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For The Love of Titles

“Pork Chop, say hello to Aunty!”

“Who is Aunty?! I am not Aunty, I am Grandma!”

I stared in disbelief at my mum’s relative.

There I was trying to be polite only to be reprimanded because…because…?

Dear relative, I’ll concede and tell my child to call you ‘Big Aunty’ if ‘Aunty’ is too small for you, but forget that Grandma, it is NOT happening.

I can’t with my people! If there is anything that can kill a Nigerian (because you know we are indestructible), it is the insatiable hunger for titles which we associate with respect. We carry it on our heads like it will make NEPA bring light.

Having to call your fellow students ‘Senior’ in secondary school is the beginning of the madness. I can’t begin to describe to you the power trips it causes. Those of you that know, know.

A friend of mine got the shock of her life after she got married and was told to call her sister-in-law, who is exactly 10months older than she is, ‘Sister.’ My Yoruba brethren, but why?!

Another friend was told to call her cousin ‘Uncle’ (four year age gap). The so called ‘Uncle’ had the temerity to date her friend and still insist she refer to him as ‘Uncle’ while his girlfriend got to call him ‘Sugar Banana’ and every fruit under the tropical sun.

Like it isn’t bad enough that we  covet this form of respect in our personal lives, we carry on the title craze into our professional lives.

Yet another friend (because where else will I get gist from) was introduced to a potential gentleman friend but the relationship died an instant death when he introduced himself as “Pharmacists Chiemeka.”

Engineer Princewill.

Solicitor Ajayi.

Economist Bianca.

Scientist Okafor.

IMG_4877You get an idea of just how serious a matter it is when you see a man refer to himself as “Chief Barrister Apostle Mr Olawuyi”.

I can’t, I just can’t.

The end.

 

 

 

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Guess Who’s Back!

back

Hello there people!

After a rather lengthy hiatus, I am back in the business of blogging!

I cannot tell a lie, I have missed you my cyber buddies! You know those friends you have that you don’t speak to for years but when you do, it’s like you spoke to them yesterday? Let’s be like those friends.

I have missed writing. Among other things, I write (business documents) for a living but in the world of writing, nothing, absolutely nothing, beats pouring out your imagination, thoughts and emotions on paper.  There is only so much love, humour, pain and anger one can infuse into a document defining how Bank of XYZ intends to configure their back office systems.

Have you noticed the new improved layout? I hope you like it because I certainly do! I spent HOURS sorting through and categorising my previous posts. It’s been a long time since I stayed up late to do anything, but stay up late I did. My brain does not function at night but I willed all my brain cells to stay awake for mummy. In my next life, I must return as a tech head. I would like to say a big thank-you to YouTube without whom, the task would have been infinitely more gargantuan. If you have any suggestions on how I can further improve the user experience, please don’t hesitate to offer your opinions and suggestions.

The year 2014 has been good to me. There have been so many highs, I struggle to remember the lows. I have plenty of stories, thoughts and random bits of information to share with you so please don’t give up on me just yet.

You know I like a challenge so if there are any topics or issues you would like me to tackle (through fiction or otherwise) do let me know and I will do my best to deliver.

Thanks for reading and encouraging me along the way and a special thanks to those of you who have stopped me in the streets of London to tell me off for not blogging!

Your concern and kind words are very much appreciated!

Hugs all round!

xXx

Waila

 

The Obligatory New Year Post

It’s fair to say 2013 wasn’t a great year for me as far as blogging is concerned. I was as inconsistent as inconsistent can be. I’m not trying to make any promises for 2014 lest I fall flat on my face but I am working on managing my time to make room for Waila to do Waila and write more regularly.

Last year was unforgettable in many ways, getting married being the highlight as most of you already know. But it also sucked in many other ways; the stumbling block that planted itself in the way of my getting married being the lowest point. My 2013 was consumed by my transition from Miss to Mrs and much as I’m grateful and happy to be married to my Yoruba Boy, I’m looking forward to the new things 2014 will bring.

Yes, I know round about now every blogger is expressing gratitude but as cliche as it may seem, we really cannot take our readers for granted. If it wasn’t for you guys, I’d still be unconvinced that I’m any good at writing. If it wasn’t for you guys I’d still be on my knees asking God what I ought to be doing with my life. If it wasn’t for those of you that harassed me, my sporadic posts would have been even more sporadic. So when I say thank you, I’m not saying it to tick any boxes, it really does come from the bottom of my heart.

I’m praying 2014 will be the year my relationship with my God reaches new depths.

I am praying that in 2014 I will become a better me, a better wife, better daughter, better sister and better friend.

I’m praying 2014 will be the year I find the courage to pursue my musical aspirations.

I’m praying 2014 will be the year I write that book.

From my living room, clad in my alumni sweatshirt and track bottoms, my hair bound by the most ratchet of durags hidden under a pair of tights turned cap, I wish you all a happy new year.

May 2014 be the year you find truth, courage and hope.

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Love Always,
Waila

Supernatural Things

Miracles-Happen

Supernatural things happen in this world; deaf people regain their hearing, the blind see, the lame walk, the dead are raised back to life, I am writing this post…and I cried watching a Nollywood movie. Not ‘a lone tear escaped my tear gland’ type of crying, proper crying, complete with sniffles and things. That I was not alone when it happened completed my shame. I blame that Mercy Johnson, her crying spirit leapt out of my laptop and entered me. Now I know that it is time to stop watching those movies, evil spirits abound therein.

The last few weeks I’ve been running into random people that read my blog and I tell you, I’m surprised that you people still bother to visit this site given how sporadic my posts have been. See what I was saying about supernatural things happening in this world? God bless you all and abundantly too!

It’s was my birthday last Saturday (this isn’t me begging for birthday greetings, walahi!) and for the first time in a very long time, I decided not to just sit at home, drink tea and estimate how many more years I have till I can no longer get away with wearing hot pants. Not that I wear hot pants, I don’t have the legs or courage for them but a girl is allowed to dream, no? I dragged a bunch of my friends to a private hip hop dance class and we left the studio with sweat, aching muscles and choreography to Usher’s Yeah.  Shame will not allow me post the videos on here.

On the topic of things one should or shouldn’t wear, my poor Pastor suffered from a severe case of melancholy when his eyes beheld some of the latest fashions at my wedding. So much so that it found its way into the sermon he preached at church the following day…not that I was there to hear it. I was holed up in a hotel room staring at my band clad finger and trying to understand how I ended up married to a man I always thought would make a great husband for some girl, that girl not being me of course! See what I was saying about supernatural things happening?!

Lest I digress, most of the people who were at the wedding and heard the sermon were surprised by it and when I looked through my wedding pictures, though I did spot a couple of sexy dresses, I couldn’t find any that I deemed scandalous. It got me thinking about the times and how we change with them, sometimes rightly and sometimes to our detriment.

There are some clothes sitting in my wardrobe now that I would never have bought, let alone worn, a few years ago. My lover girl MrsOhgee (see how I’ve upgraded you!) found an old picture of herself wearing jeans under a dress that stopped just above her knees and though we laughed at how ridiculous she looked, it symbolised the point we were discussing. In those days, she considered a dress that stopped just above her knees too short but today, she would wear that same dress, legs commando, and not think twice about it. A demonstration of how we relax our standards over time. Sigh.

Speaking of relaxer, the other day I ventured into Toni & Guy to find out how much it would cost to relax and trim my hair. I showered the receptionist with saliva when she gave me a quote of £130. The shock was that shocking.  I blamed the splutter on ‘that blasted hay fever’ and apologised profusely. I guess I’m not a big enough girl yet to be venturing into such establishments. I shall respect myself and my pocket and nosey on down to Upton Park or Burnt Oak. Better still I might just invest in a second mirror so I can see the back of my head and do the thing myself. One day, I will be great.

On a final supernatural note, and people, it’s a big one, my consumption of Indomie has fallen by 80% in the last six months!!! Somebody needs to get on up out of their chair, throw their hands up in the air and wave ‘em like they just don’t care!!! This is a serious miracle, more miraculous than me collecting aso-ebi for your wedding. Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE Indomie and that ain’t ever gonna change (Lawdy, my hubby has infected me with his American spirit!) but the desire to consume the stuff all day everyday has faded into nothingness.

If I didn’t know my husband was a praying man before, now I know!!!

XxX

Waila

Waila’s Free Writings

Hey guys,

One of the things I’d like to do this year is work on my writing by writing more frequently and writing outside of my comfort zone. I have the attention span of a flickering light bulb so I find it pretty difficult to focus. Plus I’m lacking inspiration at the moment so I can’t think of anything I want to write about.

I ran a search on creative writing exercises on Google and stumbled on an ideas generator that I quite like. You literally hit a button and it throws up a random topic for you to tackle. The rule of the exercise is that you have to free write i.e. put your pen to paper and pour out whatever comes to mind for a specified length of time, in my case, 10mins. You’re not allowed to pause in those 10mins and you’re not allowed to edit.

It’s perfect for me because it also means I get to write honestly without over thinking what I write. Don’t expect to uncover all my secrets but I will aim to be as open as I can manage.

Till I get bored of this ideas generator (and I know I will), I’ll post my free writing exercises. The subjects are SO random. I’ve just generated a few ideas and I’m having palpitations!

I’ve just done my first one. Fingers crossed they’ll all be worth reading.

Love,

Waila

Happy New (ish) Year!

Hello people!

I know I’m late but HAPPY NEW YEAR folks! Praying God’s grace and peace over you all in 2013.

I’ve gotten into so much trouble for not calling people to wish them a happy new year, it’s unreal. I never do so surely, my friends and family should be used to it by now?! I’m not a fan of those chain texts, emails and BB messages people blast to all their contacts. I appreciate the gesture but I find them impersonal.

I had a seriously awesome time at church New Year ’s Eve and was so shattered when I got home at some ridiculous hour of the morning, I spent most of the 1st in bed. My mother was not impressed when I called her on the 2nd.

“Your own year started today abi?!”

Trust the woman to harass me. Lol.

How are you all? It’s been too long. I really miss all my cyber buddies. I’ve gone ghost from Twitter, Facebook and the likes so I’m out of touch with cyber goings on.

I typically don’t make resolutions at the start of the year because every time I put myself under pressure to do something, I fail woefully. That said, this year there’s one thing I’m determined to do…wear pants more often!!! By pants I mean trousers and NOT underwear. J.

Every time I wear pants, people notice…it’s that bad. It’s not my fault though, I find skirts and dresses easier to shop for. Every time I go shopping for pants I get SO frustrated. I never find stuff that fits the way I like so I resigned myself to my fate. This year, I’m changing my ways. By hook or crook I must wear trousers. If you know any stores that sell pants suitably cut for women gifted in the nether regions, please let me know!

In other news, I’m on the hunt for fun things to do on this blog. One thing I want to do is share my love of music with you. Still trying to work out the best way to do that but if you have any ideas, I’m all ears! Waila will be fun this year, she has to be!

I have no doubt this year will be a positively unforgettable one for me. Exciting times lie in wait. My mother has been my scapegoat on this blog but I suspect she is about to be cut some slack. Gentleman, get ready to be exposed!!! *wink*

Thank you guys for reading and putting up with my inconsistency in the latter part of last year. In the words of Sam Cooke, “A Change is Gonna Come!”

xxx

Waila

Before You Say I Do: Opposite Sex Friendships

Hello People!

I don’t know what’s going on with this blog so if you do, please let me know! These days I can’t be bothered to write and I don’t even have the time to. My every waking moment is accounted for so much so that sometimes I just rebel and do nothing. My mind has been temporarily taken over by all things wedding but I refuse to blog about my wedding planning process, not unless I’ve got something particularly interesting to share with you.

The other thing also on my mind these days is marriage…and you know marriage is not the same thing as a wedding right? Lol. Marriage is the equal parts terrifying and exciting bit that comes after the wedding. In the last year, I’ve read a number of books on marriage and relationships and have also attended two pre-marital courses. One at Jesus House (JH), my home church, and the other at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB).  I’ve consumed so much literature on the topic and listened to so many lectures, I feel ready to write my own ‘Making Marriage Work’ manual. Lol.

Given the zone I’m currently in, I thought I’d share a few of the interesting and sometimes controversial topics from the courses with you.

On the HTB course, a couple gave a talk about managing your other relationships once you’re married, particularly friendships with the opposite sex. I expected that. When I started dating the gentleman the dynamics of my relationships with my male friends changed, and understandably so. During the course of the talk, they mentioned that they had decided as a couple, that they weren’t allowed to hang out one on one with members of the opposite sex. That’s when it got interesting. I have no intention of conducting clandestine liaisons with other men (not unless they are Justin Gatlin or Mark Foster) but to ban myself from going to lunch with one of the guys in my team or an old friend from Uni?

They weren’t proposing that we all adopt the same rules, they were just giving an example of some of the rules they have in place to protect their relationship. While I completely understood the reasoning behind it, I don’t know that it’s a rule I want to impose. I have no problem with the gentleman having the odd catch up with a female friend. Odd being the key word. Once a week is not odd, once every quarter or thereabouts is. Lol.

As far as managing opposite sex friendships is concerned, I think the key things are transparency, accountability and sensitivity. If you’re having that odd catch up with a female friend, tell me about it. Tell me where you’re going, when you’ll be home and make it by decent o’clock. Make the effort to introduce me to that friend and include me in some of the catch ups so I get to know her too and get comfortable with her. Invite her over. Over time, the idea is for his friends to become my friends and vice versa seeing as two are becoming one. If for any reason I’m uncomfortable with the friendship, take me seriously and curb the interactions.

What do you think? Are you okay with your man or woman having the odd coffee or lunch with a friend of the opposite sex?

xxx
Waila

How Not to Lose Weight

One of the downsides to having worked in customer service is that I am well aware that no one gives a flying banana about moaning customers. If you have the misfortune of dealing with an irate customer, you stick your phone on mute and do your crossword while they rant and if you have the even bigger misfortune of dealing with them in person, you imagine them naked and bent over a chair with you flogging them unconscious.

For this very reason, I always try and maintain my cool because there are few things more annoying than going off at someone who you know couldn’t care less.

Where am I going with this?

I dragged my lazy self away from my desk at lunchtime and headed to the gym to Spin the calories away. I changed into my gym gear and kept telling myself “think wedding dress” as I grudgingly approached the studio. I opened the door and alas, the class was full!

How can the class be full when I booked in?! Ko possible!

I marched toward the instructor.

“Excuse me, I’m booked into this class and there’s no bike available for me to use.”

“Are you sure you booked in?”

I gave him a murderous look.

“Are you calling me a liar?”

I’m sorry if you booked in but the class is now full. Let me just ask if everyone else booked in.”

Turning to face the class, he announced, “Did everyone book in for this class?”

Yeah, like the culprit was REALLY going to fess up! They all nodded their coconut heads but at least one of them was lying. I tried to spot the culprit but my powers of discernment failed me.

I was furious but I knew kicking up a fuss in front of their entire class would only make me look like an idiot so I left them in peace and went to unleash the dragon at reception.

“Excuse me, can you please check if I’m booked in to the 1pm Spin class?”

“Yes you are.”

“So is there a reason I turned up to the class and it’s full?”

“Well, it’s now 1:05pm so any extras would have been let in if because you were late.”

“It is now 1:05pm because I have spent the last five minutes debating with the instructor. I turned up on time and the class was full. What’s the point of a booking system if you have no way of monitoring it?”

I’m not even sure why I went to complain at reception. I know the score, no one but me gives a flying banana! She wasn’t about to go and interrupt the class to do a roll call so I knew there was no point to the discussion. Anger blazing, I marched back to the changing room to wear the clothes I’d grudgingly stripped off.

I have this churlish habit of wanting to close accounts and cancel memberships when organisations annoy me but I’m learning to give second, third and tenth chances (but not to you T-Mobile or whatever you call yourself these days!) so I talked myself out of cancelling my membership and headed back to work.

The anger wasn’t abating though and I really needed something to make it go away…so I stopped by the Thai takeaway place and ordered myself some Penang chicken curry and egg fried rice.

It did the trick! *wink*

xxx

Waila

New Series Alert: A Time To Die

Life is unpredictable.One minute it all makes sense, the next, it’s like something out a soap opera.

I’ve got death on my mind and with good reason. People die all the time but never before have so many people closely linked to me been laid to rest. I’m not afraid to die neither am I afraid of people around me dying but that doesn’t negate the reality that the dead will be missed and those of us left behind have to learn to live without our loved ones…and with the myriad of complications that their loss potentially deals us.

We will all die someday, there’s no escaping it. Now more than ever, I am determined to live each day purposefully and make my relationships and my life count for something.

I encourage you to do the same.

And so a new series begins.

May the souls of the dead AND the living rest in perfect peace.

Stay tuned.

xxx

Waila

Immigration & Identity

I read a Daily Mail article on Mo Farah this morning and I could tell from the tone, how proud the writer was to call Mo British. Despite being born to Somali parents and spending the first 8 years of his life in Somalia, if you took a poll today, I suspect that only a small minority of people in Great Britain would consider him a foreigner.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that he has set the record books blazing with his performance at the 10k men’s final and the olympic gold medal hanging round his neck.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that he has seemingly embraced the culture of the Nation (while remaining muslim) and chosen to put himself forward as a representative of Great Britain.

Sir Mo, the TV pundits have been calling him…and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name on the next honours list. A great prospect for a man who couldn’t speak a word of English when he first touched down in London.

Like many immigrants, by his own admissions, he never felt accepted by British society and it wasn’t until he heard 80,000 people screaming his name in the Olympic stadium while he stood on a podium with the British anthem playing, that he finally felt accepted, like he belonged.

An immigrant myself, I know too well what not belonging feels like.

Twenty-eight years ago I was born in London to Nigerian parents who promptly shipped me back to Nigeria as soon as I was fit to travel.I spent the first 16 years of my life in Lagos after which my mother packed my bags and shipped me back to London. I have now lived in London for round about 12 years.

I go to Nigeria and much as I enjoy being there in spite of all the madness, I no longer feel like I belong there. In theory, it’s home but honestly, I feel like a square peg in a round hole. It no longer fits.

I come back to London and even though it’s been home for the last 12 years and I have built my life here, every now and again something happens that reminds me that happy though I am here, I’m not quite British.

I have become  a hybrid of two cultures.

I had a conversation with a British-Indian friend that made me realise I’m not the only one that feels this way. Even though he has never been to India, his parents have done a great job of keeping him connected to the culture, so much so that he shares my dilemma.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this. Are you a hybrid of two cultures and how do you deal with this? If you have dual nationality and had the opportunity to represent a country at an event, how would you decide which of your countries to represent?

xxx

Waila