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What Exactly is Fieldwork and How Do I Get Started on My Dissertation Field Research

Ho ho ho, back with another Grad School and Academia series post. I hope they are not becoming too frequent? It's just harder to write about something else, considering what is taking front row in my life now. *drumroll* You did not guess it right Lol. But yes, I am currently conducting field research in what Americans like to call, Africa. Yes, I'm in Africa Lmao. I'm kidding, I am in Nigeria for fieldwork for my research. This post might have several different parts that, depending on how lazy/busy I am, will be posted over the next few weeks (hopefully, not years). Don't worry as you will see in the forthcoming posts, fieldwork is not for the fainthearted oh.

Ibadan, Nigeria

I realized this might be confusing for a lot of people so I will do my best to explain. Depending on your field of work, this is especially in the Social Sciences, but if your work focuses on a region outside of America, there is a huge chance there is no data available for the research you want to conduct. In this case, you would have to visit the country or countries you are studying. In my case, I am lucky enough to be studying my home country (there will be a post on pros and cons of this idea, by the way). Field work, therefore, is collecting data outside of your office or laboratory or the library. This means, field work can be a Zoologist going to the zoo. Or a Botanist going out to study plants. Even people studying Americans also do fieldwork: could be heading out to study prisoners, or cops, or firemen, or Congressmen. But that's boring, let's talk about the more exciting aspects, shall we?

Yes, going out of the country.

University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Now that we have that out of the way, fieldwork varies a LOT. A Whole LOT. And I think that if you are not careful, you can waste a whole lot of time doing fieldwork. it is one of those things that is so amorphous, it can truly never end. So the best thing is to set a date for yourself, a deadline if you will. Because I have seen people conduct fieldwork for two years. And of course in this time-wasting category, I exclude ethnographers. Unlike the rest of us, ethnographers seek to be embedded in a society, to observe and study a way of life by becoming a part of that way of life. I have serious critiques of some ethnographic work, but that's not why we are here today lol.  But be careful, lest it's the tenth year of your phd and you still don't have a dissertation.

Fieldwork can also entail collecting both qualitative and quantitative data, like I am doing. (So ask me questions, guys. If you have any, just shoot me an email. Er...no please SEND me an email. You can never know with Americans, ahem). So with this in mind and coupled with LIMITED funding (cos y'all know in academia, it's always limited), I had/have a game-plan: I am determined to not waste my time. It's really that simple. Everything boils back to maximizing the amount of time I have. I am not saying my specific duration because I don't want you witches monitoring me (I didn't even know whether to post this after I had already left). But yes, generally, fieldwork ranges in duration. Last year, I had a short preliminary field work for one month. Some do more like 6 months to one year. Some do less, like 3 months to 4 months. so it depends on your work and your plan. Now, how can you even get started on your field research? Well, keep reading.

Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria.

1.) Go back to your proposal. I reckon you had or are currently writing one? You must pass and defend one before they even allow you proceed to fieldwork, no? So what did you say you would do in that? Keep in mind that things change when you get to the field. But the more details you can have at the proposal stage, the better for you cos then you can hit the ground running. In your proposal you also probably have explained how exactly you plan on collecting data. Since I am in the Social Sciences, I will give example from the Social Sciences. So for instance, you might need to observe certain groups of people. You might need to interview some key informants. Or perhaps, it's a focus group? Alternatively, it could be archival data that is only available in an obscure library in southeastern Zimbabwe. Or it could be surveys of citizens of that country. Or data from the government. It could be a  myriad of things. It could also be a combination of various methods. As much as you can, explain how you intend to obtain data to test the hypotheses you put forward. I realize this point can be particularly helpful if you are just about writing your proposal. So again, should you have any questions, ask away!

2.) Reach out to people beforehand: now if you are going to be interviewing people, you definitely need to reach out to people in the place you are going, telling them about your work and the fact that you will be coming over for your research. Even if you are not interviewing, and perhaps all you need to do is participant observation, you still need to reach out to folks. In fact, it might be prudent to be affiliated with an organization. The institutional back up can be incredibly helpful. All you have to do is reach out to one person, explaining who you are and what you do. It's a simple enough template saying, you are xyx, a Ph.D candidate at xyz, studying zyx....and so on. Be precise, be concise, and in many cases people respond very well. Not everyone will, but someone will. If you need institutional affiliation, keep reading below but know that you need to have reached out to them even earlier.

An exciting townhall meeting!

3.) Leverage your connections: you might be wondering where on earth you would find someone to reach out to in middle of nowhere, Romania. But you would be surprised. First of all, what works have been done on Romania? Surely, someone before you has gone there for field research. Email them. I found lots of my contacts by cold emailing (yup! worked like magic for me). But I also found some by chit chatting my friends who do work completely different from mine, telling them what I do and where I'm going. And a little oh wow I know this other person who does xyz, and bam it snowballs from there. Do not ever underestimate the power of the connections you have built so far in life. And don't be shy about talking about your work. While in the field, I desperately (emphasis on DESPERATELY) needed something that could make or break my work. I was at my wits' end when I messaged someone who is kind of a personal shero to me, but who I have only met once at a conference. I sent an email to her, half expecting she would be too busy being a badass to respond. By the time I woke up the next day (a SUNDAY), she had responded. And the person she connected me to helped me tremendously. This was after weeks of worrying that my whole plans were coming crumbling since I could not find a solution.  I will NEVER forget her kindness. So talk about your work, and email.

4.) Ask your advisors and professors for help: if you have tried cold emailing, and leveraging your own connections, and nothing bites or you still don't have enough for where you are going, then it's time to pull in the big dogs. For my preliminary trip, I was really shy about cold emailing people. I did not want to be a bother (NONSENSE) so I reached out to my advisor, and he reached out to someone who reached out to someone who was very helpful. So of course talk to professors who do similar works to what you do. Of course, be prepared, not all professors will be helpful. Some do not really like to "share" connections. So don't take the no or the silence personal. However, your advisor probably will and if they don't, honey, we are dealing with a way bigger problem here. Let's talk in camera. By my second time around, I had wisened up and sent emails to any and everybody that could even remotely help. And for the most part, everyone was incredibly kind and helpful. Except for a few jerks here and there. But who cares about those?

5.) Social media: thank God for this thing. If all else above fails, go to TWITTER. Okay so this is dicey because you can't just go one day and then bam find what you are looking for. It takes a systematic and continuous use of it. Follow the right people and just keep on. You can even be incognito, but follow some people whose tweets you like and whose works and reputation you respect. Something would lead to something and then, you would find they could be of help. Tweet at them!

6.) Calculate cost: okay this should probably be at the top, but you need to count your cost. You really need to figure out a very good estimate of what this trip would cost. Ideally, you should have this figured out a year before so you can apply for funding opportunities. Field research is expensive for various reasons; one of which is plans change, and sometimes what you bargained for changes. So set realistic expectations of how much you will need. And apply for funding opportunities like your life depends on it. Because it kinda does.

7.) Figure out housing and other logistical aspects: where will you live? How will you get around? How do you plan on keeping safe?  Please and please, please make sure your safety is paramount. Please. No research is worth your life. To do this, you need to have been in proper communications with someone on ground that can be trusted. This is another reason that institutional affiliations are prudent. You also need to understand you are a visitor where you are, you have to respect their customs and way of life. I mention this because there is often a sheer hubris among researchers that makes them feel like their research trumps all and everything. It doesn't. If in that village or town, they don't allow recorders, then don't record. If interviewing political officers is wrong, then don't do it or at least don't be so blatant about it. I also want to say as a researcher doing field research, ask yourself how you plan to give back to this community that is contributing monumentally to your research. Don't just take and take and then leave them worse than they were. Give something back, in some form.

All of these seem like a good starting point for field research. In subsequent post in this series, we will talk about other things like the day-to-day aspects of field work, where to do your field research and so on. This was incredibly lengthy, but bear with me, a lot of things needed explanation. As always if there are questions, let me know. I am not an expert (not even close since I am still learning a lot and asking questions myself) but I can share what worked/works for me and together we can be great lmao.

Love, and some adventure,

I

Eating My Way Through Lagos Part II: Some Foods You Should Try In Lagos, Nigeria

Here is part one,  first of all. Second, devil really did not want y'all to see this post because I have been trying to write this for the LONGEST, and I mean THE longest time. Third, I am definitely not a food blogger if the quality of these pictures are anything to go by. Okay so on to the post. Have I mentioned that I am currently in Nigeria for my fieldwork? I probably have. Have I also said I need to post useful stuff on fieldwork? I probably have. Now, have I posted any of that? Nopee, because something is wrong with me. As with part one, I was determined to take as many pictures of food as I possibly could. Whereas the problem with the last one was taking pictures in front of people, the problem with this is finding the time to actually sit down to eat. Of course, none of these people paid me or anything so these are honest opinions. At least, I try to give a honest account to the extent that I can remember because this brain of mine is thinking of a LOT nowadays.

The above was from Sidewalk Lounge, where S's husband threw a surprise get together to celebrate her. The food was amazing and easily the best I have had in Lagos. Loved it! There was roasted corn, roasted plantains, chicken, turkey, asun, all manner of potatoes... a platter essentially. Yeah it was really good. Now, when I told E about this, she was very surprised because apparently she had a bad experience with the food when she went so that's interesting and noteworthy. As for me, I had great food, and great company. All in all, 'twas a great night.

Some more food from Sidewalk. Before


After
Okay so on to the next. The below was from Casper and Gambini's . I know, I know, it made the last list too. But if you remember, we didn't actually eat the last time. This time, we did. This time around, I specifically asked to not taste the sugar in the mojito and it did not disappoint at all. It was good. They also served some bread before the main course. I remember the food coming out really late, and then we waited an even longer while before the bill came. So note that. As for the food itself, I ordered a sandwich that was too cumbersome to eat and got pretty exhausting really quickly. My friend E had a suya lobster and that was nice. We also had calamaris as appetizers and yes that was really nice.
















It took a while to remember this next one, but I'm pretty sure it was from The Place. Again, we gotta do this, Lol: The Place is the name of the place. So this was, I think, a stir fry pasta with their asun. It was not very memorable, but frankly I don't think it was cooked with the intention to be. The Place is basically fast food at this point.



Okay the next is another fast food meal, I think. However, it was really GOOD. From Sweet Sensations or so. Okay it just occurred to me I have not been talking price. For the fast food options, they are pretty cheap affordable. The actual restaurants come with really hefty bills (I'm talking about N10,000 to N15,000 per person without alcohol). Speaking of which, in any currency, isn't that pricey for the services being rendered. I don't know but I know it is pricey for the average Nigerian. To give you a specific idea of what some of these Lagos restaurant, the sandwich from Casper and Gambini's cost probably about N8, 000 or so...for a measly sandwich lmao?  Still I don't believe the regular joe goes even to a fast food when they want to eat. There are cheaper "restaurants" or "buka" options that are really, really cheap. Anyway, enough of the sociocultural and money talk. So yes, this Ofada rice and stew from Sweet Sensation was truly good. It tasted authentic and had lots of meat too. What more can a girl ask for?





The next one is from a restaurant called Bungalow, where I went with my girliess, R and Z. Whew the initials of my friends are something, no? Lol. We had a good time here and certainly NOT because of the food. This food took FOREVER. ha. and When it finally came, it was very underwhelming. Who puts corn in jollof rice? Yuck. Okay, it was not tasteless or anything. It was just really unimpressive. R ordered a burger and My God, I have never seen a sadder looking burger. Actually I did see one, but story for another time.





Okay here is another fast food meal below. Chicken was nice. But rice? Not so much. Oh and it's from somewhere called Chicken Republic, which is apropos.


Now, onto street food hohoho. I don't know how to review suya. I just know Suya can be disastrous or it can be exceptionally good. This one was the latter. Whatever you do, do not go to Lagos without having Suya. Well, except you're vegan or vegetarian, then ignore. The rest of you, make sure you eat Suya if ever in Lagos. You will not regret it. Suya is basically meat, a special kind of roasted/grilled meat with a special kind of pepper. I don't know how to describe Suya so just eat it jare.



Puff puff is another street food you should have. Unfortunately these ones below were not good. They were too thick and then I don't know what monster decided to add pepper to puff puff. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE should there be pepper in puff puff. And I can tell you for free that my people (*cough Yorubas cough*) are probably responsible for this travesty.






This next one I want to talk about is Cafe Neo, not because of the food but because of everything else. A nice coffee shop where you can work in peace and solitude? Yes, please! I was quite impressed to have such a cool sport in Las Gidi. (Oh gosh, remember when we called it Las Gidi. That is sooo 2008). They have various branches in Lagos. And I really really liked the idea of the place. I should also mention, that the coffee and other beverages are REALLY good. Like exceptionally good. The only annoying aspect was that their website boasted of several food options when in reality, they did not have most of them. That was very disappointing. I also suspect this happened because the branch I went was not on the Island.




And there you have it, part II of my food chronicles from Lagos. There certainly will be a part III. Though I should mention, being the terrible food blogger that I am, I keep forgetting to take pictures. Ugh.

I hope you enjoy this. And if you are not Nigerian, I hope you get to visit Lagos someday. A city us Lagosians love to hate, but also incredibly love.

Love,

I

Friday Reflections

1.) Meet men who have taken their wives' last names.

2.) My goodness, it's been too long since I did one of these. I don't even remember how to do this anymore.

3.)  A few things you have lived long enough to know.

4.) I recently started getting these moles on my face and neck, and I can't even begin to describe how annoying they are. Turns out, they are hereditary. Why do you have to inherit something you have no say about and you don't want?

5.) Every black woman needs to watch this empowering speech Angela Basset gave as she accepts the Icon Award at Black Girls Rock 2019.

6.) Why Impostor Syndrome is every woman's weapon.

7.) My God,  I have been writing three posts for weeks and I just have not gotten to posting them. Wow.

8.) Our jobs/professional lives have very clear markers and measures of success. How do you measure success and progress in your personal life even if it's remained largely the same (probably stagnant) for years?

9.) I don't have an answer to that. I'm just posing the question, so I can hear your own thoughts too.

Book of the Month: Everything Here is Beautiful

Come hell or high water, I will post the book of the month for September. Yes, yes I will. The book of this month is a novel by Mira T. Lee, which I completed in three days. I am very reluctant to include this fact because sometimes the invisible competition about how long it takes to complete a book that people engage in is not my cup of tea. But this one was special circumstance, and little things like me telling myself I must finish a book and actually finishing it reminds me that if I put my mind to something, then I can most likely accomplish that thing. And I think same goes for most people too; this is of course with reason. Do NOT build castles in the air.



Inspiration over. Everything Here is Beautiful is a story about the relentless bond of two sisters and how they cope with one's struggle with mental illness. In some sense, when you read the book, you will agree though only one person has the mental illness, both of them suffer tremendously. These two sisters are daughters of a  Chinese Immigrant, and because of this we see the role of many poignant themes all through. The most interesting thing about it though is how two sisters born of the same parents can be so different. One sister, Miranda is calm, responsible, has a steady career and marriage. The younger one though (and in real life, it is ALWAYS the younger ones lol) is more headstrong, more of a free spirit, lives life on her own terms, and unfortunately has to deal with mental illness. In fact when we meet her, she is married to a "one-armed Russian Jew". Yup. The pattern and relapse of her crisis shapes both her relationship with her sister and the entire book. Through this book, we see the dynamics of mental illness; its effect on the family and its destructive powers.

"Later, I would be told I had a twenty percent chance of maintaining a full-time job, a twenty-five percent chance of living independently, a forty percent chance of attempting suicide, a ten percent chance of succeeding. I was twenty-six years old."

I'm going to be honest that what sold me on this book was that it was about sisters. That was enough for me. I love anything that celebrates the ferocious and beautiful bond and love of siblings. But I wasn't expecting this type of book. Now, I did not like this book at first. Perhaps because I was rushing but it felt rushed, and I did not like the pace. At some point, it seemed like the author was rambling. This might also be because she told the story from different points of view. By itself, this was actually a genius idea; you know I love this idea.  But still...it just felt like she was trying to get some parts of the story over with. And some of these parts she really could have done away with. There was a lot lot of quotidian events. Like okay, they had dinner and so? But isn't that what a great story is about? The ability to narrate the seemingly ordinary in a way that makes you feel a part of their lives. I also never felt like a part of any of these characters, and this is not because Lee did not painstakingly narrate the ordeals of mental illness; she did. I just could not break through.

Okay Ife if you did not like this book, why is it the Book of the Month?

Because it truly is an amazing book. The themes she explores, the author, and the story. In the last few pages of the book, I actually cried. And a book that gets me to cry is one helluva book. It's heart-wrenching; tells an unusual love story filled with passion, pain, forgiveness. It is insightful, and incredibly complex. What's not to love?

In addition, there was not great attempt to paint characters as either good or bad. In real life human beings are more complex than that binary classification. Sometimes, we are good and kind and forgiving. Other times, not so much. I think you will learn a LOT about mental illness, and the more we can learn about that, the better we can all be.

So anyway check it out, and let me know whether you enjoy it.

Love,

I

A Sunday Ramble On Being Carefree, Being Anxious, And Being Gifted

I'm inspired to just come here and ramble. Is that not what a blog is for? This is not even a planned post, and I have several of those lined up. I just felt like rambling today. Plus it's been a while I did one of these. I'm currently in Nigeria for field research for my dissertation. Normally, I would not want to say this publicly but no effs to give right now. I'm a not-so-silent fan of mizadventures of mizchif's blog, and I just read her last post and I'm full of admiration of how authentically she is living her life. I'm almost envious.  I mean, she is truly livin' her best life. I have certainly not attained that level of living authentically and free with no bother. But I am really getting there. I'm certainly better than say, earlier this year, or last year. When I was younger, a teenager, I was THERE. I literally did not care about anything or anyone. As I have grown older however, and with more to lose, I have relaxed in that I now care way too much. Yeah, gotta lose that. For you, what does living your best life mean? Because I know for sure mine would look nothing like mizchif's at all. The key though is being unapologetically you; not living for others, however you define that.



I have to say that it still matters that I am kind, that I have empathy, and that I have love in my heart. However, I must first love myself and fill myself. Because of that, I am learning to love people from afar. I am learning that when someone shows me who they are, I best listen. No hard feelings. No anger. No hate. Just go. For many people, I would rather love them from afar.  If you feel this way about certain homo sapiens in your life, I want you to know it does not mean you have not forgiven a person, and it does not mean you do not have Jesus in you. It means you have enough Jesus in you to flee temptation. Fin.

I say this all to say in the words of  our internet Auntie, Chimamanda, I am striving to no longer desire likability; to not twist myself into shapes so that some people like me. 

There are people who dislike you because you do not dislike yourself. - Chimamanda Adichie

I have been so anxious about my work more recently; so so anxious. I have to mention that this is a very frequent occurrence. Another thing you should be mindful of should you want to ahem go into academia. Anyway, yes anxious. So so anxious. When you really evaluate it,  on the one hand, it's hard to pinpoint a root-cause of work-related anxiety; on the other hand, somewhere beneath it all is a terrifying fear of failure. This is of course maddening.  So for this current season I find myself, the word of God impressed upon my heart is,

even though the fig tree have no blossoms
and there are no grapes on the vines
even though the olive crop fails
and the fields lie empty and barren
even though the flocks die in the fields
and the cattle barns are empty
yet I will REJOICE in the Lord
I will be joyful in the God of my Salvation - Habakkuk 3:17-18

Basically, no matter what happens, I will choose rejoicing. It takes another level of growth and spiritual maturity to be grateful even when things are not smooth. There is a whole other peace you experience when you know even if trouble comes, God is still good. God is still gracious. God is still kind. Now all I ask is if trouble comes, God should grant me the grace and peace to endure. It's like someone said on Instagram: she no longer prays not to go through hard times, but she has learnt to embrace suffering.  And that now just prays for peace and grace to navigate whatever comes her way. Amen? Amen. So all those emails that terrify me, I will still choose to rejoice. Come rain, come sunshine, I will choose to rejoice.

A recent caption on the blog's Instagram. Yes, we now have Instagram oh. Have you FOLLOWED? Modern Cedar Squadies, where you at? Followwwwww. Hahaha. Okay on that post, I mentioned how lethargic I have been regarding blogging. In my defense, if you ever experienced a day in my life, you would wonder where on earth I find the time for hobbies like blogging. Now normally, I would stop blogging altogether instead of being so inconsistent. But then, surprisingly this comes so easy for me, you know. Yeah writing does. I never quite admitted it to myself, but after recently coming up with a poem to post on the blog in literally five minutes, I realized wow this is quite...easy? Not that writing is easy (duh! if it were, I would have tons of books), but I mean compared to most other things I do, this—blogging  and its variants—come quite easy. I thought it must be a gift then, and even if it isn't, it really makes me feel good. So why stop? Also, remember we are about doing what we truly love. Again, normally I would never "brag" about being "good" at something. I don't think I have ever even admitted to myself about being good at anything, but again Berry Dakara posted about giving yourself a compliment. And that is something I never do. So yeah I gave myself a compliment by admitting that I have a "thing" which may or may not be a gift, but which I love and I'm pretty good at. So consistent or not, audience or not, I will keep doing it.

So consider all of these today: be more authentic and carefree; lose the toxic people in your life; choose only those who choose you; choose to rejoice no matter what comes your way; and compliment yourself. I implore you to imbibe these if at all possible.

Love,

I

P.S: Happy birthday Auntie Chimamanda!

Does God Lie or Does He Change His Mind?

A few weeks ago I read about Hezekiah and his prayer to God, and it really wasn't my first time reading about the story but I felt like I got a newer interpretation that day. When he was ill, God sent Isaiah to let him know he would die. Like it would be for most people, this was devastating news for Hezekiah and he was so sad, one could say it sent him into a downward spiral. He cried, turned his face to his wall and prayed to the Lord:

Remember, O Lord, how I have always been faithful to you and I have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you?

He said, while he broke down and wept bitterly.

Picture: by my photographer sister


Now because God's heart tugs when we are  sad, and because he is a compassionate and merciful God, He actually listened to Hezekiah. God told Hezekiah [through Isaiah] that He had heard his prayer and seen his tears.

Note: God sees you, no matter how matter it doesn't feel like it. He sees you.

So God decided to add fifteen years to Hezekiah's life. Doesn't it bring you immense joy and relief to know that God sees our tears, our worries, and our concerns? I had this sitting in draft for  a long while (more than a month), but these past few days made me remember it again and boy, do I need this reminder? While Hezekiah was praying and praising God after the good news, something else stood out for me. And by the way, God did send a sign that he would keep his promise. He always does that. But yes, what stood out for me was that even though that sickness and the planned death were the will of God, it didn't stop Hezekiah from asking for a miracle.

But what could I say?
For he himself sent this sickness

A lot of times, when we think a challenge is from God with an intent to discipline us or just as a part of his will, we are reluctant to say God let this cup pass over me. Meanwhile, even Jesus [the actual messiah], as He approached death (to fulfill his greatest mission) asked God to please let the cup pass over Him. In an old post,  in explaining what faith can look like in action, I also talked about how we shouldn't always resign to well if Gods wants it to happen, well then it will. I think sometimes, we NEED shameless persistence. We must never be afraid of asking God for a miracle, no matter how radical it looks.



And yes, I know, "God does not change his mind like the son of man". That is of course in the Bible Ha! Except it did seem like God changed his mind in the Hezekiah case, doesn't it? It's amazing. I love to say there is a mystery to God that we don't know. The truth is if anyone thinks they know God from the beginning to the end, if people act like they have ALL the authority on God, they are either lying or it's some form of sheer hubris, or both. The greatness of God is so vast that we just do not know the entirety of God and I don't care how many times you read the bible from cover to cover. I, of course agree with the verse that says that God is not a liar neither does he change his mind. But to paraphrase Steven Furtick, God may not change his mind, but we ourselves evolve in how we see God. So it's not God that "evolves" as people like to say, it's that we do.

When non-Christians are rightfully worried about some of the rhetorics in the Bible like slavery, subjugation of women, and so on; Christians attempt to refute this by saying times and contexts have change. The non-Christians in turn challenge us again that if God does not change his mind then he must be the same God who condoned slavery (all of this is wrong by the way, but we are not here to talk about this). The truth is this God sent His son for salvation so our relationship is beyond laws. The same ways Christians are notorious for spouting a few verses as it suits them, non-Christians also love to spout a few Bible verses with the intention of judging all Christians by a few problematic ones. I think if you want to critique a thing, then at least know it. And knowing it is not merely regurgitating a few popular phrases.

I digress.

The point being, do not be afraid to go before him, to plead for mercy. And know, always KNOW that at His core, He is a good good father. And you and I are loved by Him.

Love,

I

Friday Reflections

1.) It has been so long since I did one of these, huh?

2.) Okay let's get into it. This is one of the saddest stories ever. And here's his wife's version.

3.) When puffpuff makes it to New York Times.

4.) More seriously, read  Yetunde Komolafe's post on the New York Times on 10 essential Nigeria Cuisines. More than food, it actually tells a tale of being Nigerian and our dynamic relationship with food.

5.) As someone very interested in food (how else can you define an obsession with food Instagram accounts?), I loved it. HOWEVER, I gotta say, some of those things pictured were very questionable. For instance, THAT is not the Agege Bread I know. But A for effort?

6.) Watch this video on the magic of not giving a f***. I really want to take this approach and God knows if I have to watch this video once every day to get it into my thick skull, I will.

7.) When Burna Boy won the BET award for best international act, and he was nowhere to be found, his mother walked majestically to the stage and accepted it on his behalf. I half expected to find you know, a mom, which we did. However she is more: an articulate, brilliant momager. Turns out she is no slouch herself: read more on her.

8.) Remember that shoddy journalism on Aziz Ansari's bad behavior. Here is an expose on the rise (?) and fall of that publication.  Chileee the manner of misbehavior that went on there is jarring and disgusting. That place itself needed a full investigation on workplace sexual abuse and just impropriety. What is wrong with  young folks?

9.) Meghan Markle interviews Michelle Obama.

10.) Read about this man who was bedridden for 11 years and then...invented a surgery that cured himself.

11.) Why 30 is not the new 20

12.) This beautiful story of childbirth.