Labor Day Eighteen

Originally posted September 2018.

Labor day is the unofficial last hoorah of Summer and the commencement of fall. Is it me or did fall arrive way earlier than prior years? Once August started approaching, it’s like the whole of America decided that summer was over. Even Starbucks jumped the gun and released their pumpkin spice lattes early. Granted I’m definitely over summer and already daydreaming of the Christmas season. I have online shopping carts filled with boots and jackets to replace the clothes I’ve donated.

Over labor day weekend, my friend and I went on a spontaneous trip to Port Austin. Neither of us had plans, and I had previously briefly mentioned checking out Turnip Rock and so we thought, why not. It’s about a two and half hour drive North of where we live, on the tip of the thumb of Michigan, on the coast of Lake Huron, one of the great lakes. 

Unfortunately at the time we got to Port Austin, the winds were too high for a kayak trip to Turnip Rock, so we ended up on the Broken Rocks trail towards the less majestic Flat Rock. 

Driving up, we slowly left the suburbs of metro Detroit and ventured into rural Michigan. Fields of corn saturated the drive and it made me realize that fall really is upon us. A sense of anxiety and excitement took over as my grip on the steering wheel tightened. I’m glad my friend was asleep half of the time. I could silently reflect on my summer and project my autumn. It’s a season of change, transition and harvest. 

Back home in Nigeria, the villages are a quiet and peaceful break away from the city. At least my village Kono is. For Detroiters, going up north is like visiting the village. I definitely needed this break away from home, away from the noise in my head. Being out in the water definitely cleared my thoughts. My mind wasn’t occupied by my usual dealings of being a single and unemployed woman in her late twenties. Instead I was focused on the grey skies, the warm breeze, the monarch butterfly flying beside me as I kayaked towards flat rock, the lonely seagull drifting in the distance, the team of geese landing in the water, the two jet skiers creating choppy waters for me to navigate through, the smell of barbecue smoke from the shores, the distant sound of children. Every now and then I was disturbed by my friend lagging behind. But she’s good company. It was her first time kayaking. 

Water itself is so peaceful and cleansing. While we were on flat rock, I decided to take a dip in the lake and it was blissful, calming and rejuvenating. Even as the waves kept pulling me in – I had difficulties getting back on the rock – I was happy.

A lot of transition is going to take place this fall, and I pray for God’s strength as I put my trust in Him.

In The Clouds

Originally posted August 2018.

I have been told that I can be too optimistic. I have been called naive. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. My head is up in the clouds. 

Knowing my own personal journey, I have to keep my head in the clouds and be optimistic. I have experienced life issues that brought me down to earth to face realism. Those were my darkest years. Having to accept the impartiality of this world. 

But thank God for redemption. Thank God for reminding me of this thing called faith. How can one say they have faith and not be optimistic? With faith, you’re expected to believe and hope that something good is to come without any evidence. There’s no space for hoping for the best, expecting the worst and then accepting the mundane. That’s a tragedy as far as I’m concerned. 

I was taught to have the faith of a mustard seed. That the sky is the limit. And so excuse me while I have my head up in the clouds in the midst of limitless possibilities. The air is crisp. Plus the view is great. You give yourself the chance to get a full scope of situations. To me that’s knowledge and wisdom. 

And so when I get back down to earth, I am prepared. Even for the unexpected. I’m currently living an example of that. In this post I talked about how I lost my job. I wasn’t expecting it. But I believe it’s the optimist in me that has prepared me for this period. I am fully aware of the reality of consequences, but I am hopeful. 

I was not created to accept what life offers me. No! For one, I’m an Igbo girl. Its in my blood to bargain. Two, I’m a Christian. I have faith. And faith does not accept what the world brings me. Its a fight for what I’ve worked for and deserve. 

So be aware of the worst, work towards the best, hope for the best, expect the best. 

Man U At The Big House

Originally posted August 2018.

A sea of red as soccer aka football fans gathered to watch Manchester United take on Liverpool at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Big House, officially known as Michigan Stadium is the football stadium of the University of Michigan. It is the largest stadium in the United States, and the second largest in the world. We’re currently in the middle of the International Champions Cup where European football clubs compete in friendly matches in Europe, North America and Asia. Over a hundred thousand fans came together on a beautiful sunny Saturday evening to witness their favorite teams play; A luxury for us American residents. The air rumbled with excitement and cheer as individuals from all walks of life – shout out to all the Africans I spotted which was pretty much every black person – unified by the colors of their jerseys sang their football songs and drank their overpriced beverages. $10 for a can of beer…Heineken and Dos Equis!!!!

A Night With Femi Kuti

Originally posted August 2018.

When you score a free ticket to see Femi Kuti, Grammy nominated, world-renowned musician, son of music legend, Afrobeats pioneer and political activist Fela Kuti, you go. 

I watched in awe as this 56 year old danced, jumped, sang, played and engaged the eclectic crowd. The kind of crowd I have been anticipating to find in Detroit; young and old, of different races and ethnic backgrounds under one roof in harmony. Well, there was one instance in which this tall millennial African American man was about to fight a short baby-boomer Caucasian man. I honestly didn’t care for whatever the reason was behind the dispute, they weren’t about to ruin a positive night for the rest of us.

The concert ended around 11:15 pm. Femi decided to take pictures with everyone after the show. However, I had a 9 am interview the next morning and a 35 minute drive home so chose to leave right after the encore.

From the jovial movements of the musicians, and gyrating of his dancers in their glow in the dark tribal outfits, to his flawless continuous breath saxophone playing and politically driven lyrics, the vibe was energetic and positive. It was totally worth my weeknight. 

P.S: Someone remind to get a photo pass the next time I attend a concert. A very polite staff member approached me, and asked me to put away my camera lens with further explanation. So I had to use my cell phone. Which reminds me…I need a new cell phone. 

Happy 2 Years In Detroit

Originally posted July 2018.

I just realized that I have been living in Michigan for two years and a week. My feeling about this place has been sort of like an on and off relationship. Sometimes I see the potential and get excited about living here, other times I get bored, fed up, and left wondering what the end goal is. But there’s something about Michigan, particularly Detroit that keeps pulling me back. I can’t put my finger on it, but my gut is telling me to be patient and stick it out. I get this sense of purpose especially with my career and relationships, that my time here is going to bring about a major impact not only on myself, but the lives of others. I just wish I knew what that purpose is. Actually I wish I knew if my gut is right or if it’s just fear and the hassle of change that’s preventing me from leaving. 

Detroit is a very peculiar city given it’s rise and fall history. I have read countless articles about the multiple problems that plague this city. But yet, it has recently been given the name “The Comeback City”. This article from CNN goes into detail about the upward trajectory of Detroit https://money.cnn.com/2018/07/14/news/economy/detroit-entrepreneurship/index.html 

So maybe I came at the right moment, assuming this city does successfully rejuvenate itself.  To be honest, I do have a few career moves I have written down that would work perfectly in Detroit. Unfortunately, a current life event has taken the wind out of my sails leaving me drifting. So in the meantime, before I catch some wind, I’m trying to make sure I enjoy the blessings around me, maybe even catch some fish…alright, I’m done with the whole sea navigation metaphor. But you catch my drift, right? Okay, now I’m done, lol.

4th of July in Detroit

Originally posted July 2018

On the 4th of July, all types of Africans came together for their annual picnic in Detroit. Different countries and ethnic groups set up tents and entertained the passerby with food and music. It was a joyful occasion.

I took particular notice of the children in their patriotic outfits playing a game of football aka soccer.

In today’s America, I couldn’t help but think about the unfortunate image that immigrants have always had in this country. This country was established and built by immigrants for centuries. And yet, immigrants have always been looked at as a threat to society, criminals and unwelcome. Yes there is the law that should be upheld, but when that law dehumanizes particular foreigners, I view that as a problem. It’s painfully obvious that the system is terribly broken. If only they can all come together in agreement and find a solution, instead of pointing fingers and name calling each other.

God bless America.

Next Steps

Originally posted June 2018.

A few days ago I was fired from my first post-collegiate big girl job. I kinda saw it coming too but I sure wasn’t expecting it. Like a pedestrian crossing the street while a car in the distance speeds up and hits them. There were signs for a month prior. And about a week before I got the news, HR with a practiced empathetic expression on her face suggested that I start to look for opportunities outside the company. I believe I cried each day after that meeting for a week up until I was let go. I dared not cry in that office as I faced my judgement. Instead I held my shoulders up, head high and walked out of the premises. I didn’t let a single tear drop until I drove off property. The tears were a sign of the realization. Holy Sugar Honey Ice Tea, it actually happened! Luckily, I already had a week to think ahead and figure out my next steps (one of the reasons I was let go was the perceived inability of me thinking ahead and creating plans…perceived by someone with whom I was not working directly). I digress.

While I was in London on my last trip, my friend in Detroit suggested that we go on vacation two weeks after my return. I think it was very timely that the vacation happen to fall on the day after I got fired. Perfect time to get away, clear my mind, relax and be at peace with God’s creation. 

We decided to drive up to Saugatuck on the border of lake Michigan. For those who don’t know much about the great lakes of America, these lakes are essentially landlocked freshwater seas, gigantic and so clear that sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish the water from the sky.

The western border of the state of Michigan is also known for their massive sand dunes that tower over the shores of the lake. You get an amazing view of the surroundings.

The lake is towards the west, which makes the dunes a perfect spot to view the sunset. Unfortunately, by the time the sun was setting, the clouds came in and covered her up.

In this time that I’ve been given, the wisest thing for me is that whole cliche notion of discovering one’s self, mind, body and spirit. Obviously, I’m going to be on the job hunt because a girl gotta eat, but it’s a chance for me re-evaluate what it is that I want to do with this life I’ve been given. And it’s chance for me to do something about it. 

I had a plan in which I had time to figure out my next steps. I don’t know what God has in His plans for me. But I know that according to His will, those plans are good and all things will work out. In every negative situation, there is a blessing waiting to be exposed. It all depends on your attitude in the midst of it all.

An English Breakfast

Originally posted June 2018.

I Just got back from London and one of my favorite meals on earth is the full english breakfast. I can’t visit the UK without having eggs, sausage, bacon, baked beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and toast for breakfast. We don’t eat black pudding in my family, although I’m beginning to think we should add it to our meal.

Breakfast at Heathrow