May day, May day! Lol. Okay, that’s me just being an alarmist. I have missed you guys so much! I took some time off social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc). It was a well-needed break, to be honest. I know I am not a daily poster on Instagram but to be honest, I spend a LOT of time being a low-key stalker, lol. At least, I am the kind of stalker that actually likes pictures and leaves comments, instead of just doing waka pass, hahahaha. Seriously though, I realized how much time-share social media has in my life, and I decided to go on a detox. A few people asked if I deleted the app from my phone – nopes! It was right next to WhatsApp (speaking of WhatsApp, does that count as social media as well?) and I saw it several times a day. I guess I was also trying to teach myself some lessons in will-power and self-discipline. Maybe now I can actually look past the dessert section of menus or still look and choose the fruit salad, hehehehe. No further words on this desserts matter. *lips sealed*. That said, I apologize for all the messages I missed. I will respond shortly. Thanks for your kind understanding 🙂
Sooooo, while I was away, a lot of things happened! I took my first helicopter ride (thank God the Abuja airport has been reopened, yaay!), I visited Cape Town for the first time (more on that later in this post) and I finally went sky-diving!!!!! Yup, I did it guys. *insert loudest scream here*
I told only a few people about my plan to go skydiving, mainly because I wanted to be accountable to some people and make sure I didn’t chicken out last minute, but also because I didn’t want anyone trying to talk me out of it. I already had many excuses, I didn’t need any extra discouraging comments. Of course, I only told Mama Kemi AFTER the fact, and even then, I broke the news to her in person when I got back to Lagos. I was just casually showing her pictures from my trip and then, boom! I showed her the pictures and videos of me jumping and flying (yup, that’s what I call it). She actually took it much better than I expected! God bless our mamas. Funny enough, on the day I jumped, I sent her pictures of me in my harness just before I got on the plane, but I am sure she had no clue what it was I was about to do.
After I went zip-lining in Singapore, the caption on my IG post was something about that being a rehearsal for sky-diving. Little did I know that it was going to happen barely a month after.
I had been planning an Easter trip to Morocco with some of my close friends but sometime in March, based on logistics (I have been looking for a legit way to use that phrase, lol), I was unable to go on that trip. I had a work commitment come up and I had to prioritize getting the visa for that over getting the Moroccan visa. I also looked at my bank accounts, and frankly, I could not afford the trip right after the Singapore one. It was painful but I had to cut my coat accordingly to my cloth. I hope I get the opportunity to go on an all-girls trip really soon (between weddings, pregnancies and babies, Jesus take the wheel!)
Anyway, since I had to go to South Africa for work the week after Easter, I figured I could make lemonades out of the ‘no-Morocco’ lemons I had been given (I am on quotable quotes roll on this post, lol). I decided to take 2 days off work (Easter Tuesday and Wednesday), get to South Africa a little early (thank God the ticket prices were the same regardless of the dates) and go on a low-budget vacation to Cape Town. I managed to buy a cheap ticket from Johannesburg to Cape Town and used my hotel points to book a decent hotel (see why you need to get on all those loyalty programs ASAP?). The Lord is good!
I really wanted to chill on this trip – eat, sleep and read. I ate a lot, slept okay and read a bit too. As I was travelling alone, I didn’t have sufficient motivation to always get dressed to go and sit in a restaurant alone, and because I was on a budget, hotel room service was not an option. So UberEATS was my saving grace on this trip. I could still eat great food, at an affordable price without moving an inch – okay, I had to go down to the hotel reception to pick up my order- but yeah, you get the point. Long live Uber!
I got to spend time with old friends based in South Africa. Danielle from my YALI days and of course my darling business school buddies – Ofentse and Lakheni. I also attended a braai (South-African barbeque party) which Lakheni’s family was hosting but forgot to take pictures because the food was so good *covers face*
I had only 3 touristy things I wanted to do in Cape Town – visit Robben Island (popularly known as the political prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years of incarceration, visit Table Mountain (one of the 7 wonders of the world) and go skydiving.
I was completely subdued by the Robben Island experience, I managed to take only one picture there. It was such an emotional and enlightening experience. I got to know about some of the unsung heroes of the apartheid struggle – Robert Sobukwe and Walter Sisulu – just to mention a few. It gave me a fresh appreciation of what it means to lead from the sidelines or from the background. This whole concept of leadership from the side is something I am exploring now and maybe I will write about it one day when it has been fully crystallized in my mind. I have renewed respect for South Africans and the redemptive process of forgiveness that they are going through. I pray that the healing and reconciliation continues and is perfected very soon. Amen!
Table Mountain was a view and a half! God is GREAT! God is an incredibly talented designer! Wow! Cameras cannot really do justice to the breathtaking beauty of Table Mountain. Before you ask, yes, I took the cable car up the mountain. Maybe if I had more time, I would have hiked up. I think even if I had more time, I would have still taken the cable car up, lol. Table Mountain photo credits go to the lovely Ms Tayo who I reconnected with at the wedding I low-key gatecrashed on Easter Monday in Cape Town.
Don’t judge me, I was a legitimate +1, lol. Being a +1 (a.k.a hand bag, a.k.a I only know the person who invited me, a.k.a I actually don’t know the bride or groom personally) made me realize that the major thing I enjoy about weddings (apart from the small chops) is being able to share in the joy of seeing my friends FINALLY beginning their journey to forever. So yeah, you probably won’t catch me at a wedding where I don’t know the bride or groom personally again, lol. That said, the scenery at these wine estates and vineyards in Cape Town are just gorgeous. I finally understand/see why Cape Town is a destination wedding favorite for Nigerian couples.
I won’t bother giving a motivational speech about my skydiving experience because my big uncle, Will Smith has already done that here. Nevertheless, I will try to describe how I felt with before, during and after the jump.
The day before, I was all cool and calm about it. However I didn’t sleep much the night before and I was awake and ready by the time my pickup arrived at 7am. By the way, I chose the skydiving company on the recommendation of one of my brothers who had jumped there a few weeks before. I would never do such a risky thing without major research o!
When I arrived, I was still cool as I signed the forms (they make you fill and sign a 4-page form which in summary means ‘you are on your own’, lol), and listened to the briefing. Things got real when they suggested that I go up with the first pair of divers, hehehe. I politely declined and said I’d rather wait for another pair of people to jump first. Between the time when that first pair went up and when I finally went up, I visited the bathroom like 3 times. Lol. The queasy feeling in my stomach was real. It was the same queasy feeling I got in my tummy as a little child whenever I had done something wrong and was awaiting the return of my parents to come and execute judgment upon me.
Gosh, I was afraid! I kept thinking ‘who sent me message oooo?’ As they say, delay is not denial. It was finally my turn to go up, I was the last person and there was no hiding place for me. I tried to act cool again for the camera, wore my harness, got on the truck and headed to the airplane.
As part of my coping mechanism, I did a few quirky things to make me feel better – I put on my batman t-shirt (don’t ask me, it made perfect sense to me at the time) and I wore my brightest red lipstick (I figured if I’m going to fly, it would be good to do it pretty, lol). I also did a little dance just as we were about to get on the plane (see full video of the jump here) and got someone to write ‘JESUS ROCKS’ on my palms. Silly things but they definitely made me feel more confident about what I was going to do. I mean, if I was going down, it had to be with Jesus o! 🙂
Going up was cool, the view was so magnificent, I found myself humming the hymn ‘O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the works thy hands have made…then sings my soul my Saviour Lord to thee, HOW GREAT THOU ART!’ It got colder as the plane went higher and higher (and we all know my relationship with cold) so I was so grateful I had worn my INSEAD jumper as well. When my tandem handed me the goggles to wear and start shifting towards the door of the plane, I knew it was over. My soundtrack changed from ‘how great thou art’ to ‘heaven is my home’, lol. I died like 5 times already. I kept thinking ‘what if’. I said my last prayers for like the 20th time and just waited. It was shame that did not allow me chicken out. My tandem didn’t even bother counting for me, he just jumped! The mighty rushing wind that greeted me as we jumped out was intense. I looked down and the worst kind of fear I have ever felt gripped my heart. There was really no turning back.
Then I remembered the money I paid for the pictures and videos and quickly started smiling, lol. An Ijebu girl is an Ijebu girl whether on land or in the air, hahahaha. Seriously though, after the terror I felt for the first 10 seconds of the free fall, I spread out my arms and started flying. I felt so free, so light, so at peace. I didn’t want it to end. I actually loved flying!
This is what fear looks like – it involves a lot of teeth and nose, lol
And then in the middle of this blissful flight, one crazy thought came to my mind ‘what if the parachute refuses to engage?’ Jesus! Why won’t these crazy fearful thoughts leave me alone and just let me be great? Thankfully, the parachute cooperated when it was time and I thoroughly enjoyed floating around, taking in the view and gisting with my tandem. I asked how many times he jumped in a day and what he enjoyed most about it. Can you imagine? We had a full blown conversation floating in the air! Amazing!
Landing back on earth (see me sounding like an astronaut that went to Mars or Venus, lol) was such an anti-climax mehn. The familiar suddenly became boring and I would have really liked to be in the air for much longer. Not sure I wanted to jump out of a plane again but I definitely wanted to hang out floating in the air again. Maybe in a hot-air balloon or something. All in all, it was an AMAZING experience! I felt very fulfilled about achieving this goal after a few years of toying with the idea and quite proud of myself for being able to face my fears and ‘do it afraid’. I did it shaking, I did almost peeing on myself, but I did it anyway! If I listened to all the reasonable reasons for why I should not have jumped, it would still be a wish/dream I might never have realized. Now I am hoping to transfer this same daring ‘risk-taking’ drive and energy to other areas of my life, and just dare to achieve some other goals I have set for myself.
Don’t get it twisted, the doubt will come, the ‘what-if’ questions will pop up, the nay-sayers will give counsel, the fear will envelope your heart at different times on the journey, but you just have to take that leap of faith and trust that God will not let your parachute fail and let you crash. He’s got you!
Here’s to being daring and doing things afraid this month of May and for the rest of our lives! Remember, God’s got you!!!