2 February 2011


I feel as though I have so much to say and it's (figuratively) bursting at the seams. Strangely, I don't feel like sharing for a while yet. I'm trying very hard not to let this blog be a place of doom and gloom so I'll be back when I'm happier. I've been miserable for the last two months or so and I'm tired of pretending to be happy so I'm actively working on making myself happy at the moment. My darling Adele's been keeping me company. She's totally like a friend (in my head :-D) Here's one of my favourite tracks (along with 'Turning Tables') called 'Someone Like You' from her new album '21'.  Hope you enjoy and keep me in your prayers. I'll bounce back, I just know it.

I'm adding 'Hometown Glory' as a bonus. This was the very first song she ever wrote at the age of 16 and if you've never heard this sublime ode to London, you're welcome!

4 December 2010

When they crawl out of the woodwork

Why is it that every time you decide to just focus on the rest of your life and  give love a rest that old faces come crawling out of the woodwork?

I went out on a few dates while I was living in Ghana and I was actually in a relationship with somebody for a few months but I didn't blog about it for some reason. I can be very protective of my relationships and I think I still live in perpetual fear that somebody I'd rather stay away will stumble on this blog sooner or later. Oh well, let's embrace the fear. Let's call this one Koforidua Boy. I first went to Koforidua with my parents when I first arrived in Ghana in October and only really saw my grandparents whom I hadn't seen in over 15 years. I didn't see many of my cousins as they were in various places and I was only there for the one night. Fast forward a couple of months to Christmas eve '09 and my Dad calls me from Atlanta:

Dad: Are you going to Koforidua for Christmas?
Me: Erm I wasn't planning on it....
Dad: Well do you know your cousin is getting married and I think it would be really good if you went. It starts at 7 a.m. the day after Christmas. (His way of telling me I have no choice in the matter)
Me: I guess I can cancel all my other plans and make the likely to be 2hr trek at 5a.m. on Boxing Day to go to the wedding of a cousin I barely remember. I'm sure she'll be thrilled to see a cousin she hasn't seen since she was about 7 on her special day when all the attention should be on her. (KMT)

Obvious sarcasm aside, I made the trek to Koforidua after only having  about 6 hours combined sleep in the two days prior and I was happily treated like a museum display object when I arrived. As hard as it it to believe, I can be painfully shy especially around people I don't really know. I know that I was amongst my family but I didn't really feel like I knew them at the time. After hearing various re-tellings of the "funny" things I used to do as a child and how much I'd 'changed' (i.e. how did you get so fat?) the midday sun started to make me faint and I was ordered inside to rest. It seems I'd allowed the air-conditioning I was used to in Accra to make me soft- how embarrassing.

After my "rest", which had turned into a two-hour nap, I came downstairs to catch the engagement in full flow. My cousin's only a couple of years younger than me and her husband's my age so there were loads of people my age who had traveled from far and wide to make it to my cousin's big day. I soon as I stepped outside I saw him. He was 6"3, athletic build, beautiful eyes etc. etc. The works. I couldn't take my eyes off him and this horrified me! I'm usually the queen of playing it cool but I know he caught me staring at him at least twice. The next day, wedding festivities finally over, we were invited for luck at my cousin's new in-laws house and this somehow led to a game of musical chairs. To cut a long story short, Koforidua Boy and I ended up being the last people standing and in our mad rush for the last chair, I ended up falling right on top of him. Humiliation aside, it was all in good fun and served the purpose of breaking the ice between us. The "grown-ups" amongst us decided to continue our party at a local bar and after several Alvaros, Stars, akonfem and kebabs, Koforidua Boy asked me when I was going back to Accra. I told him I was leaving the next day and we exchanged numbers. I was playing Miss. Cool but I felt like jumping up and down in excitement. I went back to Accra for a few days and came back to Koforidua for New Year's Eve. Koforida Boy and I had been talking to each other every day and he'd made no secret of the fact that he wanted to date me properly. He'd already asked me twice but I'd said "no" partly out of a fear of dating after The Musician and partly out of pure 'shakara'. Anyway by New Year's Eve I thought "new year, new beginnings' so I finally said yes.

As usual everything was wonderful at first until they spectacularly fell apart a couple of months later. The reasons are far too convoluted to go into detail here but they boiled down to these:

Her: He still had some growing up to do and was far too sensitive. He'd go on like I had drowned his puppy if I ever told him something he didn't want to hear. I was a straightforward person when he met me so why would I change now? I felt he was used to girls falling all over him and girls willing to do whatever he wanted just because he was good looking (those Central University girls know who they are...). I also felt that he didn't make enough time for me. He lived /went to uni in Tema while I lived right at the end of the Tema/ Accra motorway so I didn't accept distance as an excuse.

Him: He said I was too harsh at times and that I "nagged".

Anyway, I broke up with him, which went down like a lead balloon. His first utterance was "nobody's ever broken up with me before" to which I answered "there's a first time for everything" and we decided to go our separate ways. After this everybody and their mother decided to get involved and we went from a semi-amicable split to outright acrimony. We continued in this vein and I started dating somebody else. We had no contact until the day before I left Ghana. He randomly called me to "check on me" and I informed him I was leaving Ghana the following day. He claimed he was hurt that I hadn't called to tell him I was leaving earlier and he'd wanted to give our relationship another chance etc. etc.

Needless to say, I moved back to London and we had intermittent contact until a few days ago. Koforidua Boy has now decided we're destined to be together and we should be dating. I know my description of him doesn't sound like it but I genuinely like this guy. Apart from the things that bug me about him, he's a lovely person who's extremely intelligent, focused, ambitious and very good-looking to boot. He basically ticks all my boxes. However, how are you going to tell me you're ready to be in a relationship with me again when we're 3,000 odd miles away from each other? I can't do long-distance relationships although I have nothing but admiration for those who can.

I went to Atlanta two months ago and I saw my ex-boyfriend whom I dated for years (and who broke my heart) and he was hinting at the two of us rekindling our relationship. I also seem to have semi-rekindled my Musician habit so this whole Koforidua Boy debacle is in addition to all of this. I guess men really are like buses- you wait ages for one and then three come along at once.

Is there some kind of secret law that means men come crawling our of the woodwork just when you decide to focus on yourself? Forget all of these exes, why can't I just meet someone new?!

Currently listening to: All of the lights- Kanye West (The whole of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is excellent)

11 November 2010

I'm still here

I apologise profusely for abandoning my blog in such a shameful manner. When I first moved back to London from Ghana, I wasn't really in the mood to write as I was too busy moping around and missing Ghana. Once I finally got my blogging mojo back, I was just starting a new Masters degree in International Relations and I just didn't seem to have the time. Well I still don't seem to have the time but I'm tired of thinking to myself "I must blog about this" and so here I am. I have a lot to say (as usual) and it will all come out in due time.

Thank you to all the followers who haven't abandoned me and I'm looking forward to interacting with the blogosphere once more. I'll leave you with this great rendition of the one and only Nina Simone's "Four Women" by Kelly Price, Marsha Ambrosius (formerly of Floetry), Jilly from Philly (Jill Scott) and my girl Ledisi (get her album STAT!).

21 June 2010

Cape Coasting By

I finally managed to find some time this past weekend to go to Cape Coast. I haven't been to too many places since I came to Ghana as work usually left me far too shattered to do anything else. My frequents trips to Koforidua aside, I think my fleeting trip to Kumasi is the only one I've undertaken. Another deterrent to these trips was not having anybody to go with. After last weekend, I really regret using this as an excuse. Next time I want to go somewhere, I'm just gonna do it. Screw waiting for other people to help me fulfill me heart's desires!

Anyway, back to Cape Coast. I was talking to a colleague who's doing a summer programme at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) and I mentioned to him that it was a shame I'd never made it there. He suggested that I should come to visit and after "hmmming" and "erming" for a while (he fancies me) I jumped on an STC for an overnight visit. I was pleasantly surprised by the STC buses. They were air-conditioned, not too confining, and you could entertain yourself with a shit Nigerian film should you so desire. I didn't.

The trip took about two and a half hours as the bus was quite slow and I saw many of the famed Cape Coast boardings schools along the the way. The UCC campus is nothing like the Legon campus which is all white buildings and red clay. UCC seemed more green and "foresty" for a lack of a better word. Didn't do much that day as I arrived around 5:30 and all I wanted to do was watch the England match (colossal waste of time there!). So Saturday morning my colleague gave me a quick tour of the campus and we headed to Cape Coast castle for what I knew would be a depressing tour. Our tour guide, Oscar, was great with the seven people in our group and he was extremely patient and knowledgeable in answering any questions we threw at him. My colleague and I were the only Ghanaians in a group of Black Americans and strangely their reaction to the things we saw made me sadder to the things themselves. Does that make sense? I mean it was horrible seeing the conditions the slaves were held in but one of the American women completely lost her shit when we were shown a cell for dissenting slaves who were condemned to die. There were still marks on the floor and walls where the slaves had tried to scratch their way our with their shackles but the teeth marks where desperation had made them tried to gnaw their way out did it for me (and her). She sat on the floor and caressed the marks whilst sobbing uncontrollably. Man that was enough for me and I was glad when the tour ended soon after. Stupid me forgot to bring a camera so the camera on my phone had to do. I snapped some pics as best as I could.

The Door of No Return where slaves passed before they went on the ships.

The floor of the cell scratched my condemned slaves. The tiny window-less room
often had about eighty men stuffed into it, who were left to die. The slave masters didn't bother removing the dead bodies until the last slave had died.

I acted like a typical tourist and bought some cool paintings before I had lunch at the Castle Restaurant which is right next to the castle. Their seafood was amazing and coupled with an ice-cold Star beer and the amazing view, it was hard to think of anyplace I'd have rather been. The beach at Cape Coast was gorgeous and nothing like the filthy messes masquerading as beaches in Accra. Cape Coast is very much a fishing town and people were friendly in general. However, people trying to force you to part with your money is as common there as it is in Accra. Why are people always flipping begging for money, especially from the people they can single out as non-locals? I had to tell one man about himself after he spent 20 minutes pestering me to buy a Ghana hat I neither needed nor wanted. KMBT.

Anyway, I'm rambling now in what was intended to be a short post. I'll just add that I've never felt more peace in my life as I did sitting on that beach, staring at the sea. There's something about the sea that always calms me for some reason. It makes me realise just how amazing God is and also makes me kind of small (but in a good way). My planned to trip to Elmina Castle and Kakum National Park, just a few kilometres away from Cape Coast didn't happen as I wanted to catch the Ghana match and I had had enough depressing tours for the day. I know I'll definitely be back though so I'll do all the other touristy things then.

Here are the paintings I picked up after haggling for about half an hour.They were ridiculously cheap though and I love them so no complaints here!

18 June 2010

Girlfriend's Boyfriend

The song "Girfriend's Boyfriend" by Gwen McRae just popped up on my iPod and it brought back memories bwoy! This was my anthem for Michaelmas and Lent terms 96-97 at my boarding school in Sussex.

Have you ever had the misfortune of having a serious crush on a friend's man? If not then count your lucky stars! The lucky fella was J.E.- a pimply-faced, hair-in-curtains having, feet- dragging, thirteen-year old who was in a relationship with my good Serbian friend M.J. Now, typically for me at the time, I revelled in the whole unrequited love angst at the time. I used to listen to sad songs like "Nobody Knows" by the Tony Rich Project and devoted pages upon tear-soaked pages to this saddo in my diary. To make things worse, M.J. was a complete sweetheart so I couldn't even hate her to make myself feel better. I was also really good "friends" with J.E. and acted as their mediator whenever they had one of their (frequent) fights or break-ups.

Now in the Lent term of '96 I was enjoying some "wallow in your own self-pity" time in my dorm, chilling on the bottom bunk, writing in my diary all on some "I LOVE J.E" nonsense. "Pure Swing IV" (I can't be the only one who remembers these music compilations!) had just come out and the song "Girlfriend's Boyfriend" was on it. I was listening to the CD on my DISCMAN (remember those?!) and I couldn't believe my ears. Who was this person and why were they singing about my 13 yr-old life?! I listened to the song on repeat for damn near an hour and I was so engrossed that I didn't even notice that M.J, who slept in the top bunk above mine, was leaning over and reading everything I had just written on the page. Yes, the very same page I'd just scrawled "I LOVE J.E" all over. When I finally realised, "mortified" is not even the word to describe how I felt. To compound matters, M.J. was so damn nice about it! Patronising as hell, to be sure, but she kindly pretended that my crush didn't exist. She told me to forget about it and just kept it moving. In hindsight that kind of maturity in a mere 13 yr old is damn rare in some full-grown adults these days. Maybe it's because she had come from a war-torn Yugoslavia so everything else was a cakewalk to her....

My crush quickly died a deserved death after that and M.J. and J.E. broke up two weeks later but it left a real impression on me. I've been so damn paranoid of getting too close to any friend's man since. I'm one of those people that if I like you, I really like you so I just like to keep them "hello and goodbye" kind of relationships with my friends' boyfriends as much as I can to avoid any kind of potential drama. So as I leave you with the dulcet tones of Gwen McRae (I originally thought it was a man singing this song. A man who had fallen in love with his "Girlfriend's boyfriend" O_O), have you ever been in hers or my position?

"What would she do if she knew that I'm crazy in love with you?"
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