Things To Do This Summer: Go Home

Toyin & I

My cousin and I: It’s been over 10 years since I saw her

I haven’t been home to Nigeria in nearly 6 years. It’s a long time to stay away but I’m glad I got a chance to go home this summer.

I spent a majority of the time with my parents. My children spent lots of quality time with their cousins, uncles, aunties and grandparents. Going home has played a part in grounding me, remembering who I am and where I come from. A busy life makes one forget.

Part of our family and friends as we caught this summer

Part of our family and friends as we caught up this summer

It was a blessing to see how big my family is (in number and in heart), a wide network of people who will be there for me but most importantly for my children.
With most of my time spent in Lagos, I was able to see the progress my country has made. In many ways, certain common practices are ahead of some developed countries. For instance, money transfer is dead easy and can be done with mobile phones using text messaging.

There is contact less payment – nothing like what we have in the UK with debit cards that don’t require pin entry at purchases below £20. Contact less payment in Nigeria makes it possible to make payments of any amount from a mobile phone as you stand right there in a shop. This is possible with 4G wi-fi portable devices that can be carried around in a handbag so internet could literally be everywhere. Indeed, IT/telecommunications are market leading sectors of the Nigerian economy, and perhaps leading in the global economy also.

A sign at a nearby GT bank: Set up a savings account via text

A sign at a nearby GT bank: Set up a savings account via text

We are a long way from where we are going but we are taking significant steps. Infrastructure such as electricity and good roads, customer service and coherent business processes are all part of what is required for the next steps. Seeing Nigeria as a whole grow and develop warms my heart. The people are innovative and have worked long and hard to prosper. A positive outlook and an amazing sense of humour get Nigerians through practically anything. We hope for the best and prepare for the worst. This is how we are able to laugh and build lasting character.

I won’t leave it this long again. Going home is important for us all. Wherever is “home” for you is where you feel loved and at peace. It’s where people you consider to be family reside. I watched my children feel at home too. For them, Nigeria will no longer be an unfamiliar place in Africa. For me, Nigeria will no longer be away from my heart.

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Top 8 Smart Apps for the Task Mistress

Photo courtesy of http://womenonthefence.com

I’m the tech-geek in the family. My 3-year old daughter is a close second.

Therefore, it didn’t surprise anyone when I upped and bought the new iPad, replacing my first generation tablet. I’ve come to love apps. There’s an app for everything – and people don’t just say that, it’s true! With home, work, school and life, I’ve come to depend on quite a few apps. ‘Top 8 iPhone apps for busy women‘ in Forbes.com identified some interesting apps but I’m not just busy. I’m a task mistress so here are my top 8 smart apps:

1. CloudWord
This app is fantastic as it helps me create editable documents, with formatting. It saves it in the ‘cloud’ such that I can pick it up anywhere and it doesn’t take up space on my pad. Also, I can email the document as a jpg, PDF, png and so on. It really keeps me working on my dissertation on the fly. Plus, it’s free – as are most of these.

2. iThoughtsHD
I discovered this app a few months ago when I was looking for something for mind mapping. It’s expensive but I use it a lot to join my ideas together in order to arrive at something coherent. I’m not sure where I’d be mentally without this beloved app.

3. DocScan
At first I thought my eyes were deceiving me when I came across this free app. It actually scans documents such as receipts, business cards etc and saves them. Scans can be sent as emails. It’s great for scanned business cards (in case I lose them), the kids’ party invites (again in case I lose them) and so on. I’m basically a walking talking scanner!

4. WordPress
This post is written with my WordPress app. It is a must-have for me if I’m going to inject life into my blog at any sensible frequency. I can upload photos, and files – editing on the fly. If I had to wait till I was in front of a PC and steaming with ideas at the same to write a post, posts would be bi-annual.

5. SudokuBook
One of my hobbies is numbers so Sudoku is right up my alley. I own volumes of sudoku workbooks but this app is a good option. Actually, it’s a great time waster. Waiting is not my strong point so it helps me focus my brain on something else while I wait for the next challenge. It’s great in queues, public transport, banks and school pick-ups. Not that I’m anti-social or anything…

6. Evernote
I recently downloaded this free app. I feel as if I’ve been thrown into an endless garden. A creative junkie’s amusement park, in short. I’m still discovering the many abilities of Evernote. It’s been talked about a lot and even featured in the article I’ve mentioned on Forbes.com. I can pour my ideas down with words, photos, audio, amazing. And I can send my thoughts to any computer or device! I can finally trap these thoughts in one place….forEvernote.

7. Audio Memo
It’s no wonder I’m into audio, thanks to Evernote. I also need to interview folks for my dissertation so I’m loving this app. Before I discovered it, I was on eBay hunting for a tape recorder! (I thought you said you were techy???) This app helps me capture an interview with a lot of cool features such as marking the beginning of each question. This app has a free version that has a reasonable amount of capability but the cool feature that I mentioned comes at a cost. Still, it beats the tape recorder idea.

8. Angry Birds
I haven’t come across statistics about whether men play this game more than women (if it’s not out there, I’m sure it will soon be). But I play this a lot. In fact, my son, my daughter and I play this, and we basically get in an orderly (rarely) line and take turns. Another time waster but great fun! It’s not as subtle as Sudoku so I tend not to play it in the parking lot or on queues (I can’t make it look like I’m texting like I can with Sudoku).

So there you have it. 8 apps any woman who calls herself a task mistress should have.

Thanks for reading.

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