Tag Archives: vacation

Naturale Chronicles Goes To South Africa

O N E  D R O P

My favorite purchases from last year were my red Hershel dupe knapsack and my secondhand cafe-brown Levi jeans. Naturally, I brought them with me on my week-long vacation to South Africa last week. The cafe pants a great staple piece in my closet and were very comfy to walk around in through the city. My knapsack held all my essentials (passport, money, IDs, water bottle, sunscreen, etc) and allowed me to explore the city hands-free. I will let these two items tell the story of my trip to South Africa.

JOHANNESBURG (JO’BURG)

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When we first landed in Jo’Burg, the first thing I felt was how much I had missed the African sun kissing my skin.
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There was art and beauty around every corner.
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There was so much to do and see but most of the time, I was content to just sit still and be present.
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Every inch of the city paid homage to history’s greats.
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Each neighborhood reflected the interests of its eclectic residents.
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Depending on where you stood, and from who’s perspective you were looking from, the city looked completely different.
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Despite years of adversity, the African pride could not be smoldered. It was prominent in every space we entered.

 

CAPE TOWN

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A greeting is enough to spark a friendship
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The weather in Cape Town does as it pleases– sun one minute, wind the next.
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The streets were marked so that no one could erase their history.
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I could never take for granted the kindness of strangers (especially the ones letting me take pictures in front of their houses)
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I allowed myself to relax in my new surroundings
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I witnessed the nostalgic blend of the old and the new.
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I experienced the adage that “it’s not the destination, but the journey that changes us.”

Special thanks to Bonnie, our tour guide in Johannesburg from Curiocity Backpackers. Stay tuned for my part II of this post, giving more details about the places I went, things I did, and people I met in South Africa.

Have any of you traveled to South Africa? Leave me a link to your blog post below. I’d love to see what you saw!

(Photo cred: Jennifer Osias)

Oh, The Places We’ll Go: New Orleans

In 2014, I Will…” New Years resolution post, I mentioned that I wanted to travel and make more memories with my friends. I’m excited at the progress I’m making already. In January, I went on a family cruise to Cozumel. At the beginning of February, I went to New Orleans to celebrate my friend Vanessa’s 25th birthday.

I’ve been friends with Vanessa since my freshman year in undergrad. When she randomly told me about her birthday celebration, I immediately said yes. I didn’t even stop to think of the cost or if my schedule would permit me to come. All I knew was that this was an opportunity to celebrate my friend and make memories. I’ve learned to stop overthinking and waiting for happiness to come to me. In life you have to be intentional and purposeful. I know the kind of life I want to have– one filled with love, adventure, and laughter.

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Being at school for the past few months, I haven’t seen my college friends in a long time. In our time apart, I’d forgotten how much I like them and enjoy their company. These people knew me when I was Timi the awkward freshman, Timi the teacher, and they love me just the same as Timi the friend in grad school miles away. I have grown with these beautiful people and I am excited to stay in touch and grow old together.

My trip to New Orleans was only a weekend, but it was enough for me. For this one time, I was content to just be with them again. We honestly didn’t have a extensive itinerary: we ate, we went downtown to Bourbon, we went to brunch, tried some beignets for the first time, had a masquerade dinner, and went home.
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But the weekend reminded me that sometimes it only takes a couple days of fun to remind you to live more fully.
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Special thanks to Vanessa, who orchestrated this whole birthday shindig. It was great and it gives me something to think about for my 25th birthday in May.

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The birthday girl and I

Look out for my next trip post. I’m going to somewhere nice and warm for Spring Break!

Our First Family Cruise- 2014

My family and I just got back from a cruise– our first cruise ever! We had a lot of laughs, ate too much food, and made a lot of memories.

The scenery from the boat every morning was beautiful. Seeing the sun rise and set on the horizon was breathtaking.

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The ship made two stops: the first in Progresso, Mexico and the last stop was in Cozumel:

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Feeling adventurous, I randomly decided to get a henna tattoo of a anchor and an infinite sign. After 30 minutes, I already hated it. It just goes to prove I could never have a real tattoo. I’d get tired of it easily. FamilyCruise 4272x2848-023

My brother, the only animal lover in the house, looks a little too comfortable holding that hideous creature. FamilyCruise 4272x2848-022

Our Carnival cruise ship was huge!
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We went out again to check out the next island:FamilyCruise 4272x2848-004

This pirate told us he was Johnny Depp’s half brother. He was so incredible crusty and dirty, but he was very funny and cheeky. FamilyCruise 2848x4272-001

Inside the ship, we occupied our time with Broadway-like musicals and an unnatural amount of karaoke:FamilyCruise 4272x2848-026 FamilyCruise 4272x2848-008 FamilyCruise 4272x2848-011FamilyCruise 4272x2848-010 FamilyCruise 4272x2848-009

One evening, I got to perform with a live band in front of a live audience for the cruise talent show. I had a blast! I won a plastic trophy and a bottle of champagne. FamilyCruise 4272x2848
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Thanks to my brother Ye’s awesome camera, we were able to take some cute family portraits:
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The cruise photographers were giving us the side eye when they saw us having a full-blown photo shoot by the staircase.
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We dressed up for fancy dinners with our family friends who were also cruising:

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Throughout the entire cruise, we experienced three-course meals, comedy clubs, and     . This was a much needed vacation. It was nice sharing a room and being in close quarters with my siblings again. I’d somehow forgotten how much I love and miss my family when I’m away. As I go back to school, well-rested and perhaps a couple pounds heavier, I am excited to see what this year will bring. Already 2014 has knocked me off my feet.

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Photo credit: Ye

In 2014, I will…

2014 Resolutionsmod

Every New Years Eve, I enjoy making goals for myself. I’m a big picture kind of gal, so I like to start with the vision of who I’d like to be at the end of the year and I work backwards from there.

This year, I turn a quarter of a century old. I’m not obsessing about it or checking for gray hairs in the mirror. I’m not lamenting the fact that I’m not married. Instead, I’m looking forward to year 25 with great anticipation. I’m looking forward to a new chapter of life. 

 Here are my Top 10 things I am resolved to do in 2014:

1. Get serious about my faith and prayer life

When I look at my life thus far, I know that I am where I am together because of God, His mercy, and His favor in my life. I  want to challenge myself to live more fully for Him, myself, and for others. I often struggle with my prayer life and reading my Bible more regularly, but I’m pushing myself to do it because I know it changes your walk and your talk.

2. Travel (at least one overseas trip)

I want to go see the world. Ever since I started working, I’ve been saving for a big trip. I’m not sure where and I’m pretty open to different countries and cultures. I’ve always wanted to go to Australia (just saying). I will definitely be traveling next year, so if you need a travel buddy, just tell me when and where and we’ll make it happen.

3. Learn (5) new dishes

I will be the first to admit that I’m not a great cook. I can follow a recipe with no problem, but I’m not an instinctive cook. I had some rough days with unseasoned chicken and bland food. I’m tired of eating poorly because I don’t know how to cook. My goal for next year is to learn how to cook 5 signature dishes without the help of a recipe book. American, Nigerian, Jamaican, whatever. I just want to make food.

4. More adventures

I am an undercover adrenaline junky. I see things like jumping out of an airplane and I think of how thrilling that would be. I’d be 10% scared and 90% excited. Most of the time, I get over the little bit of fear that I have inside and go for the big jump. In the past, I’ve let convenience or cost deter me from potential adventure. No more of that. My new motto is “Pay for experiences, not things.” 

5. Take a REAL vacation

I mentioned in a previous post that I’d like to take more vacations and have more “me” time. I mean the kind of vacation where I leave my laptop at home, grab my carry-on luggage and hop on a plane without a backward glance. I actually wouldn’t mind a cross-country road trip. Perhaps go see some old friends in London. Maybe even cross the border into either Canada or Mexico. Or explore Cape Town with Toni. No matter where I go for Spring Break or for vacation, it will be epic!

6. Get an awesome summer internship

I am looking for an opportunity that will allow me to experience new things and grow as an individual. I want to be inspired. I want to make things. I want to get my DIY mojo back. I refuse to subject myself to a 9-to-5 where I am answering phones or getting coffee. It’s not that I am too good for such things, but at this point in my life I am ready for something more substantial.

7. Be a better friend/sister/daughter

I am noticing that I am starting to lose touch with some of my old friends. I sometimes feel like I don’t know them anymore. All we have in common now are our memories of the good times in college. We don’t call each other or text each other so I never hear from there until I come home for the holidays. But that has to change. I have decided that I am actually quite fond of my old friends and I’d actually like to have them around when I get older. I can’t be the one waiting for the phone to ring, I need to take the first step and reach out. It only takes one good conversation to start or rekindle a friendship.

8. Legitimize Style Lottery

I launched my nonprofit, Style Lottery, in Fall 2013. I want to build a team of passionate volunteers who can assist me in helping over 15 women next year. I’m excited to see how this organization will grow and step up to fulfill the needs of women in low-income communities.

9. Define my personal brand

For someone like me who is always changing the way she looks, it’s going to be hard for me to not totally reinvent myself like I always do. I have found a look and a style that I really like. I call it the “Professoriate” look. It makes me look like an adjunct professor: colored pants, loafers, tortoise shell glasses, cardigans, and blazers. I’m going to stick with this look (at least while I’m in graduate school. I’m starting to realize that my quirks are also part of my personal brand. My obsession with fine point and felt tip pens, mini notebooks, and planners are a large part of who I am. My shoulder length locs. I’m embracing it all. It’s my brand. You’ll know me when you see me.

10. Have an epic 25th birthday party

I’m going all out. A party with balloons, a cake with sparkler candles, a pinata, and a dance floor– that’s all I want. My last birthday was a bit of a bust. I had an extensive birthday week planned out and then I went and caught a serious cold that knocked me out for the whole weekend. Somewhere deep inside me, the little girl in me wants someone to throw me a surprise party. I love surprises! No matter if I have to throw it myself, I will have a blast.

In this coming year, I want my life to be more about quality and less about quantity. The other day, I was sitting in my room and looked around to find that I had a lot of stuff. Nothing substantial, just items (clothes I no longer wear, online purchases, etc) taking up space. I have a growing aversion for  hoarding unnecessary things, so I just started packing up things and giving them away.  Thankfully, my nonprofit is the solution to my problem. I love meeting the women that  Style Lottery gives to. I’m excited that God has given me this opportunity use my love for fashion to help others.

Keep Calm and Vacation On

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Everyone who knows me knows I’m a hustla…a go-getter…[insert other appropriate hip hop titles]. I am 24 years old and the last real vacation (0% work and 100% play) was in high school. In undergrad, while my friends were enjoying their Spring Breaks, I opted to work for half at my Resident Assistant job for half the week and then go home and sleep. And when I say sleep, I mean I didn’t wake up until 3pm and I didn’t go anywhere the entire break. As a teacher, even when we had school-wide breaks, I never went anywhere. I can count on one hand how many sick days I’ve taken off. In the last 6 years of my life, I have worked myself to the breaking point unnecessarily. All the while, people around me were taking days off and going to on lavish vacations across the world.

Up until a few days ago, I was content with the way I was living. Then, on my long drive to my winter internship on Christmas Eve (pathetic, right?) it occurred to me that I don’t have to live this way. This revelation came due to one main factor: In the Spring, I turn 25! The realization that I spent the first half of my twenties slaving away is quite sobering. My adventures, as great as they have been, are limited and I have not done many of the thing I thought I’d have done by now. (I’ll have a post about this later).

I have been to only 5 out of the 50 United States and I never go anywhere. For a while, I thought maybe I was crazy or perhaps just a boring person for never using my vacation time. I now realize that I am neither. I was simply being complacent. However, I know that if the status quo remains, I will look up one day and realize that I’ve worked on my birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas. And that’s the point of no return.

I had to examine why it is that I don’t take time off. I think part of me likes self-imposed suffering…it sucks but it makes me look like a hard worker. I’m having to let go of trying to please others. At the end of the day, I’m the only constant in my work career. Bosses and colleagues will come and go. If I don’t take care of myself, I’m going to burn out before I reach greatness. That is not an option, so I’m taking next year…and the year after to slow down and take care of myself.

I once told a friend that I hope to travel across the world someday. He replied that he never understood the concept of wishing and hoping. His advise was to:

Get up and chase it realistically.” – Funfere Koroye

This year, I have no option but to do just that. A few of friends off-handedly mentioned that I should come visit. I think they’re going to be surprised to see me on their doorsteps, with suitcase in hand. And I’m going to enjoy myself without feeling guilty for taking some much needed vacation time. I’m going to be Timi-the vacationer, not Timi-the teacher, or Timi-the teaching assistant.

As I look back at 2013, I harbor no bitterness about my wasted vacation days. I look to it as a reminder that my life is not about building my resume or about proving my competence. It’s about securing my happiness, loving others, and living the life God has blessed me with. I am start doing these things, and when they become second nature I will take myself out to lunch and congratulate myself.