If there’s one way to describe what this year has been for me, it’ll be the word ‘Magical’. It’s as though, my entire year was a vacation but designed by God, hence the title Godcation. Words fail me, because I cannot describe the immense grace, love and the divine orchestration of events that made this year truly magical.
January/February: London, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Sliedrecht, Brussels, Paris, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester.
The year started off on a high. I had just started this great job by the end of 2017 [that is another awesome story by the way] and my first assignment was to be in London and the lovely city of Antwerp in Belgium. Me being me, I figured since I was going to be away for a month, I might as well take advantage and really explore as much as I can. I love adventure and have always dreamed of traveling to see the world and this was my great opportunity at doing so. Work was going great and I used my weekends effectively, touring on a backpack. It was the most amazing time. To cap this off, I reached out to people I’d never met who lived in these places who spoiled me rotten and made it such a wholesome trip. First, I met my new Nana of 62 years in this life, Myriam in Antwerp. It was love at first sight, she and her husband claimed me as a daughter and were so eager to take me everywhere, they also introduced me to their family and asked I call their place home. They are the sweetest/kindest people, they both ensured I got to see so many places and facilitated my movement within the Eurozone. In London, I finally met my sweetie Toks! And boy was that a meeting of kindred spirits, we had so much fun and of course she made my life easier.
In Paris, I met Kay and we had such a lovely time, can’t wait to go back.
As an artsy person that I am, I spent a lot of time enjoying the museums and the medieval Gothic churches of Europe. As a catholic, the churches titillated me to no end. I stayed very close to the Kathedral in Antwerp, a majestic and beautiful building. Then participated in the veneration of Jesus’ crown of thorns in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, they were such beautiful and surreal moments. I had an amazing time at Rijks & the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, The Louvre in Paris and The Rubens House in Antwerp. The Edinburgh castle was another sight to behold and they had awesome churches as well. I did get up to quite a lot that I can’t get in here, and oh visiting the Old Trafford stadium was also a fave of mine. I did get to Arsenal stadium but didn’t get to tour and spend time there. Food tasting and a lot of beer drinking featured greatly, by the time I came back I added some 5 kg which I was excited about lol.
March/April/May: Birthday/Office Project/Lagos
I was back in Lagos by February end and March was my birth month. I had an awesome one with my colleagues and partied with friends and loved ones. I was very thankful for my life and all that led me to this point. See before now, things were not easy, I had prayed for stability in my work life and for the right fit. 2012 was a very important year in my life as things took a downward spin but I survived that year and the following ones got easier with time. I wrote about it here, and some of the follow up defining years, which is why it is important to me, to write of this year, when everything had come full circle, [although accurately this began in August 2017] 2018 was a full manifestation of it.
Work got super busy as I had a huge project to coordinate and oversee in the span of three months which I did successfully, considering I was just 6 months on the job. My probation ended at this time and I got lavish praise from my boss. I must say I was blessed with the best boss, as I kept on showing capability I got more autonomy. I have a great work life balance or integration, plus flexibility which are the things I greatly wanted and prayed for as far back as 2012. I said to God, if I’m ever going back to a 9–5, I don’t know where or what it should be but I did know exactly what I did not want and listed them out. He gave me the right fit and went ahead to ensure I blended. That’s not to say there are no few challenges with people from time to time, in fact when I newly joined, most of my colleagues were aloof and not totally receptive. I reported to the Holy Spirit and all I can say is that toady, we are in a great place. My boss actually said to me after my probation that there’s more smiles and less tension here since you came in. Feedback is really important and the one I really treasure most is from my team members I manage, they said to me since you came here, things have been better for us. I couldn’t be more happier and thankful for that.
June was great as my probation report was officially submitted and with it came an official car. I’ve had cars before, but this was really sweet and extra special. Then shortly after I was in Ghana. I had the best time, Accra had changed so much, it was a pleasure to experience it and particularly with my darlings Jane and Nick! You guessed it already? I was meeting them properly for the first time as well. I also met AK for the first time, although it was brief, we had a great time hanging out.
First day I arrived was a holiday so I spent my day at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park. I had the best time and we ended the day at the National Theater to see a play. I got busy with work and of course me being me, got up to adventure. Visited Aburi, and my God that place is beautiful! I totally recommend for a getaway. I went Salsa dancing, did an obstacle course challenge and beat that in an hour. I spent a weekend in Cape Coast, I visited Kakum National Park, did the dreaded canopy walk and loved it! Visited the old Slave houses, Elmina and Cape Coast Castles, it was such a sad experience, re imagining the horrors and humiliation we black people have suffered, man’s inhumanity to man on display. Oh and the most thrilling thing I did was touch a living CROCODILE!!!!!
I left Ghana towards July ending and by the time I came back, the promotion came with a raise.
August/September: Lagos/Health/Port Harcourt/Loss
I had a little health challenge that was detected sometime in May, which needed a minor procedure. I got this done in August and it went pretty well, for which I’m thankful for. August was really heavy as I lost a dear dear friend and I can’t still believe he’s gone. This is one of the best friendships I’ve made in this Lagos and it was so sad because, I was busy flying around and didn’t keep in touch this year. I cried my eyes out and asked him to forgive me, I felt so so guilty especially as we were quite close, and spoke so frequently until December last year. The only communication we had this year was wishing me a happy birthday, the cliche lesson here for me, which I always sound out to others is to not let life carry you so far away, that you neglect the important things like friends. I kept on postponing our catching up, because, my life was so so BUSY! I forgave myself eventually and I know he will want me to live my life fully. He lives on in all our hearts, his loved ones. Rest in peace K, I miss & love you forever.
I got back into the thick of things after sometime away to heal, I headed to PH for work, met some stranger on the plane and we became fast friends, I had a lot of fun with both my old and my new friends. I went to Abuja for a week and reconnected with old friends and prepped for my upcoming trip generally. Then we had a our church harvest dinner in Lagos, which was pretty remarkable because, my sisters and I all won gifts and the winning prize of the day.
October was a super fun month. I was in Addis Ababa briefly, then had the best time in Luanda. I did a bit of evening drives and food tasting in Addis, but I owe that city a return trip to fully explore it. I arrived Luanda and hit the club first to see what the night life was about. It was lots of house music and lovely food and BEER! I love Angolan beer, and my fave was the Cuca. I brought a whole carton back with me to Lagos, I have just two cans of it left now. Anyway, I took a weekend trip off Luanda to go visit the ‘Cuaza Sul’, which is the southern province of Angola. I spent the night in a farm house in the mountains, climbed rocks & sand castles, then swam in the beautiful beaches. I visited the Moon valley called Mirador Da Lua, and the beautiful Cashoiera Binga Falls. It was a weekend to remember.
Back in Luanda, I got a tour of the city as I was staying in the new city called Talatona. Luanda is beautiful, its unfortunate but other African countries are leaving us behind. The city at night is so so beautiful and they have light, just like in Accra lol. Anyway, the city had a lot to offer the artsy me. I went to the museums, Museum of National Military History, the money museum called Museu da Moeda, the Island strip of fun called Ilha da cabo, then the Augustinho Neto Mausoleum. The government buildings have the same colour and colonial architecture style, they were beautiful to see, particularly the National parliament building, I was wowed by it. It was massive and impressive. I had a great time.
November/December: 1 year anniversary
I was back in Lagos by November and work rushed in as always. There was a lot going on and it was also my 1 yr anniversary which was celebrated at work. It was quite special as I was gifted and the chairman congratulated me personally. The year literally flew by and I accomplished quite a lot, in terms of work. I’m very grateful for it. The year end is here and my December will also be great, I have a few places to visit and relax while cheering for the new year. It will be a year of Abundance and living under God’s orders as always.
I’m super grateful for 2018 and all it brought with it. I felt like I lived to the absolute fullest and look forward to more. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed and was uplifted by this.
Thank you so much for sharing your travel stories with us, Uju! It’s so refreshing to be able to connect with kind and helpful people from other countries so far from home that feel like family. Here’s to more travel, promotion and friendship in 2019!