Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thoughts running through my mind while I was running through the park

Hey readers lovers,

I’m typing this post from the kitchen that I share with eight other flatmates, as I watch my drumsticks and white rice boil to edibility. Eight other people? It is very possible because not everyone cooks and the kitchen is actually big. We have sufficient utensils and cooking equipment for days. London is very sunny today; it reminds me of my 2010 spring break in Los Angeles.

In January, I went through a phase of drinking lots of SmirnOff Ice. Then, I stopped but I kept the evidence of my abstinence.

I'm addicted to fruits. I love the 1-pound fruit bowls in Whitechapel Road market kiosks.

The books that I planned to study during my semester abroad. I'm yet to turn a page of any :(
French dictionary. Random book by Daniel Schacter. Complimentary Cosmo Sex Guide (I didn't buy it, it came with the mag), GRE workbooks.

While I was running through Mile End Park earlier, I noticed many people jogging or riding their bicycles with dogs. Like the typical Nigeria-bred person that I am, dogs scare me. No joke! Even puppies can make shivers run down my spine. My mum is scared of dogs too. I guess that is whom I learned my fear from. I remember when I visited a friend in Paris for five days. When I got there, I met a dog and cat unexpectedly. I considered taking a flight back home immediately or checking into a hotel. But I didn’t. You don’t want to know how I survived in a two-bedroom apartment with those pets bullies. It was a struggle. In the park, there was a man playing with his dogs. He would throw a golf ball into the canal and the dog had to go get it. For some reason, I never knew that dogs could swim, until this afternoon. It was very interesting to see this particular dog swim gracefully.

While I was running earlier, I didn’t want my 34 GGs flying from Mexico to Kazakhstan. (ps: Bravissimo claims my babies are 34GGs. Before this year, I thought I was a 36DDD. So much for measuring boobs mehn). Back to my story, I was jogging slowly. I’m way too conscious of my boobs flying up and down, so I don’t go on the treadmill in the gym. But I got this really firm sports bra from Bravissimo (A British lingerie store for plus size). So, everything is in place, when need be.

While I was running earlier, I decided that I don’t want to be a UK size 10 or US size 6. I just want to be fit and toned. I have never been obsessively conscious of my physique but I get the satisfaction from seeing the reflection of a banging bod, when I stand in front of the mirror. Jennifer Hudson recently dropped a lot of weight, I don’t want that. I’m content with being as thick as I am, not thicker though. All I desire is more contouring, toned gams, abs and guns.

*insert imaginary awkward ending to the post here*

New fave song of the week: I'm a star by Chrisette Michele. I love this song. It's on the borderline of slow and fast RnB songs.

Linguistic discovery of the week: Most America-bred folks don't know what a 'lorry' is.

Je t'embrasse

PS: My debit card finally came in the mail. It took two weeks longer than expected because they initially posted it to my US address. I'm fine though :)
PPS: I'm embarking on a multi-city euro trip, for the first half of April. Sh*t is about to go crazy. Watch this space for the report.
PPPS: I'm putting the main body of this post from my drafts. It was written a week ago.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Short Picture post - IFSA-Butler Weekend in Wales

Random hostel in Wales
Earlier this month, my study-abroad (IFSA-Butler) program planned a trip to Wales. It was fun and a nice opportunity to leave the London bubble. I did not realise how much I was no longer used to road trips, like the 10-hour trips from Abuja to Lagos back in the day. It took about 6 hours to get to Wales from London. Boy! The fifth hour on the coach was tough - I got road/bus sick. There were two accommodation options, the hotel and a hostel for over-flow. When we got there, I was placed in the hostel but my smart-ass found a friend's room in a hotel with an extra bed. So I took this picture before leaving the hostel.

That Friday night, we had a pub - quiz. My team didn't win but yeah it was fun.

Saturday night - party in the hotel basement. Too much techno :(, great company though:)
Saturday daytime, we did some activities. I went abseiling, that's mountain downward-climbing and Go-Karting. Go-Karting was a competition but guess who came 15th out of 15 participants. I also did abseiling. I went for only one round. That activity was lowkey scary despite the harness, helmet and guard ropes

Llandudno beach
On Sunday, we headed back to London. But we stopped at this Welsh town called Llandudno. I don't even know how to pronounce that name. They had a nice man-made beach. So pretty

Pebbles on the beach
So yeah, that was me leaving London. I plan to go to Brighton sometime, when it is warmer. I heard that it's a beach town and it is about an hour away from London. No bueno.

Je t'embrasse

PS: I'm currently getting waist length braids. Oh man, my bum hurts but the hairdresser is nice. She keeps the immigration/student-hustle/relationship stories coming LOL

Have a nice week.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Financial Bottleneck - Living in tight situations

I've blogged about how much fun studying abroad in London has been but you win some, lose some and face some challenges.

In a previous post, I mentioned that the living costs in England is significantly higher than in the States. The USD is not equal to the GBP, for real. For the past 10 days, I've not had access to cash because my American debit card got stuck in Barclays (British bank ) ATM. Unfortunately, I can't make withdrawals with my American credit card because it does not have the chip, that they always ask for in the UK. Even in places like some restaurants, you cannot foot your bill with an American bank card if it does not have the infamous chip. So, you can imagine the financial crevice that I've been in, for the past 10 days. I've had to top up my oyster(travel) card, my phone, and buy groceries online with my credit card. I borrowed 100 pounds from a friend but had to spend 70 pounds out of it to fix my phone. That left me with 30 pounds, in addition to some 50 pounds that I had.

I was annoyed to be informed that Barclays bank could not give me my debit card back, even if they get it out of the ATM, because it is not a Barclays card. I called my American bank to issue another one but it is not here yet. It has been 10 days and Yinkuslolo has been surviving on 80 pounds cash. That should be a lot of money, right? But this is London, money goes faster than the speed of light. I've tried to be prudent but I end up buying coconut bread, cafeteria breakfast, Arizona Iced tea etc. As of Friday, I had 10 pounds left in my wallet.

Important note - I did not inform my mother about my situation and I have no reliable relatives in London to help me out. Also, I'm not a kid. Thus, I figured that I should be able to handle this by myself. My american bank told me that my new debit card will be here on Friday. Alas, my mail box is devoid of this damn card, up til now . On Friday evening, I finally decided to let my mother know about my problem. Like the very caring person that she is, she wired some money to me via Western Union, within an hour. After visiting thirteen Western Union cash points in East and Central London, I found one that is actually in operation in Leicester Square. I will go there later today, because I didn't have sufficient ID when I went yesterday. To make matters worse, the TFL (Transport for London) disabled my Oyster cards because of God knows what. That's a long story on its own.

Why did it take me a whole week to tell my mother about this money matter? I have always been financially self-sufficient. Don't give me that 'yeah right!' look. I do not know how to ask my mother for 'pocket money' and I was not brought up with any regular allowance. So, I feel very awkward asking my mother for money. Fortunately, she sends me money irregularly and in very random amounts, based on her own instinct, and I'm not complaining. Back at my home university, I had two well-paying part-time jobs, alongside my regular 18-credit courseload, and I always go after deals / student discounts. So, I've been living off my savings, for the most part, in London. I'm not against depending on Central Bank of Mummy and Daddy but I respect adults, who work for their own money.

This past week has made me to think about my desirable financial position for the future. I want to be comfortable enough and not depend on a spouse or inherited returns to cater for myself and dependents. I know this means a lot of work but that's why I'm putting my best into this rigorous education now. This is not to say that a good education assures financial security but it goes a long way with getting there.

What does 'comfortable' in future mean to me? This may sound cheesy. I want to be comfortable enough to own (or co-own with my spouse) a family house, send my children/dependants to very good schools and afford to take annual vacations abroad. Hopefully, I will not have to take any loans in the future, except it is for some grand investment.

Enough with my money talk, the two pictures below have been subjects of twitter jokes and spin offs for TTs (trending topics) on Twitter. Follow me on twitter, @yinkuslolo

Je t'embarasse
This one is just funny. What about Real Housewives of Ebute-Metta and Keeping up with the Igbinedions?

This movie is actually out. You have to see the parts 1 and 2 on youtube. Too hilarious. Babes are stealing Blackberries and leaving a matrimonial home because the husband didn't buy a BB for the wife I just want to believe that it's a satire.

On that note, shout to the best mother in the world, I love her so much and I know she does not how much I do. I will not be who I am and will be, without her. I hope my debit card comes in the mail, soon.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Team Insomnia

Tonight, I'm wandering idly through the streets of the interwebz. I checked my grades, mediocre for my standard :(. Fortunately, coursework counts for less than 25% in the UK as opposed to the regular 60% in the States. So, I can still breathe comfortably. I tried writing my French essay, talk about linguistic writers' block :(. It is 2:45am and I have a 9am class (3 classes on Monday #riseandgrind). A good student should be in bed but Yinkuslolo is the captain of the night owls' team

This sunday, I spent six hours at a Nigerian-British friend's RCCG church in Thornton Heath, worship service, hanging out, planning meeting and clearing up. Too many laughs, it was nice and they were all Nigerians. I haven't been to an all-black church outside Nigeria before :) The youth leader emphasized on 100 year-old Abraham's ability to have sex with Sarah at that age, without Viagra. I don't know how Romans chap 4 led to that LOL.

This weekend was nice but Michelle and I took the big L (stands for loss in American lingo, I guess) twice though. I also pissed her off, so I'm going to apologize to her via skype in a minute, though she lives three floors below me. I need to curb this my blunt tongue a bit. She doesn't read this blog anyway.

I will blog about my intended topics, from my last post, later.

PS: Night buses in London are so hilarious. The tube stops running at 1am. So, if you do not have a car and cannot take a cab, you're stuck with the bus. You can encounter all sorts of people on the bus, from flamboyant gays, drunk folks, quarelling Russians, sleepy Spaniards, to random hikers. Michelle and I always have a fun time on the Bus 25 that runs from Oxford Circus to East London.

Je t'embrasse.
Pray for Japan. Donate to charities. They need your help, no matter how little.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Affirming my black identity in London?

I am proudly Nigerian and I will always be. I am also the queen of procrastination. If I had a penny for the number of times that I have blogged in my head but failed to type a post, I will afford not <1Kgof gummy bears right now. If you don't know what gummy bears are, google 'em. They are the best study snack, next to seedless grapes. yum!

If you have not noticed, this blog is turning to a study abroad blog. I want to highlight my experience in London so far, related to me being Nigerian. For every black person I meet in London, I assume that ze is Nigerian until ze proves otherwise. Trust me, you will save your time and your curious spirit some energy, if you go with my formula.
  • At my host university in London, Queen Mary, they are more South Asians than blacks and even whites, I believe. This is probably because QM is located in East London, the domain of South Asians. Whenever I see a dark-skinned person, I become so eager to meet them. Getting closer it turns out to be a dark-skinned Indian and I becomes low-key disappointed. This is not to say that I'm racist but I just like meeting all sorts of Black people, whether it be African-American, Carribean or African. Sadly, the ACS (african-carribean society) is not as active as the Black student unions in the States that I am used. Thus, I have to meet fellow Black students, with an extra effort on my part.
  • I usually go to south London aka the hood to get my hair done. Y'all know that black hair is done and cheapest in the hood. But then, you gatta be careful because finding a good hairdresser is as difficult as finding a good husband. Anytime, I go there to get my hair done, they seem to be confused by my 'hybrid' accent until I say my name is Yinka (Yinkuslolo is from Yinka, get it?)
  • Most of my study abroad buddies are African Americans (called akatas by Nigerian english) from the States and everytime we go out, we are asked which country we are from. As usual, I give my long story that I'm a Nigerian studying in the USA. My akatas friends have a problem though because they will tell you that they are from chicago/atlanta/** America but many blacks in London are not buying that. Then, my akata friends will have to the enquirer that their forefathers went to the USA as slaves from Africa. Thus, recent akata generations are mixed with other races and have no idea of their precise African origin. I think this long explanation is due to difference between the Black-British and Black-Americans. This is because the blacks in Britain are more recent immigrants than those in the USA. It is sometimes sad to see my Akata friends have to go through the slavery explanation so many times. Actually, my African American friends often ask what their looks can suggest about their place of origin in Africa. I often joke with them and say oh you look Igbo/Yoruba/Kenyan.
  • I must have mentioned in an earlier post I went to the Basketmouth show on Feb 13th, that show was basic. I felt the jokes were mostly recycled. Maybe the theme of the jokes (ie Naija hustlers in Jand) was over-flogged. The show just wasn't working for me. I had a good time though, because I went with a new friend and saw my crazy ass Nigerians.
  • Two Saturdays ago, I went to CokoBar, a Nigerian club in East London. I had heard loads about it and it is just 10 mins away from QM. So, I decided to go see what's up there. One word for CokoBar. basic!!! The music was nice, the DJ did a good job in mixing Nigerian music with mainstream western hippop/ R &B but the transitions were kind of wack. Of course, the dressing at CokoBar was at the two extremes, regular Jand dudes in Blazers in the club's heat hian! and some girls with GUCCI clutches (with green and pink stripes instead of green and red). I had fun though because I was with friends and busted all my moves with Michelle, my PIC. Btw, what is it with most Nigerian girls (and some dudes) not dancing at the club? I understand if it is your day off dancing but if you don't dance every time, there is a problem. How will you just be sitting and boning (frowning in Naija slang) in the club? You might as well stay at home or go to a pub.

I must admit that the title is somewhat misfitted with the content of this post. But yeah, I typing at as many character per min as possible at 4:30am. Pardon the grammatical error. I dislike proof-reading, like I always remind you. My next post will be about my London Fashion Weekend Experience and my trip to Wales.

Till then
Je t'embarasse
ff me @yinkuslolo on twitter

Happy Ash Wednesday! ( I'm Nigerian and we celebrate everything/day even 'Happy Strike!')
Are you giving up anything for Lent, if so what is it?