2016 Review: Love and happy endings

tobiogunsina Personal 2 Comments

2016 was a good year.

I had my court wedding on the 30th of December, 2015. Therefore, I started the year on a high. I had pretty clear plans for the first half of the year: Plan traditional and church wedding, change name, apply for a new passport and UK residence permit, handover at work, have a fab honeymoon, relocate to Obodo oyinbo, settle in, find a new job.

On love and weddings

Planning a wedding in Nigeria is lots of work and worry, I like to think I did not stress out too much as I had a lot of help from my wedding planner as well as amazing friends and family. The husband was chilling in the obodo and handling other parts of our plans. We also tried to work within a budget, this helped although we ended up spending so much more. Nigerian weddings are expensive and there’s no such thing as a small Yoruba wedding.

My friends are amazing, they organised a fabulous bridal shower for me and were there with me every step of the way. There were a few hiccups with church and the wedding date and so I got married on a Friday (March 25). I think the day was perfect if I do say so myself. I got married to my best friend and danced my heart out. I had so much energy, the husband wanted to know how much red bull I drank, I didn’t drink any. I think I surprised a few people with my dancing skills, all those youtube dancing videos I watched finally paid off.

Wedding night was at a nice hotel in Ikeja. We packed our bags and travelled to Mauritius for our honeymoon soon after. It was oh-so-amazing, there’s just something special about the Indian ocean.

Marriage has been so much fun and full of lessons, I tell you. The husband and I have always been besties, I thought we had communication absolutely locked down but after a few arguments and we learnt that we needed to work on that. I’ve learnt that I don’t need to be so defensive all the time, we’ve learnt to communicate and understand each other better , to disagree without arguing, to kiss and make up before bed.

It’s so funny how know someone for years and then you get married and you learn so much more about them, maybe it’s the long distance, I am not sure. I’ve learnt a lot about my husband, from simple things like the dept of his love for seafood and how playful or romantic he is, to more serious things like the immense impact my wellbeing or lack of has on his and how he refuses to fret over anything that’s not or should not be important in the grand scheme of things.

The husband has made me very happy, We’ve been married for 9 months now ( 1 year if you start counting from the court wedding) and I’m grateful to wake up next to my bestie everyday and to netflix+chill with him. Love you now and forever.

On work and self development

I started my job search sometime during the honeymoon, I was pretty certain it was going to be a quick search, after all, I’m fabulous and what not, lol. IT WAS NOT.

I made a list of companies, found appropriate roles and applied. I attended job events, signed up on all kinds of job sites and applied. I tweaked my resume over and over. At first, I was not getting any interviews, then I started getting interviews but was not called back or rejected because it’s a wrong fit or I don’t have enough experience for the role. On the flip side, sometimes I got called back, again and again and again until its the last stage and I’m told ‘sorry, we’ve decided to re-strategize and not to hire for this role again’ who does that after 4 interviews?

I decided to focus, keep learning and applying.

July started and I was getting depressed, 3 full months of nothing but job search, ugh. Then, I applied for an associate Product manager role, got called for an interview and got an offer less than 48 hours after the interview. It was unreal –  “when the lord turns around the captivity of Zion, they are like them that dream” Psalms 126:1

It’s been an interesting and enlightening experience, I’ve learnt so much. I understand how to navigate the British culture better, I’ve grown and my co-workers have learnt that my hair will change drastically every 3 weeks (its not usually ‘my hair’ but I don’t think they know that). I’m pretty much settled in, doing amazing work and no longer a newbie.

I attended a product management training. I also facilitated a product management tools workshop for a start up and had great feedback, pretty amazing stuff. Baby steps Tobi, baby steps.

I wrote and passed my PMP exam which has been in my plans for a few years. I did not read a lot of books this year, I read rework and a few others but definitely not a book a month as planned and that’s a bad thing, not sure what I’ve been doing with my commute. I need to reduce the time I spend aimlessly refreshing my social media, quota or medium feed and actually read.

Playbrush has really taken off this year and I am so grateful, It’s amazing to see all the work the husband and his cofounders have put into this bear so much fruit. This year, play brush has negotiated more funding, partnered with a major multinational, made more games, sold more devices than planned, grown in size and faced several challenges head on. I am looking forward to a ground breaking 2017 for the company.

Travel and first experiences

I think I travelled more in this year than I have in my entire life. Not a lot outside of UK but quite a number of cities/town within the UK, planning weekend getaways with the husband became quite regular. I was able to do the usual tourist things and visit the major tourist attractions.

I’d like to consider myself adventurous when it comes to food. This year, I’ve tried all cuisines from all kinds of places, which is amazing. I went to a 2-star Michelin restaurant for the tasting menu and also went to an opera themed restaurant where the waiters were professional opera singer, ha. I’m still not a big fan of wine and I tried.

I also went on a boat cruise, parasailing and ‘attempted’ snorkelling. I went to a proper theatre for the first time, I saw Aladdin and it was such great entertainment. Comedy, drama, magic, music and funny costumes in one show, what’s not to love?

Countries I’ve been to this year: Mauritius, Austria, Nigeria, United kingdom

Cities within the UK: London, Manchester, York, Leeds, Cambridge, Bristol, Cardiff, Ipswitch, Reading, Bath.

The goal is to travel a lot next year, especially within Europe, just need to get that visa.

On other fronts

I’m settled in at church and I am still grateful that there was an amazing church family waiting for me after relocating. While church is great, I don’t think I have made new friends anywhere else, I miss my friends at home and I am not sure I have done a great job of keeping in touch, I should do better. My relationship with God suffered a bit, I feel faraway, I hope to get back on track in that area. I also became an aunt, again. Grateful

This year, I’ve managed to save a bit, I have better control on my finances and need to start investing next year.

I’ve had bouts of worry about general directions in life and times I worry that I need to do much more, be much more, increase my network, escape mediocrity etc, then I remember how far I’ve come and I know that as long as I keep growing and stretching, this is just the beginning of amazing things.

So much has happened in 2016 that this review seems unworthy (note to self: I should really keep a journal). Ultimately, I am grateful for 2016, for love, for family , for friends, for health, for growth, for increase, for fun. I already have so much planned for 2017! On to even greater things and more fun.