Rigata to Idu

Hey fellow bookies! How has your first 11 days in 2019 been? I hope you been breathing and readjusting to your work or school schedules with the holidays being over.

Car Selfie on the way to Rigata Train Station in Kaduna State, Nigeria.

I want to share my 5.01.19 travel diary from Kaduna State to Federal Capital Territory, Abuja to Adamawa State. I travelled from Rigata, Kaduna to Idu, Abuja by train! It was an odd experience because I kept saying ‘we’re moving so slow’. But in truth, the journey was smooth and quick. I usually travel by road or air so it was new experience. The landscape was littered with dark granite deposits on sandy desert terrain, sparse sandy brown and green foliage. The train was air-conditioned and my seatmate was really cool.

Idu Train Station in Abuja, Nigeria. The arid harmattan is a filter.

We arrived at Abuja a few minutes after 2 hours. Then I had to roll my bags. (PS: I’m never packing 4 heavy bags on such a trip again.) Although, my seatmate helped me out with it. An uncle picked me up then drove me on vast, tarred express roads to the Airport. My blue, 55mins flight took me to the Yola International Airport.

FCT Abuja in Nigeria

I’m back to Yola for the Nigerian Law School 2nd Term. The end of Week 6 is here and we’ve finally been split into groups. I hope you’ve been enjoying the stories I’ve published so far in 2019. Scroll down to catch up.

Don’t forget to care for yourself this weekend!

September Sizzle

Pluck every bright moment of joy in September gemstone!

Its two days to the start of my 500 level second semester exams for my LL.B program. September is beginning with a sizzle! It hasn’t been easy staying away from reading fiction(ok, ok, I admit I read peeked two chapters of Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour). Let’s take stalk of August and I’ll share my plans for the blog this September. I have spent the past two months researching and typing my LL.B Project. However, the past few weeks I had to add tests, semester papers, examination prep to the mix. I had to put myself on a study curfew (ie. limited social media use, less frequent dates, nutritious meals, biweekly exercising, journalling, no fiction reading, reading legal academic and research papers or coursework). There have been moments where I squeal with excitement and sigh with worry.

In the midst of this I was temporarily displaced from my apartment by flood during the Ileya holiday.  I’m grateful to usher in September while back at my apartment.  I read a lot of Young Adult Fiction in the earlier weeks of August. To check out my reviews click here. I read When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon and The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the best burger in Los Angeles). Both books were on my August To-Be-Read list. I started a new category, Creative Non-Fiction for my none fiction pieces. Have you read Ileya In Lagos? I’m proud to have completed reading Meet Cute. I’ll publish an updated Did-Not-Finish book list second week of September. 

This September I want to publish drafts of my thoughts on books I read in August and previous months. With September begins the “EMBER” months and Christmas countdown. I’m thinking of publishing a creative non-fiction piece about my December tour of Cross River State in 2017 with some useful travel tips. A avid reader of the blog requested I share my experience vacationing in Nigeria ie. costs, safety and fun. Aside book reviews and more creative non-fiction pieces. All the fiction I see in music videos, and literature I hear in song lyrics will get featured in Sounds. My photography has really improved. Spot both (unedited) pictures above. I’ll be sharing more images on the blog the rest of the year. Its tempting to share my post schedule but I’ll resist. I’m still wrapping up my project typing and editing anyway.

My decadent chocolate baking sis, book girlfriend/full time Muslimah fashionista, my quirky partner and I are counting down to when all four of us will go watch Crazy Rich Asians (a movie adaption of same tilted book by Kevin Kwan at) Marturion Cinemas  at Igando in Lagos. I saw the trailer two weeks ago and kept squealing while identifying which part of the book I was looking at through the cinematic vibrancy. In August Netlfix dropped the movie adaption of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. Study curfew prevented me from watching it. My september reading interests are currently legal academic papers, fiction titles are still undecided.

On my To-Be- Read List are the following books:

  • Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
  • It Wasn’t Exactly Love by Farafina Writing Trust Workshop
  • Laughing As They Chased Us by Sarah Jackman
  • The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson

Have you made plans to spend time with loved ones?

What will you be reading this September?

Are you going through any career progression or change currently?

Let me know Gemstone. Enjoy your month.



‘Travel between both Nigeria and Cameroon is supposed to be easy since citizens of both countries do not require entrance visas. However, the land route between the Cameroonian border town. Ebok and the Nigerian border town, Ikom is currently barricaded. Don’t ask why.’

‘You finally get jealous of the damn Sanja and feel like peeling it off your body and disappearing into the restroom. But if you peel it off just to pee, you will become naked and everybody at Ake will embark on a screaming spree. “Mad writer! Wahala dey for here o. Dr Dami, please bring that your mad bus. Carry y’im go. A man’s body is not a country!’

I finished reading this piece and the magazine it was published in, in June. Its incomplete review has sat in my draft since. In a bid to clear out my draft I’m published my thoughts about this second person travelogue. It makes me smile that the author’s first name sounds Igbo because of the irony the first paragraph presents. He began his non-fiction story stating many Nigerians drummed ‘you look and sound Nigerian’ into his Cameroonian ears. This was delightful reading this travelogue written by an African visiting Nigeria.

Halfway through this creative non-fiction piece I’d highlighted various honest paragraphs and comical sentences.  I just knew this is my favorite work from the Saraba Magazine: Issue 22-OPEN. This travelogue made me reminisce about my tour of Obudu, Ikom and Calabar in Cross River State. Where no one could answer my questions about why the Cameroonian border was closed. Or why people kept asking if I was Nigerian.

Apart from the humorous yet observant tone and ironic experiences of the narrator. Its the second person point of view used makes this read very compelling. Apart from the Literary Exchange Programme, he visits the Ake Arts and Literature Festival. Since I missed the ‘This F-Word’ themed fifth festival, his narration made me feel like I was there. I attended the sensational festival through his thoughts, reflections, dialogues and famous Sanja. His bravery in publishing a food review that didn’t crown Nigerian Jollof Rice ruler mirrors his candid appraisal of Nigeria-Cameroon relations. I felt near to this Douala boy, involved in his discussions about culture, literature, geography, politics. Yet I am far, far away in Lagos.



Sochi’s Travel Bucket

Dearest Travel Bucket,

I have learnt money is a tool. Most people say money is power. Well, yeah. I can see where they are coming from. Money is a tool to get a lot of things. Things like power, material possessions, options, freedom, true revelation of character, building futures and fun!

Money is a guest. Give it Nigerian hospitality it will stay and become wealth. Mistreat the guest and it will leave you in average poverty. It’s about the money habits you show this guest.
Like everything in life, money doesn’t independently exist without influence. Money comes with touching fingers and sacrifice.
Money is figures. Money is value. We all know expensive isn’t quality.
Expenses are items and experiences money is spent on. Your expenses tell the story of your existence.
I learnt all these over the past seventeen months while doubling my net worth and paying off debt. Yet jotting them down makes my days of enthusiastic change seem philosophical.
Another email reminder about the awesomeness I’ll be missing popped into my inbox. A regretful sigh escaped my red lips. The metallic looking slim box beside the bright orange notebook started blinking red dots. My sad chocolate brown, almond shaped eyes ignored the silver phone and got lost in thought.
Sochi can’t travel ooo. Chai! A travel year without a trip is a first. It was a decision that took two weeks to make.
All the time, money, energy, research, excitement it took to revamp the Ikorodu-Lagos Expressway is what it took to plan the trip to Mauritius. Unlike the operational road which is breathtaking. Especially when communters zoom home under spiral orange dotted skies. My getaway won’t be happening. Why? My digital figures in the mutual fund  show my inability to save enough.
“Everything can be achieved when you bucket”. Hadn’t that been what my favourite personal finance blog had said. What’s a money bucket? It’s when you take money away from your income in bits into an interest generating account for something you want to purchase. A foreign idea at first but now I have a travel bucket, I have you. I’m deeply saddened I won’t have my ‘congratulations for a successful 2015’ getaway. All those sunscreen and beachwear would have to be unpacked.
August 2015
Dearest Travel Bucket,
I have learnt to always make the most of life. Remember I said money is a tool to get options? Certainly I won’t be here surrounded by interesting people at sunny Casa Del Papa, Benin Republic. If I didn’t sign up for a Social Prefect Tour. So it isn’t Mauritius but I did my #OutofNaijaTrip year. I pursued another option I could afford. I must say group travel isn’t bad at all. I am having the most amazing time. The bewitching art market, delicious food, airy beaches are all breathtaking. I have purchased a few souvenirs and miniature artworks for my apartment.
September 2015
Dearest Travel Bucket,
“Happy New Year!”, I scribble down in my Money Journal with excitement. Continuing with my Money conversation I write on. “Sochi has another travel year which will happen. Because its a month to the trip and I have hit the bucket limit. In other words I have completely saved up for the trip. Sun City, South Africa. have a Valentine date next month with Sun City. It hasn’t been easy.  Increasing my income source has helped me pay off debts, invest in asset accumulation and fund my lifestyle. Now my money is mine.”
January 2017