brilliant. The fear of being stupid …

For the Aluu 4: I'm Sorry…

I can’t help it, the pictures are everywhere. The Aluu4. And from the first time I saw the bloody pictures, all I could say was, “I’m sorry.” I don’t know why I apologize. To Tekena, and Ugonna. To Llyod and Chidiaka. I didn’t try to watch the video; the pictures gave me goosebumps and made me cry and I figured the least I could do was respect the boys by not watching their death. And all I can say is, I’m sorry, so sorry, so sorry, so very sorry. And I don’t care what they did, or didn’t do. Because I have brothers, I have cousins, I have friends. And I think I can imagine how hard it is to be a guy in this country, and stopped by policemen for no reason other than gender. And no one deserves to die on suspicion. No one deserves to not have a second chance. I’m sorry Nigeria is the way she is. I’m sorry we’re grooming a people who think nothing of killing another. I’m sorry we …