3.31.2019

I Am My Mothers Daughter.

The fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.


The older I get, with each passing day, I recognise the presence of my mother in me, materialising softly in different ways. I see her when i exclaim "Why ti eleyi n' se bayi bi ode?" when someone walks obnoxiously slowly on Oxford street. I see her when I chastise my sister on her perpetual laziness and roll my eyes dramatically towards the sky as if to ask God himself to come down and talk to the girl. I see her when I outline my lips in a dark purple pencil, and fill in the centre with a striking red; an ombre reminiscent of the 1980's house parties in Brixton, filled with colourfully dressed Nigerians by way of Lagos. I see her when I place tomatoes, onions, red peppers and scotch bonnets into my blender, the perfect base for my stew, the kitchen pungent with palm oil bubbling away on the cooker, waiting to be aspersed in the tomato mixture. I was in her, but she remains imparted in me.
My mother is in me, as I am in her. I am my mother’s daughter. You can see it in the angularity of my face, with a smooth hazelnut sheen in contrast with her warm honeyed hue. You can see her in the curve of my smile, the same mouth that when annoyed upturns, with furrowed brows bristling with the same impatience annoyance we are both so prone to. You can see it when I pull on her Ankara dresses, and adjust my wig, looking like a carbon copy of her, pre... well, me I suppose. I am my mother’s daughter. I am the culmination of years of prayer, sacrifice, joy and sometimes fear. And unto me, will be born a daughter, and in her, myself, my mother, my grandmother, and my ancestors will reside in her gently, pouring ourselves out of her when the moments present themselves. Our forbearers will rejoice in her, in me, in my mother. In us.
This mother's day, I am particularly celebrating the woman who brought me into this world, the woman who brought her into this world and all the other women in my lineage. I am exceptionally appreciative to have a mother. I am blessed to have a mother who has raised myself and others to be resilient, resourceful and fiery, to be the flowers that not only survive, but thrive and bloom in a world that has for centuries, not been for us. A mother who is constantly learning and adapting her parenthood as the world changes around her and cultures shift, a mother who knows when it's time to get down and dirty, and when to be soft and reticent. Happy Mothers Day to my Mother, My Momma, Iya Mi, My mum, Dayo. You are so loved, so cherished, so appreciated. Our home is not a home until you are at the centre of it. 


{Photos by Yossy Akinsanya}



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3.17.2019

Bajo el sol Canario.

Tenerife. But not as I thought it would be.


It's 20:01pm and I am on a very cold Thameslink train to Gatwick airport. Sniffly and exhausted from the hours earlier, I let my body fall into the blue flecked chairs and I drift. I am tired but I am filled with a childish bubbling kind of ardour because Kristabel and I will be flying to The Canary Islands, Tenerife to be specific. Tenerife, for me, has always been: Drunken Brits, House music, Cheap Alcohol and Hook up Culture, I suppose because that's what I've been fed, particularly at school where after sixth form most of my school mates did exactly the above in various islands around Spain, including Tenerife. When we arrive at the hotel, I lay in bed googling all things authentic Canarian, and I flit in and out of sleep dreaming of churros, beaches and sunshine. I wake up sans alarm at 4am.  A quick shower later and we are dressed and hastily dragging our luggage downstairs. We breeze through the airport and then we're on the flight,  we’re off, the plane propels upwards and it's goodbye London, and hola Tenerife. Every time I travel, be it by car, train or plane,  I am softly reminded of the sheer beauty of this world and I marvel joyously at Gods creation as our transfer car hurtles through smooth roads surrounded by deep blue Atlantic ocean, lapping hungrily at shiny grey rocks. 
Once we arrive at our hotel, unpack and take in our surroundings, our excursionist's feet carry us to the old district in search of a strong drink and authentic Canarian cuisine and we end up at a beautiful restaurant called La Hierbita. The first thing I order is a small glass of house red wine, reader what I received was an extra large glass of red wine and a few sips later I was feeling relaxed and ready to eat. The speciality black pork with patatas for me, and grilled squid with wrinkled potatoes for Kristabel. The speed at which we wolfed the food down was quite frankly inhuman, but we were mere weary and very tired travellers. Post lunch Kristabel asked for a cappuccino to help wake her up after travelling on about three hours sleep, and instead the waiter insisted that she try the Barraquito - A Specialty coffee of Tenerife, layers of condensed milk, an espresso shot, frothed milk, some lemon peel and liquor 43 and topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon. A delicious blend of sweet, bitter, caramelly goodness. After lunch, we took some photos of the interior of La Hierbita - A member of staff exclaimed that we must see the upper dining rooms and we shuffled through the thin corridors whilst he explained that the restaurant used to be a brothel back in the day.
As I was taking a photo of a dilapidated door, an older gentleman stopped to talk to us. Balentine the architect was his name, and his dog Rocky. Balentine, Kristabel and I express our thoughts about Brexit, loss of jobs, gentrification in Tenerife and loss of culture in broken Spanglish, filled with passionate gesticulation to show our thoughts. Balentine kindly invited us for a gin and tonic with his partner, but we had to places to explore so we bid he and rocky adieu but not without me planting a few kisses on Rocky’s nose and giving him a big squeeze.
In between eating a whole lot of seafood (an obvious specialty), tapas and drinking a lot of Dorada, the local beer, which came in a delicious lemon 'Radler' flavour that I would highly recommend and drink forever, we spent a lot of time just walking, somewhat aimlessly around the streets of Tenerife, be it in Santa Cruz where we were staying, or in La Laguna the university town which is also a UNESCO world heritage site, and it felt wonderful and was something I vowed to do more in London. Just to walk and get lost. 
Sometimes heaven feels like warm soft compact sand beneath your feet, the Spanish sun on your back and the Atlantic Ocean quietly lapping at the shore - gently asking you to be at one with her. Playa de Las Teresitas is a beach a short bus ride away from Santa Cruz, located in the San Andres municipality. Think over a mile of beautiful golden sands, like an effulgence. As a self-confessed city girl, the beach was something that truly felt *needed*, just dipping my lower half into the salty blue sea felt like a type of ablution that absolved me of some of the worries and fatigue that had crept into my brain over the trip.

It was a simple and short visit, but Tenerife, I will be back. Volveré pronto...

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