Have Something to Say II

Bisi’s photography workshop was at 11.15am.

Eva from church had told her about it.    She was first acquainted with Eva’s work at Light of the World church’s media ministry.  Their friendship began when they were paired off as prayer partners for the women’s ministry prayer challenge.  At their first meeting, Bisi gushed with praise about the brilliant job Eva had done with the mother’s day collage video.  Eva in her modest way was quick to state her gratitude to God.  “My prayer is that I use that talent to serve others and honor my Heavenly Father”.

They had both worked up a big appetite by the time their two hour tour was over.  They settled for a lunch spot known for their mouth-watering cast iron pan house cornbread. It was one of Mezu’s favorite weekend lunch spots.

“Great class.   For the breadth of material covered, I can’t believe we got it at that price.”  The two part workshop comprised indoor lectures and a photo tour. It covered material on photo editing software, tagging and taking pictures in RAW format for post photo processing.

“For a windy day, the sun held up really well.  The time went by so quickly, I did not realize it with all the walking”.  Bisi noted as she took in the elegant 1950’s glamour themed ambiance of the bank-turned-restaurant.  The dimmed lighting added to the relaxed and cozy feel.  The music selection alternated between classics by Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra and do-wop tunes.  A charming compliment.

Bisi ordered the house Cobb salad.  She split the cornbread with Eva, helping herself to one half of her half portion.  The meshing of flavors from the piping hot cornbread slathered with their signature whipped honey butter, more than made up for her throbbing feet.  Bisi was in her happy place.

Bisi felt a vibrating sensation a second time.  She had ignored the earlier buzzing of her phone as they walked into the restaurant.  Feeling around her bag for it, she looked up from her meal “Eva, thanks again for letting me in on the class.  It has reignited my interest in photography.  What I enjoyed the most was that outdoor tour.  The fact that we were moving made the cold bearable.”

Three missed calls, one from her mother, another from her sister and the third number was Unknown.   Bisi listened to her messages and made a note to text her sister the information on the travel agent.  With the time difference back to five hours, she had an extra hour to call her mother in Nigeria.

Eva had excused herself to the ladies room and as she settled back into their booth, Bisi looked up at her while tucking her phone into the front pocket of her crossbody.  “if I want to catch the next train, I need to get going”.

“I can give you a ride.  Eva needed some raw honey and organic cinnamon from the organic store in Bisi’s neighborhood.  She had to make a new batch of homemade cough drops.

Half hour later, as she stepped into her foyer, she felt a vibration.

It was an Unknown Number.

Swiping the green icon on her phone.

“Hello… pause.   Hello…”.  No response.  Just as she was about to hang up.

“Hi Bisi, its Mezu”

Bisi glanced at her phone screen again as if to confirm this was not all her imagination.

“I am sure, I am the last person you were expecting to hear from.” Continue reading Have Something to Say II

Begin Where?

Friday Fictioneers: Begin Where?

 begin-the-route

Where do I begin?

It is all here.  The big, the small and even the tall; the old and even the brand new.  It may be intimidating for some and exciting for others.  Exciting for me, because I thrive on chaos, albeit organized but I am sure the obsessive compulsive may disagree.

Wrapped in his story or and her, there is a richness and there is grimness.

Whatever the case you will agree, it’s a medley and that mix is what piques my interest.

For starters, Historic Route 66, does it really begin here?

 

 

 

Friday Fictioneers  Friday Fictioneers provides an opportunity to write flash fiction once a week.  This week’s photo prompt is from Jean Hays and copyrighted to her.  Other stories are linked by clicking on the this hyperlink.

 

Have Something to Say Part 1

Maybe it was just his carefree manner or the intensity of his gaze, but as he approached her with the drinks, Bisi could feel a slight release as the tension in her shoulders eased up a bit.   Maybe he was not a nut case after all.

A few minutes later, drinks in hand, they spotted a table in a quiet corner of the gallery.  “Did you find anything exciting or let me rephrase that, more like a piece you see yourself enjoying?”  Sidney, Mezu’s colleague at work, a self-acclaimed consummate art collector was quick to point out that an interesting piece must offer a certain level of satisfaction as well as fit in with the person’s space.  Mezu observed how she slowly set her cup down on the bench table, her way of buying time to contemplate her response.

“Let us just say even if I did, it is not part of this month’s budget, so it will have to wait.  In terms of scale, orientation and symmetry I must say, I saw a couple worth further consideration.   At a friend’s birthday brunch, I met an African American, a lawyer by training who is an art collector consultant.  She began collecting art out of law school, very knowledgeable”

Bisi was quite impressed, by her depth of knowledge and the fact that she has even placed the works of a number of famous Nigerian artists, the likes of Shonibare, Enwonwu, Ehikhamenor, Onobrakpaye,  Amadi-Obi, Chukwuogo-Roy and some others, she learned about for the first time.

Anyway, I digress.  I am learning quickly that the key to finding affordable art is to gain more exposure.  Beyond the art galleries and museums are art fairs and even exhibitions at the embassies showcasing international talent.  It’s truly the more you see, the more you learn and the more likely you can identify what you like.”

For the next hour, they talked about a variety of subjects.   Mezu noticed for the second time, Bisi taking a quick peek at her watch.  Picking up her napkin she placed it under her empty cup.   “I have to get going.”  Continue reading Have Something to Say Part 1

Have Something to Say

Mezu came back for the Christmas holidays a few days earlier.  Idara his younger cousin was also in town to visit their grandparents and today they were on their way to the Annual Village Fundraiser.  It was a nice day with the sunlight cutting through the smog.  Brown dust from the dry red soil trailed behind the cars and motorcyclists as they sped down the narrow and partially eroded untarred roads.

Mobs of pedestrians carefully maneuvered their way down to the festivities, walking down the man-made sidewalks created from the patch of road bordering the gutters and bushes not taken over by the cars and cyclists.  The music blaring from the village square added to the excitement in the air.  Notwithstanding bumper to bumper traffic, they were at the square in less than twenty minutes.  The part of the square with the football field where the dance performance was to take place looked very different today.

Mezu for a quick moment felt the flutters in his stomach as he made his way to the seating area where he could get a better view of the activities. The canopies were laid out in an almost perfect square forming a rectangular shaped like courtyard in the middle where the performances would take place.  Under the yellow tarp canopies were multiple rows of plastic white chairs.  As he reached for one of the chairs, he noticed a young lady to his left leaning against the metal pole supporting the canopy perpendicular to the one next to the one where he was about to pull up a chair.  From all appearances, the speaker had her attention.  She leaned in resting her weight on her right leg.  It seemed so natural, so effortless.  Even as the tassels of her white swiss dot lace shirt with capped sleeves darted aimlessly in her face, her gaze remained focused on the speaker.

Mezu observed the little girl tugging at her black and floral “Nigerian print” patterned long skirt, and not missing a beat, she gently placed her palm on the girl’s shoulder.  The little girl stopped the tugging and leaned in against the young lady’s hips.

Such graceful movements took him back to the meeting at the gallery.  The first encounter was almost a year and a half ago. Continue reading Have Something to Say

Plans are only good intentions

From all indications this had all the makings of a perfect day.  The sun streaming in through the peach  linen curtains installed along with the ornate hardware a couple of weeks ago.  There was also the sweet aroma of Mum’s special lemon-coconut muffins which had wafted into my room.  A half hour later, here I was polishing off the last of my muffin and off to school it was.   1st and 2nd period went by and then 3rd period came around and all it took was Ms. Rio walking in Continue reading Plans are only good intentions

Flight or Fight (Part 2)

http://inimitablypriceless.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/image2.jpg
Credit: inimitablypriceless

In part I, we identified some reasons why we are not keen on stepping out of our comfort zone even when the conditions are ripe for change.

Here we address, different ways of rising to the occasion, which in many cases may entail confronting or meeting the challenges and expectations placed in our path.

Is it Time Yet? –  – do you no longer enjoy doing your job? is the job no longer challenging? is there no more room for growth? are you bored or miserable?

First, acknowledge that the time has come for the change to be made, which could be to move on from your current position.  Moving to a different environment may be your most pivotal time of growth in your career.  However, in order to make strides in that respect, the next step is critical: identifying your worst fears and determining how to overcome it.

The fear of rejection comes in different forms:

  • self-condemnation – I am not good enough;
  • recalling all the negative thoughts or statements you have had or heard while completely discounting your strengths;
  • convincing yourself you are not convinced the grass is greener on the other side and of course
  •  there is “the devil you know”…mindset.

 Change is Inevitable – So rather than imagine the worst, hope for the best and prepare for the worst.  So (then) what is next ?  Be strategic and do not work blindly against your fear but identify –

  • 1) What it is that you want to pursue,
  • 2) what is that vision you want to achieve, and
  • 3) what is the end objective you want to realize; then use that to fuel you in your growth.

 Bottom line, have a plan.

Credit: etsy.com
Credit: etsy.com

So you got over the hump of almost talking yourself out of attending the networking event on a Wednesday evening after a long and trying day at work.  In spite of your best efforts, the rule of 3 did not work and to top it off, there were no familiar faces at the event so you ended up with “no results”

What is your Plan B and Plan C? What are the baby steps to take where the whole professional networking may be a bit too much too soon?

1)Open ended networking –networking does not always have to be in a professional setting.  It may be easier to make those connections while participating in a group activity in a relaxed environment

  • Attend “non-professional networking” activities hosted by a group that interests you –  the local gym, Book Club, Running group, Local library, Habitat for Humanity.
  • Volunteer time on projects, children’s school field trips, PTA,  or other Event organizing committees.

Let your friends or contacts who are already members of these organizations or groups know to keep you posted on any upcoming events.  Better yet, ask if they are ok with you accompanying them as a guest to these events. It is a great opportunity to meet others in the group through your contact.  Such an opportunity is even better and less nerve wracking because you can try something new and better yet with a familiar face to to guide you through the experience.

2) Seek mentors - one in which both mentor and mentee can nurture the relationship.

3) Handling our Fears – It is ok to feel vulnerable and to ask for help.  A positive mindset is key.

4) Listen more than your speak – Get a feel for if this is a soft-sell or direct in your face kind of individual.

Be generous with assisting others even if there is nothing in it for you – “The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” Keith Ferrazzi”.

If someone happens to mention a need for a handyman, connect them to one you know and it does not necessarily mean it will work out, however, people never forget.

A person who Never made a Mistake

never Tried anything New

– Albert Einstein

Flight or Fight

With a few “special” exceptions, human beings are creatures of instinct, some may even say we are creatures of habit, and because of that we gravitate towards our comfort zone.

Getting out the Comfort Zone means different things to different people including doing things we fear, that make us anxious, that we detest or simply put, doing things that are emotional and excruciatingly painful.

http://inimitablypriceless.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/image2.jpg
Credit: inimitablypriceless

For many introverts, this resonates on more levels than one, who over the course of the day or even week encounter situations where they are going through the motions of “I will die first before I walk up to that Director I run into at the gym than open my mouth and say hi him at the Whole Foods store”

What comes to mind when we hear catchphrases like: Continue reading Flight or Fight