About Me

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I am a lot of things - I am limited edition, not weird :) . A Christ Lover and a fashion lover. I love crime and comedy shows (or movies) .. and I always move on no matter what :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

In the Eyes of the Carpenter


This especially goes out to one of the instructors I met at Ateneo de Manila University, Ms. Ann. She is a counselor at the university. Like other counselors, she is like a "savior" to students: when students feel stressed from school or in their personal lives, they have the counselor's office to run to. In addition, she teaches a 100Level one-unit course that deals with integrating new students to the University and also touching base on everyday things - it's probably one of those fun free classes.We were given a tour round the office and saw some of the tools the psychologists / counselors use for productivity of their students. Ms. Ann was really nice and welcoming to us. Aside from the tour, she invited us to sit in on and talk in one of her classes. The students were in their first year of Business Engineering. They were quite engaging and generally, good students. We talked about the challenges we faced in our first year in relation to what they might be experiencing in school now. I enjoyed talking to them :) .

-PS. -- I actually don't mind public speaking to younger people lol 


Sorry guys, the pictures could have been of better quality but took them all by phone.

Talking to the Students.... erm, I love how they were paying attention ^_^

With Students ... 
Ms Ann, Exchange participant (German) - Berit, Yours truly, Paolo - the T.A. (Student Facilitator), Exchange participant (Indonesian)- Jeanny 

Anyways, that day, they touched on a topic that talked to me. The story in the land of "Stickcoco" (I made up the name - and all the other names too lol) . Below, I have paraphrased the story and changed it up a tiny tiny little bit.. hope you enjoy it.

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There was a  certain carpenter who made men out of wood. He had put some life into them and they all lived in the town of Stickcoco. They had a tradition in this town; Woodys were always assigned with stars or dots. A star was a good thing, very good. the more stars a woody got the more popular and accepting he was. A dot was not a good sign; no woody wanted dots.

They were assigned these marks based on their talents or looks. A woody that could sing or dance or play an instrument or was funny or exceptionally good at something was given a star. If the woody had more than  one talent or could do more than one thing, he got more stars. The more popular he was, the more stars he got. Some Woodys did not have to do anything, they were just good looking or dressed really well. The more others noticed their beauty, the more stars they got.

Dots were a symbol of failure,  mockery,  ugliness or anything that was not 'cool'. A clumsy Woody got a dot every time he got clumsy. An ugly woody got a dot every time someone called him ugly. If one was not accepted by a popular group, he would be stamped with a dot.. If one fails at a contest, he also got a dot.

There was a certain Woody named Hammer. Hammer always got dots. He thought he could be funny but no one laughed at his jokes- he got more dots. He tried to sing but they all said his voice was horrible and stuck more dots on him. Sometimes, when he tries to play with others, someone would call him ugly and plaster dots on him. Hammer became very unhappy. He was so upset  and wouldn't come out.

One day, a Woody named  Walnut came from the other part of town - really happy and satisfied but had absolutely no dots or stars. When other Woodys saw her, they thought she was beautiful and tried to stick some stars on her but they fell off. Some thought she was too happy hence proud, they tried to stick some dots on her but the dots fell off too .

When Hammer saw this, he watched the parts she crossed and went to wait for her the next day. He stopped her. "How come nothing sticks on you?"  He asked. "I won't let them, I don't care about their dots or stars" She replied.

Hammer was confused...  She continues .. " Well, I used to be like you with lots of dots and some stars and I wanted more stars. However, I became sad after a while because I started to get too many dots and no stars.. I went up to the Carpenter to help me .."

He interrupted her,"... The Carpenter? does he really exists? if he does, isn't he big and mean? were you not scared?"

Walnut smiled, some Woodys never believe her about the carpenter. "Hammer darling, he is real, I visit him everyday, the more time I spend with him, the better I know myself, the better I feel about myself. meet me here tomorrow at this time, come with me tomorrow.."  Walnut said this swinging and singing away.

At first, Hammer did not want to go but he figured he had nothing to lose. He was there the next day. He was scared, anxious, and felt worse because of all his dots.

"Hello, Carpenter? how are you today? I have a friend here with me" Walnut smiles as she seats at his feet. Hammer hid in the corner, afraid of what Carpenter will say, Walnut seems bold.

"I knew you were coming, I have been waiting for you. You see Hammer, dots and stars only stick if you believe what the other Woodys say about you. You have to let go of all those. Renew your mind. Come to me, I will help you.."  Carpenter said.

OM Goodness! he is real! wow!  Hammer comes closer, he starts to visit regularly and after a while, the dots started to fall off... he started to feel good about who he was. He began to realize that what the other Woodys said/say do not matter. What he thinks about himself and what the Carpenter thinks is what he should value..

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Was that too long??

You know, what God thinks of us should be our priority. What's the point of trying to please the world and hurting yourself all the time. oh boy, it can cause madness oh - calm down! you can't please them all.

Why Dots Can Affect Us:

- Dots can be anything from people talking bad about us, failure, unacceptance, depression, a sickness, frustration of unemployment or underemployment, bad memories (etc) Anything that wants to define us by fire by force. We should go to God with all these things, anything at all. God is able to do more. He can heal us and help us. We need to trust in him.

"Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11;28,  GNB)


- Dots can also affect us if we do not know who we are in Christ. If we base our standards or lives on what is more popular, it can be dangerous. We need to be bold and proud of our principles and faith. Knowing yourself in Christ helps to filter out "bad belle" ( unnecessary bad comments or attitude towards us). Wisdom is key though :)

"Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect." (Romans 12:2, GNB)

I am sure there are other reasons but these are the ones that ministered to me.

It don't matter what you do or who you follow, you will still get dots!  and you can NOT please everyone. But we can live a good, happy and fulfilling life with God's help. Whether with dots or stars, God still always loves us just as we are and will help us to become better.
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ohh.. some pictures with myself, my friends and Ms. Ann... We bonded over dinner that evening.

again, sorry guys, the pictures could have been of better quality but took them all by phone...


Jeanny, Myself, Berit and Ms. Ann 
yay! Food!

It's common for Filipinos to eat rice with Fried eggs
Beef Adobo, rice and eggs 



I had some pasta - loved it 

Pork Adobo, rice and eggs 

some filipino made fish -- sorry, I can't remember the name :( 
Reppin' the University of Alberta with my top hehehe 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

NYSC

Why is it that NYSC can be such a pain? and what's wrong with a program that should be contributing to and improving the whole system in Nigeria?

The other night, one of my friends and I talked for a few hours about what's exactly wrong with Nigeria and we had to talk about NYSC. My friend said she thinks a lot of people have a strong tribalistic mindset and NYSC will always be a somewhat flawed system because every tribe thinks less of another tribe etc.

With the whole "yoruba people are this" and "igbo people are that" I can't even deny it but I still believe it could work.

The essence of NYSC is for young people to learn about other cultures and also to contribute to local communities (please correct me if I am wrong). It feels like it has lost this and now some sort of ritual that youths must go through every year and why is this? Well, how educated are people? how willing are the youths and what factors have been put in place to ensure these volunteers are comfortable? It is voluntary work and efforts should be put in to make volunteers feel apprciated.

I will tell you how it could work and why it might be a sort of "hopeful imagination"

Imagine that the government educates people of rural communities or villages about the role students will be playing? imagine that for one year or six months, students will be helping develop communities, for example, medical or general science students could educate about health, why people should eat healthy, how to live in a cleaner environment, how to prevent certain illnesses etc.

Some could educate teenagers and help prevent teenage pregnancies hence overpopulation. Education on HIV/AIDS and its prevention. Some could help with women and beauty- make up, fashion etc. some could help cook for poor people who might be struggling even for food.  Some could home school young children whose parents can't afford to send them to school. Some could clean. CLEAN the communities. Some could contribute in agriculture, why it is important and to encourage farmers- let the books meet with the farm land--  Finance and accounting students can educate them about how to be financially wise. I tell you, many people just need some sort of direction in this life.

I believe that if locals know this is for their own good, they will be more than happy to have NYSC candidates.

I think you get the idea. Students should be doing actual community work. Students should be in local communities for a "youth service" not a fancy company. OK, they are helping out in those companies too but what is the main purpose of NYSC ?

If the government was serious enough it could happen. How about talk to local communities first and let them know what they will benefit from this program? how about making sure students have a place to sleep and food to eat and some pocket money? How about make real "NYSC positions" and let students choose a 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice on things and what they would love to contribute in the communities. How about make sure these communities are safe and the people are accepting. If there is more work than students, then the government can make a priority list and work accordingly.

If this is to the betterment of Nigeria, this program could get sponsors. wait! I am almost too gaddamn  sure it would get lots of sponsors! y'all will see big companies and rich people throwing their resources in! hey, it makes them look good too! it looks good on their profile. Who doesn't want to be part of a good thing? tell me? everyone wins!

But then this could all be my "hopeful imagination" 

-- Are we sure the money sent in by sponsors would be used for the communities and / the NYSC students? or will our dear Nigerian government workers be eating out of the "national cake" ?

--- I have heard that NYSC is sometimes a way for students to get a job. If this works, then maybe students with little or no "connections" would have a more limited means of getting a full time job.

Those are my major concerns and to me, they are MAJOR! I do wish things would get better.... but then, hopeful imagination... right?

Maybe the time should be cut to 6 months and the other 6 months at a company or something in the student's field? maybe ?

Please let me know what you think. If you can, please let's do something about it! I wish the right officials will get to see this and I wish it gets them all thinking. This could work but then we need a government, leaders that would be accountable to our young new graduates...













 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Look in the Mirror

Guess who is back? back, back? back again, gain
Shady's back back, back again gain. lol
Shady indeed :/


yup yup, I am back at home now!

It doesn't even feel like I left oh! nothing changed. Feels like I slept and had a very long dream, woke up and bam! I am in my room haha..

I really hoped to blog about my trip while away but internet connection was not strong. I often got frustrated and gave up. To be honest, there were some places with good connections but I also had to work on something else, sorry. -_-
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This continues my travel journal ........
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Anyways, the trip was one of the best things I did for myself this year, wait, probably the best! I had the intention of going there to give as much of myself to people but bang! I ended up receiving more than I was able to give. I believe I gained some personal growth and I am glad to have seen God's beauty through nature. Generally, I am glad to have been determined enough to allow God help me make it happen :D

I learnt a lot about myself and that there is so much to be thankful for. From the children I worked with, I learnt that I could shut up, stop complaining and  enjoy whatever good I have right now. We might not be where we should be, but hey, while working up, we need to be thankful, happy. Happiness doesn't come from any of the things we own or our social status or job, it comes from within. Suck it up and find a reason to be happy :) ... I really don't want to write about my work there but I got much from the children and I never thought their smile will make my heart melt. I wish we had more hours to work and there was more I could have done but it was still good.

My friends and I visited as many places as we could and had a good time together, it was like a little family away from home. I even found out that I might not be as "safe" as I always thought <yes, home girl is getting fearless haha>

Anyways, we were there through a school called "Ateneo De Manila" University. One of the best in the Philippines - a private school with a pretty nice and clean campus < it is like private Universities in Nigeria>....  If you are interested check out their website 

My impression of the students was a bit errr initially...  they are mostly kids from very very comfortable backgrounds,  some of them have their own cars and (or) drivers and most can't take the public transportation to save their own lives. Very sheltered students etc....

p.s. I believe having your own car in a developing country while in school shows u must be very comfortable --

They were often surprised that my friends and I would go on trips alone, some of them warned us to be VERY careful! They said it could be dangerous etc.. lol it's not bad. you just HAVE TO BE street smart.

At first, I felt "err" by their "sheltered- ness" but then, took myself back to Lagos, Nigeria,  I felt as though, I was looking my former self in the mirror through them. I was that very sheltered kid too. I would have had no guts to have gone on any of those trips alone with friends. To make matters worse, we lived in an estate and I went to boarding school (I practically lived in a CAGE >_<   ). Aside from school excursions, I never got to do/ see a lot in Nigeria. To be honest, I do believe it could have been irky but I had no guts lol. I would hang out with friends in my estate and my parents took me to any other place I wanted to go. I wasn't allowed to take the public transportation  alone either... I had lied my way through sometimes, and did.  " it was dangerous" yah, right! rme*