Tuesday, August 25, 2009

White Wedding OR Court?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Ok, so I've said here that I've been planning my destination white wedding. Well the experience so far has been anything but pleasant for me. I don't think I'm one of the girls who dreamt about her wedding day from the time she was a little kid and has obsessed about it from the time she turned 23. Let me just digress a little bit and tell you the story of one of my friends who till date is the most wedding crazed girl I know. She is 29 and she has her ENTIRE wedding planned to the hilt, but the rub is that she doesn't have a boyfriend. She's not even close to being in a relationship with anyone right now. Yet homegirl has the venue, the church, the decor, the color scheme, the dress, the bridesmaids dress, everything planned out. She actually wanted to book a venue but I had to stop her! She wanted to book the venue and church because she says the church she wants has a long waiting list (like a year or so) so she wants to book it now so that by the time it comes she won't have to worry about the place being unavailable for her desired date. Isn't that funny? I was always look at her and just shake my head. The only non-close family wedding I've been too, she's the one that dragged me there. Funny girl.

Anyway back to my post, so the long and short of it is that I have never been a "wedding, wedding" kinda girl. I don't think I've ever really dreamt of my on day, or of me putting on a wedding dress. It's weird, like I like watching all those shows on the Style network but I never imagine ME doing all those things. It was like a mystical event that happened in a parallel universe where grown women act like complete princesses and spend tens of thousands of dollars to do so, but it was just never the scope of reality for me. Attempting to plan my wedding so far has just brought all of that to the forefront. I don't get giddy with excitement about all the little details of planning and really, it just drives me nuts and makes me go bonkers. The other day I went to find out prices to print invitation cards at the Wedding Store in Ikeja and the lady there brings out these 3 huge binders of samples, I truly was bored by the tenth page of the first one! It WAS quite boring. Then there are colors and different shades of green and fuschia and gold and on and on and on. I mean how is someone supposed to actually make a choice? The way I see it is that there are so many options out there that it actually doesn't really matter which one you pick, you can just close your eyes and point and the likelihood that you will pick something that's alright is very high so why the drama? Even the wedding dress that I think everyone says the bride is so into, I'm not so into. I picked a dress, mostly because i was tired of looking through theknot.com's parade of like 3000 dresses, and sent the picture to my mom and she freaked out and sent it back because it was too "simple". And all this and I haven't even started talking about dealing with potential vendors. I email a couple of so-called wedding planners and they never emailed me back which to me is rude, I should NOT be begging anyone to be my wedding planner, it's not charity now, abi? I'd be paying so I thought they should show a little more enthusiasm for collecting my money. Same goes for the venue, after going back and forth with them for two weeks (i confirmed availability of my date even before that) they started trying to play games with me and the guy says there's another couple "competing" for my date and tried to get me to throw in some of their other services. I just got disgusted and really uninterested in the place. Sunday night, after not hearing from me for two days, the venue guy then sends an email that the venue is now available and the other couple has picked a date! Lies! I don't want to work with liars!

So that has brought me here: I don't want to plan any wedding. I'd rather have a court wedding and a marriage blessing after. No reception. At least so I think. I told my mother and while I don't think she understands it, I think she's willing to let me have my way. We haven't decided completely though. Some of my considerations are that our rent comes up mid next year, it's $25,000 and we have to pay for two years plus service charge of $8,000! If I have all my white wedding trimmings now, how will we pay rent next year enh? And we don't want to cash out any of our savings or investments for the wedding, we'd rather keep that money in an education trust or something. The other consideration is that I want to go here for our honeymoon:

Yep! That's the Maldive Islands, so beautiful. The problem is it's very expensive and the ever cash conscious beau will NOT be going there if we continued with our destination white wedding. The last consideration is my ring. So my engagement ring has diamonds around the band as well as the solitary stone in the middle, so a couple of weeks ago Bolaji and I were talking and I mentioned to him that I'd like a matching wedding band as well, meaning a wedding band that also had diamonds around the band as opposed to a plain wedding band. he voiced some concerns about being able to afford it so I dropped it. But now I told him, I said if we do a court wedding, then i AM getting my diamond band and he agreed! Really what it boils down to is if we cut the white wedding out (which I don't want to plan anyway), then we can afford to do a lot more and still save money.

So ladies (and gentlemen?) what should I go for now that I've told you all my considerations?

Court Wedding?

Nice, chic, classy, ceremony, where I'll wear a nice 50's style short dress with my hair back in a bun with a flower and nice white pumps. I think I'll wear something like this (minus the veil):

and then I'll do a marriage blessing service at my church. For those that don't know much about it, a marriage blessing is traditionally done in an orthodox church if the couple has already done the civil ceremony. The order of the ceremony is almost exactly like the one for a wedding except there's no exchange of rings (the rings are just blessed instead), the couple enter the church together, and there's a prayer of penitence. I'm a methodist and I've already spoken to the Reverend about this (he thought we were pregnant! we're not!). For the marriage blessing service I'd wear something like this:


White Wedding?

Destination wedding in a beautiful wine estate. The entire wine estate will be rented out by our wedding party which means about 22 of our guests would be able to stay in the guesthouses. The wedding itself will look like this:

A couple of things to keep in mind:

1. court wedding allows me to have my maldives honeymoon, diamond wedding band, and not have to move from "the island" to "the mainland" lol.

2. Most of Bolaji and I's close family members live outside Nigeria so will have to travel either way

3. Full white wedding in Nigeria is NOT an option. NEVER. EVER. either blessing or destination wedding.

Ok so what do you guys think? I'm going to make up my mind fully by the end of the week and I'd like to have your opinions it would really help me decide. I've been praying about this as well. I think I know what God told me yesterday but I'm still praying.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The "Husband" List

Monday, August 24, 2009
There's is something I've always wanted to share with all my girlfriends. I don't know how many of the readers here are single ladies but I'll share an insight from my experience that seems to be consolidated with other people's experiences that I've read about.

I think it's pretty normal behavior these days for us young women out there to at least voice out and be vocal about our "independency", and not needing any man. Believe me, I understand this completely. But one of the biggest "aha" moments I've had in my life was in my Feminism class in university. The teacher said to the class on one of the first days of that course "true feminism is no bra burning, or looking down on domesticity, real and true feminism is the giving/allowing a woman the right to choose WHAT and WHO she wants to be at any point in her life without feeling guilty about either choice". In essence what she was saying is that if a woman is at a point where all she wants to do is have babies, sit at home and raise those babies and cook for her husband, that's fine and no one should begrudge her that, and on the other hand if a woman is ultra-career oriented with no time for children, husband, housework, that's fine too, and no one should begrudge her that. Then, what is important for all women, is to find their balance, and be comfortable with that. This single thought changed my life and the way I saw things. I started to see that it's okay to want or need a partner in your life, it's okay to look at babies and feel that clock ticking, while at the same time keeping an eye on making my own money, and charting my own destiny.

I'll tell you why I'm saying all this. I think a lot of the times we as young ladies in this generation, we get carried away and when we get to this our age, I'm talking mid-twenties to mid-thirties, we still find it hard to admit to ourselves that YES, i'm independent modern woman, BUT i want a man, a boyfriend, a husband. Unfortunately I think this is the first step to getting a good one. I think what we have to do is be very honest with ourselves as to what we want in our lives. I've noticed that everytime I speak to a young woman who is in a happy relationship or marriage they tell you that yes, before that relationship, they admitted to themselves that they want a boyfie/hubby and acknowledged that feeling and took it to God somehow. Now I'll tell you my little story in this regard.

After moving back to Nigeria I think I "dated" a lot of frogs. Nigeria is just another kettle of fish it seems. Abroad I think there were setting "codes" of dating I was quite used to and aware of. Not that men didn't play games, they did, but in Nigeria I think men are used to being the boss, and getting their own way with EVERYTHING so there's not even the extra level of trying or sincerity I thought (everything here is just my humble opinion). There are large displays of "love" like buying you things, but I felt they almost approached it like a computer program: grandiose romantic gestures+i-want-to-marry-u=easy sex=leave girl high and dry. It was all just so complicated for me and I quickly got tired of that race so consciously, I knew I was tired and I wanted something real. I had read some excerpts of TD Jakes and I knew that I was interested in reading more about what other people thought of relationships and how to navigate the waters. So one day I was in the bookstore and came across this book:

It's called Love Smart by Dr. Phil. I know I know, there so much that many people reasonably don't like about the cliche of Dr.Phil but this book had so much common sense about it. The kind of common sense that is not so common perhaps, the kind that ladies KNOW but willingly ignore or make excuses for when faced with a tall, dark, handsome man with a killer smile. Reading the book made me confront head on a lot of my issues. One of them being that a jerk is a jerk is a jerk, regardless of whether he is pretty, or hot, or makes me coffee in the morning. If he never picks up my phone, or never keeps to his word, then he's a jerk and he's gotta go. No compromise. I had to face these things head on. But one of the most important exercises in the book is to really think deeply about what you want in a man/partner and actually list them down. And it's not a vague list that you come up with yourself but there are different categories of attributes listed and you have to think deeply and think of which one you would like in a partner. I did this exercise and some things actually surprised me. You start to think what's more important to me, a man that saves money almost to the point of stinginess or a man who gives you the world but at the end of the day you're both broke in the bank. Or how religious do you want him to be? goes to church every sunday?? once a month? tries to go to church? still figuring himself out? I had to list all these attributes down. Once I did the picture became clearer and I really felt I could make better decisions. For example if I met a man who was a fiiiiiiine man but lacked some of those qualities i thought most important, I just didn't follow through and at most we would just become friends. I did not compromise on my key list AT ALL. Of course the books also mentions the 80/20 rule, meaning there's not one human being out there that's gonna have the entire list of qualities but he SHOULD have about 80% and the most important 80% at that. Do not compromise on this.

So knowing what I wanted, I also began (like the book instructed) to think about that man and what about me would attract that kind of man. If i said I wanted an outdoorsy kinda man, then I should start learning outdoorsy things too or cross it off my list. If i said I wanted a man who was very serious about his walk with God, then I have to buckle up on that aspect too! If i want an outgoing, social kinda guy then I've got to be outgoing, and find out if I'm the sort of person who could stand an outgoing man. In essence, I began to work on ME. And it's not changing yourself to suit any man, no, but more of finding out more about yourself, and then becoming a better version of you. I started to concentrate on teaching myself to get closer in y walk with God, to listen better, to learn how to make a few dishes perhaps, to meet new people and learn about new things, to read more perhaps, to be more confident, etc. Things that actually make me a more well rounded person.

I have to say once this process was started, that's when Bolaji came into my life. He just waltzed in really. No drama. I wasn't attracted to him at first, I didn't even like him like that. And he pursued me, I mean REALLY pursued me. Not in the annoying drama-filled ways people do but he was just there for me and like he said, he just said to himself, "i want this woman in my life and i'm going to be patient, and I'm going to learn all about her, and I'm going to be there for her and support her as a friend even if she doesn't want to date me. I just want to be a part of this woman's life". For me I just started to notice that, wow, this man has A LOT of my qualities that I wrote down. I even went back to the book to re-read the qualities I checked off and stack them up against Bolaji, and my eyes just opened! I just saw that hmm, this girl, you better give this one a try, this is what you've been looking for.

So I just want to encourage everyone out there, that's truly fed up of the dating circus and craves a real relationship without the drama to just first sit down, even if you feel silly, sit down and right down what exactly it is you want. There are no right or wrong answers, right EVERYTHING down: tall, killer smile, religious, calls his mama but is not attached to his mama, wealthy, has a car, a house, whatever, just write it down, the shallow and unshallow. Know this man, then set out to know yourself, and ask God that he should bring this person into your life, AND he should help you and work on you so you'll be a good mate for this person.

True love, is a beautiful thing and never give up on finding it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Internet Service

Thursday, August 20, 2009
Hello everyone! I've got great news. Bolaji and I finally decided to set up a wireless internet service at home so I'm very pleased to say that I have actually very good service all day now and will most likely be blogging more often. I'm still upset at no comments though :( I'm thinking maybe the news of the co-habiting has knocked me off some few readers list. I'm just joking about this by the way but I hope that's not the case still. I miss the comments and the interaction and maybe now that I have easier access I'd be a lot more active in blogworld in general.

Bolaji and I had another minor incident yesterday but like all the others it's been solved immediately. I actually dno't feel like going into details on this one but I think it's something most people should be aware of. I think the minute you say "yes", then maybe a lot of things start popping up. I actually believe it's the anxiety that both parties start feeling concerning this new step in their lives coupled with all the drama of bringing two completely different families together and planning a wedding (or TWO ceremonies if you're Nigerian). I have to say thought, that I love my boo ever more each day and our love takes on a new dimension with every passing day and I can see how couples that have been married for 20 years just can't imagine life without their partner. That moment in the morning when we both part ways and go about our respective jobs is the hardest part of the day. Just before I came on blogger just now I just looked at the time and saw that it was 4pm and I hadn't spoken with my babe since 11 in the morning (!) and I just HAD to get on the phone and call. It's weird to describe the feeling even, like I couldn't take another breath until I spoke to my fiance.

Wedding planning is...exciting and exhausting at the same time! We're actually having a destination wedding and since our date is a very busy period for them I know I have to book early but finding a venue is hard job o! For us especially to do this mostly on the internet is just bananas. But I think I've finally picked a venue now and will possible book before the week is out. I feel like once that's out of the way, then the other things will be more exciting and fun since booking the venue usually means you have a semi-finalized budget already by that time. One thing that kinda messed up my day today is that all this while I'd been planning based on the exchange rate we used the last time we travelled to this destination but today something just told me to re-check, so imagine my surprise to find out that the exchange rate has gone up!!! So my budget in naira is not exactly going to cover all the things I had been budgeting for. So now I have to revise it. I just spoke to Bolaji now and explained everything and he says we'll think about it some more and work it out. The exchange rate snafu added 1million naira to the budget..yikes!

I'm thinking of making this blog a wedding planning/relationship chronicle blog now. I don't know. What do you guys think? More wedding stuff or more relationship stuff? I feel like our lives right now is extremely busy and we're being pulled in many different directions that not very much is happening.

Ok, I'm going to head back to work now. I'd like say a big CONGRATULATIONS to Yankee Naija Babe on her court marriage. In 20/30/40/50/60 years you'll look back and with a smile on your face know that marrying your now husband was the best decision you made! Enjoy your mini-honeymoon girl!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nooooo, Not My Virgin Ears!!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009
Hello guys. I swear I haven’t abandoned this blog I’ve just been extremely busy with work and with my applications for grad school. Plus you just add the hustle and bustle of Lagos plus the fact that the Internet has essentially gone out in most places, plus the few weeks I was down with malaria; it just makes blogging a little bit more difficult. But I’ve been thinking about you all and felt a little sad that no one has commented on the few last posts and no one has asked of me ☹. I don’t have time to blog but I check up on the blog every now and then ☹ either way I’ve missed you all!

Before I continue I’d just like to say to my fellow blogger who lost her father a week or two ago, my sincere condolences and you and your family are in my prayers. Stay strong, those we love are not gone but they are saving our nice warm seat by the bosom of our Lord for when that time (be it long) comes.

Ok, now why didn’t my more experienced fellow bloggers warn me about this funny monster called engagement? Lol. There are so many things that happen that just leaves me incredulous! But I love this whole process. I’ve never felt closer to Bolaji and everytime any one of these strange incidents happen, I just look at him and I feel reassured and happy that I get to experience these things with my best friend.

One of the stranger things that has happened is that all of a sudden recently, Bolaji has been showing extremely strange behaviours. For example, the Bolaji I know is the sweetest, most considerate, and kind person I know. This is someone that calls the waiter back to tell him that he has omitted a N3000 item on our bill or someone who after I’ve chucked the magazine I was checking out in the store on some random rack, picks it up and goes and puts it back in its place. But recently, homeboy has just been exhibiting strange behaviours that seem uncaring at the least. When I’m sick I’m usually very baby-ish and want and need a lot of attention and just really hugs. One particular night the malaria got so bad and I was feeling nauseous and very ill so I kept on repeating over and over that I felt really bad and felt like throwing up. Bolaji’s response was to tell me that it’s all in the mind, that I should just relax and it would go away, imagine that! Anyway let me just cut the story short and say that that same night he ended up snapping at me in a very bad way. I’d never seen that, from anyone before. How can you snap at a sick person? Gosh, we were so rocked by this event. I started to think to myself, this man cannot fulfil the vow of “in sickness and in health” nope, there’s no way. That night I went back to sleep on the couch and Bolaji came to me and pleaded and pleaded, saying he didn’t know what came over him and that he’s sorry. While I don’t know about that, this man IS going to be my husband so I said to him, I NEVER want to see that person I saw this evening again, if you say you’re sorry, I’m gonna believe you and forgive you. So that’s how we resolved that issue. He really tries you know, and I understand that. Nobody’s perfect and we need someone who would still stick with us when our ugly bits are showing. I love my babe.

The other strange engagement development I MUST mention is that people now randomly give us like explicit sexual advice. I just don't understand it. One of my aunties who's has been my favorite aunt from when i was very little just started telling us about condom use and withdrawal methods and having sex without a condom. It was weird. She also decided as a woman she should also give me pointers about pleasing my husband! As in really! I think Bolaji wanted to open up the ground and enter it just about then. I just don't get it, did any of you experience this as well, or is this just a quaint characteristic of MY family? Lol.

And then I have to say I’m not truly enjoying the inlaw process. Really if you think about it, one set of parents is stressful enough, then to add another set? Sheesh. Don’t get me wrong, they’re nice but since I don’t know how to kinda manoeuvre with them like I do my own parents, I think it’s a really difficult thing to do. Last week I went over to my inlaws to start discussing guest lists and budgets and all of that kinda stuff. My white wedding is going to be a destination wedding to a place that I’ve just always loved and dreamed I was going to get married in. As we were talking, Bolaji’s dad then asks me “I just want to ask to make sure, but is it that you want a headline wedding? As in Mr. So and So’s son weds in DESTINATION”. Bolaji’s family is a bit well-known but I was so offended by this suggestion. I don’t know. I didn’t know how to react. If I wanted a “headline wedding” I would have done it in Lagos! It’s just been very challenging the whole way around. I can’t wait for us to be married and start building our own family and traditions.

All through all of this, my babe wakes me up in the morning two days ago singing, “Could you be, the most beautiful girl in the world. Can’t u see, you’re the reason why God made a girl…” to me. How can I not be thankful I have this man in my life. Moments like that I just sit to myself and wonder, how did I win this lottery? How did I find real and true love like this? God loves me ☺))
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