1. SMS: "Delivery was successful, tell mummy it's a boy!"
My nephew and first Grandson of the Akanni family, Olaoluwa Harold Akanni was born Sunday 22nd January.
2. SMS: "To God be the glory as we welcome our new bouncing baby girl to the world"
My niece and frist Granddaughter of the Akanni family, Oluwasindara Esther Akanni was born Thursday 28th June.
To be honest, it was a bitter-sweet moment because I had received an email from Yokogawa a couple of minutes before this SMS came in.
With regret I have to announce you are not selected for the 3 months trainee ship in France.
You are still a candidate If one or more of the selected candidates are not be able to travel to France.
Rest me to thank you for your efforts.
I had been receiving emails like this all year, but this one was different. I had been taking French language classes since the beginning of that month in preparation for this opportunity and one e-mail just ruined everything.
3. "How soon can you get to the island?"
Seven days later, it was my niece's naming ceremony and the opening prayer was just being said when I excused myself to pick a call.
"Tolu, where are you? How soon can you get to the island? One of the five people selected for the training has opted out because he got a scholarship for his masters, so they need you to come and sign your contract as soon as possible"
I leaped for joy! This one phone call changed everything about 2012.
4. "This guy is good"
While I was still waiting for the training logistics to be sorted out, I was invited for an interview by a company I had applied to earlier in the year. I had my first interview before I got the Paris offer. The first interview was very interesting because they sent me a case study and I was asked to make a presentation on the solution for the issue on ground. I did good.
I was invited for a re-interview alongside seven new guys because I was the preferred candidate out of the original 5 candidates but my manager-to-be wasn't so sure I was a fun person (an insider told me this). I was just on my second slide during this re-interview when that manager asked me to pause and said she would like to base my interview off-script and that they were interested in certain qualities so they would just throw me random questions to test these qualities. So they went on and on bombarding me with different business scenarios and I was really on my A-game that day, so I just dishing out ideas to them effortlessly. My answers and approach were just unconventional and it got to a point that this woman looked at one other Asian manager on the panel and said
"Oh no, I told you this guy is good"
"I can see that" the asian guy nodded affirmatively and started asking me for ideas on a particular project he was working on.
This interview was so dramatic that it was almost obvious the two managers were dragging to have me in their different departments.
You know how you believe so much in your self and at times, you just need others to remind you of your strengths. I walked out of that room asking myself why I would ever want to work for these people when I can raise a team that can compete against them.
5. "Congratulations Sir, here's your passport"
I got my first visa, a 90-day Schenghen visa.
I climbed up to the stairs to the first floor of Eiffel Tower and when I saw the beauty of Paris at night, I froze and tears rolled down my cheeks.
|The person that took this pic probably didn't know I was crying..lol #GloryMoment|
Too many things were running through my mind as I stood at that place that day. I remembered how I and my friends had talked about Paris and other choice locations years ago and I missed my friends as I stood there that night.
"This is the dream, this is the dream, this is the dream" was all I kept saying to myself.
This was a dream come true.
Onyeka Nwelue landed in Paris and added meaning to my stay there. I began to see things more differently, meet more people, and have more fun.
Myself, Onyeka Nwelue and Jaye Aderounmu (a.k.a Fat Poet) slept in Sandboxer, Alexander Terrien and Co-founder of Monkey Music, Jules Terrien's house this night.
It was music, social talk, drinks and more talk until Jules sent his media interview answers to Onyeka by email and we just switched to that sober mood as Onyeka read out Jule's achievement. Onyeka then mentioned his age. Jules was just 22.
The night took a different turn.
We talked about Africa, we talked about success, we talked about drive and passion.
We were troubled, we felt like celebrated under-achievers.
I couldn't sleep for more than 2 hours. Onyeka probably had a 30minutes nap.
It was a night of sober reflection.
It was a good night for our future.
8.I had lunch in Paris on a particular Friday, dinner in Casablanca, breakfast in Lagos, spent 23 hours in Lagos and I was back in Paris by Sunday afternoon.
|Paris at night (pic taken from the top of Arc de Triomphe by me)|
9. Viva Barcelona!
I watched soccer greats like Carles Puyol, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernández and Lionel Messi play live in FC Barcelona's match against Real Zaragoza at Europe's largest stadium, Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain
I wrote the first few lines of my coming novel.
This is my best brain child ever, I write every sentence with this consuming confidence that this work will epic and that this novel will put my name in the mouth of every book lover worldwide.
I didn't get everything I wanted in 2012 and I'm even glad I didn't.