Money, Thanksgiving, Soul Train Music Awards

I’ve never quite understood why among my group of friends, I always seem to be the only one (visibly) bothered by money. Maybe I process things differently, but when someone invites me to a random thing, like brunch, I have to think about it. And whereas (I think) most people who pause to think are trying to see if the invitation fits their schedule, I’m thinking about whether my account balance is padded enough, and if the experience is worth it. I’m ALWAYS here for new experiences, and I don’t mind being a bit broke for a while because I spent my money travelling to a new country, for example. Thankfully, I’ve never had to be extremely broke, because my daddy is too kind. However, I need time to mull things over, to see if I’m flush enough or if I can spare a few coins – and it’s not like I have a budget. I don’t think budgets work for me as such, so once I get money I just move 20-60% into a savings account because I usually don’t know if I’m going to be able to save anything next month. Why am I not sure? Because my life is unstable. In one month, I might have to travel like 5 times, and when you consider that flight tickets cost €70-120, consider that I have to factor in costs of transportation in these cities, consider food, etc., you might appreciate why I have to save in advance. Also, I’m looking for a house and my parameters are really stringent so I have to save for what I want. Then I need a new computer. Etc etc. Sigh.

{Break in transmission: I’m watching the Soul Train Awards on BET and Erica Campbell (one half of the Mary-Mary duo) is on. It’s very interesting to see how black people can turn spiritual in an instant, and this right now, this might as well be a church service or church concert. Tasha Cobbs is on now. Babyface was being honored earlier and they played some of the songs he wrote, with the artistes. BoysIIMen featured then, and that was the best bit of things for me because they sang End of the Road and I got really nostalgic. My goodness, I love Janelle Monae’s voice. I’ve been trying to get rid of the nasal tinge to mine and now I think I want to sound like her; only problem is everyone who knows me will look at me askance like “have you come down with a cold? You’ve had this cold for months now though”. R-Kelly has come on now to sing Step in the Name of Love and I’m dancing along because nostalgia, but I’m also making a weird face because I just remembered this article I read recently. That also just made me think about how the media shapes our perceptions and influences our behaviour. Hmm. Eyyy he just started singing Ignition Remix and I remember how my best friend in high school loved that song.}

Right, so we started with how I seem to be the only one who doesn’t outwardly worry about money. I don’t know how to pretend, so I usually just say how broke I am. I think I’m poor 😦 and I wish I could just not worry and spend all the money. I need more hustles. And more stability. Oh well.

How was Thanksgiving weekend for you? I liked the hashtag #ThanksgivingWithBlackFamilies – another insight into the lives of black Americans, seeing as I’ve never lived among them and all I know is from TV and maybe books. I’m grateful for my parents who have done their utmost best to raise us, and I’m a bit happy that I’ve come to see them as human beings who have emotions and are just trying to live their best lives, rather than just ‘parents’. I’m thankful for my edges, because they’re full and don’t look like they’ve been ‘snatched’. Thankful for red wine (which I used to hate) and cider, because those are awesome. Thankful for self improvement, and love. Thankful for relative comfort, and for my career because my current job is almost the literal illustration of “life comes at you fast”. I’m learning a lot though, and hopefully not falling on my face too many times – AND I get to work from home 🙂

I have work to do and a work phone call to make at 10pm (perks of working from home, eh?), so I’m gonna go now.

A bientot.

Advertisements

My 2013 In Review

January: Moved to Finland. The sun used to rise at 9:00 and set at 16:00. Snow everywhere. Slipped on ice twice. Yikes. Went for a party early, and decided it would never happen again – I’d stick to being fashionably late henceforth. Discovered to my delight, that school cafeteria food was more awesome and cheaper than in France. Signed up for a course called Information Systems Research on Games. I cannot explain how/why, but that course was very draining (which is why I have mentioned it here), perhaps because I found out a bit too late, that I had no interest in it.
My friend and classmate lost her father, I still remember that day like it was yesterday. Sigh.
February: Went away for a weekend to a cottage on an island. Went hiking on that island (and saw huge paw prints that made me think “there are polar bears around, for sure”). Discovered that I really really like Finnish people when they’re drunk. Sent a surprise parcel to my folks in Nigeria. I had to break the ‘surprise’ when the package didn’t arrive (and still hasn’t). Had my first exam of the year, aced it *fist pump*. Started learning to code. Made friends I still speak to today. (I realize what that last sentence sounds like, but yeah…)
March: Went on a ship trip to Stockholm, along with 1500 other students. Developed a flu the day before I was supposed to go, and then instead of attending my French class, I decided to go get chicken wings instead.
Had a drinking experiment the day I got back from Stockholm. Yes, it was an experiment, a la Amy Farrah Fowler from The Big Bang Theory. The results of that experiment? Well…I didn’t go (totally) bonkers.
We had some sort of midterm holiday, during which I attempted to learn to play Call of Duty. Met Mims.
Ingested loads of chlorine while learning to swim one day, such that my body reacted badly for the next couple of days. Sigh. Attended someone’s song/video debut at a bar. I had imagined I would not like the song, but I did. Started exercising to get my body ready for summer.
April: Skiing trip. Ha, this one was interesting, as I had never skied before this trip. Couple of falls later, well, I can definitely ski proficiently as long as I’m not required to go up any slope. Please no. The sledding bit afterwards was much more fun.
Went on a class trip/cruise to Åland, by ship. Gorged on the buffet menu. Went for a jazz night with a(n) ‘Orleans in the 1930s’ theme. Interesting.
May: Had my last exam, and then…my birthday! Invited people to my house, then went elsewhere afterwards. Went to church for the first (and only) time in Finland. Attended Vappu. Meh. Attended Mims’ brother in law’s birthday dinner in Helsinki. Started attending Finnish barbecues and game nights 😀
June: Ha. The sun was no longer setting at all at this point, very very nice.  Helped a friend move. Attended Mims’ wedding party in Helsinki. Fun fun fun. Attended a conference later too. Well…lots of things to giggle about in that conference.
Prepared to move to Netherlands.
Attended a Juhannus (midsummer) carnival-type thing on an island, took loads of silly pictures.
Went to Tallinn, Estonia, also by ship. I’ll never forget the tavern I had brunch in. Lol.
July: Went to the beach, was a tad underwhelming because the beaches I’m used to seeing beaches have clean sand and water. This one had dirty looking sand and seaweed. I tossed about in it for a bit though. I was to discover, about 3 months later, that people actually eat seaweed. Interesting.
Went on a boat ride in my friend’s sister’s boat, and I got to steer it. It’s interesting how 55km/hr on water feels like 100km/hr. Tried (and failed) to paddle a canoe, it was so hard.
August: Moved to the Netherlands (and actually let out a sigh as I typed that. I still miss Finland). I had really hoped that this semester would prove me wrong and be loads of fun. But schooling in the Netherlands as I have come to find out, is quite hard if you are used to less tasking systems. In my opinion, the educational standards aren’t necessarily higher than, say, Finland, the workload is just a lot more. But then what do I know about standards of education? Netherlands was sha hard for me. Ugh.
Bought a bicycle and learned to ride it, thanks to my flatmate. Oh, yeah I like my flatmates, they’re awesome in more ways than one.
September: Joined a student association as a committee member. Started drowning in school work.
Attended a cycling dinner. The cycling bit was not fun as I was still learning, but the dinner itself was quite nice.
October: Visited Amsterdam. Not a very pleasant trip, mostly because of my travel companions and horrible food.
Travelled to the UK and finally saw the boyfriend after one year. Whoop!
Cut my hair and proceeded to live in/under a beanie for a bit 😀
(Remember, remember, the 5th of Movember) November: Sorry, I couldn’t resist typing that preceding nonsense.
Went to Brussels for a career fair, and took a tour later. School work was threatening to crush me by this time 😦

December: Attended a Christmas activity/party thing organized by my association, got funny presents. Lol. Went with my friend for an ultrasound (first one I’ve ever been to), dibs on being the godmother of that child. (Or not, seeing as I haven’t the slightest clue what a godparent should do.) Mims’ mommy passed. RIP 😦

Replaced my crappy phone, finally. Took a road trip to Berlin with my friends, slept in awesome places, ate relatively nice food, drank gluhwein. Travelled to the UK, spent my days watching TV and applying for jobs, etc.

Here’s hoping I can come back to write a couple of profound lines before the year finally runs out, but in the event that I don’t, well…2013 has been more than a tad challenging, but I’m grateful for a whole lot of things: my family, health, life, love, friendship, privileges, nice people, new recipes, safe travels, cider, Spotify, Codecademy, proper heating, I’ll just stop now.
Cheers to 2014. Please be a lot better than 2013. Please.

Netherlands

So I’ve moved. I’m just going to list the pros and cons so far, and update as time goes on. You can keep checking back if you wish.

Pros

1. I have a balcony, and a hammock in it.

2. I’ve always wanted to live on a busy street, and now I do. There’s a bank, shopping center, bar and restaurant just across. There’s a bus stop right in front of my house.

3. Things are quite cheap, compared to Finland. I’ve been going “OMG” in the stores around.

4. There’s a TV in my room.

5. I have a couch in my room.

6. Not sure if this is a pro, but I literally chose this apartment because the rent is cheap. I reasoned that if I’m going to have to share a bathroom with other people, surely I won’t be coughing out 350 Eur every month for rent (that’s what school-affiliated landlords charge).

7. The weather is warm enough.

8. Apparently, there are more job opportunities here. I’m still looking for them though :/

9. New: There’s a street market that holds every Thursday, right in front of my house. Sort of like the summer market in Kauppatori in Turku, or the marche on Cours Mirabeau in Aix. Actually, not ‘sort of’, it’s exactly the same thing.

10. New: I’ve found cider. Opened the 1st bottle 2 days ago. Tastes like Magners. Ugh. There’s this nice looking one called ‘caribbean rum’, with coconut and pineapple. 5%. Packaging looks nice, I shall try it and update as appropriate.

Cons

1. I just found out I have to share the balcony with one more person.

2. I’m sharing a bathroom and toilet with 4 people. And I have already seen skid marks in the toilet. Way too early guys, waaayyy too early.

3a. My room is the tiniest room I’ve ever seen. It’s literally the size of my pantry back in Nigeria.

3b. Because of this, my bed is a double decker. Only, instead of having another bed under, there’s a reading table, and a dresser shelf above that. Try to picture that, I’ll wait….

4. The kitchen sink is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. Even the precolonial houses in Enugu boast better sinks. Haba.

5. The air feels stale.

6. My closet is positioned funny. Behind the bed. The bed is fastened to the wall. So I have to wriggle, to get to the things in the closet. Sigh. There’s no mirror in my room too.

7. I haven’t found cider yet, only been seeing beer and wine 😦

8. Contrary to what I was told, my internet is quite shitty. Ugh.

9. New: I had forgotten all about household pests till I got here. No, there aren’t cockroaches or rodents (yet?), but I have seen creepy crawly things everyday since I got here.

10. New: It rained throughout yesterday, and my ‘landlord’ sent me a message to, among other things, inform me that this is normal weather in NL. Is there any point owning a bicycle then? I mean, how can I be riding a bicycle under pouring rain?

11. New: I can’t use my Visa card in most stores, so until I open a bank account and get my debit card, I’m stuck with cash payments. Way to go, NL.

I’m still hoping I enjoy this place.