Monday, July 21, 2014

I Choose Life!

Last week I was indulging in computer games with seemingly questionable lessons to be learnt. Over the weekend, I decided to indulge in some television shows. One of them, "1,000 ways to die".

Depending on what I have to do, I watch this show every now and then. Waste of time?
I chanced upon re-runs showing over the weekend. The title really does speak for itself and some of the death scenes albeit based on real life events, are actually hilarious (probably the narration brings out the humour in them).

This morning, on my way to work, my mind was wandering, and decided (on its own) to settle on the different ways I could have died since I woke up (or before I woke up). Come to think of it, what stopped a swarm of ants marching right up my nose and blocking my airway while I slept or marching down my throat and chewing some vital organs? Where did I even get the whole ant thing from? Well, my mum did tell me of how when my older brother was a baby, he'd fallen ill and was on admission at a hospital. One night, my aunt who's a paediatrician walked in to check up on him, only to find him all covered with ants. Turns out some cough syrup he'd been given earlier had spilled on him. Fortunately, no harm done, he was cleaned up and is very ok as at now (at least he was ok enough to have an argument with me over the weekend).

It really is by God's grace that I or anyone reading this has life!
Given a choice, I choose life! Amen!

But come to think of it, there really are over a billion ways to die every single day. That none of us succumb to any one of these ways is a miracle we should be grateful for.

Friday, July 18, 2014

20 Quirky Quotes!

I'm home and bored and playing tumblebugs for the umpteenth time, and I try to make my obviously utter waste of time appear valuable.
At the end of each round a quote pops up.
This time, I decide to put all the quotes together.
They're mostly hilarious (to me), but who knows, I just might learn something worthwhile (or not).

1. Ambition is a poor excuse for not having the good sense to be lazy.
2. A 3 year old's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.
3. Never trust a dog to watch your food.
4. Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else.
5. If you want your spouse to pay attention to every word you say, talk in your sleep.
6. Confidence is the feeling you have before you understand the situation.
7. Once you've seen one shopping centre, you've seen a mall.
8. Everything your mother warned you about is true.
9. Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.
10. Don't worry about what people think. They don't do it very often.
11. The glass is either half full, half empty or twice as big as it needs to be.
12. A bit of hard work never killed anyone but why risk it?
13. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of cheques.
14. Money will not buy you happiness, but it will let you be unhappy in nice places.
15. Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.
16. A photographic memory is no use if it's never developed.
17. If it jams, force it. If it breaks, it needed replacement anyway.
18. It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help.
19. If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
20. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

Did I learn something or classic case of "too much time on my hands"?

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Consumer Protection

For obvious reasons, I steer clear or Shoprite shops in Ghana.

Yesterday, I was at the Accra Mall to watch a movie ("Think Like a Man Too" is just hilarious. I honestly almost fell out of my seat. Kevin Hart, you get any funnier, I will fall out of my seat) and decided to get some fruit juice at Shoprite. I guess I figured with their track record (roaches and flies), packaged fruit juice would be harmless. Wrong!

In school I took a course in Consumer Studies (not because I wanted to, but because it was a core and I wanted to graduate) and I learnt quite some interesting things. Honestly at first, I felt taking that course was a waste of time. Turns out it wasn't and I, without realising it still practice some of the stuff I learnt.

I can't shop without picking up the item and checking for expiry dates, especially consumables. It makes shopping rather tedious and quite annoying, but I'd rather be tired and annoyed than be ill or worse yet, dead. So yesterday, I pick up the juice I wanted after first checking the expiry date. Satisfied, I turn to walk away when this other bottle of juice I had no intention of purchasing caught my attention. I was curious about the combination. It was cranberry and some other fruit, maybe kiwi (not 100% sure). I pick up the bottle, look at the label and then even though I had no intention of buying, like reflex, my eyes shifted to the expiry date.

The juice expired in April 2014 and as at July 2014 it was still on the shelves. Just to be sure I got the right date, I checked the manufacturing date as well. It was manufactured in April 2013. I put the juice back, was about walking away (figured it was none of my business) when I saw 2 shop attendants not far from me. I picked up the bottle, walked to one of the attendants, gave it to him, pointed at the expiry date and walked away. Have no idea what the attendant did and how many of their products are expired. I hope he plus his management do right by their customers.

Why didn't I take a picture? I did think of that. Had I had a copy of any newspaper of yesterday, I would have taken a picture of the bottle of juice with it.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Adventures in a Foreign Land - Snow, Frostbite, Ice & Slush

I see these adorable slippers in a shop but can't buy them because I don't have enough money. I go back to the shop a week later to get those very slippers, and I'm just about to pay for them, but the guy at the counter wants to and does question why I choose to buy slippers in Fall. Ah! I so didn't get that. So why is the shop selling slippers in Fall and why has the price been slashed by more than 50%? Is it not to entice me to buy it (that's what I wanted to ask him)? I just smile, say nothing while he goes on about how I'm probably going on a vacation in the Caribbean (I wish), and then some of the other shoppers start pointing outside with excited looks on their faces. Finally, the guy shuts up and turns round to look outside. Oh my! it had started snowing. My very first time seeing snow. Now, I'm in a hurry to get out of the shop. The guy turns round to face me and goes like, "now, you definitely can't wear those here. Better speed up on those vacation plans". Ah! This boy paa! Which one is his own? I'm buying my slippers to take back to Gh and there he is going on about vacation.

Finally! I step out of the shop and the snow flakes awwwwwww... I honestly don't know how to describe the feeling. I walked and walked and walked (when I could have been on a bus) just so the snow flakes would fall in my face (breathtaking). First snow that winter so the ground was still brown. I just couldn't wait to see the ground all covered in snow like I'd seen in movies and read about in books.
My fascination with snow was extremely short lived. Let's see, first the temperatures were always somewhere between 20 to 30 degrees below 0, when there was enough snow on the ground, I managed to twist my foot in it and fall (fortunately there was more than enough snow on the ground to cushion my fall), oh, and then I got caught (or got myself caught) in a blizzard (with that one, I got blown to the ground no less than 10 times), and then the frostbite. Ok, ok, ok, slight exaggeration. I guess it could be characterised as frostnip, but that really was my fault. I disliked the idea of wearing a tuque (knit cap or ski cap). I didn't look good in it. Beats me how I was ok falling because it was not my country plus no one really knew me, but I was bothered about how I looked in a tuque. I've given up trying to understand that. My ears were always exposed to the cold, which could be for long periods especially when I'd stand at the bus stop. Turns out me using just my hair to cover my ears was not enough. With time, one of my ears became real huge and extremely darkened (looked almost burnt). Then the darkened part pealed away (more like I forcibly removed the dark part) leaving me with one regular coloured ear and one ear that looked bleached. With time, I ended up with this:
Looks like this is permanent since the ear has been like this for a couple of years. My response to curious observers depending on my mood is; it was caused by hair relaxer or I got burnt by a hair straightener (it's possible I caused a couple of women to go natural)
And then when it wasn't too cold, some of the snow would start to melt, then it would get cold, so the melted snow would freeze. There were thus quite a number of icy patches here and there when this happened, and yours truly would slip, slide and fall. Unfortunately, no cushion for me this time. I would fall bum first and would feel the full impact of the fall.
Some cities use sand, others use salt on the roads and sidewalks in Winter. I lived in a city that used sand. Hmmmmmm... so when it was nearing Spring and the snow started melting, there was a lot of not so nice looking slush around and then there were some icy patches too, which I'd slip on, and when I'd fall, not only did my bum hurt, but my clothes would look not so nice (dirty).

Moral: not all that glitters... and, when in Rome...

It really wasn't all that bad all of the time. There were quite a number of fun times in the snow, like the snow fight and when we were putting decorations outside for Christmas and when we didn't have to bother putting our drinks in the fridge for a party (we just buried them in the snow out front), oh and when we kept our Thanksgiving dressed turkey in the garage (I thought that was funny).

Monday, June 30, 2014

Too Careful

A little over 2 years ago when burglars broke into my house, I thought my mom was being a worry wart when she had burglary bars fixed on all the windows and doors. Right now, it's so annoying stepping out of my house when I'm the only one home because I have to lock up all these huge metal gates. Feels like too much work when I'm not going anywhere important, so I just stay home. Honestly, I thought my mom was being overly cautious especially since I did not believe the burglars would come back (they got what they wanted the first time).

But yesterday, how proud I was of my mom and the decision she took and the fact that she didn't let my whining deter her. Burglars tried to break into my house again while we were away at church (I'm convinced the burglars either don't know Jesus or just don't care). No idea if they are the same ones from 2 years ago, thinking how easy it was the last time, or if they are new ones. They tried, but they couldn't get in because of the burglary bars.
The other thing that had me arguing with my mom about this thing was she had the bars installed on the inside of the house, making it difficult to clean the windows when they get dirty. Why did she do that? Someone told her if you install them outside, the burglars will come to your house just about every day to pour some acid on the bars. Then they strike when the metal corrodes. Well, these burglars had no idea there were burglary bars on the inside until they tore nets, broke windows and doors. All that work for nothing.

"The gods are not to blame" by Ola Rotimi. I read the play when I was in secondary school. So, a king consults a soothsayer after the birth of his son and is told the son will grow up, kill him and marry his mother. The king deciding to be too careful, had the baby sent away to be killed. The one to do the killing feels sorry for the baby and rather abandons the baby in the bush. The baby boy is found and brought up by surrogate parents in a different town. He eventually grows up, kills his real father, the king, and marries his real mother.

There are times when a girl meets a guy who obviously has a thing for her. She might feel the same but wants to be too careful (I guess to avoid the broken heart etc. etc.) so she treads extra cautiously. Or for one reason or another she feels the whole thing is pointless because the guy might be living in a different country or her parents don't approve of the guy or something. The guy keeps pursuing the girl, the girl entertains him because she does also kinda have a thing for him. At a point, the guy realises he's being strung along, advises himself and walks away. The guy could have been the one, but the girl will never know for sure since she never gave him a real chance.

Scenario 1 - my mom made a good decision in being too careful and I'm glad she didn't listen to me.
Scenario 2 - sometimes in trying to avoid certain situations, we end up causing those very situations to happen. I'm thinking the soothsayer should have added at the end of his prediction that all he had said will come true should the king listen to him and try to take precautions. But seriously, which child in their right state of mind, living with their parents, will kill one and marry the other?
Scenario 3 - it doesn't hurt to go with what you feel sometimes. I believe in taking chances (sometimes). What's the worse that could happen? Well, I believe God will never bring me to a situation He knows I can't handle or a situation He won't see me through, so even if the worse does happen, I know I got Jesus :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Aftermath

The Day I Haven't Exactly Forgotten About V
...one of my neighbour's found my hand bag 3 days later in her backyard. Most of the contents were strewn on the ground next to it. All the items in the bag were intact save for my purse and the mobile phone that had to be held by 2 rubber bands. Another neighbour found my purse in her backyard a day later also with its contents strewn on the ground next to it. Everything was there except the GH¢10.00 ($3.33). Unfortunately, the bag plus all the items found were soggy because of the dew (I guess) so I threw most of the items including the bag away and held on to those I wanted to like my drivers license and the GH¢150.00 ($50.00) mobile phone, which actually still worked. I'm guessing the robber missed it because it was in an all black case. The other mobile phone, the one with the rubber bands he must have seen and took. The guys who caught him in my neighbourhood mentioned there was a mobile phone on him, but I was too traumatised to go take a look at the phone. I have no idea who eventually ended up with that phone.
Turns out the car the robber used had been stolen a couple of days before the incident occurred (was a good thing one guy stopped the rest from damaging the car any further).

This incident could not have happened at a worse time for me. I'd just emerged from a rigorous selection process to be one of 12 finalists on the reality TV show, "The Challenge" (I call it the Gh version of Donald Trump's "The Apprentice"), which was to begin the very next morning. Fortunately for me, the morning was a televised visit to sponsors. I had to miss out on it because I was needed at the police station to give my statement.

With the drama of everything that happened, everyone, myself included, forgot I needed to put ice on my chin  that night. Result? I woke up the next morning with what looked to me like a double chin. The second chin was blacker than the rest of me, I had bruises on my face, neck, arms and chest, and I was to be on television. Fortunately, it wasn't a beauty contest I was taking part in, but I didn't want the rest of the world (yeah, right), maybe the rest of Ghana that watched the TV station the reality show was on seeing me the way I looked. I was so self conscious that whole time especially when I had no makeup on and the cameras were in my face. Surprise, surprise, especially since I usually love the camera with or without makeup.

Thank God for makeup artists and thank God most television shows have makeup artists working on them. I had a long weave fixed, makeup hid the bruising, but my chin still looked weird (fortunately, just to me and to those that knew me). Thank God the very first task was a group one because though hair and makeup could cover up most of the physical signs of what I'd been through, none of that could help my psychological state. I was absent minded throughout most of the task, I couldn't concentrate or focus on anything (though I tried real hard), but my teammates were such gems. They just let me be and did all of the work themselves. When it came to presenting the results, they spoon fed me the easiest part to present (just so I didn't get kicked out for non-participation).

Aside the fact that the task for the next week was an individual one and I needed to up my game, I was determined not to let that incident mess up my shot at winning a postgraduate scholarship to the UK and a job in Gh upon completion.
No, I didn't win. I just didn't. Nothing to do with what happened (I think), but I got mad love for you guys, Nana Afia and Seth. You guys held me up during a very terrible time in my life, and thanks to you both, I made it past week 1 of "The Challenge".
Eviction was worse than terrifying that week. I knew if my group came up for eviction, I'd be the one to go (there was no way I could convincingly fake knowing what that week's task was about)
Thanks Nana Afia and Seth, you guys had my back the whole time and your hard work saved our group from coming up for eviction (I can so see that double chin in this picture and I'm so not imagining it)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Adventures in a Foreign Land - Support For Ghana

I was at work when the accountant walked into the office I shared with a lady from Ghana. He had in his hand a newspaper clipping of the Black Satellites of Ghana winning the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup by beating Brazil. Oh yeah, all the Ghanaians were excited about that and I was mighty surprised this guy even knew what football (aka soccer as football referred to a different sport for him) is and even more surprised that he cared. He congratulated us (myself and my office mate) and said how well the boys played (even I didn't watch the match).

Fast forward 2014, before the start of the World Cup and in a different country. I was with 3 Ghanaians and whenever we mentioned the country we are from, we instantly made new friends, the locals would gush, "wow! Asamoah Gyan", and go on to tell us how they feel Ghana will do well at the 2014 World Cup.

Congrats to the Super Green Eagles of Nigeria for making it to the next stage! Praying the Black Stars of Ghana will meet you guys there.
Go Ghana!
Go Black Stars!

Moral: it doesn't hurt to support your own country, but even if you don't, chances are, someone, somewhere is supporting your country.