My Michigan Summer

Originally posted July 2017.

Living in the states, my family tends to mix Nigerian culture with that of the American. For example, Backyard BBQ with Jollof rice, thanksgiving with Jollof rice, ski trips with Jollof rice etc…I’m totally kidding about the last part. There was no Jollof present. But nothing screams American summers louder than grilling, fishing, roasting s’mores, and camping. Well, this is the America I grew up watching on TV. 

This past weekend was one of the most stereotypical American weekends I’ve ever had. I went up north Michigan and stayed in the cutest cottage ever that overlooked the lake with its own private “beach”.

Side note: To all those who believe sand around a lake is a beach…it’s not. Unless the lake is as huge as a sea, but even then, that’s stretch.

Below is the timeline of my activities:

Friday evening: I fired up the grill and cooked some salmon, sweet potatoes, and asparagus

Friday night: Pitch dark outside, no moon in sight, with nothing but a flashlight, took the row boat out into the lake. I can’t say I enjoyed this part. I don’t trust dark waters.

Saturday morning: Took the boat out for my first ever fishing experience. I hooked my own worms and everything! AND caught a fish!

I “caught” a second one, but I had a struggling match with the fish ending up ripping off the hook from the line. 

Saturday afternoon: Took the canoe out into the lake for some exploration. I decided to leave all technology behind for this one, so no pictures. Okay, so I had actually dropped my phone in the water earlier that morning. It literally slipped right through the cracks of the dock.

Saturday late night: Made a bonfire, roasted some marshmallows and made s’mores. The night sky was glittering with a million stars. It was a perfect night.

Sunday morning: Went out fishing one last time before heading back to the city.

As a woman from River State, Nigeria, I am particularly proud of myself for catching my first fish!!

Charles McGee

Originally posted May 2017.

If you’ve ever been to Detroit, you would be aware of the plethora of art tattooed across the city; murals, graffiti, sculptures. Charles McGee is a legend amongst artists in Detroit. A 92 yr old, who moved to Detroit at the age of 10, Charles McGee revealed his most recent piece, an 11-story mural. I repeat, A 92 YEAR OLD! 

I attended the reception held to celebrate his achievements. It also showcased some of his popular pieces. I was beyond overwhelmed and inspired. I was fortunate enough to briefly meet and chat with Charles, a very frail yet strong looking man seated on a wheelchair. He reminded me of my grandfather. Same age, still working. And not out of need, but a want. The fuel is still fresh. It’s almost out of necessity if not it’ll waste away. 

A Walk Through Mexicantown, Detroit

Originally posted in May 2017.

Who would’ve thought Detroit, MI would have a vibrant Mexican community? When you think of Mexican immigrants, most uninformed people (like myself) would think Texas, California or New Mexico. But there are vibrant Mexican communities all across the MidWest with Chicago shockingly being the number 2 city for Mexican immigrants. 

Through the company I work for, I participated in the Detroit Cinco De Mayo parade. I got so caught up in the moment and atmosphere that didn’t realize the photo opportunities I was walking by. These are just a few of the pictures I remembered to take. 

Houston Street Art

Originally posted April 2017.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m very much into the art scene. As an artist, I am drawn to creativity in form of colors and patterns. It’s one of the reasons I’m obsessed with street art. I travel a lot and one of the most exciting things I find in each city are the bursts of colors and stories spread across the walls of buildings.

Last week I was Houston for Easter. I needed a break from the Midwest. My friend and I were on our way to Discovery Green, an urban park located in downtown. While looking for parking, we came across this cop who gave us whack directions to a free parking area. As we tried following his directions, we soon realized we had gone wrong way when we noticed that the park was no longer in walking distance. Fortunately for us, as we were navigating the area, we came across this block filled with graffiti and I noticed a number of cars parked around it. So we decided to stop and take pictures…you know we had to do it for the gram. I had no idea we had stumbled upon a Houston gem known as the Houston Graffiti Building.

Majority of the people who had congregated at this spot were your urban hipster, hypebeast, woke type, social media obsessed demographic. I don’t know how I managed to leave without getting pictures of them…rookie mistake.

Escape to Santo Domingo

Originally posted March 2017

A few weeks ago, my mother came up to freezing Michigan to spend some time with me. I figured this was the perfect opportunity to take her on one of the vacations I had promised. Not being used to constant below freezing temperatures, I also needed a hot break. Thankfully, living in America provides easy access to the beautiful Caribbean islands. I’ve visited a few of the English speaking islands. But this time around, I wanted something different.

 I didn’t want the typical American tourist beach resort get away. I wanted to indulge myself into a foreign culture. So I booked a hotel in Ciudad Colonial, the oldest permanent European settlement in the Americas. This quaint historical neighborhood in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic is the site of many “oldest” landmarks. 

The historical landmarks, although beautiful, weren’t the most intriguing parts of the city. The life of the city struck a chord with me. The weather was perfect! The people were incredibly welcoming from the second I walked off the aircraft. My mum and I were mistaken for locals on multiple occasions. Of course when they realized we struggled with our Spanish, they were all the more merrier with us. We ate and drank at local hot spots. I was even invited to a night out but being a foreign young woman I decided to stay in with my mama.

We concluded our vacation at a beach resort in Playa Juan Dolio. It was a nice quiet getaway from the city. The perfect way to end our trip before returning to the tundra that is Detroit in February.

Bahamian Paradise

Originally posted January 2017.

My family and I went on a Christmas cruise to a few Caribbean islands including Key West, Florida, and Coco Cay Bahamas. These islands are so extremely beautiful. They’re pieces of paradise just a boat ride away from the States. Besides relaxing on the beaches, I went snorkeling and jet skiing in the incredibly blue warm waters. I personally am not a fan of staying on the cruise ship and there are days where you have nowhere to go as the ship is en route. It’s like being stuck in a hotel. No doubt, a pretty awesome hotel with great food, cheesy yet entertaining shows, and dance clubs. But I seldom go on vacation to just relax in a hotel all day. I like to go out and explore.

And about 15 minutes after I took this picture, I crashed my scooter and injured my self pretty badly. Apparently, according to my brother who witnessed the accident, I miraculously survived with the scrapes. This is why my mum hates whenever my brother and I go off on our explorations.

Welcome To Miami

Originally posted January 2017.

Being in Miami is like being in a foreign country in which the primary language is Spanish. My mother, sister and I found ourselves in an unknown part of the city in search of Cuban food. The people barely spoke or even understood English as we were trying to order. I couldn’t help but think, ‘This is America’. As far as the food, it’s meat heavy with sides of either plantain or yuca, and of course, rice and beans.

One my favorite parts of Miami is the Art Deco District in South beach with the old historic hotels. When I walk by the buildings, I think about all the possible stories behind some of the guests in the hotels from past times. Stories involving illegal alcohol during the prohibition era, old Hollywood on vacation, the first Cuban immigrants, the cocaine push etc. ..clearly I watch too many movies, haha.

Toronto…First Experience

Originally posted December 2016.

So I visited Toronto over the weekend for the first time. And I have to say, I expected more. The skyscrapers are beautifully blue as they reflect the hues of the sky. The people are ridiculously charming and friendly. Most pedestrians obeyed traffic laws. I was, for the most part, in good company. But something was missing in the air. Maybe it’s because I fell ill and thus was rid of the energy to be excited. Maybe it’s because it’s winter and freezing cold. Maybe it’s because I had a lot on mind and too distracted to take in anything. Maybe it’s because I didn’t get to hang out with Drizzy. A lot of maybes but I was not as enchanted as I expected to be. I wasn’t even as excited about the food. And if you know me, food is life!! I tried some of my friend’s poutine and it was delicious…for a brief moment. Then I got bored. Whatever the case may be, I’ll give Toronto another shot next year during summer.

The one thing that did keep my attention was the CN tower. That, I found mesmerizing.

Manhattan Pt 3

Originally posted November 2016.

Of course we checked out the bar scene and one thing we noticed was that none of the places we went to played current music. It was the oddest thing. It wasn’t like we researched these venues. It was all random and spur of the moment choices. And all played music from the 80s and 90s. 

Now unfortunately I didn’t take pictures in some of the bars because I was too engulfed in the “experience”. And if I did, a lot came out blurry…for obvious reasons.

Here’s the list:

Le Bain (rooftop lounge w/ amazing gin and tonics and crepes) – Meatpacking District

Mulberry Project (a hard to find speakeasy…duh) – Chinatown

Hudson Bar and Books (a cigar bar) – West Village

Sid Gold’s Request Room (Piano bar) – Chelsea

George & Jack’s Tap Room – Williamsburg, Brooklyn (I know, it’s not Manhattan, but we met incredibly nice people there). Did I mention New Yorkers are friendly?