My Singaporean dream is finally becoming a reality!!!

Hello people!!! I know it has been too long, I am so sorry for my silence. Let’s just blame it on Mr Work. Or maybe not. I sincerely apologize for being MIA. That said, I have mad respect for people who work full time and blog full time as well. Shout out to rockstars like KacheeTee  who make it look so easy. I had to DM her to ask if she had quit her job to blog full time, lol. I love her style and her commitment. I only got to know about her blog when she featured me on her blog, and now, she is my place of escape in the middle of a hectic day. And no, she didn’t pay for this plug, lol. I am just blown away by how she is able to do it ALL! Now that I am done crushing and famzing, let me tell you what I have been up to (apart from taking some nice professional pictures, he he)

Serious face or smiley face? Which do you prefer?

I FINALLY got my Singapore visa this week!!!!!!!!!!!!! Remember  it was on my wish list of countries to visit and I am so glad I am one step closer to getting there. But there is a backstory to the “finally’ part of getting this Singapore visa. As I filled the form (like the visa application form filling champ that I am, lol), everything was going great until I got to the last section where they ask all sorts of questions – are you a criminal, have you ever been deported, are you planning to elope, etc. Usually, I breeze through that section and just tick ‘No’, ‘No’, all the way. But not this time. When I got to the question about if I had been denied a Singapore visa before, time froze for a few seconds and then I ticked ‘Yes’. Feel free to grab some popcorn now, lol.

Flashback to 2014, when I was applying to business school. Pause. I know I still owe you the full story on that project, I promise to get to it soon. Unpause.  When I was applying to INSEAD, I chose the Singapore campus because I really really really wanted to live in Singpaore. I became fascinated by Singapore in 2007 when I read the book ‘From Third World to First’ written by the man who led Singapore’s incredible transformation journey – Lee Kuan Yew. In less than 40 years, Singapore leaped from a third world country with poverty, bitter history, divisive colonialism and other usual relics of colonial rule (does any of these sound familiar?), to a first world, super developed country that is the envy of nations – they have one of the best airlines in the world, one of the best airports in the world, one of the busiest trade ports in the world, and definitely, one of the cleanest and most organized societies in the world. Fun fact: chewing gum is illegal in Singapore. I could not understand how they were able to make the same leap that Nigeria needs to make in one generation, and I figured if I went there to see for myself, live in their midst, immerse myself in their culture and understand their mindsets and thinking, then maybe, just maybe, that spirit of excellent transformation could come upon me too, and I would come back home to contribute my quota to helping Nigeria take her rightful place. How’s that for a noble reason to want to live in Singapore?

This could have been my campus but…

However, that my Singaporean dream was cut short by an email I received on 25th November 2014 telling me that my student visa application had been rejected. Ehn? Rejected ke? How? Why? What did I do wrong? I checked my application again – I completed every field correctly – what could have gone wrong? Instead of feeling sad, I went straight into problem-solving mode and asked if I could appeal the decision. They said yes and so I started writing this great appeal letter.

Snippet of THE appeal letter

See me trying so hard to explain myself, telling them I was a good, debt-free, tax-paying citizen of Nigeria who had no plans of breaking any laws in Singapore. I photocopied all the visas I had ever been granted, with the entry and exit stamps to prove I was a good tourist who never overstayed my visas and therefore would not overstay my visa in Singapore. I attached every document attachable. I even considered getting a letter from my Pastor, telling them I was a good child of God. Hahahaha. Now it is funny, but at that time, it was not, *straight face*.

In church, praying and taking communion like a good child of God, lol

While I was writing this letter of appeal, one of my senior friends called in a favour with the Singaporean Consular to Nigeria and explained my situation. The guy got personally involved with my appeal which gave me some hope. After all of this, you would think the appeal would be granted. Nopes! It was rejected again! This time they didn’t even follow up with a phone call as was done the first time. It was at this point I concluded that it was not my time to go to Singapore yet. I had done everything humanly and spiritually possible (I prayed and prayed and prayed. I even tried blackmailing God by fasting and crying, lol) to no avail.

I was devastated for like 2 weeks. That Christmas holiday was not fun. Can you imagine going back to the office in January after they’ve done send-forth party for you? Haha! I was already receiving alumni emails, but in January, I showed in the office like ‘Guess who’s back?!?!?!’

I’m Back!!

Eventually, I had to defer my admission and change campuses – this is how I ended up in France. I have to admit that it all worked out for my good. You see, Prophet Isaiah knew what he was talking about when he said ‘God’s way and thoughts are better and higher than our ways and thoughts (Isaiah 55 vs 9). As I reflect on that experience, I realize that it was good that things did not go according to my plan. The extra 6 months I spent at work helped me grow professionally (which helped my transition back to work less challenging), helped me raise more funds for school (this is how God saved me from having to set up a ‘Gofundme’ page halfway through the school year), gave me the chance to travel to Mauritius for the office retreat (I would have missed it for the second time), and so much more. I strongly believe that I went to school at the right time – I had a great year in school, travelled a lot and by God’s grace, got selected to be valedictorian by my fantastic classmates. I am not sure all that would have happened if I had gone earlier. Steve Jobs did not lie when he said ‘you can only connect the dots backwards’.

I think part of my coping mechanism during this period was also remembering that I had gone through a similar experience when I was trying to go to the US for my undergraduate studies. I was denied my America visa (I spoke about it briefly in the valedictory speech), I wept all the way from the embassy in Victoria Island to my house in Ogba (that’s like 2 hours of crying in traffic), shook it off after a few days and then resumed the application process to go to Covenant University. I boldly say that the values instilled me in while at Covenant University have contributed greatly into shaping me into the woman and young professional that I am today. It all worked out for my good!

So next time things are not going according to your very well-laid plans, don’t despair. Just trust that it will all work out for your good according to God’s excellent plan. His plans and thoughts towards us are only for good, always for good. So trust! It is not easy when you are going through, but at the end, I promise you, it will end in praise, in rejoicing and in joy!

Have you ever had any rejections, disappointments or delays that eventually worked out for your good? Please share in the comments section. I am looking forward to reading your stories and testimonies.

Hugs,

Kemi

p.s – I will definitely write about Singpaore and share whatever lessons I learnt there when I return. I am hoping that I am more inspired and ‘mind-blown’ than I was when I went to Japan about a year ago (see Japan story here)

p.p.s _ I need to read Lee Kuan Yew’s book again. I think it will help fan the embers of hope I have for my beloved Nigeria. Nigeria, you will be great – you have no choice.

Published by

Kemi O

Explorer. Happy Woman.

101 thoughts on “My Singaporean dream is finally becoming a reality!!!”

  1. As always, love reading your posts, Kemi *wink*

    @Serious face or smiley face? – Yea right!! Serious face with a smile *rolls eyes* Anyone is fine jare…you look pretty in both *Another wink*

    @ Have you ever had any rejections, disappointments or delays that eventually worked out for your good? – One I can vividly relate with this your post was the first time I applied for a US visa. I was rejected. As I left with my rejection paper, I stood outside the embassy and declared that the next time I came there, I would not be the one to pay for the visa and that I will get it! Lo and behold about 2-3 years later, my office paid for my US visa and I got! Hallelujah! Always declare positive things even in the time of rejection *halo*

    1. Halleluyah sister! Fabulous testimony! The power of positive confessions cannot be over-emphasized. I forget to speak positively sometimes but its definitely something I need to be more conscious about.

      Thanks for sharing dear!

      1. Miss Kemi..all I can say is Thank you for what you do, how you do it and WHO you do it with(Jesus).
        I love you immensely.
        #1fan

  2. Keep blossoming dear Kemi, I enjoyed this piece thoroughly. Thank you for believing in the future of Nigeria 😊

  3. Lol amazing how the read seemed like you were physically in my view gisting about everything you wrote. Amazing as always. Maybe a little bit more this time.

    I totally relate with your take on timing. Indeed, all things work together for good to them that love God… Congratulations on your visa. God’s speed KemO!

    1. Hahaha! Thanks Bernard. I am glad I could serve some extra amazing this time.

      When are you going to shoot me with your camera? Ehn? All this amazing is not yet enough for you?

  4. Hello Kemi,
    Stumbled on your blog after seeing a buzzfeed article about you. I’d to do a 10 minute Google search on you …girl why are you so perfect? I got really jealous for like 1 sec (lol). Good job and really congrats in all your recent achievements.
    Back to the question, I have never been denied a visa (6 countries now) and hopefully I get a good paying job soon to fund more trips. I have this thinking that ‘no one should hurt this fragile heart abeg” Please more information about the Singapore visa process.
    ps, I decided to open a dollar account o thanks to your advice, as my naira savings can’t werk out anymore.
    pps, I love you and wish you well, the absolute best is yet to come
    ppps, I talk too MUCH! (yours truly Beatrice (currently fangirling Kemi Onabanjo)

    1. Fan-girling right back!!! Good that you have opened that USD account, trust me, it will come in handy very soon.

      e-Love you too and thanks for all the good wishes. Good wishes coming right back to you even multiplied! I pray your no-visa rejection streak continues.

      And no, you don’t talk too much o. Keep the comments coming.

  5. Woow…it’s always a delight to read your posts! It’s certainly inspiration overload for me! Thank you

    One bitter turn sweet experience for me, I remember vividly, was one time I was refused visa to go to Dublin (another visa rejection story)…after taking permission from work to be absent and literally the whole company knew I was to travel. I was so saddened and disappointed by this. Fortunately, the day I was scheduled to leave for Dublin, I got a call from someone inviting me to Paris for an all expense paid program!!! So I had the most amazing experience in Paris and even got paid for missing the event in Dublin!!!!

    Isn’t Jesus wonderful!!😍😍

    1. WOW!!!! He is EXTRA wonderful!!!! That’s amazing! Giving you double for your disappointment. Awesome testimony. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I can’t wait to read about Singapore. You are great with words and I enjoy reading your posts no matter how long they are. It feels as if you were giving me the gist physically, lol.
    Wrt the pix. Let’s just call it smiley and smiley with ‘shining of teeth’. I can’t see any serious look o! Love both!
    Take care hon!

    1. Thank you so much Ope! I’m definitely giving you the gist physically *wink wink*

      Ah ahn – I thought I was looking serious in the picture on the left, lol. I guess not! Thanks a lot dear.

  7. First time really really really really reading your blog. I’m going through a lot right now and this just encouraged me,thank you so much.

    1. I am glad to hear you are encouraged. This is why I write! Keep going dear, it will all make sense eventually. God bless you!

  8. ‘You connect the dots after…’ story of my life. Enjoy Singapore….shame 3rd World to 1st has no Kindle version. Been meaning to read it again but I have become allergic to physical books…..Great post

    1. Thanks Bayo B! Its always good to see some of my people from way back reading the post. I understand that physical book allergy but that book is worth overcoming that allergy for. Hugs to Anu 🙂

  9. First, your posts are really interesting.
    Second, I’ve never been rejected when it comes to any visa but job and education applications are so high on my list, I’m now usually scared to apply for a job or any scholarship positions. But I still believe it’s God working.
    Lastly, as a bookworm that I am, I also need to read that book. I’ve been looking for it too. Please share your thoughts whenever you get to read it. Thank you
    Finally, finally, I’m proud of you 👍🏽

  10. Kemi the Story is Inspiring, and the write up is engaging and interesting. The Lord will continue to Go before you. More Grace.!!

  11. Wonderful writing! Sorry amazing, awesome, inspiring!!! It’s only your blog I enjoy reading! Keep up the good work

  12. Hello kemi, I was thrilled when I found out about you on Instagram , ofcourse I followed you immediately. Enjoying every of your post and write up , as I love travel. However this would be the first time I will be commenting on your post as it seems God is using you to talk to me.
    I have been denied uk visa 5 times.. us once , French . In short I sat in my car and froze for over 2 hours when I picked up my last uk application this January. But you see for me I don’t care so much about location or country , as long as I get to travel. my series of denials has given me a chance to explore Africa, so for each denial I found somewhere to go to Africa. But then I’ve exhausted most places. And I would want to explore Asia this year .. I would for you to advice which one of them I should start with . But now I have grown so much phobia for visa application .

    1. Wow! I love how you turned the European rejection into an Africa exploration opportunity – that’s the spirit girl!

      We reject that phobia for visa applications o. I know how you feel but the only way to overcome it is to apply again. Find out what might be jeopardizing your applications and work on it. Believe it or not, I pray on my visa applications o.

      For Asia, start with Dubai 🙂

  13. Kemi, you are spot on. Often when things do not go our way we despair. Forgetting that the Lord knows what we need even before we say a word. Remember he knew us even before we were formed in our mother’s wombs. His ways are often not our way. But I can assure you 100% that his plans for us always always supercedes our plans for ourselves.

  14. I went to visit my Uncle in Bergamo Italy the other day, and he sat with smile, watching your Insead speech, believing again in the Nigerian spirit..

  15. Sitting on top of the world you are! I see you! Shine on girl! .

    Perhaps we will finally get to travel together this time, No? Lol

  16. Kemi, your testimony of God’s goodness and omniscience is just spot on.I have had series of these experiences over a lifetime.I always get to connect the dots in God’s plan right backwards.I am currently going thru another one which I hope to share its testimony with u soon.I trust God as always that the dots will be connected. On a different note, I’m also an aspiring MBA(Insead/HBS/GSB). Would be glad if u could give me a tip or two via d email I dropped as I have loads of questions I’d love to ask too.
    Forgive my famzing, tryna be like u.winks*** Well done girl! U always bring a smile to my face when I read ur blog and I always look forward to latest posts.Pls don’t stop!

    1. Hey Yimika, I join my faith with yours that your testimony will come through real soon. I will email you now and we can talk about b-school and what-not.

      Glad I bring a smile to your face, Jesus would be proud, lol. I won’t stop, just keep praying for grace and the right word in season.

      chat soon 🙂

  17. Akemokemo love, it’s always a pleasure reading from you and giggling all the way. God’s timing is always the best dear. Even when we least expect it, He will show up when the time is perfect. That’s just Him- His ways are past finding.
    I’ve never been rejected Visa o, as if I’ve applied to more than 1 place, lol.
    Look forward to reading more from you. I’ve milzed you plenri sha…. xoxo

    1. FOTO – you are the only one who calls me that name and it makes me smile 🙂 I pray you never get any visa rejections , but you gotta start applying for more abeg. Semi and Busolami need to see the world.

      Miss you too. xoxo

  18. Awww Kemi this gave me flashbacks! I rmb crying back home from Walter Carrington after I was gloriously denied studying in the UK too! Looking back now I know CU was ordained for me by God o lol!
    Another feeling of denial was when I applied to study in 5 universities and I was successful at 4 except for the one I was the best in their entry exams ( I was told after being rejected) which also happens to be 10minutes drive from my house and on the same road as my children’s school. I was really hurt as I felt I was treated unfairly and that was my first choice! Looking back now, I realise God was shaping me to get out of my comfort zone, stop living an ordinary life and jump on the trains and tread paths I never knew existed in London! His ways are indeed not our ways! God keep you as you explore Singapore, keep shining Kemi xxxxx

    1. lol @ gloriously denied! Only someone with a deep level of trust in God can put ‘deny’ and ‘glorious’ next to each other in the same sentence. Once we remember that God is in charge, it becomes easier to keep going.

      You are right, CU was ordained for a lot of us. Thanks Damola! YOu keep shining too mama!

  19. Kemi!!! Sitting here in Essex, UK, I’m am truly blown away by your life. You are true Blessing! Your ability to write so beautifully, so humorously, the way you engage your audience and most importantly anchor your writings on God’s word is Amazing! My sister I don’t read long things o! But I couldn’t stop reading until I got to the end, and still left thirsting for more. Now hooked and an avid follower lol! I am truly inspired! God Bless your ministry, your family and everything concerning you in JESUS Name Amen! (Lots of Love, Timi Adesanya- Tobi’s sister from Ipetumodu) xxx

    1. Timiiiiiii!!!!!! Thank you so much for your comment. I always always love when folks from wayyy back read the blog and comment. Thank you sticking with my the long read, you know it comes once a month so I have to compensate for my MIAness, lol.

      Yaaay @ being a follower – thank you much! I hope you keep coming back and you keep getting inspired all the time.

      Amen to your prayers and I pray the same for you too! How are you parents? I remember your dad being sooo cool!

  20. Glad to hear it all worked out when it was meant to. Everything happens for a reason. Hopefully you’ll get to enjoy Singapore as much as you did Japan, which just happens to be my second home. Singapore is also on my list of places to go and your first hand experience will definitely help in framing my expectations when the time comes. Good luck and all the best Kemi.

    1. Thank you Emi! Everything does happen for a reason.

      I know you are Japanese by love, and that’s just beautiful. I am also looking forward to Singapore and even though I will be busy throughout the week, I hope I can fully explore the city over the weekend. Thanks again!

  21. Kem Kem!! Thanks for the love. You already know you inspire me in more ways than one. Looking forward to meeting you in person (still can’t believe we worked in the same building and didn’t meet. Argh!). Enjoy Singapore darling. I’m hoping i can make it there sometime soon.

    http://www.KacheeTee.com

    1. Hey crush 🙂 thanks for your comment. And yes, I have to meet you in person real soon. I will definitely enjoy Singapore and let you know how it goes.

      Hugs.

  22. Kemo, nice one. This is a real inspiration. Congratulations and God bless. Waiting to read your Singaporean experience soon.

  23. Awesome Post Kemi. It is amazing the ‘stories’ that are not told before a story! Thank you for sharing. And Yes that book is an amazing book! I remember using my last cash to buy it once

  24. Hey Kemi, was fun reading your write up. Interesting and encouraging. U look awesome. Congratulations on all your achievements.
    For a sec, wished I could achieve same before I got married.
    God really makes all things work together for the good of His children. So many times blessings come in disguise..
    Would look forward to reading your posts… Cheers..
    Mercy- CMIS, MIS, C.U, formerly Adebayo. ONE LOVE!

    1. Thanks Mercy! You still have A LOT of time to achieve this and much more. So I am looking forward to your exploits too 🙂

  25. This gave me so much hope. Things really don’t have to happen the way you planned it. Just trust. It’s hard but I am consciously learning to do that. Thank you aunty Kemi.

  26. This will probably be the first comment I am dropping on a Blog Site (Maybe I am an Old School kind of person)- but what better place to drop my first note than the legendary Kemi Onabanjo (I would have wanted to write the name I call you here, but I changed my mind).

    I am sooooo proud of you and the person God is unraveling you to become by the day. You are just a Success Story!

    We all have had Dissapointments in life (maybe in relationships, employment interviews, business gone bad, friendship gone sour, rejections of all types)- but the most important things is OUR ABILITY TO BOUNCE BACK FROM DEFEAT. The Bible says “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again….” Prov 24:16.

    Your Japan story really inspired me, however I am looking forward to the Singapore edition.

    It’s just the beginning dear, The story of your life is definitely from Glory to GLORY in Jesus name. Remember- Prov 4:18.

    Do take good care of you and REMAIN RAPTURABLE!!!

    1. P-Fems in the building, yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!!!! Thank you so stopping by and dropping a comment (trust me, I know the hustle to drop a comment so I really appreciate it)

      Preach sir, preach! WE rise up again and keep pressing onwards.

      Amen to all the prayers! Ameeen!!!!

  27. Wow! Beautiful testimony, my namesake.
    I can definitely also testify to how God orchestrates things through disappointments/rejections!! Those were my testimonies from primary, secondary school, A-levels and all the way through to university in fact!
    Sometimes, it’s not entirely about us actually. God connects our paths with others so that He can use us to be blessings in those situations, and we are also blessed as part of the beautiful Tapestry that He is weaving.

    I pray you have a great time in Singapore when you do go. May you fulfil God’s purpose for taking you there at this time.

    God bless!
    Kemi
    https://thelivingoasisblog.wordpress.com

    1. Thanks namesake! and Amen to God’s purpose being fulfilled for this chance at Singapore He has given me. Amen!

      God bless you too!

  28. I smiled through this post. It ministered (yes ministered ) to me. Well done. Bring some healthy grubs from Singapore.

  29. Hello Kemi, nice writeup….very inspiring….. This is a wonderful reminder to everyone that we should not despair in the face of rejection, disappointment and failure….press on.

  30. Inspiring write up. You are a solution our world needs.

    Ur story puts life to Prov13:12 which says “(though) hope deferred makes the heart sick, (don’t close your bible), when the desire comes, it’s a tree of life(fulfilling many hopes and potential hopes)”

    that your letter of appeal though. Lol.

    It’s interesting how situations we thought would overwhelm us(when hope is deferred) become “funny” (when the desire comes). Thanks Kemi for sharing again!

  31. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this as much as all the stories on your blog. I am always impressed by your life and achievements so far… Keeping shining and reaching for the heavens! God is always with you, ALWAYS!!!

    Enjoy the best of Singapore and safe travels…

    Best,
    Bimpe

  32. Twinny never fails to leave me spell bound .. Amazing Write Up! Love you even more.. Enjoy your trip ❤️❤️

  33. you inspire me a lot, your achievements,travels, love for God ,beautiful write ups everything…keep shining and being a positive role model for us all.

  34. Hey Kemi. Just got a wind of your blog, and I must say it’s brilliant. Read just a few and I believe your end excellent writer. Captivating… I trust you’re great. Enjoy

  35. Hey Kemi. Just got a wind of your blog, and I must say it’s brilliant. Read just a few and I believe your end excellent writer. Captivating… I trust you’re great. Enjoy

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