Tidbits while I write my thesis II (Or: Mini quarterlife crisis, if there’s such a thing)

5. I went to the UK about 1 month ago. My visa was about to expire and I thought to use it one more time, so I booked 2 tickets on 2 different airlines: Ryanair to go, Jets2 to come back. People, I missed my Ryanair flight by 1 second. It was a morning flight, and there were so many people on the queue. I asked to be moved forward but they told me “don’t worry, the plane won’t leave without you”. Well, it did. And then, just as they were closing the gate, I ran up screaming – okay, well, whispering – “nononono!!!” and they just said “sorry, can’t let you through, you have to go back to the service desk. Sigh. Off to the service desk I went, where they told me (a bit too cheerfully) that I’d have to be put on the next flight (21:20), and I’d have to pay an extra 110Eur. Aha, so that’s why they were so cheerful. LOL. Screw you. I went and sat down, took out my computer and booked a flight on British Airways. But then I had to fly to the train station and get to Rotterdam (as I was in Eindhoven) airport. Luckily for me, BA was flying straight into London City, so that was just perfect. Well, I got to London safe and sound, then began the arduous journey to Leeds (someone should look into making daily small-plane services a thing. Like between London and Leeds. I’d pay 50 Pounds if you could get me there in 10-30 minutes instead of 4.5 hours. Sheesh).

6. 9:47am, 25.04.2014: Mika’s ‘Grace Kelly’ is everything for me this morning. So much so that I want to do a cover (video) of it, set in the 60s, maybe a la TemiDoll’s ‘PataPata’.

7. I turn 25 in a couple of days, and I cannot even begin to describe how or what I feel, to be honest.

I’m writing my Masters thesis, and I shall be graduating this summer. I have 2 years of (semi?)professional experience, and about 21 years of schooling experience. For all of these years, I’ve always known what ‘the next step’ would be. Sometimes, there were crossroads, but there was always a next step, regardless. Now, I’m not quite sure what my next steps would or should be.

Also, I practically stopped living at home when I was 10. I went to boarding school, and my family lived far (like 6-700km) away, so I only saw them at vacations, or the odd visiting day when Father or Mother happened to be in town on business. When I started my first job, it was again, far (4-500km) from ‘home’, so I’ve pretty much been ‘independent’ and nomadic for the past 15 years. One might argue that my family and I have been in a long distance relationship, which I’m fine with. However, these days, I find myself thinking that maybe it’s time to settle somewhere. At the same time, I think I still have about 2 more cities/countries to ‘wild out’ in before I settle.

With the boyfriend, it’s been the same (long distance) thing. Of our ~5 years together, we’ve only ever lived in the same city for 1 year. Some people might read this and think “I could never do that!”, but </shrug> it’s my reality and it usually isn’t something I’m happy or sad about, it just is. my life. And I was happy when he moved to the UK because then it meant we were at least on the same continent.

Today, I’m sad. The boyfriend got a job with a very, very good company (and we’re so very happy about it, you cannot begin to imagine) and he has to move back to Nigeria next month. Because, we’re not going to say “no, please wait for me to enjoy summer, I’ll come afterwards”. Nay. (Not like he didn’t try though. They couldn’t wait. And he couldn’t very well say “well, go screw yourselves then”.) We did have plans for this summer though. Good plans.  Oh and, the way schedules are set up, it appears no one is going to be able to make it to my graduation. Well done, Life.

Now, I do have a vague idea what’s supposed to happen next for me, but then it very much depends on whether things ‘fall into place’, which I hope they do – and in the way that I want them to-. I’m speaking about getting a job, of course. My supervisors here have been pretty pleased about my work and they’re very interested in keeping me on, but it depends on if a vacancy opens up, as they do not have the power to manufacture a vacancy, etc. Fingers crossed then. I think what I’ve just described is my apprehension. Still on apprehension, I have to submit my thesis in 14 days and I’m only 70% ready. Cue panic.

In other interesting-but-slightly-panicky news, I tried to start a 3rd party logistics business (even paid for a logo and got a website and everything), but I couldn’t quite get it off the ground because I wasn’t able to figure out how to make it ‘affordable’ by my standards. Also, I started noticing last year, that a couple of (Nigerian) companies have such piss-poor customer service on social media. You tweet at them to complain about something (because their customer lines are ‘busy’), and they get a bot to respond to you. “Thank you for your comment/enquiry. Please call 1234 for help, or email xyz@abc.com”. It used to piss me off a lot, even when I wasn’t the one being mistreated. So I started ranting about and saying maybe I should start a social media management business, because I want to see how hard it is to treat your (online) customers well. As I said, I was only ranting. And then, a friend took me seriously and sent out a couple of texts, and *abracadabra* we started a business and now we have 3 clients. In 1 week. Well done, Life. We haven’t even gotten a website or logo. [Aside: Thankfully, it is a lot easier for me to figure how to keep this business affordable for clients 😀 ]

I have no plans for my birthday, I suppose I’m going to spend it reading Anne of Green Gables and/or The Perks of Being a Wallflower or something. There’s a barbecue thing tomorrow though, so I shall attend and afterwards, my Spanish friend will make us mojitos and spanish omelettes. Oh and she’s finally moving on Sunday. Too sad.

I want to learn to play the violin this summer. I’m accepting donations to buy one. [Shall I open a Kickstarter/Indiegogo project for you my dearest friends, to contribute?] 😀


Week 10

Monday: Still on holiday, tomorrow’s supposed to be free too. Until I open the calendar and find that someone has inserted a 6-hour class. Dear Lord, why? I’m not being lazy, I have loads of work to catch up on, and this holiday was just what I needed. Oh well…guess I have to spend the rest of the day catching up for the class tomorrow. Nothing more. Exams are coming, hmm.

I have come to terms with the fact that I’m no longer in CU, where my friends used to download series and movies and pass on to me, neither am I at work, where my boss used to download for us both. Hence, today, I have decided to begin to download by myself, I’m amazed at how easy it is. Awesome stuff.

Err…these guys haven’t collected their internet money for last month, I wonder what’s going on. And they haven’t disconnected me either. Alright then.

Tuesday: Class. I don’t appreciate hauling my laptop to anywhere, but I always have to, for this class. Because it’s a programming class disguised to look like an MIS class…not that my laptop is that heavy, I made sure I bought a lightweight one. I just pity the members of my class who have mini BatMobiles as laptops.

I’m happy that these days, I’m better adjusted. I now eat only fries at the school cafeteria, then I get home and eat awesome meals. Those my old spices were making me doubt my cooking skills, like at some point I had to ask myself; “madam, is it that you don’t know how to make spaghetti anymore?” smh. Thank God for Knorr and Ducros, and Vegetable oil. Speaking of spices, I had to think back, and I now remember that all my terrible spices and oil and rice, were bought on the same day, in the same section of Carrefour. That section is called ‘Bio’. Basically for ‘healthy food’, because one time I had yoghurt with the same label at school, and it tasted yucky. Of course, these days, whenever one sees any product labeled ‘Bio’, one turns and walks in the opposite direction, into the loving arms of pain au chocolat, Rice Krispies, McVities, waffles, etc. Speaking of Rice Krispies, the stores around the city centre don’t have it, but they have all other Kellog’s cereals. One has to travel a long distance to Carrefour, in order to buy simple Rice Krispies. Shame.

Wednesday: Class again, same Programming lecture, but for 3 hours only. I sent a mail to the Finnish Embassy in Paris, asking them if I could come on a certain date, and then I called and they said yes. They actually replied my mail first, I just didn’t check. Anyway, time to book train ticket, wahala. This particular train company has the cheapest tickets, but the prices keep going up. Yesterday, it was 105, now its 113. My card keeps getting declined, and I can’t use my Nigerian bank card because it won’t disburse money to whoever you’re trying to pay, unless a pin is entered. These guys don’t ask for your pin here (very strange, no?)

I have a French class in the afternoon, my French teacher’s name is very funny, because he looks like his name (hint: its Italian). Apparently girls always make remarks about his good looks, I hope he’s married. Obviously, some don’t, but I doubt that they’d be getting the desire of their hearts any time soon. I’m talking too much, let me shut up now.  I learnt during the class, that in France, kissing someone (on the cheek) is normal (as I have already noticed, no doubt), but if you proceed to hug the person, then it becomes more intimate. Apparently hugs are reserved for family, close friends and significant others. I better not hug a guy and plant ideas that I wouldn’t appreciate. So, about my train ticket, I try again during the French class, and the price has gone up to 120 Euros. Who are these people trying to dish heart attack for? Yes, the card gets declined again. I’m too sure there’s money on that card, unless there’s some fraud going on.

After class, I go to the bank and the lady I speak to tells me that my Compte de Cheques accounts is overdrawn, that the money I think I have is in my Livret A account. Please, my people, what the heck does this mean? I opened an account in the bank, only one account oh, so whenever I put money, it shouldn’t be separated into anywhere now, abi am I a bush girl? Anyway, the lady said when I get home, I should log on to my account on the internet, and transfer the money. Fine, I do just that, only that I try to pay for the ticket again, and it still doesn’t work. I leave it and go to bed, I’m tired.

Thursday: No class, but like I mentioned yesterday, train ticket prices are going up, the more we approach the date I’m supposed to travel. I contact Customer Care on chat, and I’ll spare you the details, but my card has been blocked because I transferred money to it without disabling it 1st. I will also likely have to wait till Monday, according to them. Please raise your hands if that makes sense to you. No one? No? Okay then. First, I couldn’t use the card online because it was overdrawn or something (meanwhile, there was CLEARLY money in the account, so I still don’t understand), now I’ve transferred money to it, even though I still don’t understand, yet I still can’t use the card. I’m supposed to contact my Accounts Officer, and she’s the only one who can rectify this issue. I sent her an email (about 6 hours ago), to which she hasn’t responded. I can’t call her, because I tried to recharge my phone online and of course, the card was declined again….and this is not Nigeria where you have people selling such everywhere you turn.

Now, after all this my story, you will agree that I have to have a ‘chat’ with this elusive accounts officer tomorrow, yes? Will let you know how it goes. Oh and in the midst of all this brouhaha, I discovered that my 47 Euros hasn’t actually entered my account. The woman was just punching numbers, it seems. Probably playing solitaire while enthusiastically assuring me that I’m all good.

About CAF, you remember that right? I got letters in the mail containing my number and security code, to access my account. When I tried to do that though, I got a mail saying that I can’t access the account yet, that I need to haul my ass to the CAF office. I went there today and of course, I got lost in the process, not my fault though – they gave the wrong address L. Now, I have this friend who had to go to the CAF office too, and according to her, they kept tossing her up and down, asking for this paper and that paper she had to go 5 times. The 5th time, she went ballistic on them and then they finally relented and did what she wanted. Anyway, so I prayed my case wouldn’t be that way, because I don’t even speak French, how can you rant when the person on the receiving end doesn’t understand you?

When I got there, it turned out there was a form my landlords (CROUS), in this case, are supposed to fill, but haven’t. Of course, they wouldn’t tell me this on the CAF website, because the French love bureaucracy. Anyway, I collected the form and left, I’ll give them to fill on Monday. Hopefully, no one will ask me for any more papers, because that’s what they kept doing to my friend.

Went to buy food afterwards, I’m amazed at the way I consume food. And I wonder how much I will lament when I have kids. Anyway, since it appears one can’t eat Rice Krispies unless one goes on a 30 minute journey to Carrefour, I settle for Nesquik, let’s hope its nice.

I finally used a classmate’s card to pay for my train tickets, and then I gave her cash…can’t wait till Monday.

Friday: Finally got an email from my bank advisor, saying she has reactivated my card. Probably because yesterday, while I was talking to the customer service people, I told them I was going to come today to have a serious ‘conversation’ with them. Scraps. I even talked to some of my classmates (all from different countries) about this system, and they said no, that in their respective countries, you have only one account, nothing is separated. So I’m not delusional afterall.

You guys know Monty Python? No? Well then, did you watch the Olympics Closing Ceremony? I like the ‘Always look on the bright side’ song, I think it’s cute. Or quirky, whatever. If you want to watch, click.

I hope I can get quality work done this weekend, because there’s a lot to do, but the internet is very attractive, if you know what I mean. On that note, cheers to the friggin’ weekend!


PS: I am aware that my writing has become haphazard, pardon me. I will do better.