Learning a new language can be hard, learning a new language as an adult even harder, and learning a new language as an adult via an app can prove to be an extreme sport. I have been learning French solely using the Duolingo app for five months. As a newly sworn-in corp member sitting in Ikare-Akoko orientation camp, Ondo state, Nigeria and receiving lectures on Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED), I wrote out some skills I had an interest in acquiring. Topmost on my list was to learn a foreign language.
Three months ago, I was on the verge of completing my internal medicine rotation and proceeding on my one-week leave, with thoughts of my next rotation – Paediatrics, caressing itself on the surface of my mind.
As an eight-year-old, I sagely declared to my mum’s listening ears that I would specialize in Paediatrics if I wanted to do something out of passion or choose Surgery for the money.
I knew it was Medicine, but the area of specialization, I was yet to settle for and different specialities beckoned on me for varying reasons.
After going through medical school, and being pulled in different directions – as I was the medical student that enjoyed pretty much every rotation – I was certain that my one-year internship would seal the deal for me and make my choice easier.
It is exactly one year since you asked me out and I said yes.
I was excited and tagged the day “the best day of my life yet,” especially as I have had a crush on you since childhood.
I was made to wait out adolescence and become an adult both in head and at heart before we could begin dating.
So, I said yes, amidst the feelings of excitement, accomplishment, the uncertainty of what the future holds, and fear of the enormity of the task of being your sweetheart.
Three months ago, we began courting when you put a ring on it and that marked a new beginning for us.
Guys!!!! I had to write. And you need not say, I know I have been off this space (and social media) for a good while. I missed y’all. Did you miss me too?
I blogged about my new job here, and mentioned how housemanship can be stressful and time demanding, and even queried how often my showing up on the blog would be afterwards.
My first two weeks were hell! Literally. I barely had a life of my own. I was either in the ward, in the call room, in the theatre, in the laboratory (checking results) or seldom in the kitchen trying to grab dinner – call food.
Hey, guys!!! Happy new month. It has been an eventful month for me already, and also one that has been filled with benefits.
In the last blog recaps, I have been careful to share little or nothing about my personal life and focused more on the blog. While that may be justifiable as the blog is not merely about me, I thought to share a
little wonderful win I recently made.
My trip to Jalingo was the first time I was going to be away from home for more than a week. Well two weeks, if you count the holidays I spent with my grandparents as a child. And home has always been Port Harcourt, of the Bole and black soot fame. When you’ve lived in one city for over twenty years, it sort of grows on you and makes it difficult to adjust to any other place.
Although I love to travel, I wasn’t enthusiastic about this particular journey at all. The only bright spot was that I was going by air and the entire trip would be over in less than four hours. So that Monday morning in November, I dragged myself to the airport at 8, boarded by 9, and less than an hour later we touched down Abuja amidst the blistering heat. After some thirty minutes of back-and-forth at the check-in counter, I was able to secure a seat on the only inbound flight to Jalingo airport. The flight itself was pretty uneventful asides the constant panic attacks of the white lady who sat next to me whenever the plane was in turbulence. And oh, I think the state governor or the deputy was also on the same flight.
But I wouldn’t say any more about that journey or the details of all that went down during my three-week stay in Taraba state. Instead, what I will talk about is the journey back to Port Harcourt, a 20-hour road trip spread across three days, six different states and countless villages. I decided to come back by road for two reasons. First, the flight tickets were a bit pricey and since I wasn’t quite sure the exact day I was going to leave town, I didn’t want to risk it. Besides, somewhere in my heart I also wanted to experience the upsides of a road trip like seeing actual landmarks and crossing boundaries.
To get the most out of the journey, I had planned to travel from Jalingo to Markudi or Onitsha (relatively close towns) where I could find a decent hotel to lodge for the night and then continue the following day to Port Harcourt. Sure enough, this journey didn’t disappoint with some of the thrills I’d expected, but a few lessons got thrown into the mix as well and these I want to share with you:
1. If you know the details of the journey, you may not be willing to take that first step
On the day the journey was to begin, I had to wait until mid-day for the green light to leave Jalingo. When it eventually came, I was still determined to leave and I frantically searched for a bus leaving town immediately. Soon enough, I joined a Volkswagen headed towards Wukari (a border town) after the driver and some other passengers reassured me that the journey to Markudi would last no longer than five hours- just in time to get a decent hotel.
As the journey progressed, I realised that Taraba was much larger than it appeared on a map because we spent almost four hours getting to its border with Benue state. At the border, we also had to switch vehicles because our driver had no plans on going further. I was lucky enough to join the last vehicle en route to Markudi but then had to wait an extra thirty minutes for it to fill up. The journey to Markudi wasn’t any easier, and barely two hours away from midnight, I was dropped off at a lonely bus stop in the middle of town.
Although I still do not regret leaving Jalingo, this experience has taught me a few things about life and making plans. A straight line from point A to point B during the planning stage could turn out to be squiggly during execution. But this shouldn’t deter you from making plans or leaving the confines of your comfort zone because if you knew beforehand every twist and turn along the way, you’d probably lose the courage to start anyway. And while you can seek the counsel of mentors and coaches, bear in mind that their experiences are unique and won’t necessarily be the same as yours. At the end of the day, it boils down to trusting that there will be grace and strength for every stage of your journey.
2. Be careful not to make assumptions
It was no surprise to me that we finally got to Markudi late into the night. In fact, somewhere along the line, I’d begun tracking our position with Google map and the app gave an almost accurate prediction of our arrival time. What I didn’t expect though, was that I’d be left stranded in Markudi at such a time. If you’re close to me, you’d probably know how much I hate being caught unawares. In fact, halfway through the journey, I’d already made alternative arrangements as to where I was going to pass the night since it’d be too late to search for a hotel.
The only thing left to do was to find someone who knew their way around town and could help me locate the address I was given. And who else but the driver? I did the most logical thing and asked him, “Sir, do you know so-and-so place in Markudi? That’s where I’m going to stop.” He looked at me, nodded several times and even repeated the name of the place I mentioned with an air of familiarity.
So, you can imagine my shock when few minutes after we enter the city, the driver stopped without warning, brought down my luggage, and gestured for me to come down. He zoomed off before I could put myself together. It was only in retrospect that it dawned on me what actually that night. I had assumed the driver knew where I was going to. Worse still, I assumed he was going to drop me off at that place. And all the while I was busy making assumptions, the driver couldn’t hear or speak English!
And this leads to the second lesson I learned, albeit in the most unfortunate circumstances: A nod doesn’t always translate to understanding or agreement. Before you go ahead with any decision, you need to be certain it is founded on fact and truth and not mere assumptions. One foolproof way to avoid the assumption trap is to ask questions and keep asking again and again. Even more important than asking questions, is asking the right question and demanding appropriate answers to the questions you’ve asked.
3. Be grateful for the littlest of things; your trash may be someone’s gold
Of the numerous thrills of road travel, I particularly looked forward to watching the changing scenery as we traveled down south and enjoying the breeze as it rushed past my face. Fortunately, I almost always got a seat by the window of the vehicles I boarded. In fact, I spent a greater part of the entire journey staring out of windows than sleeping or fiddling with my phone.
Though I recall seeing a few breathtaking hills, plateaus and rivers, what left the most impression was observing the lives of the locals as we passed through their communities. I took note of the children playing semi-naked, mud houses so small you’d wonder if there would be enough space for your legs, and the absence of transmission lines and pipe-borne water. Once or twice, I even caught myself looking for some form of discontentment or sadness in the eyes of the hawkers who pressed against our windows urging us to buy their wares.
But then it struck me that this was life, as they knew it. I could only feel discontented because I was opportune to grow up under different (and probably better) conditions. Rather than whine and grumble because things don’t pan out the way I want, I’ve chosen to fill my heart with gratitude for what I have. Yes, I didn’t attend Harvard or any other ivy-league, but I was privileged to have a decent university education. Yes, I can’t afford to vacation in the Bahamas, but I have access to the Internet and books which inform me of the existence of such places. And though I cannot have dinner at a fancy restaurant as often as I please, every night I’m surrounded by a loving family with food on our table. I think you get the point so I wouldn’t stress it further.
Finally, I discovered in the process of documenting this journey that certain details and memories became hazy as though they never happened (and to think it’s been barely three months!). So, one last lesson to wrap this up is: learn to enjoy each phase of your journey, for very soon all you may have would be vague memories. Like a blogger-friend once told me, don’t be so focused on tomorrow that you lose sight of all that today affords. Be intentional, do life on purpose, and embrace your journey.
– Fae for AEW.
About our guest writer
Fae is a girl of many parts: engineer-cum-numerical analyst, amateur baker, travel enthusiast, fiction lover, logophile, speaker and most recently blogger. But don’t let this fool you because her perfect day is spent curling up on a couch with a good novel and she hopes that one day she’d be paid for this.
She is also the host of Shenonyms, a yearly workshop for young women to network, learn about God and live purposefully.
Connect with her on Facebook @faenomenal, and also on her blog faenomenal.com where she creates light-hearted and relatable content weekly.
Quotes are words of wisdom in condensed form. They are born out of people’s introspection of [their] life and reflection of daily events. They are people’s life lessons put into words for others to learn from. When these “words of wisdom” stand the test of time and prove to be consistently true, they take up the title, “quotes” and their sayers, “sages.”
A beautiful thing about quotes and one reason I love searching them out is the ability to intimately relate to them sometimes. Their sayers have survived your current experience and even though you may not see your way out, through their eyes you can catch glimpses of hope for tomorrow.
Some quotes have been around a long while, and even though they have, our minds are yet to gain the full grasp of them.
Here are two (deep) quotes I recently appreciated + my new favourite quote:
1. Life Is Beautiful
As simple as this quote seems, it was only recently I fully understood its meaning.
Now, when I reflect on this quote what comes to my mind is a mosaic – a piece of artwork created by placing coloured squares (usually tiles) in a pattern so as to create a picture.
As we go through life and course through varying experiences, certain events that occur do not add up. We cannot see how they lead up to the end we have in mind – or God’s word about us.
But you see, trying to understand all the events that take place in one’s life may prove futile. Choosing instead to enjoy and appreciate each event as a unique piece of a beautiful, grand puzzle can make all the difference there is.
That means the beautiful, ugly, good, bad, memorable, hurtful, exciting, depressing events that make up your daily living merge in an intricately beautiful pattern to yield a beautiful artwork – your life.
Whenever you are tempted to throw in the towel, remember that your life is a beautiful artwork in the making. One the world can’t wait to see how it unfolds. Stick it out and make it worth the wait in the end.
2. No One Is You And That Is Your Power
I used to be at a loss for understanding for this quote the same way I was when people made expressions like “calmness is my superpower,” or “being female is my superpower, what’s yours?”
I either did not think hard enough to understand what they meant or it simply did not hit home in time.
But you see, I have found that it is only when you are leading a life authentically yours that the power resident on your inside can be fully harnessed.
Oscar Wilde advises, “Be yourself, everyone other person is taken.”
The same way our iris, fingerprint, and set of teeth are unique to us, so also the way we lead our lives and express ourselves in mannerisms, words and actions ought to be unique to us – not a mimicry of another.
Living through life authentically is the way to leave indelible marks in the lives of those you come across – and this is the power referred to in this quote.
My New Favourite Quote:
“Where there’s a will…
There’s a way.”
Before this time, my favourite quote was, “You have all that you need and you will need all that you have. One thing you do not have is an excuse.” A line I picked from a video I watched a few years back, held onto and believed enough it worked for me.
Since I believed I had no excuse, I made it a duty to deliver, no matter what. I looked on my inside and around me, found whatever I could, put them in my arsenal and fought life with them. There was no time to whine. It was always a win-win situation.
“Excuses are tools of incompetence, monuments of nothingness, those that use them are not wise.”
So, to my NEW favourite quote.
It was in the middle of last year while preparing for my final exam – I think after watching Passengers, a 2016 movie, which I enjoyed by the way, that this quote came more into being for me.
I became a believer in the power of determination. I believe that if you want something bad enough, you will find a way to get it done.
I know sometimes you feel you have tried all you can and your hands are tied. Applying some patience and putting your creative gear on drive might mark the difference between impossible and possible.
I appreciated these quotes during a time of introspection when I was cascading through emotions. From bubbly high to stinking low and in between. This further goes to show that something good can be found in every situation.
There was a time I thought any saying I saw online framed as a quote was true. Now I know better.
As John the apostle advises,
“My dear friends, do not believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you.” – 1st Peter 4:1a, MSG
I have learned to test “truths.” You should, too. Regardless of who said them.
What do you think about these quotes before and after reading this post? Do you have a favourite quote? I would also love to hear what you think about quotes in general. Please, leave a reply and share if you enjoyed this post and or learned something new.
Ps: The last part of A Letter To The One Who Comes After Me series + our giveaway winner would be posted tomorrow. Keep tab.