Everyone needs an "Efo" Man.

Big moves can be extremely daunting especially when you are doing it by yourself. Many if not all of us have moved for work, school or family at some point in our lives and can relate to those first 24 to 48 hours. Everything seems both foreign and exciting at the same time, you are scared and stressed out but eager to fit in as quickly as possible. I was moving to a new country by myself at a stage in my life where I had built roots elsewhere.

I woke up on my last day in the place I had called home. I was excited, I really was, but at that moment in time, fear had taken over my mind. What was I thinking? I looked out the window of the taxi as it drove past familiar streets for the last time. There was really no going back now.

After 2 plane rides, 1 missed flight and several hours later, I finally arrived. And I was exhausted.

sincerely-princewill-too-much-luggage2.jpg

I got a taxi at the airport, but as we approached what was supposed to be my new address, we realized it didn’t match. All we could see was a huge park. And a lake? No building? This couldn't be it. We drove around for several minutes, but after a while the driver got frustrated. 

...So he dropped me at the front of a police station.

Whyyy? Why me.

It was 1am, pitch black outside with the exception of the police sign in the distance. I could already see it- People would say, “Eya, such a bright young girl and she now went to die in America.” Getting lost, kidnapped or killed was not how I had imagined this big adventure.

Just to point out, this police dropping decision was not my idea.  I was actually very opposed to it, but my opinion didn’t seem to matter to the driver. I guess I should be grateful, there are worse places to be dropped off, right? 

I lugged my suitcases one at a time into the station. At this point I had blisters on my hands from lifting the suitcases from place to place. I approached the man at the front desk, described where I was trying to go and handed him the pile of papers I had printed to help in my navigation. I was prepared, or so I thought. The gentleman was very nice and was actually going to patrol the exact apartment building I was going to. Thank God! The kind man dropped me off at the entrance, and by the time I was done signing all the leasing documents it was almost 3 am when I finally walked into my new empty home.

 
sincerely-princewill-too-much-luggage2.jpg
 

Against all odds, I had made it. Ok you can tell I am slightly dramatic, but at that point in time I had never been so happy to be under a roof and to see a bed. 

I spent most of the next day on the phone with family and friends and the rest catching up on one of my favourite TV shows. The familiarity of both kept me from the reality that I did not know a single soul. I started to feel hungry so decided to order some Chinese. After a few minutes, the restaurants' delivery man arrived, handed me my food and in exchange I gave him $20. The Lo Mein I ordered was only $11, so I waited for my change. As I stood there, my guy took my money put it in his pocket, turned around and walked out the door. I stood there in shock, no not shock, in a daze.

I was so confused, what just happened? No thank you? 

No pretence to try and look for my change (we all know that delivery person that pretends they don’t have change so that you can give up and just tell them not to bother – Dear delivery person, we know you and we see you). What happened to the formality of giving me back my change and then I nod back to say “No, keep the change?” Was this the tradition in this foreign land that I had just moved to? If it was, maybe it wasn’t too late to carry my belongings and head back to where I just came from. I resisted the urge to run away and ate my Lo Mein with such disdain. Guess what, it wasn’t even that sweet. Hiss!

KNOCK KNOCK. Who's there? Efo riro.

A day after my Chinese food daylight robbery, when all the evidence had long faded, I was starving again. I knew I had to go food shopping but I had been told that I would have to wait 5 days for a specific bus to take me to the store. Their public transportation system was a joke, so my no car struggle was real!

As I was pondering how I would feed myself for the next week, I heard a thump on my front door. I was not expecting guests as I didn’t even know anyone.

First thing I did was run to take off my scarf.

 I’ve found that night scarves tend to confuse unsuspecting viewers (some of my ladies can relate).

I opened the door and this average height, middle aged black man stood in my door way. I swallowed hard and plastered a nervous smile on my face.

“Tomi?” he said, in his unmistakeably deep Nigerian accent.

“Err...” I began.

“Adetiba abi?”

“Yes sir” I said.

“Shey you eat rice, I’m cooking rice.”

I could not believe my ears “Yes! Yes I do” I literally shouted before he changed his mind and decided that I wasn’t enthusiastic enough and didn’t deserve to have his rice.

“How about Efo?” he asked.

 “I eat everything,” I said.

The words came out before I could form posh.

He told me to wait a while and that he would come back to get me once the rice was ready. I was so hungry that I waivered the possibility that he was some psycho using food as a way to lure me. “Whatever” I thought, at least ill die full and happy. Just in case, I ran to my laptop and sent my parents an email. At least if I get kidnapped, there would be someone who knew who took me and where he said he was taking me to. I rushed the email so that I could get it sent before he returned. Now that the evidence of my potential kidnap was on the internet, I followed Efo man to his apartment.

Yes, I know this sounds like the beginning of a thriller movie, but desperate hunger called for desperate measures.

via @DobbysSignature

via @DobbysSignature

I sat down to a plate of rice and efo as I learnt more about my new friend, the ‘Efo man’ whose name was infact Elijah. He was married with 2 children my age and had made a similar transition years before. He worked at the apartment building and after seeing one of my correspondences recognized my name as Nigerian and decided to help me settle in. Elijah gave me great pointers on how best to survive the next couple of days. He wrote down his number and told me to reach out if I was struggling or just needed some Nigerian food (I later repaid the favour by sending him some cooked beans).

I was so thankful for this act of kindness because it showed me that God had and always has my back.

Elijah’s kindness really made my new home seem less daunting. Maybe I made a good choice moving here after all. I guess in life you get an ‘Efo man’ or two for every ‘Chinese food man’.

I had lived to fight another day and now felt somewhat ready to conquer this new world!

6 Epic Fails in 1 hour. Does Customer Service exist in Nigeria?

Good day gone bad.

It's a late Sunday afternoon. After church and brunch, I'm in a fantastic mood. I decide to go to the store because I need two things: Hangers for my clothes and shampoo.

It's my first time at the store so I walk around for a while searching for the items, but no luck. I finally see two ladies wearing the supermarkets' uniform nearby. If not for their uniforms I would never have guessed they worked there. They were sitting in a corner laughing hysterically. It was as if they were long lost friends, reunited and in the middle of an epic catch up sesh.

I almost felt bad that I was about to interrupt their gist, but they worked in the store right? And I just really needed to ask, "Please, do you know where I can find hangers?"

The louder one, still sitting down, looks up at me. Then with her nose turned up, as if everything around her stunk, she quickly responds,

"Ah Ah.. How we suppose know?

You don't see we're in another section?!"

Excuse me whaaat?

Ok so I've been in Nigeria long enough to know customer service is not one of our strengths... But COME ON! Did she just say that?

Her "co-worker" continues... "Just go there. Ask that man. That one." She points a few meters away, to a very short, dark skinned man with a huge beer belly. "He might know where they are." 

I thought, "Oh great, this one might know. Lucky me, eh?" Smh

Before I got a chance to say thank you (although there were currently zero reasons to thank them), they resume their laughter and squeals and continue their conversation... Like I never happened. Like I wasn't still standing right in front of them.

To avoid further neglect I quickly took myself to the next guy and asked him the same question- this time trying to sound as Nigerian as possible. Maybe that would help. "Oga, abeg where are your hangers?" 

He looks up to the ceiling for a second and scratches his head.

"Ah. Madam, I don't know oh. Just keep walking that way.

Just keep walking. I'm sure you'll find it. It's there."

It's there?? That was his advice? It's there?!? I mean duh it's somewhere! Could he at least pretend he knew? Or walk with me to help find it?

But no, he had done enough. Technically, while he was saying "it's there" he was also making continuous hand gestures pointing to only God knows where. So in his mind he had put in a lot of work, right?

At this point I had no choice, but to venture off on my own. As I went through all the aisles I finally found some shampoo, thank God. And later found the hangers - in between completely random, unrelated items - of course.

Typically I would keep wandering the store and end up buying a few other things, but not today.

With all this roaming, I was drained and quickly joined the line at the register. Great, yet another endeavor to overcome.

The lady in front of me was buying just a toothbrush that cost N300. She gives the cashier a 500 Naira note. The cashier responds, “Madam, you don’t have change?

“No, just 500’s”

“Ah. I don’t have change oh.”

“Okayyy?? So go and get some?”

“Oh ok ok, I’ll try.”

The cashier signals to another “co-worker.” Again, I’m using this term very loosely. “Abeg, help me get change.”

The girl snaps back, “Is that part of my job?! No oh. I can’t do that one.” She hisses and rushes off.

WHAT IS GOING ON?! 

Our cashier lady continues standing behind the register and starts shouting over us asking every co-worker she sees, "You get change?" Finally one agrees to help her get cash, but then several minutes later comes back with literally only N200 in change. So just enough for the lady, but clearly not enough for the rest of us in this long line that had now formed behind me.

It’s now my turn, so I hand her the hangers and shampoo. She swipes and puts the hangers in a bag, but then when it’s time for the shampoo she says,  “Madam, I’m sorry, but I don’t know how much this shampoo is. It’s not swiping.”

I look at her like you’ve got to be kidding. "Ki lo de! Find out how much it costs then.”

“I’m sorry ma, I can’t do that.

The person in charge of that section has gone home.”

LOL. I literally laughed out loud.

“Ok she's gone home. Sooooo what do you want me to do then?”

“Madam, you have to leave it. Come back and buy it tomorrow.”

Noooo.

At this point, my uber driver had been calling. And she still didn’t have any change for me to even just get the hangers. So I left. Can you imagine? After spending almost an hour in the store, I left with absolutely nothing bought.

I go outside and the Uber driver is no where to be found. 

I call his phone and he answers, “Madam, I’m coming. I suspected that you were still shopping so I went inside to buy something as well. But I’m coming!”

Noooooooo. Even my trusty Uber? Uber that is usually the exception to this nightmare?

Nigeria, we’ve got to do better!

I should mention that I randomly went to the new Shoprite in Ajah the other day and the customer service there was outstanding. So I guess customer service does exist. Ajah is maddd far though! Any suggestions of other places to try out?

Have you had similar customer service experiences? Any tips on how to handle or avoid such situations?

Cuba Part 3: Good Vibes Only.

To Trinidad or Not To Trinidad? 

That is the question.

D: Ok so you know how I said we planned this trip fast, right? Don’t judge, but it came back to bite us. We had planned to spend one night in Trinidad, Cuba to see the beaches, amazing waterfalls and cobbled streets. We really thought it was right around the corner, but uh, it was more like 4 hours away. Yikes. We hadn’t seen all we wanted to see in Havana yet though, so decided to cancel the Trinidad trip and stay.

The problem now was we were homeless?! Well... Not quite. We could technically book our hotel for another night, BUT since we wanted to stay in a Casa Particular all along, this was our chance! We huddled up in the hotel lobby to use the expensive wi-fi and found ourselves one in old Havana.

Best. Decision. Ever. 

We decided on Casa Vitrales, which was the cutest town house on a delightful street, walking distance from almost everything (And it had a plethora of outlets to charge electronics – It’s funny the things we take for granted!) Breakfast on their rooftop would be the perfect start to any day. 

Rain, Rain, you don’t have to Go Away.

Whenever we needed to go a distance (Like to Casa De La Musica, Havana's premiere dance spot) we rode snazzy, old American taxis to our destinations. For about 20 miles it costs around 5 cucs - The equivalent of about 5 Dollars or 1,500 Naira. And even that was negotiable, so as true Naijas we bargained even lower like serious professionals.

S: Dein, are you sure you were seriously bargaining? Seems far fetched, seeing as I'm usually the one that helps you out. Lol

D: You really couldn't just let me have this one. Fine.. Meks and Ife were the true G's. I sha supported. I'm working on those skills.

Anyway,

In one particular taxi ride, we had an experience to remember.

Picture us hailing down a bright blue Classic 1950's American Convertible - Pretty fancy on the outside, but eh... just all right on the inside. We had managed to bargain with the driver down to just THREE cucs, so we were feeling quite proud. Although the car was pretty old, the car had banging, state of the art speakers... complete with bass, vibrancy, everything.

As usual in Havana, music was blasting. 
From real salsa to Enrique Iglesias to Justin Bieber, 
this driver had aaaaall the jams.

But get this… We’re about two minutes into our ride and it starts to rain. Not drizzle, not a slight sprinkle, but a real downpour.

So far we had been enjoying the breeze with the top down, feeling very cool with ourselves, but now motioned to our DJ/ driver to help us close it.

He starts to laugh and shake his head.

Whaaaaat?!

Apparently the top was stuck. And by stuck, I mean we were also now stuck... with the rain slapping us.

We just looked at each other and burst out laughing. What else could we do??

We continued singing, jamming
and getting drenched.

GOOD VIBES ONLY.

S: I still can't believe you don't have any pictures of that. Come on!  

D: Sorry, the rain was not the kind of rain you bring cameras out. Just imagine. It was actually pretty epic. Now I'm trying to live by this Good Vibes Only motto. I wonder how this will go when I'm back in Naij! 😳😂

Cuba Part 4: I've got the keys.

....Keys, Keys, Keys.

Yes, I know what you're thinking, "Four posts on one trip? Sheesh, is it that serious?!" BUT you seeee, I started writing and kinda got carried away. And then realized there were still bits of information I wanted to put out there - Some major key points so to speak. Ha!

So this is mostly just an FYI post.

If you're going to Cuba or just purely interested in Cuba, this ones for youuu!

(For my personal Cuba stories mixed with other travel info refer to my other Cuba posts- 1. Border Controlla,   2. Nee-haaayria! and  3. Good Vibes Only).

Ok, The Key tips.

1). Don't expect spicy, flavorful food. (Ignore the fact that it might look peppery, like my platter here. It's photoshop. Jk. But really, local cuban food is typically on the more plain side, especially when compared to other Caribbean countries.

The mojitos on the other hand are pretty zesty! So that sort of makes up for it?

Cute dinner options, however, are Vistamar (seafood restaurant with amazing terrace views), La guarida (charming ambience, they require reservations) and San Cristóbal (Obama and Queen Bey dined there during their Havana visit - Snazzy).

Ah for lunch, there's a quaint pizza spot we loved near our casa at the intersection of Cuartes and La Habana streets in Old Havana. The owners were just fantastic!

2). There are two currencies used in Havana. The Cuban peso (CUP) for locals and the Cuban convertible peso (CUC) mostly for foreigners. Generally speaking, the locals pay significantly less than foreigners for the same product

3). Make friends with locals - this personalized touch makes for a more exciting and authentic Cuban experience. Plus! If you successfully accomplish this, you might be able to save a few bucks here and there considering #2.

4). Check out Museo Revolucion and the Cuban art wing of the Museum of Fine Arts to get schooled in Cuban History.

5). Spend some time people watching on Paseo del Prado, the pedestrian promenade that stretches from the ocean to the Capitol. Strolling down La Malecon (by the water) would also be a good option. They are both great ways to see "Cuban culture." 

6). As you roam the streets, wander into courtyards for their breath taking architecture (...and for the live bands, and random conversations and more mojitos). 

I'd suggest the courtyards at Hotel Marqués de Prado Ameno, Hotel Conde de Villanueva, Hotel Valencia, Hotel Florida and Hotel Telegrafo to name a few. There really are so many to see, each with something different to offer.

Hotel Marqués de Prado Ameno.

Hotel Florida.

7). Casa de la musica (Havana's music house/ lounge) is good on almost every night.

8). Definitely plan well. But also leave room to veer from that plan. Spontaneous occurrences are inevitable. Embrace them because they can easily make the best memories!

9). Relax! There is a lot to see and do, but try to take some moments to just chill. If you have access to a pool, take advantage of it! I mean, you're on vacation after all.

Click to play.

*Printable version of these tips here.

 

Special Thanks To:

(I can be so dramatic, but they really deserve it!)

Brian – The Hip Hop fanatic that introduced us to other locals and kept us so entertained as he constantly "freestyled" in Spanglish.

Juan – The dark chocolate Afro-Cubano who didn’t speak a word of English, but somehow managed to be a fantastic tour guide and got us discounts using the local currency.

Yusuf-Mikael– The Cuban-Canadian Muslim (such a rare combination) who knew the ins and outs of Havana streets including the history.

Lorenzo – The dance instructor who tried to get us to replicate scenes from the "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights" movie. Lol no comment.

Our trip would not have been the same without their cheerful energy and direction!

 

Any questions or comments about my trip? I'd love to hear from you! Simply Like, Comment, Share or all the above :D

NAIJA, we here.

NAIJA, we here.

“Babe, I spoke to Abel and he’s assisting me with my NYSC registration.”

"Wait, what? You’ve hit him up already?"

“Yes, now. We discussed this last night. I’m almost done registering. I should request to take some time off from work today, abi?”

"Today? Wait…hold up. WHAT?"

"Be there WHATing, we’re moving to Nigeria #winteriscoming." Lol

I would typically laugh at all my husbands' Game of Thrones #winteriscoming references, but not this time. Lol I was still half way in shock.

I mean fine, we had discussed moving for years, but...

Cuba Part 2: Nee-haaay-ria!

THE GOOD,   THE BAD,  AND THE LACK OF SNAPCHAT.

I confess, one of my favorite things about staying in a hotel was it included very limited, pretty expensive, BUT nonetheless existent Wi-Fi!

Pardon my excitement, 
but Wi-Fi in Havana is comparable to
tomatoes in Lagos right now – 
It's SCARCE!

So you’ve got to get it whenever you can.

They have only a couple of areas designated for Wi-Fi use in the entire city so if you’re walking around and see a sea of youngins all crowded around on their cell phones? Wi-fi spot!

Think of it as a social media party. Facebook and Instagram are the cool ones hosting the event. And needless to say, Snapchat is the needy friend that isn’t even invited. Awkward.

Yeah, Snapchat is not yet allowed in Cuba. I’m sure this will change soon enough, but till then - Instagram stories?!

HOTEL SITUATION

We initially wanted to stay in an AirBnb (or a Casa Particular as they call itto get a more local Cuban experience. But as we planned the trip so close to our arrival, our options for those were pretty slim. Melia Habana hotel ended up being fantastic for us though. Apart from Wi-Fi, it came with access to lots of amenities and numerous opportunities to meet fellow travelers while lounging in a pool and simultaneously sipping on a mojito. Yeah, Melia Habana was it.

Look at this plate and tell me it doesn’t make you hungry!

$$$ - In regards to currency exchange, we brought cash. This was easy to convert at the hotels concierge, but be warned:

ATM machines do NOT work with foreign cards… like, at all. 

And you also can’t swipe your debit/credit card to pay for things. So whatever currency you bring with you to Havana, that is literally all you have to spend during your time there.

Sheeeesh!

Good thing we had decided to ball on a budget, right?! –
Cause that was now our only option.

 

Viva La Revolucion

The first half of the trip was spent doing mostly “touristy” activities. We visited quite a few museums and plazas and learnt so much about Cuba (and why they have had a huge problem with the United States). It was really thought provoking to get a different perspective on the vendetta. If you’re interested in their side of the story, look it up! It’s definitely worth a google.

To be honest though, the entire city is like a museum.

Although deteriorating, it boasts stunning architecture from different periods, most notably Art Nouveau, Beaux Arts and Art Deco, as well as almost every other Western architectural style including the French and Spanish Renaissance. The design of each building is impressive, but looking at groups of these buildings together? Beyond magnificent! It really does feel like you were transported to a different time period.

Driving along Le Malecon - Click to replay. 

At an intersection in Habana Vieja (Old Havana).

At the historic Hotel Sevilla.

I admit, I’m also quite obsessed with doors, entryways and intricate architectural details and Havana met and surpassed my expectations. Gorgeous, colorful doors and details at practically every corner! It was phenomenal to witness.

NEE-HAAAY-RIA!

Our interactions with locals were probably THE best parts of the trip. 

We quickly found out that Cubans are probably one of the happiest people on earth. Every one we met on the streets of Old Havana was singing, dancing or both. So we joined them.

Click to play.

Music is undeniably a huge part of Cuban culture - In the streets, markets, and restaurants… everywhere. You can always hear music. I mean even the bicycle-taxis have speakers! Can you imagine? And if they didn’t have, the drivers would play music on their phones and sing along as they drive. It was really quite hilarious.

Most people we interacted with did not speak English, but were very patient and happy to talk with us. Between the three of us our Spanish was probably at the level of a 5 year old. But whenever we were in doubt, we spoke French and pieced the rest together. And it worked! – about 48% of the time.

Initially we would tell people that we came from our respective cities, NY, DC and Dubai, but quickly realized Nigeria (Pronounced Nee-haaay-ria!) is were it’s at.

From then on anytime someone asked, 
“Where you ladies are from?” 
We would scream in unison, "Neehaaaaaayria!" 
and our new buddies would get so excited and proceed to show us to the
next restaurant or salsa location.

We met a few Afro Cubanos who believed they originally came from Yoruba land in Nigeria so every now and then we would exchange a few words in Yoruba to keep things interesting. Even though I'm not Yoruba, cheers to Mr. Adeolu Ademoyo, my Yoruba Professor at Cornell – some of his lectures actually retained! Ese, Ojogbon.

The second half of the trip had a turn of events… We were faced with seemingly annoying incidents that could have a way of dampening moods. Check out my next post to hear about how we tackled them. – Cuba Part 3 – Good Vibes only.

Cuba Part 1: Border Controlla.

Remarkable architecture, street dancing, snazzy cars and beaches - I didn’t really need more selling points. I was sold. Cuba had been on my list for a minute, but with all the country restrictions, it kept getting pushed further down.

But now all of a sudden, it seemed like the absolute, perfect time. Two of my friends were determined to go and had started a “Cuba, it’s going down” email thread, complete with a Whatsapp group - so clearly we had to find a way to make it happen. I was already planning a 4 city US trip sooo I thought, eh why not toss in another trip?

$$$. Because it costs money, that’s why.

But shhh, I had already been sucked in. So my only request now was that we ball so hard… within a budget. Seriously.

Ceviche at Paladar Vistamar - C uban seafood r estaurant.

Ceviche at Paladar Vistamar - Cuban seafood restaurant.

The Logistics

Although most restrictions have been lifted, flying in from the US to Cuba can still be a little tricky. Tourism is technically illegal in Cuba so we had to choose a "meaningful reason" to visit.

We chose the “people to people” category, did some research and planned an itinerary that would cover almost every hour spent on Cuban grounds.

Because very few airports within the US fly directly to Havana, we figured we’d squeeze in another mini vacay between the vacay (smh) and booked our flights through Cancun to stay a couple of extra nights. We planned to get our Cuban visas from Cancun. (One of my friends flew directly from Miami to Havana and got her visa in DC first for $70, so that’s also another option).

Getting our visas in Cancun was rather straightforward.

We literally just told the airline rep at the ticket counter where we were going – Havana – and showed them our passports. We then paid 20 bucks for the visa slip. And that was it. No stamps. Nothing else. We were good to go.

The Arrival

The Interjet flight from Cancun to Havana was short and sweet (About an hour). As we waited in line to cross the border, my friend Ife and I started going over our carefully written plan on what to say to the officers. For real, we had a whole speech memorized and everything.

No one wants to get deported, abeg!

After a few minutes in line, it's finally my turn to speak to the immigration officer. She looks up at me, and asks what I'm doing in Cuba. I start my rehearsed lines, "Good afternoon. I am an architect interested in…." And she cuts me off.

"Ok"

I'm over there thinking omg that was easy. I'm such a G, they don't even need to ask me anything!

But no. The party in my mind is shut down as she continues, "Have you been to Africa in the last 30 days?"

Kai! Nigeria is about to ruin everything.

What does she mean 30 days? I just came from Lagos last week! It's like she could still smell Murtala Mohammed Airport on me. 😩😩

 

I thought about lying and disowning Naij, but ugh… I love my country too much and answered boldly, "Yes. Yes, I have." 

And then asked sheepishly, "Whyyyyy?"

She ignored me and continued, "To Liberia?"

"No"

"To Sierra Leone?"

"No"

"What about Guinea?"

"No"

"Ok you're free to go. Welcome to Cuba!"

Ah! Nigeria was not on the X list!

I felt like I had just received an award and quickly responded "Gracias Señora!" 

I considered asking her why she asked about those countries, but then stopped myself. I didn’t want any story about how she forgot to mention Nigeria. Loool

I later checked and found out that they still ask questions because of Ebola. So for any of you that have been to those countries recently, umm... Good luck! 

JK. All they do is take you to another room for additional screening, but you should be ok.

Great, so I was in.

I got my luggage fast and got a taxi from one of the airport vendors. They were relatively cheap, but in hindsight, we should probably have gone outside and hailed a taxi.

As we drove into town, I was in awe. Havana is definitely one of the most unique cities I have ever visited. 

Everything outside the car window was insanely colorful. 
The grass appeared greener and even the clouds seemed to be a more vibrant blue.
Could this be what it's like to live in High Definition? 
I was mind-blown!

We had only been in Havana for about an hour, but I was already convinced, “Cuba, it’s going down!”

First of all: Introduction.

 
Deinte and Sonume

 

S:

Guys, it’s happening. Ahhhhh! We are finally launching our lifestyle brand, Sincerely, Princewill. It has been such a long time coming. We’ve been sitting on this concept for about 2 years now?

D:

Yeah, time has flown by. I’ll be honest though, I envisioned this moment of writing our first post a little differently. In my mind, we would be lounging on a beach; legs stretched out, Mac on lap, with a stunning, perfectly blue ocean view as our constant inspiration. Maybe even a mimosa by our sides (you know, in case those creative juices need a jolt every now and then). Eh, not quite the scenario at hand. I’m currently in bed, sitting up stiff with my legs folded – no spectacular view or stimulant close by. And still in pajamas. Yikes. But yet, the cruise has begun… and I'm excited!

S:

Definitely! Where do we start?

For me, this pursuit started when I found myself suddenly living in the South of France. Despite the highlights of that incredibly exciting season,  I got tired of my somewhat lackadaisical approach towards achieving some of my personal goals – and it seriously began to bother me.

It’s one thing to live life reaching milestones
and doing what is expected of you, 
but it’s another thing entirely when you deliberately choose
to maximize your God given potential with both the serious and the not so serious things
– each day.

I simply was just certain I could live better, do better and be better – and I got to a point where I was willing to do something about it. I could only imagine the fulfillment it would bring – when I did more doing rather than just thinking or talking.

But something was still missing, so I waited… and waited. I remember stumbling on a quote that literally jolted me into introspection:

Perfectionism is an excuse.
Perfectionists are procrastinators in disguise.

 

Here I was, sitting on a concept that I hoped would enable me and others push limits and be better versions of ourselves and the very vice I was hoping to tackle appeared to be getting the best of me.

If only I could gulp a monumental dose of aggressive deliberateness and prolificacy, so my overall productiveness could be “on a hundred.”

Sincerely, Princewill - Sonume and Deinte

D:

Sonume, your word choices on their own are on a hundred. I appreciate the lyrical genius in you! But you see how our God looks out for us, right? That thing you knew was missing… was cleaaaarly me. 

Earlier that year, I had been working on a separate project and had reached a stumbling block. And as if God had planned it himself, it occurred to us (almost simultaneously) that what was missing from both of our ideas was each other.

As corny and dramatic as this might sound, it's so true. The quote that had slapped her in the face was applicable to the both of us.

Procrastination is such a little monster.

We contemplated, scrutinized and deliberated some more… And not too long after… Ta da! We decided to co-create and birth what we now call Sincerely, Princewill.

Our original ideas have gone through quite a few alterations along the way, but the underlying theme remains the same:

Sincerely, Princewill is a platform
to share impressionable life experiences
as we consciously try to find what makes living better.

It’s about positivity and living with intention. 
Quality over quantity, experience over mere existence.

S:

Dein and I are both very similar, yet so different. We hope to leverage on our strengths and abilities and use our skills to compliment each other.

D:

Sonume is the fun-loving, stylish lawyer who is married to the hilarious giant, Obi. They have THE happiest son on earth, Liam. I might be a little biased, but my nephew is all that aaaaand a bag of grapes. Yeah grapes, they’re his favorite… but I digress. She’s the responsible first child of our family. The one who’s always up to date on politics, always knows the right outfit to wear to what event, gives the best advice (regardless of the topic at hand… trust me), and is constantly trying out new recipes and chef-ing it up in the kitchen.

 

S:

Dein is my biggest little sister. When my mom brought her home from the hospital it was love at first sight. It’s such a blessing we would totally be BFF’s even if we weren’t related. She is a creative genius -an architect obsessed with any and everything surrounding design - from spaces to objects and graphics. She’s a killer artist and can literally draw you right now, doing whatever you’re doing… to the Tee! She’s incredibly bright, knows the words to the most ratchet rap songs (smh) and loves to get her dance on whenever the spirit moves. 

 

Together we pray that Sincerely, Princewill will encourage us to live our best lives and we hope our readers will gain some inspiration to do the same.

Live a more deliberate and well-curated life: 
Shift from being controlled by the speed of what’s going on
around us and instead take a more intentional stance
on our actions and decisions. 

Daily. 

Even, hourly.

We hope to embrace healthier habits and find beauty in each season. We’re not about simply focusing on the glamorous (though we sure appreciate this), but the idea is to strive to consistently live a life of purpose, discovery, growth and renewal.

When you find yourself a bit nervous about a new journey it’s easy to think,

“What if I fall?”

Oh, “but my darling, what if you fly?”

We really look forward to connecting with you. Please leave comments, send us a message, suggestions and actively support us by liking and sharing our page! And wait a minute.….SUBSCRIBE! We'd love to keep you in the loop!

Sincerely, Princewill