A 2015 recap of sorts, and other things II

I chronicled the first half of my 2015 here, and it was too long so I decided to post in 2 bits. Here’s the other bit.

Jul – Sept

I moved back with no job in sight but many entrepreneurial ideas (because what else could I really do?). I have friends though, who sent my CV around and about 4 days after I got back, I got a job and my boss is my type of person, and I’m quite well-paid, so yay! My entrepreneurial ideas are now dusty though, but that’s fine for now.

Because I was broke and wasn’t sure where I was going to live when I got back, I made arrangements to go stay with the bf for a while. Even when I got a job, there were some delays with the project I was supposed to handle and I had to work remotely while that got sorted, so I was still living with the bf. That was good for us in a way, because it’s like suddenly being around each other all the time after years of long-distance. It also meant having to fly to Lagos every time either/both of my parents announced their presence, because of course I couldn’t tell them I was perching with the bf, they thought I lived with a friend in Lagos.

Aside: This friend’s house used to be my default place to stay in Lagos but she had gotten tired of the place because it wasn’t in the best location and then some dynamics in the house itself were annoying, so she  moved to a better location with better ‘dynamics’. The only snag was I couldn’t ‘move’ with her. My folks already knew about this friend but at the time I was coming back, I couldn’t tell them she’d moved because then they’d have been extra curious about where I was supposed to be living.

Oct – Dec

I travelled quite some between July and November, but for reasons too long to get into right now, my project got cancelled. So now I was and am still hanging in the balance (because I don’t have a signed contract, only a verbal, good-faith one) but working and getting paid every month.

I interviewed for a UX Design job in Kano though, and I’m hoping that comes through so that I can have a contract and my own house – even though I’m looking at houses in Lagos in case Kano doesn’t pan out. If it does though, I hope my present boss can keep me on as a remote freelancer (i.e. I want to turn his projects into my side hustle) because somehow I’m sure I’d be able to handle the load, as long as I’m still allowed to define the amount and kind of work I want to do. Fingers crossed 🙂

I’m in a pretty good place now, and I’m thankful that things are going relatively okay. I don’t have much money but I’m not destitute and reliant on my folks to subsidize my life. I had 10 goals this year, and I think I accomplished about 5.5 of them. I’m still very thankful, and hopeful for a better 2016.

I’m thankful for my family, and my boyfriend, and friends, and ALL the patience and support I’ve gotten. I’m thankful for safe travels and smooth plane rides (I really hate turbulence and my stomach drops every time there’s a bump). Thankful for relative financial ease in this last quarter, and my mother’s cooking. For good health all-round, and that there were no deaths in my immediate circle this year. For the great things that happened and are happening in the lives of ‘my people’.

In 2016 I’d like to grow as a UX Designer, by taking on more design projects in a structured environment (and I think the Kano job is the perfect avenue for me but let’s see how that goes), and I’d like to try my hand at a new UX-related blog which I’ll talk about if I do. I also want 2016 to be more fun than 2013 was, so I’d like to travel to new places (but also save money and make investments, and I wonder how I’ll pull that one off), meet interesting people, get a car, implement at least one of my entrepreneurial ideas for passive income, and kick ass at my job. Maybe I can also FINALLY learn to play the violin too.

For some inexplicable reason, the phrase “stay hungry, stay foolish” just popped into my head. I’ve just googled and seen that it’s a quote by Steve Jobs, and also the title of a book. Well, I hope that’s what I do in 2016 but not in the literal sense because it’s a very bad idea for one to literally remain without nourishment and/or wisdom.

Happy Holidays! x

 

Advertisements

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.

Updates – January

I’ve been away for far too long, and it’s for a variety of mostly intangible reasons. But I will try to outline what happened while I was away.

I got back from the UK at the beginning of January, and then I had an interview at a potential company for my internship. Thing is, I had had a series of disappointments regarding this internship thing. First, I got to the last assessment stage of a company (which I wasn’t too keen on working at), then I got a call saying I didn’t get in. Then someone recommended me for a position at a company I was (and still am) quite keen on. Instead of practising for the aptitude test, I was playing about (this was during the Christmas holidays). To be honest, the fact that my laptop was half dead didn’t help things either. Long story short, I missed the cut off for the math part by one mark. So painful. So that was that. I started applying again, and then I got an email from another company high up on my list of companies I’d like to work for. The email was to ask if I was applying for a job or internship. I thought “duh, I already said in the cover letter that I was applying for an internship, and I even included the internship topic”, but I responded with something along the lines of “I applied for an internship, but I wouldn’t mind a job”. Well, I got invited to write an aptitude test (harder than any of the previous I’d written – and I had to go to the library to write the test because I didn’t trust my laptop to not act up), passed, got invited to an interview, passed it, and that’s where things plateaued a bit. They can’t hire me for a full time job until I graduate (probably has to do with Dutch laws), so I should call them after my graduation in July/August. Well, I’m grateful for this.

In January though, things were a bit tough and disappointing. I was broke, my lease was expiring, and I had no sure internship. But everything worked out, one by one. First, one of my flatmates moved out and offered me her room. The problem with that was I only needed the room for 2 weeks in February, but at the time I agreed, I didn’t know that. Hence, I had to pay a deposit and sign a contract with the landlord for one year, for that room. Before I moved out though, I found a tenant to take over the house. Next on my agenda is to get a more permanent tenant (this one is only staying till June) to take the contract off my hands, because the landlord said I could ‘break’ the contract after 3 months. On the money front, I was still broke, but somehow managed to pay my bills, and not starve. I was fine, really. Just a bit sad. I have to acknowledge I got a bit of help at some point, so that was a relief. I also got bits of good news here and there, for example: Remember the interview I said I had at the beginning of January? Well, that one worked out well as I’d hoped it would. Why? Because they offer free accommodation, and while my stipend is quite sufficient, because of the amount, I don’t have to pay tax. Free accommodation (in a hotel, no less) and tax free income? Yay. 

I really don’t remember what I used to do to pass time. I know I signed up on Duolingo and took French lessons (on my phone, laptop was still a pain), submitted my thesis proposal, had drinks with friends (quite interesting considering my supposedly broke state, yes? Well, drinks in the Netherlands are quite cheap, and if you nurse one all night, you’ll be fine), visited people, watched TED talks, fantasized about winning a Macbook Air (entered a Book Depository contest. Didn’t win, sadly), researched Chromebooks and other mundane stuff, slept quite a bit, read books, etc. 

Kolme, Neljä

3

Have I mentioned how grateful I am that these people speak English, in addition to Finnish and Swedish? No? I am totally grateful. I have learned 2 things so far: one is that the Finnish do not have a word for ‘please’, the second is that ‘thank you’ in Finnish is ‘kiitos’.

Today is orientation, and then a bus tour afterwards. The bus tour is interesting, but we do not stop to look closely at any of the things or places we see, and this, combined with the weather and comfort of the bus makes me really sleepy. Err, I don’t like snow. It’s beautiful until you have to walk on dirty streets that look even dirtier, thanks to the wet snow. Oh and the dog poop thing on the streets, I’ve seen it about twice now. On snow. Eww.

We have to go collect our ‘starter package’ afterwards, but I really don’t need it. The package consists of a duvet, pillow, and kitchen stuff. You have to pay some money though, 70% of which will be refunded after you return the stuff in good condition. The previous tenant left me a really clean duvet (which I don’t even need right now) and pillow, I already have a pot, plus there’s lots in the kitchen.

The cold: Average temperature is -5 degrees, for now. I think my ugly winter jacket is doing a pretty good job. I may have to buy better boots though, in case I ever have to walk in about 2 inches of snow. Not quite sure how the ones I wear now would hold up, as they are not proper snow boots.

4

The cafeteria food is awesome, and you get to serve yourself whatever amount you can finish. I will try to eat really well in the afternoons, so that I don’t have to eat anything serious at night…but unfortunately, my tummy capacity is really small and it can’t hold much food at one time 😦 .

My bank account is finally open, and now I can pay my rent (have to pay before the 6th, else they would charge 8% extra for every day I default), and every other thing I need to pay for. I wish there weren’t so many things to pay for. Speaking about money, I’m seriously thinking about getting a job, if my lectures are not so stressful. I will convince my father to let me.

Still haven’t figured how to use the cooker, and I haven’t actually met anyone in the kitchen that I could ask. My muffin stash is depleting 😦

The only convenience store on my side of the students’ residence is located just behind my room, and my room is on the ground floor (how else would I have carried The Monster and my 2 other pieces of luggage?) 🙂