Thursday, 30 November 2017

MEMOIR – Not So Sweet November

“Sometimes I need to unwind
Sometimes I need some down time
Sometimes I need a minute just for me
I need a minute just to be
I need a minute just to breathe”

-          A minute (Kelly Clarkson)

November didn’t start great for me. I was still trying to swim above the deep waters from October which was swirling around me, trying to drag me under.

I found myself stuck in wrong conversations at work. Hard as I wanted out, sadly I couldn’t ‘cus work is where I spend almost 70% of my day time hours. You’d think we are in 2017, and the educated ones should be more open minded and have more empathy. Do we need stuff to happen to us first before we can have empathy?

I withdrew, kept to myself more and longed for my annual leave. They couldn’t understand and I wasn’t going to explain either because I knew it would only be a waste of my time. When they started spewing their bigotry, I’d just let my mind drift to this cabin in the woods I built in my head. Like a safe haven, just me sitting on a bed, staring at the rays of sun stealing into the room between the leaves of trees and shrubs. It was quiet here, peaceful and felt a lot like home.

I didn’t realize how much heaviness I was carrying till the first Sunday service in November. The theme of November was Praise triggers the fulfillment of prophesy. Before close of service each Sunday, we took out time to give praise.

After the praise session that Sunday morning, while the pastor was giving the closing prayers...I fell apart and cried. As hard as I tried to hold back, the tears came running down the more. I was dealing with so much, but I had managed to push them out of my thoughts, but this time they hit so hard. The physical stress from work, stress from a nagging tooth pain, psychological stress from walking on egg shells all year hoping a younger one doesn’t get admitted. In October I thought we were going to land in the hospital again but thankfully that didn’t happen but it took a whole lot from me mentally.

As the tears ran down my cheeks (not caring if anyone was staring at me, eyes shut and letting it all go), I felt lighter, the weight was lifting off. God! I was broken but it was beautiful…

                                                                       ****

I started adding weight middle October and my clothes became really tight. I had to free my zipper when I sat at my desk. I knew I couldn’t afford new office clothes so the way forward was losing the weight. Being that I am very lazy when it comes to exercises, my only option was to skip meals. Though this brought little progress, then my tooth ache resurfaced.

I was scared of going back to the dentist. I wasn’t over the pain I experienced when I pulled the first tooth. The pain got worse and then I thought, maybe this was a good thing. After all, after the extraction I’d be on fluids for a week and this would help with the weight loss.

I scheduled an appointment with the dentist. I decided to take the painkiller before the extraction so that when the anesthetic wore off, the pain killer would already have kicked in and I wouldn’t feel pain. This worked out fine or so I thought….

Three days after the extraction and taking my drugs dutifully, I was at my desk in the office when I felt a sharp pain. It ran from my abdomen to my chest and then my back. It was like shooting fire balls going way up my spine. Then I remembered how I had awoken the previous night with same pain, reoccurring at quick intervals. God it was hell. Eme, my team member didn’t know how she could help out, she kept asking if I wanted go home or to the hospital…I knew where everything had gone wrong. The damn painkillers.

I had forgotten to inform the new doctor I was managing ulcer. He wasn’t supposed to give me that particular strong medication. Anyway I survived it, had to ditch the tooth drugs for ulcer tablets. As the week ran out, so did the pain but it was one shitty week of poor sleep.

                                                                       ****

November is always budget period and it’s quite stressful. Our new Group head said no one was allowed to go on leave during the budget retreat. Gone was the early leave I had been day dreaming about. On the bright side I thought this could push my annual vacation into December and across Christmas. My first line supervisor has made this unspoken rule that December was for him only. I kept quiet so he wouldn’t force me to go on leave immediately, I sha planned him well and got my leave approved for almost the entire December. He caught me at the end and knew I had played him, lol.

But God, I was stretched beyond anything that budget week. I solely did my zone’s report and then the entire group’s report. It wasn’t funny. At a time I felt like I was a dead man walking. What kept me going was I was the fact that going on leave once budget was over. I couldn’t stop singing about it to everyone in the office. Mehn, I was drained, funny they all thought I had gone on leave already ‘cus of my many trips this year. Their expression when they realised I hadn’t gone on leave was always priceless.
So yea, November was a bit tough for me, but still in crappy situations good things have a way of propping up by the side.

That first week at church as I was walking out of church I ran into a colleague, though she doesn’t work out of my branch. Thankfully she didn’t see me shedding tears. We’ve never really spoken much but apparently she’d heard a lot about me from others. We had an easy conversation and we’ve fast become church buddies and movie buddies too. Our houses are on the same street and it’s been really refreshing going to these places with company. I’m good at being alone but I have to admit the company has been a really good change.

                                                                          ****

Today is the last day of November, I’m currently in a different city, on vacation, away from work and feeling free. There’s the biggest Gospel concert in Africa (The Experience) happening tomorrow and I plan on really letting go. I’d probably break down in tears again, most likely when Travis Greene starts singing Made a way or The Hill….perfect climax to the four Sundays of Praise series we have been having in church.

December is here again, my birth month and well, Christmas season. Need to start digging out all my Christmas songs again.  That’s the best part of the season for me - the classic Christmas carols.


So here’s me saying good bye to November and hoping for a beautiful December…

Sunday, 15 October 2017

THE HIKE: Idanre Hills and Olumirin Waterfalls

I was going to start off by proudly declaring I have finally been to all the Western States, then I remembered I passed up on the chance to attend a wedding at Ekiti in 2015.

Anyway, like my close friend - Valentine Eleta said, I would always have numerous opportunities to visit Ekiti State. I mean, I’m yet to tour Ikogosi warm spirngs.

Good news is, hiking up a hill and chasing waterfalls has been ticked off my bucket list. I’m now looking forward to camping in the woods and hiking up to the top of Mount Everest (in the nearest future).

I toured with @tripzapp to Ondo and Osun States over the independence weekend.



I went with my buddy - Okeoghene and also met this really cool dude that operates drones @smart_drone1. I’ve always been curious about the workings of drones and the whole aerial shoot thingy, something to explore someday.

Okes - latest friend I have made a traveler out of
Ola - the drone guy
First stop was Akure, Where we visited the famous Idanre Hills.



So much history here. I learnt about the community that lived up the hill for over a 100 years before descending due to civilization. I also got to hear the story of how the hill was discovered and how the name ‘idanre’ came to be. It was amazing seeing remains of the structures still standing after many years. From the abandoned primary school on top the hill, the old prison cells, to the breath taking views from the hill top. It was all worth the 660 steps we climbed to get to the top.

               
We move
The climb


Climbing those steps was no mean feat! I definitely lost a few kgs just hiking up the hill. Thank God for the various resting spots created, my legs would have given way before I even got to the 100th step.                                           

Cool Shot of one of the resting spot
                         


       
       Resting and listening to the tour guide
One of the resting spots



I think there was five or six resting stops. After that it was O.Y.O (on your own).

That’s when the real hiking began. Walking through narrow paths and valleys. It felt so satisfying being surrounded by nature.


                
                   Trying to make our way up the hill
Drone shot 

              
     Squad
                 

             
                                                                                               
                       
                          At the old primary school up the hill

 
                               
                                  climb! climb! climb!



            
Boss!

Don't climb without a bottle of water o

View of the city

Taking it in...

Poster shot of Idanre 

           
Glory! we made it!!

If i don't jump, it won't be complete

       
People pray at this rock for the fruit of the womb



                            

                          

                  
                    No clothes in here, you have to go in naked

Hiker!

     










                                         
Tired! needed to catch my breath
      



We back! Our tired faces...like say trailer jam us
The view of the city from the hill top was everything.





 
 









                                         



We also visited the Deji of Akure’s palace where the Eye and Mouth of the Deji gave us an impressive tour of the palace. Though we could only see the parts of the palace not restricted to visitors.




That night before sleeping, I tweeted that I didn’t think I’ll want to go on another hike till the nearest future, ‘cus my legs were still shaking, forgetting the next day was going to be the nearest future.

Independence shot (notice the colour of the gate?)
Second day we visited the Olumirin waterfalls (popularly known as Erin Ijesha waterfalls).


The waterfall has seven levels but due majorly to time constraint and well, our legs still aching from the previous day’s hike, we were only able to get to the third level.

                       

                                                      

                     

I plan on going back someday, with the intention of hiking up to the seventh waterfall level and then, take a hike to the Abake Village. Do some local food tourism as well. (That’s a major one on my bucket list – food tourism. I’ll definitely have to buy lots of tetracycline and Imodium for that one).


 


Chilled



Oh! The water was everything! Standing under the waterfall and having the cold water hit my skin was an experience. The current/velocity was so high, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. While the others had moved on, I was still under the water savouring the moment. 


 

Watching in awe of the wonders of creation
The climb to the third level was something out of jungle book kinda ish. The ground was wet and slippery. I had to climb barefooted, while watching each step carefully as I held onto branches and shrubs for proper balancing.

This trip did a lot for me. I have been craving an intimate encounter with nature sort of, to feel lost in the wonder of mother earth. I was humbled by the views from the top of Idanre hill. The two days hiking did my body good, being that I’m too lazy to hit the gym.

I’ve always been drawn to water. I’ve been to two waterfalls before but this was the first time I actually went underneath the water. It was an experience of its own. I could have stayed longer enjoying the rush of water hitting against me, but mehn, when I started shivering I had to advise myself. Pneumonia is real.


So with one weekend, I got to tick two things off my bucket list. Oh! That joy when you accomplish something on your list…