beautiful living

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I did not choose life in Lagos. My heart has always been firmly implanted in London. Nevertheless, lately I’ve been thinking that it isn’t so terrible of fate to have chosen this city for me.

Alex and I, and two of his friends,left the overwhelming hustle of the city, for the quietude of fauna and the sea. We stayed in a tree house cabin, where we watched ships dock from afar, as we drank beers and wine into the evening. We supped on grilled corn, mozzarella and cherry tomato salad, a potato salad and a fish bought at the market by the dock. We played card games and I lost in succession. We showered outside in the dark of the night,scrubbing our bodies fast, to get out of sight, feeling refreshed by the cool air and water.

Alex and I walked to a secluded beach late in the evening and early the next morning, before grilling some bread, garlic and aubergine for breakfast. Just walking, being intrinsic with the landscape was sublime. And yet we were spectators who watched crabs burrowing in the sand, stray animals grazing and shipwreck debris floating. I can report that observing nature remains as elusively numinous as it has always felt.


I have not written here in 9 weeks. That period of time was spent meeting and dating Alex and growing my personal art collection. I also received a fantastic job offer within the art world, which I rejected,because the timing was not ideal and I want to grow in my present position, just a bit longer. Nevertheless,seeds of confidence were planted within me and thankfully that window of opportunity remains ajar.

The boy spent 3 weeks in Paris, The Hague and Barcelona. It seemed the perfect time to replace the pleasure of his company with my great love,literature. I especially enjoyed reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, Rebecca Solnit’s Women Explain Things to Me,The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel(a little haphazard and too ambitious) and Big Little Lies (despite the somewhat pathetic ‘desperate housewives’ story line). I had been craving prose and poetry and reading Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey in one sitting, was just what I needed last week.

Vegas and life after

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Time moves so speedily, I almost cannot fathom that I was in Las Vegas 3 weeks ago.

Vegas was laid-back, which is exactly how we wanted it. We saw JLO’s All I Have show at Planet Hollywood, and kicked off our evenings with glasses of fizz in our penthouse.(we stayed at the Aria). I stocked up on all the luscious smelling things at LUSH and luxuriated in relaxing baths in our jacuzzi tub.Other things I savored were afternoons spent by the pool (a can of corona in hand),or sitting and reading in my little nook in my room, overlooking a dynamic view of the Vegas Strip.

Two restaurants were noteworthy this time around. Andrea’s,Steve Wynn’s latest restaurant had the most mouth watering kumamoto oysters and is evocatively designed with a pop art installation of Wynn’s wife, Andrea’s eyes. Herbs and Rye was quite far off the strip but certainly lived up to its best bar in America accolade. The lobster tail with garlic mash was also a great choice on my part.

I’m back to navigating Lagos life and boy does it have its challenges! I have been feeling low-spirited and in a cul-de-sac. When I get the blues I often guilt trip myself by actively expressing  gratitude but that has so far proven futile.

All has not been bleak to be honest. I’ve been more adept at seeking any kind of cultural stimulation, directly or indirectly. For instance, I’ve finally seen the films Moonlight, Julieta(been so long since I watched a film by Almodóvar),Beasts of No Nation and Captain Fantastic, all of which I thoroughly recommend.

Reading wise, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book Dear Ijeawele or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions is the most intelligent and crucial thing I have read recently.  Alain de Botton’s Art as Therapy,although quite different and somewhat controversial (the discourse is weak and ruminates blindly in parts), comes a close second.

An amazing thing that has happened to me, is meeting a really kind,sweet and interesting man. I don’t know what he will mean to me long term, but last Sunday we had a date, which we spent sitting on a bench in a room at an art gallery chatting, oblivious to time slipping by….finally leaving 6 hours later! I’m almost okay with not quite knowing what the future holds and enjoying the moments we spend in each other’s company.

LONDON TOWN

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I really do cherish the quiet moments in which I find myself here again, sharing simple stories about life and realizing that foremost and selfishly I am writing for myself,just to remember.

A fair chunk of last month was sublimely spent in London town, revisiting old haunts and discovering new ones.  I was happy to spend time drinking chocolatey tasting lattes at Monocle Cafe, be it on a late afternoon accompanied by Cohen’s poetry, or early Sunday mornings with one of my best friends. I find the café atmospheric in a really understated way.

Another new discovery was The Koppel Project, which is a hub space that contains Phaidon’s only UK bookshop. I found a book on collecting art that I had trailed the ends of central London in search of to no avail, so I was pretty pleased about that.

Halfway through the month, my family left the harsh cold of my favourite city for Las Vegas!

CHANGES

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pictures taken at Babylonstoren, a Cape Dutch farm in the Western Cape of South Africa

Gosh it has been very many moons since I last found myself here. I just have not had the words to say,which is quite unusual for me. My life has altered in very many ways and for a long time I felt it only right to respect my current metamorphosis and just live in the moment.

What is there to say?

Over the summer I studied at Central Saint Martins and that decision was a pivotal step towards altering my career path. I had always seen myself ending up somewhere like the United Nations, but ever since my mother passed away, I suppose that I realized that I have nothing much to loose.So into the art world I dove. Presently I manage some artists at an international award winning pop-up gallery space and creative agency in Lagos. For the most part I have taught myself through incessant gallery visits, books,documentaries, chatting with gallerists and curators and ultimately shadowing the curation of live acts for West Africa’s first international art festival.I continue to learn everyday.

I miss London so. But more than I miss London, I trust life and God. I  hope to be back permanently in an unknown near future, when I’m wiser, smarter and have taken away whatever is at the cusp of this present time.

I’m surprised by some of the things I am still navigating my way around. Earlier this year I reached the mental space to end an emotional relationship that was detrimental to my well being. It still baffles me how words can bear so little weight,as much as you want to believe they are more than lifeless utterances. Maya Angelou was certainly right when she said ‘when people show you who they are,believe them‘. In addition, I watched a friendship wilt away with a lot of sadness,but also a lot of understanding,that you cannot hold people up to a standard they continue to fail to live up to, despite repeated promises.

I read some fantastic books towards the end of 2016 . My favorites were  Emma Cline’s The Girls, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me and Trevor Noah’s Born A Crime.

So that’s where I am presently. Attempting to immerse myself in work, possibly navigating my personal life better(I hope!) and longing for next month’s visit to London and then Vegas! Until then, here are some pictures from my time in South Africa a couple of weeks ago.

oh! I forgot to say one more thing.

I’m really happy to be writing here again 🙂

 

The past few weeks (part 2)

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The word nesting harbors imaginings of warmth and coziness, often ascribed to winter. But I wish to paint an alternate picture. One of  late afternoons at Gail’s, spent reading  a book,over freshly brewed iced berry tea with rose and pistachio cake. Sometimes I’ll have the oat,pecan and cranberry cookie,which is one of my favourite things to eat in the world.

Over the course of summer, I read a succession of great literature.While at Daunt Books on Haverstock Hill some weeks ago, I found myself holding pleasant conversation with a well read Canadian man. We found out that we shared a mutual love of James Baldwin and so he fished around the bookshop to find me the last copy of Baldwin’s Another Country,which I purchased in a blink. It was no Giovanni’s Room,but it was uncomfortable and genius.

During my trip to Oxford last month, my sister took me to Blackwell’s where I purchased a hardcover copy of Alain de Botton’s The Course of Love. I had read his somewhat prequel to the book On Love some months back, which I found to be beautifully philosophical, albeit a grim take on first love. The Course of Love felt like a maturation and practical understanding of human interaction. I still find myself picking up the book and feeling absolutely breathless by how this man puts words together.

Two evenings ago I devoured the last pages of Chogozie Obioma’s The Fishermen. Obioma’s strength lies in offering quite a varied narrative of Nigeria, than the international literary world is used to.He also plays this magic trick of conjuring up such strong and beautiful metaphors.

It is how past 5am and I am certain that the morning light will meet me here,if I write some minutes longer .I am however  glad that I have briefly covered the solid few books that will keep on living in my head.

 

 

the past few weeks (part1)

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The past 6 weeks or so have been experienced with eager eyes and embraced with much gusto. There was such an outpouring of goodness,that I have been massively encouraged to soldier on in this crazy marriage with life.

After a potential job opportunity fell through last week(one I had spent weeks working terribly hard at), I retreated to the comfort of my bed,pizza,good friends and chocolate cake. I did not even have the willpower to go outside on a particular day,much less draw my curtains open. But then I had booked to see Naomi Kawase’s Sweet Bean at the ICA the next day and I didn’t want to waste the ticket.Sitting in a dark room alone,with strangers dispersed around me, I began to find myself again. As I walked out into the evening light after the film, I saw a text message relaying some great news(totally unrelated to the job), in the charming way that life often affirms itself.

At that moment, even with strong residual feelings of hurt, I knew that the work opportunity had fallen away from my grasp, not because I wasn’t intelligent enough,but because it was an opportunity that never belonged to me. And I don’t wish to have anything that isn’t truly mine. In the past I have looked at things I once longed for  and arduously manipulated into fruition,with feelings of void and disappointment. That has taught me not to force anything that doesn’t feel right from the depths of my heart.

I thought I would write about this beautiful summer in several short and sweet posts.

One afternoon I visited my sister at Oxford University. We ordered such delish tapas and I had a top notch white sangria at Kaz bar. The sun shone rather luminously…

glasshouses

Edinburgh was scenic. We sauntered up and down hilly pathways and strained our necks to see the bottom of gracefully perilous coves. We had sublime tea at The Balmoral and negronis with lunch,whilst surrounded by fresh flowers at Maison Bleue. At The Old Town Bookshop,my sister bought her favorite volume of William Wordsworth’s poetry, while I went for a penguin edition of Katherine Mansfield’s Something Childish but Very Natural.And then we went to the Royal Botanical Garden.

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For a small fee we trailed around the Centre’s 9 glasshouses,which all depicted a varied species of flora, as well as the temperatures of the climate and regions from which they originate. I imagined that I was in the desert in Nevada and a few minutes later was awakened to the spicy petrichor that is a rainy day in Santiago. It was little short of a miracle.If the glasshouse above were in a book, I would suggest Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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