Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A hard decision

This is the longest I have ever 'not posted' and this is because I have really been trying to decide whether or not to keep up the blog. In the beginning, my friend Bee suggested I started the blog to help keep me sane as I started my Leicester Adventure and now that the adventure is over, the overall focus and objective of the blog is gone and I'm not sure I have enough to say to keep it going.

After much thought and consideration, I have decided for the moment to end the Leicester Life Adventure blog while I focus on settling in back at home and in the new job.

So as a quick and final update on the Leicester Life Adventure:

Starting the new job was not smooth sailing neither was leaving Leicester. My start date kept being moved back because they were still waiting on Accounts approval to 'purchase' my services. This meant I had to go back to Leicester while I waited. My mind was not there and I ended up falling out with my boss SN and leaving Leicester in a huff. Thank goodness, shortly after I got back to London, I got a call from the Agency to start the next day. In all it was a delay of 4 days but I was so stressed about it. I imagined they had changed their mind and the Agency was trying to let me down gently.

I've now been in the new job a few days now, and as with most new jobs, it started well. My hope and prayer is that it will remain well and even get better. It's great to not be training. It's great to actually think and use one's brain. It's great to work with other mature professionals - people you can learn from. It's great to leave work everyday and see my son, my husband and sleep in my own bed. The 90 minute drive in to work is NOT great but I can live with it for the next few months.

My nanny Diane handed in her notice a few weeks ago and I had been on the look out for a new nanny. Thankfully, I've now found one and she is starting on Friday (18th May). Her name is Renatta and she says she is a 'clean freak' as well as an 'expert potty trainer' - I hired her on the spot! LOL. She and Diane will work together this Friday to do a 'handover' which would help a great deal because even I don't know Kitan's detailed day-to-day routine. Diane then leaves on Saturday. Thankfully, my Mum is arriving on Saturday for a month so she will help to make sure the new nanny and Kitan settle in well together.

Life back at home has been manic, but this is the reality all working Mums live with everyday. Now I know Leicester was a piece of cake... there I got home from work, never cooked, always eating some exotic frozen meal or a takeaway, watch tv, went online, then went to bed reading a magazine or book. In the morning, I leisurely bathe and get ready then drive the 15 minutes into work.

Now - just flip all that on it's head!. I have not watched TV or gone online at all in the last week. I've had to cook, play with Kitan, bathe him or put him to bed or both. Not to mention going to church as well as sorting out a whole raft of household issues. It's like I'm on a different planet - and there's no escape.

Actually, there is some respite. My new job involves me spending a couple of days a week on a different company site in the UK- it's by the sea and I'd be in a posh hotel - all expenses paid. It breaks up the routine so that's good.

Though the blog was for me, I totally appreciate everyone who has read or commented on my blog - especially those who have taken the trouble to get to know me better. I do feel like we are friends and the end of the Leicester Life Adventure does not mean the end of our relationship. I'll still be in blogsville leaving my 'two cents' all over the place and responding to any comments left here.

Leicester Life Adventure - Over and Out!

God Bless!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The End

As I sat to write this post... I was not sure how to start to write about the end of my Leicester Life Adventure. The End was something I had longed for from my very first week here and we humans are funny because we lack that ability to see The End about most things in life including Life itself.

I never thought my time here would end, I knew it would but I never imagined what that would be like. To never need to drive back to London on a Friday knowing I'd be travelling up that same road again early Monday morning heading to Leicester.

My last week started with me arriving late on Monday morning for the very first time... already it was showing that I'd ceased caring and my mind was not here anymore. I stayed home a little while longer cuddling my little boy and telling him that after this week he would see Mummy every morning and every evening by God's grace. I got into Leicester at 9:30am and my class of 2 were waiting patiently for me. No one had thought to set up the class, so I spent the next 30 mins sorting out a laptop and projector and training materials. We finally got going just before 10am and I trained out my last SAP BW Power User course.

It was still all a secret. No one knew that was my last week there and in fact technically, it wasn't. I still had just over 2 weeks to go but my new job wanted me 10 days earlier than my current contract finished. There was not enough time to give notice without being in breach of contract and in any case, there was a clause in my contract that if I saw it through to the end, I would receive a bonus of 5% of all I had earned in my 6.5 months there. So I had to somehow be there technically till the 17th of May.

The bonus was a prize to me. A mark of my achievement. I had done the work, suffered the separation, risked my life on the motorway, week in, week out. Even if I gave the money to charity, it was my reward and I was going to make sure I collected it.

As I had been unwell the week before and the doctor had asked that I rest. I told SN, my manager that I wanted a week off from the 8th - 11th May to recuperate. He said he was sorry that due to the work load, he could not authorise it. I said I'm not asking for a holiday, I am telling you that for health reasons I will not be available. It's not a request. Later, when he released the training schedule for the week I'd requested, I noticed my name was NOT included. Good!

My plan is to then extend my 'recuperation period' by 2 extra days into the week after (my official last week) then return to Leicester on the 16th and 17th to see the contract through to the end and thus qualify for my bonus.

It is a sneaky plan because the reality is I would actually have started work at the new place on the 8th of May but I'm not feeling guilty about it because I have already completed all my courses here and will not be getting paid by them during my 'recuperation week'. Also, the big boss is on holiday for 2 weeks and the other manager AC is off next week too. Who am I that the whole company will collapse if I'm not there for 7 days?

Still, it's not the ideal situation, God forgive me!

I was so excited I told my 2 pals my 'secret'. "I've got a new job but don't tell anyone!" I warned them. They were so happy for me (I think). Most of the trainers' contracts are ending like mine in the 3rd week of May so everyone is job hunting, including the managers. A few have been asked to stay on but most are leaving.

My house mate Louise was on holiday and was not back by the time I went to bed on Monday night. I saw her briefly on Tuesday morning as I was pulling out of the drive and jumped out of my car to say "Louise, I've got a new job, I'm starting next week, this is my last week and I'm moving out on Friday... I'm running late, must dash, I'll tell you all about it later" - she stood there stunned but with a smile on her face! When I got back from work, she was not home before I went to bed.

On Tuesday too, I told my manager SN, only because he will be getting a email to give me reference and I wanted him to 'be nice'. During my time here, we'd had our issues (also see 'He has come again oh') but had settled into a healthy 'drama-free' relationship. I also told a couple other colleagues though considering the way they all gossip, I'm sure they knew already.

There were lots of contract documents for the new job to send and/or sign - Opt Out agreement; Confidentiality Agreement; Letter of Intent; Company Registration Certificate, VAT Certificate; Bank details; Scanned Passport; 2 Referees; Public Liablity Insurance; Professional Indemnity Insurance and on and on. I spent the later part of Tuesday printing, signing, faxing, calling - and trying to get everything in order. You'd think I was joining the MOD (Ministry of Defence).

On Wednesday, I had no more training scheduled and could continue from where I left off yesterday trying to send over all the contract documents. My manager SN got the reference request and thankfully gave me a glowing reference. He told me he wrote "She has an excellent analytical mind, good at finding faults and suggesting solutions." Looking at that now, it does read 'somehow', what does he mean 'finding faults'? - anyway it'll have to do.

With only Thursday and Friday to go, I have to find time to tell Louise - she's in London till Thursday night. And I have to pack which for some weird reason, I'm finding difficult to do.

An era has truly come to an end and I doubt I would have this opportunity again. How ever way I look at it, it was a God-given opportunity and I was blessed from start to finish. I could have made more of my time here, I know, but it was what it was and I'm thankful. I've learned a lot about myself and about others. It's helped me spiritually and I learned to rely on God. It was the boost my career needed and it built up my confidence in myself and in my skills. It led me to starting this blog in which I have chronicled my journey. And years later when the challenges will be different and I'd have forgotten about Leicester, I can always come back and read and laugh and cry.

It'll be a new adventure the next time I post again. This is my last post from Leicester. The last one.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I got the job!

... but not the one you think!

In my last post I had mentioned an interview for a job I was not 100% sure of. Meanwhile, I had spotted this job advert which read like my dream job and so I applied for that too:


Testing & Training Coordinator
Required skills: global brand company is currently recruiting a Testing & Training Coordinator, to assist with the testing & training activities. To work towards delivery of the testing & training strategy and project plan. Skills profile, knowledge of SAP at both a working and technical level. Knowledge of business processes, excellent communication skills, experience in a testing environment, experience in a training environment, train The Trainer skills and experience. Coordination of defined system testing activities. Coordination of design and development of testing plans and cases.
Location: London


The day after applying, I got invited for an interview too - on the Friday. So I had 2 job interviews. One next Monday and the other this Friday.

On Tuesday, I decided to put together the presentation for the next Monday interview. This is why it is important for one to have a discerning spirit and be prayerful. After staying up late working on the presentation, I listened to a voicemail on my mobile the next day from the company saying they had offered the job to someone else and the person had accepted. Can you imagine!

Even though I was not 100% sure about the job, the rejection still hurt not to mention the wasted time working on the presentation. Still, I had the Friday one to look forward to and I really preferred this role for the following reasons:

  1. It was in London

  2. It was working for a huge company

  3. It was 25% more money

  4. Most imporantantly, it was much more than just training. I'd get to see and learn the technical 'back end' of the system by co-ordinating the testing, it was some what managerial, so I'd have some real responsibilities and use my strengths which are planning, analysing, scheduling, problem solving, organising etc...

Anyway, I had to leave work on Thursday afternoon because I was feeling unwell with very bad chest pain and fatigue, got home in London and made an urgent appointment with the G.P (family doctor), it turned out I have Costochondritis which thankfully is not as deadly as it sounds. The cartiledge where my ribs meet my breast bone are inflamed due probably to a viral infection. I was prescribed some anti-inflamatory medicine and told to rest.

I tried to prepare as best I could for the interview but when I got there 9am on Friday morning, I was relying soley on Jesus. I could not remember the last time I did proper system testing plus I did not have experience of the SAP modules they used. The interview started and progressed quite well I thought and an hour later it was over. I asked how many others are being interviewed for this role and was just I was the first. I then asked how soon would all the candidates be informed and was told early next week.

As I left, I prayed "God I really want this job". I prayed that for the others coming, their car would not start, their train would be cancelled, they will get offered other jobs, they would change their minds etc... I also called the agency and told my contact there that I really really want the job and he should call them and get their initial impressions.

Barely 2 hours later, he called me back and said they really liked you and think you are a good fit for the company. They want you to start on Tuesday! Wow! I screamed totally delighted. Then realised "I can't start on Tuesday". I told him that and he said he'd see what he could do. He then called back to say they will move the start date to the 8th of May.

I was over the moon and walking on clouds at the same time. God was so favourable to me, my very first interview and I did not have to go for any more. I really felt blessed. Everyone had sent me prayers for the interview and I started calling and texting back with the good news.

It's only a 3 month contract with the possibility of extension but that was just what I wanted. I will be home every single evening and see my babies (Kitan and Tunji), I can watch my programmes without having to have marathon sessions at the weekend catching up with everything via Sky+. I can meet up with friends, go out to dinner with hubby, go to midweek service and prayer meetings. No more Sunday blues thinking about the drive and the week up at Leicester. It was like I had my life back!

Talking about church, I'd decided I was not quite spiritually ready for the church job and would spend the 3 months working back in London to build myself up spiritually while still helping out at church in the evenings and weekends (when I can). Maybe in September, I may feel ready to take up the job. I'm at peace with my decision and hope they are too.

Can you believe, next week is my last week in Leicester?! I'm happy the adventure is nearly over and really could not have done it without my faithful blog and your reading and supporting me through it. I will continue posting because settling back at home and at a new work place will certainly come with their own challenges though I doubt anything will compare with Leicester.

Monday, April 23, 2007

I have an interview!

What a lovely start to the week after an even lovelier weekend.

Last week, I managed to wrangle a day off on Friday in exchange for working till 8pm on Thursday so I left work very tired but pleased at the prospect of waking up to my baby (and hubby too ofcourse) on Friday.

I had a wedding to attend on Saturday and spent the better part of Friday (after bonding with my baby ofcourse) at Brent Cross shopping with my pal Kemi and her daughter Tolu. We had lunch at Yo Sushi - not the yucky raw stuff but yummy dim sum and a nice noodle soup. It was like the good old days of being ladies who lunch.

At Brent Cross, I bought a very nice transparent floral top with tones of blue and burgundy to wear over the strapless blue jaquard dress I had planned to wear. Ofcourse I bought the 'spanx like' under support to flatten the belly, a pair of burgundy suede shoes (a bargain at £35 reduced from £100) and a few other bits and bobs.

Saturday was spent at the wedding, I think I looked okay - nothing spectacular but pretty and feminine in the floral print and soft colours. We took a taxi down to save ourselves the parking wahala. Everything was very well planned, my friend looked stunning though I was not sure about the strapless bodice part of her wedding dress. As the day progressed, her boobs seemed to be riding up the top and needed constant rearranging. She is a beautiful girl and her face was very nicely made up. When it came to feeding each other the cake, she knelt down in true traditional style to feed her new husband a slice of cake to gasps of shock and horror from the other ladies both married and single. After much fun and catching up with old pals (and enemies), we left about 5pm, back home to Kitan.

Sunday was church, our Pastor preached on the woman with the issue of blood. He said hers was a unique case as she was able to get something from God/Jesus without being granted or given it. Her faith was all it took to get her healing without being directly handed it by Jesus as he walked with the crowds. I'd actually never really thought of it that way. Almost everyone else in the Bible prayed or asked or demanded before being blessed but not her. My Pastor also said that after 12 years of suffering from her affliction and going everywhere for healing, she still had enough faith to wrench it from Christ whereas most of us after suffering one misfortune or the other for a short while become jaded, discouraged and unable to summon up enough faith when required. The sermon was a real eye opener for me.

I stopped enroute home to buy Meats (chicken, cowleg, beef, shaki & kidney) to make a huge pot of stew for Tunji to last him the week and when I got home, started cooking the stew. My friend Bee was running the London Marathon, a lifetime ambition for her and at short notice I was unable to go to support her. To cheer myself up, I went onto Ebay to look for inline roller skates. I had seen some at Brent Cross for £50 and almost bought it. Online, I saw one on Ebay ending soon and put in a 'snipe bid' via my secret website that sneaks in your bid at the last minute. I had placed a maximum bid of £36 and was pleasantly surprised to win them at £16! Even better, they came with free knee and elbow pads which I am sure I'll need.

Later that evening about 6pm I decided to take Kitan swimming. I'd been meaning to start that as a Mummy/baby routine for us every Sunday evening but had never got a chance to until now. So I scooped him up and off we went. It was great fun! He'd had swimming lessons as a baby but obviously that was money down the drain as Kitan was terrified and clung to me like white on rice. Still he found it really funny and was laughing his head off as was I. Soon, he got used to the water and found he could actually stand in it which he loved. We left about 7pm tired but happy.

Monday - back at work and it's usual woes, but I don't want to write about that, I have only a short while left to go. I can do it! Anyway, I'd sent out a raft of CVs last week and today got a call for an interview in London!!! What a huge morale booster. It feels like a first interview as I have not had a proper interview in ages, even my current job was via a telephone interview. For this one I have to deliver a 10-15 minute presentation. Yikes! Still God is able and I'm optimistic. It's a permanent job and not one I'm 100% keen on but I'm going with the flow remember? So I'll do my best and we'll see what happens.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I've packed

I woke up this morning at 5:40am and could not go back to sleep. I had this strong feeling to pack my stuff... not all of it but to take my large suitcase back home this weekend instead of my travel bag.

The truth is, I'd always felt I should begin to take stuff back in the month leading up to my departure so on the last day, it will be a tidy good bye. Not suitcases, bin bags, dripping cream bottles and all that.

So I started packing. I cleared out half the clothes in my wardrobe, my food cupboards and most of the stuff on my bathroom shelf. Also all my books. My flat mate was still around (usually she leaves for the gym at 6:15am) and I had to reassure her that I was definitely coming back after the weekend when she saw me clearing out.

On the job front... I'm getting calls now. One agency has been pestering me to send further information for a role in Swindon. Yes Swindon! In a moment of madness one evening, I sent off my brand new CV out willy nilly and one was for a job almost 3 hours drive away in Swindon. What was I thinking. It's been over a week now and he's been calling me upto 3 times a day to send the additional information. I spoke to him finally 2 days ago and said I had not had time to prepare the other info he wanted and I was not sure I wanted to work 3 hours away from home especially after Leicester. He said "Oh, it's not 3 hours, it's 1 hour 45 minutes" - what could I say except "Okay" and then sent him the info. Hopefully, the company would not be interested otherwise I could find myself travelling up to Swindon to interview for a job I don't want. I did get some other more promising calls today, so we watch and pray.

"What about the church job?" you ask. I spoke to the Pastor's wife on Sunday and she stressed the need for me to be spiritually strong to work at church. To attend more prayer meetings etc... She said the job was "more spiritual than anything". I want to grow spiritually which is why the role is appealing to me but I'm not sure I want to be (or am) able to discern ALL things from a spiritual perspective.

I have been praying about making the right decision and today, I was reading my bible. In Matthew, chapter 17 (I think), Jesus was telling his disciples how he will be persecuted and killed. Peter replied "Never my Lord!" or something like that. And Jesus rebuked him seriously saying "you are seeing things in the flesh and not in the spirit. Get away from me!" - Obviously Peter did not want anything bad to happen to Jesus. That was his motive but he did not realise (spiritually) that that was part of God's plan for Christ to reclaim His position at God's right hand side and for the world to be saved. Peter's role as disciple was "more spiritual than anything" - and he did not always get it right.

God led me to this passage so what is God trying to tell me through this story?

To change the topic drastically - Tunji called me today to say Diane (my emergency nanny) wants to go but will wait till the end of my contract. I was not shocked or upset. She started working for me while I was already in Leicester and has not had the chance to learn things my way. She's very good with Kitan but not so great in house chores but I let it go because my priority was my baby. I did feel that when I move back home, it would be like 2 madams in the house and there was bound to be a clash. Her 'contract' was till end of June anyway and I had planned to let her go and find someone else who would learn things my way since I'd be home. Her deciding to leave on her own accord was God taking control and sparing me the unpleasantness of letting her go.

My weightloss plan has gone weird... I've not lost a pound in 2 weeks (according to my scales) but have dropped almost 2 dress sizes. Things I could not wear 3 weeks ago now fit - go figure!?

Anyway, the weekend is here and I'm hoping for lovely sunshine especially as I have a day off on Friday (shoe shopping and general pampering me thinks!) and I'd be attending a wedding on Saturday.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What do I REALLY want?

Festival of Life was awesome! The prayers, the music, the preaching... all of it was great and sooooo soul refreshing. The theme was "All will be well" and Pastor E.A Adeboye preached on how that statement meant different things to different people. To the sick, it means healing, to the poor, it means prosperity, to the childless, it means fruitfulness, to the lonely, it means companionship etc...

I had to ask myself, what does "All will be well" mean to me? I won't lie, I struggled to come up with a concise answer. I backed up and asked myself "What do I really want?" - No answer.

Still, at the event, I was caught in the spiritual euphoria and claimed every prayer point for myself and my loved ones.

It was not until later, on Sunday, that I came across an article in the Sunday Times and asked myself again "What do I really want?"

The article was about how every one should have a reason to leap out of bed in the morning. How we need to focus on achieving our goals one bit at a time, how we need to slow down and re-evaluate our lives regularly to make new goals and scrap old ones.

Right now, I really feel ready for a change but I'm not sure what that change should be or if I am brave enough to embark on it. The article mentioned 'being and staying positive and optimistic', research has shown that those "deluded optimists" are happier and more successful.

I know I have been quite negative - about my Leicester experience, about my life, about most things and I'm going to be changing that. I'm also going to be working on figuring out what excites me. In a positive way, without beating myself up about it. As the article suggested, I'm going to try out new things and old things in a new way - something may spark my interest and excite me.

About after Leicester, none of the options before me right now are 100% appealing so I'm not going to focus on convincing myself one way or the other, I'll just go with the flow and keep a look out for what else is out there.

One of the delegates I was training took sometime off this week to attend the funeral of his cousin. A 28 year old woman, who just went to bed and never woke up. She was not ill, no one killed her. Her autopsy report said "died of natural causes". She leaves behind her husband and 2 young children.

I don't want that to be me, so weighed down with problems and stress, not happy, not joyful, so much so that one day I just don't wake up. God forbid!

I've tried this week to be positive and optimistic and this is what's happened so far:

1. Some of my delegates requested an evening this week to practice what they've learnt before their assessment. We are very short staffed at the moment, so I offered to stay back for the 2 hours on the Thursday they were requesting on the condition I get Friday off - and my manager agreed! 2 hours extra work for a whole day off! Super.

2. I arranged to drop my car at a garage on my way to work this morning for an MOT. The mechanic had said they can only give me a lift to work if I drop the car off at 9am. I start training at 9am so that wouldn't work. I said okay but took the car in at 8am. The guy was there but said he could not leave until others get in at 9am, I said "no problem, I'll wait". But I had prayed for God to make a way and I was expectant. 5 minutes later, a woman pulled up to drop off a car battery, as she got into her car, I approached her and asked if she would drop me at work. It was out of her way but she agreed and I got to work for 8:20am

3. My car passed MOT - first time! No additional mechanical work required and this is a car I punish with 180 miles motorway driving every week.

So what do I really want? I still don't know for sure but I'm going to pray to have a happy, joyful, optimistic and positive journey finding out.

p.s. Have you noticed the Weekly Poll to the left? There's a new question every week and I'd love to know what you think. No personal details are collected at all, just your view on the question asked. You can see what others think too by clicking 'View Results'. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

All will be well

If you really need to hear these words from someone... now is your opportunity.

If you are in the UK or will be in the UK... don't miss this.

Friday the 13th of April is Festival of Life.

It's free and doors open from 8pm.

The host is Pastor E A Adeboye and the theme is "All Will Be Well"

I know... this is a blatant advert, but I will be there and I've shared a lot on this blog this last few months and just thought I'd share this with you too.

God Bless!

France, Italy, Spain - here we come!

Omara's Weight loss progress (started diet 17th March 2007)