Champagne Reflections

I’m not sure I knew what a Champagne birthday was until about a week ago. At that point, I decided, turning 29 on the 29th was definitely worth celebrating. Life is always worth celebrating. I think @Scilla got the same feeling at that time and asked: “Can we afford a $1000 dollar celebration?” We did some quick maths, bootleg ynab-ing and with the safety net of some unexpected scholarship money and credit card points, we decided…sure, let’s do it! Scilla screamed, “ahhh… I’ve never done something so spontaneous”. She’s a planner and highly risk-averse. An hour later, tickets were booked, work was planned around, nerves were high, and we had seven days to go!

We discussed whether I liked surprises or not and decided she’d keep as much of it a surprise from me as possible. From this point onwards it felt like I was making my way through an escape room, putting together pieces of the puzzle with bits of information that may or may not be relevant. Our whole week had become an adventure to look forward to! She would periodically check my phone to make sure I wasn’t “cheating” (i.e. archiving all ticket emails, watching @Awurabena’s Instagram stories, more later..). Anything I was going to discover was purely accidental. I love a good mystery.

What I’ve learnt from the ocean

How to dance and rejoice in the motion

Let the sun have its moment

The moon will come

I watched Everything Everywhere All At Once on April 26, 2022, on a whimsy invite from @Eyram whose willingness to be spontaneous is goals. I loved the movie! I have been thinking and talking a lot about the multiverse, and this movie was one of the most brilliant depictions of the concept I had experienced. It also had all the metaphors that cerebral movie watchers like myself enjoy like “what’s the point of existence?”. We had a small discussion with everyone Eyram invited and I spent the car ride home deconstructing it with Scilla. I’ll write about it one day.

I met @Debbie on April 27, 2022. Not for the first time, but it was the first time we connected. She’s currently the Snr. Web Designer at MEDA, the exact position I had left last August. She was trying to pull out of my head all the things I hadn’t documented about the site I had built for MEDA. I was looking for opportunities to connect and work with her. I left that meeting thinking she was a brilliant and hard-working person and I was hopeful I was going to get to know her better.

We were made to Love. Connecting with people is central to our existence and purpose. On April 28, 2022, I had the longest conversation I had ever had with @Sharon and connected in a way we had never before. We talked about the struggles and dynamics of the Ghanaian community in the GTA, her many brilliant side hustles and how much she loved studying and living in California. I’ll see it through new eyes the next time I’m there 🙂

What I’ve learnt from a soldier
Every man is a son to a daughter
And we only remember
When we see the blood

Video: 3:00am Ride to the airport!

Birthday Celebrations Begin!

We had a lovely homemade pizza dinner that @Scilla and @Eunice cooked, chilled in the living room till midnight and started packing. Scilla told me what to pack, added a few items to throw me off the scent (like a swimsuit) and we set off at 3:30 am. We talked. We always talk, it’s so nice. On the highway, we wondered what we would do with our car while we were gone. We called @Seun who lives 13mins from Pearson and was awake! Without hesitation, she offered to let us pick her up, drop us off at the airport and park our car at her place. We have the best friends! 🙂

Check-in; Security and then Immigration. It was mostly uneventful, except for the immigration officer who was suspicious of a recently graduated student going to New York for just a day. Scilla said enough to convince them but still not give it away – she said we were going to ‘visit family’. Family?…interesting. Another piece of the puzzle. We were off. We landed at 8:00 am and took the New York City Subway for the first time ever and spent the morning working at the Automattic office.

New York Architecture

The last time I was on the New York subway was on April 12, 2022, the day Frank James shot 10 people on a train in Brooklyn. I had just taken a train from Philly to the World Trade centre where I was admiring the architecture and paying zero attention to the fully armed guards because… well… America. I descended to the subway station and a woman ran past me yelling “Nah uh… I ain’t doing this sh*t today. Check the News!” A quick google search pulled out this article. I used Lyft for the rest of my time in New York.

Don’t grow up on me

Keep that backstroke in your afro

Don’t you grow up on me

Slow up homie

My morning was busy but productive. Scilla lounged, read and caught up on emails. At lunch, we walked around New York a little and had burgers at a local restaurant. We set off for our hotel to go have a nap before the evening was to begin.

At this point, I had received enough clues about what our night was going to be I was getting pretty excited. I had solved the puzzle and the process had been so much fun! I had seen Burna Boy get interviewed on Trever Noah and Abdul, who I had started following after hearing at a Sorted Chale event, had posted about his concert. @Awurabena confirmed it when she posted a picture of her in New York. We got dressed, @Scilla did some magic to her hair, and we were off.

We met up with @Awurabena, @Kabuki and @Seyram for dinner. It was a lovely little spot. @Kabuki is funny and brilliant she’s doing a PhD in neuroscience and her Twitter account is comedy gold and deep wisdom. What I will most remember about her is that she likes Love. Margaret is a baby girl who is here to live her best life, unapologetically. She is always a good time. She’s thinking of quitting her job because they are actually making her work and she did not sign up for that. The Gen-Z energy is inspiring. We should all aspire to rest and chill. If you’re hiring, you’re going to have to beat her Wall Street Job salary because she is brilliant! @Seyram is also a student and Ghanaian-American whose deep desire to remain connected to her country of birth in unique ways was palpable. I found myself rooting for her to discover as much of it as would make her full and overflowing.

Don’t you grow up on me Keep it OG sipping slowly Don’t you grow up on me Slow up homie

Video: Burna Boy in Concert

Burna Boy was Fire! He is truly an African Giant and he wears the title so well. I have never seen so many Africans in one place outside the continent and it was electric. Lights, Swag and Vibes. I ran into a few people I knew which is always great and we found our seats. All of it was awesome, but two things stood out:

  1. The interlude where he changed clothes had some powerful choreography. I love watching Scilla dance and seeing her light up as she watched that was special.
  2. Burna is deep. At one point he said:

This some emotional shit for me man. I don’t really have enough time to talk to you guys as much as I want to… so we’re just going to fucking party as much as we can.

I felt that! I didn’t use to like Burna. I thought he was too hard to listen to because I enjoy the words of music more than the melody. But once I slowed him down and googled some of his music, I connected with the insight and intentionality of his lyricism. I think it often gets clouded in the “bangers”, but I just want to say to Burna… we hear you!

Watch the whole performance.

Don’t you show off on me

Don’t you grow up on me

Show off on me

The rest of the night was chill. We braved the cold waiting for Ubers with a thousand Africans dressed to kill and looking regal. We spent some time at Kabuki’s apartment because we’re old and were too tired to afterparty. Back at our hotel, Scilla and I took some quick pics in Time Square and went to bed. I’ve been talking about seeing New York for almost 3 years now. I liked it for what I could make of it more than for what it was, an old city with lots of people.

The next day, we set off bright and early for Toronto. @Seun picked us up from the airport again. We spent a few minutes at her house. @Funbi was too busy for us to see her, which was sad. We drove back to Waterloo to video calls from @Deji, @Seyi and @Akos. It was a nice drive. We decided on the drive to book a massage. Scilla had some rounds to do and we headed straight for @Jess and @Kabo’s. They were all so sneaky. It was so good to see them! It’s always so good to see them! Community is everything.

Kabo got me a hand-rolled Cuban cigar as a gift. We talked about Jess’s interview at Family and Children’s Services (FACS). We often say that Kabo and I have earned honorary Master’s of Social Work degrees and we look at the world through the lens of the things we learnt while our wives got their actual degrees. It was interesting to me to learn through our chat that FACS isn’t allowed to touch indigenous children and that they may be operating under quotas. We discussed what it would mean for a Black person like Jess to work within the institution.

[Verse 2]

What I’ve learnt from a traveller

There’s no road that can lead to Nirvana

There’s a world to discover

But home is love


These are by far my favourite words from the song Slow Up by Jacob Banks! After our massage, we arrived home to a full house and a Barbecue! Love! I love a good barbecue and I am an endless extrovert; so the Trip to New York and Burna Boy had truly been a distraction from the real surprise. Scilla had successfully managed to keep me blindsided and all my puzzle-solving hadn’t yielded a clue about this time. I was filled with Joy. I do like surprises.

We ate, talked, watched @Fikayo’s brilliant short film and talked some more. @Funbi was jamming to “if I broke na my business” We played The And which plunged the conversation into deep parts of ourselves and vulnerability was abundant. Love! Some of the things that did come up for me are:

  • @Eyram mentioned the difference between tolerance and patience
  • Whether or not men and women were predisposed to certain character traits.
  • How @Scilla and I deal with conflict (only one person is allowed to be upset at a time and we hold space for each other)
  • @Debbie was open about the role crying plays in her life.
  • @Segen mentioned that maybe humans were made to create. It resonated so much because of the things I’ve been learning lately and is very much the underlying inspiration behind this piece of writing.
  • About being anti-capitalist in a capitalist world; and more broadly, existing in a system you disagree with.
  • Ending relationships that no longer serve you.
  • About perception and intuition
  • About faith, truth and the world being black, white and often grey.

So much depth, so much adulting, so much relationship. Love!

What I’ve learnt from a mirror

Look too hard and you’ll find you a stranger

Love is just a decision

The choice is yours

Wow. I’m so grateful you made it this far. It’s so affirming to share something you’ve created and have it validated by someone else. It’s the dopamine of an Instagram “like” and although I can’t see you right now, the fact that you read this far gives me that dopamine in my spirit. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing it.

At the end of the conversation last night, I said “Guys, I’m going to write about this conversation and I’ll send it to you.” That promise is what started this piece of writing and although it wasn’t about anything in that conversation, I hope to write more and dive into the things that did come up. Let me know which of the things I listed resonated with you. And please, send me your comments so I can get some physical dopamine too. Again, Thank you!

Love, Yaw


I’m still experimenting with writing and don’t know how often inspiration will strike. Subscribe and I’ll let you know when it does.