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Two Weeks in Abuja

I never really planned to come back home. The thought lingered in my mind but never fully formed. It only became real when I called my parents and asked them to please change the date on my return ticket; I was coming home.

After missing my first train to Manchester, an uncomfortable flight to Frankfurt and a sad breakfast of overpriced toast, I was finally on my way to Abuja, my city, the Buj. I wasn’t excited and it bothered me. Although, I’m never really excited about anything, I thought this would be different. Perhaps it was the knowledge of my law textbooks tucked away in my suitcase, a sad reminder of work undone or the news of the Germanwings crash just the day before, floating gravely in the still air of the plane. The flight seemed longer than it was. I had started watching American Hustle and had fallen asleep−bored and tired. I had made sure I was sitting alone, tucked away in a corner by the window at the back of the cabin, saying no to drinks so I wouldn’t have to use the toilet on the plane. I said yes sometimes. I thought it made the flight attendants feel good, like they were being of service.

Newly non-meat eater, feeding on the plane was a bit of a hassle. I had forgotten to mention this earlier and so there were no alternatives for me. I never liked “plane food” and I didn’t mind not eating. I usually just took the bread and chocolate, mashing and stirring the rest with my fork to make it seem like I ate something. (I didn’t want the flight attendants to feel bad) But the flight attendant I told of my non-meat eating ways gave me a tray anyway, without the meat containing components. She offered to try to get me something from Business Class and I smiled, hoping she wouldn’t return. But she did, with her Business Class vegetarian appetizers. They were horrible but I was grateful. I didn’t eat them.

I spent the rest of the journey wondering what I would do the moments before the plane crashed, if it did. I wouldn’t scream, of that I was sure.

The plane didn’t crash. Abuja was boiling. I didn’t have the energy to indulge the theatrics of the immigration officers or porters and so I forged ahead, sweating, unsmiling, and willing not to be approached. I stepped out to my mother’s smiling face, her waving excitedly on sighting me.

On the drive home, I asked her about Abuja, about the elections, whom she thought would win. I told her the things I had to do before I left− renew my passport, go to the bank, start my dreadlocks. She told me of the fuel scarcity, thanking God she had queued to buy fuel the day before as we passed by the filling stations with the never-ending line of cars. People were leaving the city; motor parks were full. The elections were coming, violence looming. She said she doubted they had Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs). She didn’t have one. She said people were frustrated and that ‘Buhari is supposed to win. He is for the poor people, the masses. People are tired’. I could sense that she too, was tired.

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I was looking forward to the elections. I had been actively following the updates since the primaries. To avoid being distracted, I recorded the results on Excel as they were announced and I endlessly refreshed my twitter timeline to keep up with the news and the jokes, some failing terribly to be funny. It was surprising how tribalistic some tweets were and it was refreshing to be able to mute such accounts.

Our driver told us of how he hadn’t been allowed to vote after he had been accredited. His explanation wasn’t very clear. Something about his name not being ticked. He was going to vote for the PDP. ‘That’s why,’ my mum had said, ‘instead of you to vote for the APC. Anyway, that’s good. That’s one lost vote for the PDP.’ We had all laughed. She often chanted ‘Sai Buhari!

I expected the Buhari win. I feared what would happen if he didn’t win. People were tired. ‘Ojay, you’ve just experienced history being made’, my dad had said. And as I sat there, a smiling Buhari on the screen, I smiled too, −assignments forgotten and worries buried− glad to be in Nigeria to witness this big little victory of our young democracy. For after 16 years, the people had voted out an incumbent government.

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How do we listen to songs?

I was just wondering…

While I studied for my exams last month, Agnes Obel’s Dorian was my favourite ‘sober up’ song. It got me in the mood to tackle the fundamentals of Constitutional Law and Human Rights when all I wanted to do was eat and fall asleep. I also listened the ‘Peaceful Indie Ambient’ playlist on Spotify every study session and I loved my routine. I fell in love with these songs, some more than others. Some so much that I got to know their names and added them to my personal playlists.

But now, almost a month after my last exam, things are different and I don’t feel the same way about these songs. This makes me sad and I find this strange; my sadness over songs that I don’t like as much anymore. It seems the songs stopped being important as soon as I wasn’t listening to them to help me study. Strangely, they now sound different and I feel weirdly nostalgic about the stressful period when I enjoyed listening to these songs. I don’t know what to listen to anymore and those songs were just really good. It’s hard to move on from that level of greatness. I probably listened to these songs so much that I grew sick of them. Whatever it is, I am mourning my lost love for these gems. Saddest of these gems is Childish Gambino’s Pop Thieves, which no longer makes me as happy and cheerful as it once did. This used to be my ultimate ‘feel good’ song and I am sad it no longer has the same effect on me.

While I acknowledge that this outburst of sad emotions might seem a little “over the top” for songs I don’t like as much as I once did, these are the things that fortunately or unfortunately (depending on how you choose to see it) plague my mind at 1:36am on a Thursday in the last week of February.

Love,

AA.

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I’m not so sure about University

It’s 3:16 am and I can’t sleep.

(Well not really. It was 3:16 am when I made this entry into what you could call a journal. Now I’m listening to Childish Gambino and binging on MAOAM Stripes.)

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MAOAM spelt backwards is MAOAM. Mind=Blown.

I’ve been trying to sleep for almost 30 minutes now but I’ve given up. I’ve learnt not to fight insomnia. I watched this video on YouTube.

Anyway, I’m listening to Cary Brothers. He’s my go-to guy for these types of moments. His songs always rise to the occasion. They’ve never failed me.

University has been somewhat disappointing so far. I’m not sure I like my course, I spend more time sleeping than studying but I find it increasingly difficult to fall asleep. I’m always tired and I’ve gained a considerable amount of weight. The weight gain doesn’t bother me so much. I just hide under big sweaters and I don’t take pictures.

IMG_0376I’ve been putting off updating the blog because I feel guilty when I’m not doing anything related to school. I always have so much to do but I don’t actually spend my free time doing these things because I’m the queen of procrastination. I have a ‘Guide to Procrastination’ post in the works. That’s how serious I am about procrastination. I feel this immense pressure all the time for apparently no reason and I always feel like I’m running out of time but I’m not sure for what exactly.

I currently don’t feel like being at university is the best use of these 4 years of my life but I have absolutely no clue what I’d rather be doing. I envy those people who seem to have it all figured out and act like they’re enjoying every step of the journey. Like the boy who told me he had completed his Contract Law coursework when I had barely started to understand the question and the people who sit at the front during ‘super group’ seminars and always have all the answers. It’s not all bad to be fair. I take non-credited French classes which I like.

I attended a Law careers’ fair recently and while it answered some of my questions, it left me more confused. I don’t think I want to be a lawyer but I can’t help feeling that not going into a legal profession of some sort is going to be a waste of the Law degree I spent years and a lot of money (which belongs to my parents) getting. Yes, I know “no knowledge is wasted… blah blah blah” but that’s just how I feel.

I have a phobia for decision-making but I’m tired of being so indecisive. I mean, at what point do you stop being ‘still young to have figured it out yet’? I once had a conversation with a History student who was in his final year and he wasn’t sure what he was going to do after he graduated. He said he would take a gap year, travel and go skiing. What if I’m still as clueless as he is in my last year?

I’m not asking to have a master plan for my future with detailed routes and directions but a basic idea would be nice. I hope I don’t feel this way during the rest of my time at university. That would be horrible.

Update: Although I was sad and almost depressed when I wrote this, I currently don’t feel this way and I don’t intend to drop out of university.

It comes and goes in waves.

Love,

AA.

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When Life Gives You Lemons

Sometimes, life just happens to hand you lemons you never asked for and because I understand that we might not all like lemonade, here are some other things you could do when life gives you lemons.
Life handed me quite a number of lemons this past week. It’s been slightly difficult getting back into the school grind. I’m not sure I fully understand what my degree is about at the moment.
To add to my confusion and unproductiveness, my immune system went on vacation and life handed me a cold and a cough from flu hell. All the reading I had to do practically went out the window at that point and I have no idea what my lectures were about. (I still attended all of them. I’m a good student)
And to make sure I had my full dose of vitamin C, my next lemon was delivered during one of my many attempts to cook. The knife mistook my finger for the onion I was meant to be chopping and left me with my first knife cut in years.
Anyway, this was what I did with my lemons.

I drew faces on them. Just look at them. Looking all happy and ruining my life.

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Then I took pictures of them and the bad luck they brought along.

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Finally, I cut them up and added them to the many cups of tea I had afterwards.

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This was surprisingly therapeutic by the way.

Love,

AA.

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The Ramblings of a Dropout

It has been a fun year pretending to be a school dropout but alas, my gap year has come to an end and the time has come for me to be reunited with my education. It doesn’t matter that most of my brain cells are probably dead by now and I’ve forgotten how to learn boring stuff I have no interest in.
Fear not though, I have no plans whatsoever of abandoning my blog. I’m just here to share some thoughts on this unplanned year I have spent at home, in my city, the Buj aka Abuja.
Sometimes life won’t always work out the way we plan and that’s okay. Life happens (I no longer have life plans. I’m currently following a live in the present plan). Anyway, this year, I did a number of things, which I am proud of.
I started this blog and even though there have been times when blogging stopped being fun, it has been an interesting experience. I’m glad I did it.

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I learned (attempted to learn) French and even though I’m far from fluent, I’m getting there.

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I conquered mutant rats.

Aladi vs Killer Mutant Rats

Aladi vs Killer Mutant Rats

I learned how to sew clothes and I almost lost my finger in the process.

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I discovered a hidden love for football all thanks to the World Cup. Actually, I think I just like the World Cup. I don’t understand football leagues. I mean, how do you choose a club to support? On what basis do you make your choice? With the World Cup, I’m a default supporter of Nigeria because I’m Nigerian but how am I meant to choose a team in the English Premier League or Bundesliga to support? Plus, the World Cup is dramatic, with slow motion replays and emotional theme songs.

I miss hearing ‘Oweyaaaa’ every 5 minutes.

I learned how to drive.

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Well, not really.

I discovered my inner Picasso.

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I spent A LOT of time with my family and I got to know them better. I also learned more about myself in the process, which was strange but interesting.

Baby Aladi

Baby Aladi

I started cycling again.

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I grew a beard.

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Don’t Ask

I also started working on my ‘DJ-ing’ skills just so I can be called DJ Ojay, because it rhymes.

Its something
Although I’ve been away from school for quite some time, and was unsuccessful in switching to an English and Literature degree, I’m excited to go back and I’m looking forward to embracing my European and International Law degree (just saying ‘Law degree’ sounds boring).
I shall probably leave my blog title as it is because even though I’m off to university, deep down, I’m still a rambling dropout. (I know that doesn’t make any sense)
Thank you my lovely readers for trusting me with time you’ll never get back and I look forward to sharing my university adventures with you even if that means giving up my boring and uneventful lifestyle. You shall hear from me when you hear from me.
P.S. If you never hear from me, I just want you to know that I probably got lost in the world of coursework and deadlines while I was rediscovering what it feels like to be a student.

Love,

AA.

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We Should All Be Ambidextrous

This post was meant to go up weeks ago but I am the queen of procrastination and I can be terribly lazy sometimes. Also, WordPress gives me a headache anytime I try to put up a post.
This topic is part of my list of things that keep me up at night. Shouldn’t we all aim to be ambidextrous? I mean, what if you lose the hand you always rely on? What happens then? You would end up having to learn to use your non-dominant hand and feeling sorry for yourself. If you had learnt to use both hands from the start however, you won’t waste time trying to learn to use your non-dominant hand and moving on from losing one hand would be relatively easier.

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Take Ser Jaime Lannister, of the House of Lannister, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, aka Kingslayer, aka Jaime in Game of Thrones, for example. If he had learnt to fight with his sword using both hands, losing his sword hand wouldn’t have been that big of a deal. Also he wouldn’t be wasting his time learning to use his left hand at this crucial period when he could be plotting how to sit on the Iron Throne like everyone else in Westeros. PRIORITIES! (To be fair, Jaime isn’t particularly a very politically ambitious man)

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As awfully pessimistic this might sound, I just feel that it is better to be prepared. This is why I am learning to use my left hand for things I normally use my right hand for. That’s why the drawings in this post look sort of sick but I’m getting there. I have no excuse for my terrible attempt at comic strips however.

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P.S. Same thing for learning Braille and moving around in the dark. Just in case.

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What I’ve learnt from Sewing Clothes

I have spent the last three months learning about patterns, cutting them out and sewing them. So, you are free to blame my absence on my sewing lessons. Well, I’m done and I’m back now (sort of) to share some of my thoughts on learning how to sew.

You require a truckload of patience.

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There will be times when you will need to rip out those really tiny stitches you just made and there will be times when you just feel like burning your sewing machine and burying the ashes 6ft under but these times will pass.

Invisible zips are the devil.

Invisible Zips
Literally.

Being able to make your own clothes is greatly satisfying.

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I always feel a great sense of accomplishment when I make something and it actually fits! I can only describe this feeling as being akin to eating a really good doughnut. I don’t know, I just really like doughnuts.

You can’t make every outfit you see on Pinterest.

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And that’s okay. Some of us were made for the simple things in life. Not being able to make that loose-fitting playsuit with centre front button stand/zip, including cross over straps at the back shouldn’t get you down.

Don’t force it.


I can’t count the number of times I have botched up something I was making because I was tired, hungry or grumpy. If it isn’t working out, just leave it and come back when you no longer feel like cutting your fabric into pieces and smashing your sewing machine.

This post is obviously based off my experience when I was introduced into the world of patterns, fabric and needles. There might be people who are just born to sew and will have it easy from the start. Whatever your case might be, bonne chance!

Love,

AA.

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New Books!

Lately, I have been feeling a bit out of touch with my literary side and I felt the only way to solve this problem was to get new books.It doesn’t matter that I have about four books that I never got to finish reading; there’s just something exciting about getting new books.
I’m quite familiar with the authors of the books I purchased. I’m a bit sceptical about buying books by authors I have never heard of before.

But how would I get to discover new or hidden talent? I don’t know, everything good will come, perhaps?

Everything Good Will Come -Sefi Atta

Everything Good Will Come
-Sefi Atta

I read this many years ago but I have absolutely no clue what it is about. I just can’t remember. A few days back, my brother was complaining about something and I said to him, “everything good will come”. I then realised that this was the title of a book I had read in my youth years ago and as soon as I saw it in the store, I picked it up.

How Intelligence Kills -Okechukwu Ofili

How Intelligence Kills
-Okechukwu Ofili

I read Okechukwu Ofili’s blog and I follow him on Twitter and Instagram. I have read many excerpts from this book on his blog and I’m also a big fan of his sketches. For these reasons, this book was a must have for me.

I haven’t read these books yet and can’t really discuss them. I may or may not do a review when I do read them but if you’ve judged these books by their covers and they seem like your cup of yummy rooibos tea, you can get them here and here. I got mine at the Silverbird Lifestle Media store at Silverbird, Abuja. (They never have any new books by the way)

Have a lovely day!
AA.

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Manuscript Found In Accra: Paulo Coelho

 I recently read Paulo’s Coelho’s Manuscript Found In Accra. The book takes the form of a question and answer session, with the Copt, a Greek sage answering various questions directed at him by some inhabitants of a city about to be destroyed. I describe this book as Paulo Coelho’s guide to life and in this post, I am going to share what I consider to be the most impactful quotes from this great book.

Losing a battle or losing everything we thought we possessed will bring us moments of sadness, but when those moments pass we will discover the hidden strength that exists in each of us, a strength that will surprise us and increase our self-respect.

 

Solitude is not the absence of company but the moment when our soul is free to speak to us and help us decide what to do with our life.

 

In a desperate attempt to give meaning to life, many turn to religion, because a struggle in the name of faith is always a justification for some grand action that could transform the world.

 

If you are never alone, you cannot know yourself.

 

Don’t try to be useful. Try to be yourself: that is enough, and that makes all the difference.

 

Walk neither faster nor slower than your own soul, because it is your soul that will teach you the usefulness of each step you take.

 

We are afraid to change because we think that, after so much effort and sacrifice, we know our present world.

 

And tomorrow, when the sun rises, all you have to say is:

I am going to think of this day as the first day of my life.

 

And if I’m alone in bed, I will go over to the window, look up at the sky and feel certain that loneliness is a lie, because the Universe is there to keep me company.

 

Success comes to those who do not waste time comparing what they are doing with what others are doing; it enters the house of the person who says ‘I will do my best’ everyday.

 

Do not try to make the road shorter, but travel it in such a way that every action leaves the land more fertile and the landscape more beautiful.

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Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Love,

AA.