10 Things I’m Glad I did in 2015

I enjoyed 2015, I think. This is not some life affirming, deep post though. You will not come away feeling like a bit of your life just slid into place. But if you do…fair enough.

Here’s just some things that I, Mnena, I’m glad I did in 2015.

  1. Farafina Workshop. This was my 3rd try and encouraged by Buhari’s win at the polls after his 3rd(?) try, I applied. And got in. I woke up around 3 am, automatically reached for my phone, saw the email and sat bolt upright! Needless to say it was difficult to sleep back. Farafina was awesome. My Farafina peeps were great, spend 10-12 days with people and they become family. I couldn’t write for shit, but I was glad to be there to soak up a lot of insights into writing. Chimamanda, Binyavanga (Get well soon) and Aslak were so gracious and nuturing. I told a friend that I don’t go on and on about Ms Adichie anymore because it was at the workshop that I saw that she was just like us, living her life. So I chilled on the Shero worship. She’s still Shero to me though.
  2. Gary Younge’s Masterclass. I am a huge Guardian UK fan. Catch a grenade kind of fan. So when Gary Younge, whom I respect a lot, was holding a Masterclass at the Guardian UK office, who was I not to go. Who. Was. I. I almost squealed when I entered the building and got on the escalator. I really wanted to see Hadley but alas. What I took away from this class was that I have a voice and unique experiences. Only I will have a certain perspective on an issue because my writing is coloured by my experiences. I also decided to take my finger out my arse and just write. No more classes! Write.
  3. Saw the Eiffel Tower. F***ing hell. The Eiffel Tower was beautiful and not like any pictures I have ever seen. A guy at the train station had given me wonky directions so I ended up coming out quite far from the tower. But when I went past a bank of trees and she just appeared. A thug almost shed a tear dawg, a thug almost did. You just have to see it yourself. I could have stayed all day just staring at it. When I gathered liver to ask for directions, lucky me it was an Irish woman taking photographs. And we chatted a bit. About her life in Paris, she’d lived there for 18 years. It was a cold day but…Paris is beautiful. It is beautiful.
  4. My niece. I saw my niece! Anaser, you beauty. Chubby goodness. The first of my siblings’ kids. I was the first in my family to see her as well. Hehe bragging rights. I also met Anaser’s lovely mum for the first time.
  5. Quit my job. Bye bye security, hello peace of mind. In some respects. So yes I am going into 2016 jobless. Feck…
  6. Podcast. I have started working on a podcast. It’s not out yet but it’s going well. Quite chuffed about it. Must keep working.
  7. Listened to Salman Rushdie speak. See ehn, it was listening to Mr Rushdie speak, that’s when I knew I had to read widely. He was magnificent, plucking references from some area of his medulla oblongata brain and quoting. Quoting. Read widely and extensively and people will shell out 20 quid for your book just so you can sign it. Salman
  8. Writing about Rape. It’s going on and we are too quiet about it. Rape has to be brought into the light and not squirrelled away, leaving our women and girls in shame. I said it much better here
  9. Saw my mother. My mum lives in Benue and I hadn’t been to visit her in the two years since I moved down to Lagos, although we’d seen when she came to town.
    My mum’s house

    I’m glad I saw her because I don’t have the best of relationships with my mum. There is no mother-daughter bond between us. And I spoke to her about how she hurt me in the past and why our relationship is like it is. She said she didn’t remember doing or saying those things. So it wasn’t the ending closure result I expected, but at least I told her how I felt. Our relationship remains the same. It’s not the movies.

  10. My Friend Akin. This isn’t something I did but it’s something that had a devastating impact on me. One of my closest friends died in February. And I sorely miss him. Akin was a beautiful person. He was so kind and thoughtful. He was such a mama’s boy, wouldn’t do anything to hurt her. He took care of all his siblings. I’d known Akin since University but only got close to him during our NYSC. Cried on his shoulder even. We used to trek the whole of Garki Area (broke ass corpers) and I used to go to his office and we’d go and eat boli and fish opposite INEC Maitama. He loved basketball and Yankee. He slumped whilst playing a game in Oklahoma, so I guess he died doing what he loved, in a place that he loved. Now that’s like the movies.