Unicorns, Hot-flash Honeys and Biblio punishes me.

Wow, wrapping up the first week at my new job. The job that is actually like… related to my dream career, the official first working step towards that. First of all, turn up. Second of all- my log from that first week is complete and just interesting to look at? For me anyway, probably not for everyone else.

I’ve been doing daily logs since… May? When I took up bullet journalling. Something about helping with my memory and also becoming aware of just how much I am actually doing. The first week was easy, in the sense that I’m still learning and they’re all being very nice to me. Anyway, here are the stupid notes:

Day one- not a dream. am employed. have a mac?! wow, everyone is so nice. biblio is so easy (this will come back to bite me in the arse) I AM EMPLOYED! Unicorns everywhere. Tired AF.

Day two- wow, like they actually employed me? VISTA IS SO HARD? Mail outs? Deliveries? O my. Hands aching. Bookshelf rearrangement= work out for life.

Day three – so, many books! Buddy lunch? Thai food! How did I not fall asleep after lunch? Steps and shelves are my work out, whomst is a gym? Hotflash… honeys? That sounds like… something dirty. Maybe that’s not the right title for that book.

Day four – ISSA WRAP. Week the first. Dummy making for dummies aka sopping up that dummy knowledge. Biblio thinks I’m a mug and won’t connect me to the server. Lunch with sales- sour dough pizza and a raspberry/white chocolate brownie (NUT! *three drop emojis* Hello excel my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again, I get… a SCALPEL! Are they sure? BABIES FIRST SALES PACK! Shookedt.

Anyway so like, tomorrow’s another day. Feels very solid now that I’m a person with a job and I’m liking the pace that I’m learning my duties at. I feel prepared and chilled for it and making my family laugh by already planning what my first pay check is getting me (out of debt. its’ getting me out of debt.).

This won’t be a regular thing, but it feels special and I wanted to share it anyway.

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Issa Employee

To be honest y’all, it’s been a madness.

On my return from Trinidad for Latoya’s wedding, we got stranded in St. Lucia. I wanted to fight the pilot, because the day after my return, I was supposed to attend an second interview (for a job where I had my first interview literally days before flying out)… but luckily for me, we were only stuck for under two days and the company were very understanding of my situation.

Roll around Friday 6th . I’m actually acclimatised somewhat to the English temperature again, and I’m trying to commit to drinking as much water here as I did overseas.

Knees weak, arms are sweaty, no vomit on my sweater already (mom’s spaghetti). Quick 40 minute train trip that I’m hoping to memorise because wow, could you imagine a transport so quick and easy? I’m wearing a pencil skirt, my skin is still caribbean soft and my hair- well, mum did my hair because I was feeling lazy last night and wanted a little babying (I’m an adult…).

Great bit of banter with the girls in the reception room who loosen me up with Harry Potter because let’s all be real- Dumbledore did not YELL “Harry, did you put your name in the goblet?”, he said it calmly. I believe it’s even italicised there? I’ll have to do a re-read- but that’s not the point.

So then there’s a test. It’s something I actually can do with a bit of confidence (after having done many such tests in many such undocumented interviews july was a very busy month) and I have a half an hour. Fix an AI sheet. Come up with a marketing strategy. Thank you social media marketing internship- I have my interviewers laughing and relaxed and I answer questions with a sort of authority I wasn’t quite sure I had. I meet more people on the team! Swelling with hope here, I mean, why else would they have me meet so many people on the team if not to gauge if we’d work well? After some handshakes I’m reassured that I’ll know the employment tea by early next week.
As I leave I check my watch, I arrived about ten minutes before the interview. The test was 30 minutes. The Q&A… an hour?! Again, I’m hoping its good news. I check in with my parents, because they asked and then I head off to catch up with a friend.

Checking my email for a shopping order, in the Westfield Costa, deciding on whether or not I’ll get that blueberry muffin with the medium hot chocolate or nah… it arrives. Letter from my interviewer. ISSA JOB OFFER. Mate. I almost fell down my knees were like jelly. Big beaming smile on my face as I send screenshot to the family chat on whatsapp because literally we’ve all been talking about this job for the better part of a month. I decide I deserve the hot chocolate and the blueberry muffin and get to snag one of those comfy chairs overlooking the window while I wait for my friend to show up.

I’ve told her I got news but I wanted to say it in person. I am buzzing like a swarm of bees, literally can not sit still for the life of me. When she sits down with me, her order on a tray, taking in this ultralightbeam smile on my face she asks about the news. And I tell her. And she says- I knew that’s what it was. I’m so happy for you!!!

I am low-key dying. Congratulations from the famalam start coming through as news spreads through the pumpkin vine family gossip network. I post not so cryptically on twitter because I want to share the news, but I still don’t believe its real? I’m just glad it’s finally happened. Wow. Your girl’s employed and in the industry she’s been trying to break into for about 3 years (incl. the year of MA studies for this industry).

It’s really starting to sink in!

I start next Tuesday!

2 years old!

Celebrating 2 years of writing about my life, starting from my publishing MA to graduating, finding work experience and the full time employment search and all the life stages in between!

A bit unreal.

I know I don’t update super frequently, but I am trying. This is probably the longest that any of my blogs has lasted, so that’s something. Here’s to another year!

Through the screen, face to face

Hey Everyone.

I’m currently in the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago again.

First and foremost- Trinidad and Tobago are below the belt… I think, so I am safe even though this particular hurricane season has been disastrous for so many other Caribbean islands.

I’m here for the reason I thought I was here last year. My cousin Latoya’s wedding. She has been married for one week! But there’s some new and exciting things that happened this year around. I met mi tia y prima from Venezuela! For the very first time! (my grandpa sowed wild oats aplenty in his youth, okay,).

I have also spent time in the house that I used to spend every summer in (my paternal grandparents’ house) for the first time since the both of them have died, and it was a little emotional to see the little changes like room layouts, and I almost cried to see my grandma’s sewing room is still the same, even though no one is a professional seamstress in the family anymore. My cousins are growing, their kids are growing. I am still Aunty Fifi.

But I’m also Fayolita now, and my grandpa is so happy to see his daughters and grand-daughters meet face to face and not speak through a google-translated mess through a screen.

At Latoya’s wedding reception, there were a set of speeches. Ones from the wedding party (Maid of Honour and Best Man) but also from the immediate family (Mother of the Groom, Father of the Bride) before the floor was opened up for guests to give some well wishes. My Aunty Fran said that I should go up… but it was so short notice and I didn’t know what to say, also a bit shy to speak to a room full of people who were now my family that I didn’t know.

All through the night (when I wasn’t dancing), I was thinking about what I’d say, If I’d had the guts to go up to the podium and give a few words. These aren’t those exact words that my brain was working on, but it is the sentiment and all the emotion behind those words.

Despite all the advances in technology that connect us worldwide, sometimes watching someone grow and evolve through a screen- whether a video or phone call, pictures shared on social media and private messaging- made me feel still disconnected. This had a lot to do with time differences, distances in miles and work schedules disrupting what could be daily catch ups. In preparation for Latoya’s wedding, I didn’t feel any of that. I was there with my mum in the wholesale store every weekend looking for that perfect white lace for the wedding gown, I was updated with pictures of the wedding party’s looks evolve from concept to creation.

It was the first time I flew alone to Trinidad. I had always flown with someone, my brother or my parents. In line for customs (with my Trini passport) I see Latoya, on her last day before her holiday for wedding prep waiting for me and the two of us burst into the biggest set of grins and jokes that lasted from the line, to duty free, to KFC (if you haven’t had KFC in Trinidad, you’re missing out) until my Uncle Derrick picked me up. I was so happy to spend this time with her.

For those of you that don’t know, living as far from your family as I do, means that a lot of the time, the reunions are at extremely sad events such as funerals.

In 2014, the year I graduated from MMUC, my family lost three extremely important elders and these were people who have been caring for my mum, and for her children since birth. Aunty Neslin the day after I finished my exams, Aunty Wilagnita three months later and Uncle Raymond two months later, around Christmas. It was a very painful year for us all, as every time we were coming to terms with the loss of a loved one, death visited us again.

The Maid of honour said something extremely beautiful, that years from now the bride and groom would look back at their wedding day as the day that they loved each other the least- meaning that their love would grow stronger everyday. And I feel as though this is something my family is trying to make work for us.

We’ve been visiting each other more frequently since then. No longer are we saying “we have to stop meeting like this” at wakes, because we are. And watching Latoya get married, and seeing everyone so together, for a moment of togetherness of joy rather than grief. I only hope my family gets to enjoy moments like these (weddings, engagements, birth announcements, christenings etc. etc.) more than funerals where our togetherness was bittersweet with the tragedy of death pulling us to each other.

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Wishing years of happiness to you both!

6 lessons from 6 weeks

So… I have just finished a six-week internship. It is in fact, my first day off.

I had lovely co-workers, an easy commute and got paid! *Cha-ching!*

There was a lot of admin. Scanning. Printing. Filing. Binders. There was one point where I was dreaming about excel spreadsheets and my fingers were stained with highlighter ink- but, it’s something I look at and laugh…

There have been a few things I’ve learned. Truly learned to be true- about myself, during my placement. Things that you usually hear and don’t take to heart, but you realise to be true later on.

What are these things?

  1. Having 18 hours of my day (sleep, commute & work, respectively) already accounted for has made me plan my days better. I learned to make the most of my “spare time”. I struggled keeping to my bullet journal before, but then… I as the weeks progressed, it was much easier to bring structure into my life. Also the fact that I had something to do during the day made the few rejection emails that I got for permanent work, that much easier to deal with.
  2. I read so much. So, so much, during my commute. Literally blazing through books, but still enjoying them immensely. Usually, I like to start a book and devour it in one sitting. I guess its similar to binge-watching? This starting and stopping (due to changes, lunch breaks etc.) made it feel like I was anticipating the story progression more which made the experience better for me.
  3. I love sleep! This is not a surprise. But I really love sleep. Sometimes I used sleep as something to do when there’s nothing else to do, like a mini-escape from all the things I did in the day. Par example, I love a midday nap. Getting through the day linked through to the next thing I learned.
  4. There is so much tea drinking in the office environment. I’m a big fan of tea. Even though I’m on a green tea kick right now, drinking breakfast tea 3-4 times a day? I was buzzing! Hard! Also tried two new types of tea (Earl and Lady Grey). I can see why Picard drank that tea! I will be trying a wider variety.
  5. Food markets are amazing! I’m a millennial or whatever, so like, finding joy in food and beverages is something my generation is supposed to do a lot right?
  6. Sometimes, work emails are about baby bracelets, baking shows, restaurant recommendations, recipes or helping someone in the office win a contest online. And that’s fine!

Becoming an “adventurous reader”

Those of you who know me know that my reading behaviour is obscenely predictable.

Fayola… is a huge SFF nerd and YA fan with high standards. Sometimes, she is a cover snob, and if the blurb doesn’t pull her in right away- it’ll take a lot of pestering and recommendations for her to even consider adding the book of your choice to her ever-growing TBR list.

That used to be the case.

I have now been an active member of my local library for over a year! (Unbelievable! Great! Amazing! Beautiful!) I know this because the blog post I wrote about joining up “I only wanted to see the study zone” was posted exactly thirteen months ago.

And I’ve noticed a huge shift in both my behaviour as a book reader, and a book buyer.

A big part of that is due to having joined the library.

My local library quickly became my favourite place to pick up books. I’m always looking at the recently returned shelves to see what caught other people’s eyes and to see if anything there catches my eyes as well. The librarian recommendation displays are so nice.

Since joining I have saved so much money, books and clothes were my biggest expenses. As I’m trying to embrace minimalism in my life I’m buying less books- physically, and primarily use my Kindle. But when I want to hold a book, feel the pages beneath my finger tips and sometimes (if i’m extremely early and lucky) want to smell that “new book smell” I can find myself in the library doing exactly that.

Not only has my bank account been glad of this library membership, my bookshelves have too. I’ve never experimented with the literature I read as much as this in so long. When you’re about to buy an item like a book, you think you’re going to keep it for life, you want to revisit it and treasure it and display it so that everyone can see that you and it have a good connection. I’ve always been so scared to try out books that don’t catch me right away.

What if I hate them and am stuck with them forever (or long enough until someone’s birthday’s arrived and I might be able to gift it to them?)

It always limited me. Now, I don’t feel that limitation.

Yes, books have gotten prettier, reading on my kindle is sometimes cheaper than buying a hard/paperback, but I’m less scared to read something and not love it. Because, at the end of the day, if the plot is dragging, or I hate the characters, or I just can’t wrap my head around it.

At the end of the day… It’s not mine.

It’s a freeing feeling to not have to hold onto this book and admit that, “hey, this one didn’t bang- we’ll just be on the look out next time for something better” to myself. And I have been. I’ve been broadening my reach. I’m researching authors and series more and saving up for the books that I desperately wanted a physical copy of. All the while, enjoying the casual pick-and-choose moment in the library every three weeks or so.

Yes, I’m still into primarily SFF and YA, but I’m stepping into speculative fiction in ways that I haven’t before. (And shameless plug, documenting this journey on Instagram “bookstagram” @fayolazahra) I’m no longer boxed in by the genre that has held my interest for as long as I remember, and I’m becoming one of those “adventurous” readers.

Something, something, something- Support your local library!

ANOTHER VERY SHORT UPDATE!

So last year, I decided I was going to #TreatMySelf!

So I bought tickets to see Harry Potter an the Cursed Child. The play (parts 1 AND 2). Set in the future!

With BLACK HERMIONE!!!! which was a main selling feature for me, tbh. (Because sometimes JKR’s diversity stunt queen antics can come off mad dumb)

On my birthday!

Which it is! Which is NOW!

And I have friend’s down to visit with me. Friends I haven’t seen since we left MMUC because of distances and clashing schedules. Friends I am very happy to see and was very happy to have with to discuss theories with.

Not going to talk about it other than I think, for fan fiction, it was fun. Parts of it were so obvious you kind of wished they didn’t happen. Some things literally made no sense in terms of the characterisation. The stage was beautiful! The props were beautiful! THE COSTUMES AND CHANGES WERE REAL LIFE ACTUAL MAGIC!

But that’s all I’m saying. #KeepTheSecret and all that.

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