The More Sibyl Podcast is hosted by Mo! Sibyl - a Nigerian-born, US-educated, Korean-speaking, Struggling Intellectual. The More Sibyl Podcast is a podcast about culture and culture nomads designed for Blacks and Asians and those who love them. On The More Sibyl Podcast, Mo! talks mostly with an invited guest, who she is inspired by, on a variety of issues, related to cultural experiences or other lived experiences related to third culture. If your concept of home is fluid, you feel like you are neither here nor there, or you consider yourself a cultural hybrid, then this podcast is for you.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Linda Jena – On The New Year And Other Stories
I am really excited about this episode, not only because it's the last for the year and this third season, but due to the unprecedented last-minute switch that happened. My mom was originally slated for the show, but the epileptic Nigerian network made this impossible. Luckily, Linda Jena, our Mosibling of the year, who came visiting during Christmas, stepped in, and we recorded an unplanned episode.
Zimbabwean-born, Jesus-loving, Texas-dwelling Linda is rounding off her Ph.D. in education. An introvert committed to the couch-life, we met at a conference for international students, and thanks to my influence, she is gradually becoming more outgoing. #teehee
In this episode, we reviewed the year 2020, her hopes and adventurous plans for the New Year (good-bye to the couch), her unwavering loyalty to the podcast, and her perception of Nigerians.
Linda revealed that she is single and ready to mingle; find out about her 'spec' when you listen.
We will be going on a break but will be back in April 2021 with the show's fourth season. Thank you so much for riding with us this year. We will still be here on Instagram @themoresibylpodcast serving you engaging content, so stay with us.
Recommended Song: “Fallen”– Gert Taberner (2016)
Happy New Year!!!
DECEMBER 31, 2020
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One With Ezanya Obeten-Nance – On Biracial Family, Immigration, and Nigerian Heritage
Were it not for Mary Slessor, who went about doing the Lord's work in Calabar, the capital of Cross Rivers State, Nigeria, our guest for today would most certainly not be our guest for today. Asides from being a twin, which many find fascinating, she has quite an interesting story.
Ezanya Obeten-Nance was born in Illinois, grew up in Nigeria, and currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky. She is a pathology lab supervisor who has worked as a histotechnologist for over ten years. She is the host of "The Izora Podcast," where she talks about faith, family, work, and trying to figure it all out.
In this episode, Ezanya took us through her journey to America, we explored her Nigerian heritage and how it has influenced her role as a mother, why Christmas in Nigeria beats Christmas in the US, interracial marriage, raising two boys, the profound "why" behind her podcast, family values, self-care, and so much more.
After spending almost two decades in the US, Ezanya shared some valuable tips for those migrating to a new country, especially new international students. Listen to get the scoop.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Olamide Somoye – On Recovering A Broken Friendship
Ghosting doesn’t only happen in romantic relationships, but also among friends. This was my experience with Olamide Somoye, a friend I made while in college, but we drifted apart for obscure reasons.
After 12 years of sparse communication and many life events missed, Lamide and I had the long-overdue conversation in an attempt to find closure. This episode was a walk down memory lane to a time when we thought our bond was unbreakable, when the separation began, and the pains that followed in the years after. We decided on how we intend to navigate the path ahead of us as we walk towards forgiveness and restoration.
If you have ever ghosted or been ghosted in a friendship relationship, this episode is just what you need to find closure, and probably reconciliation.
After listening, if you decide to repair a similar relationship, please send me feedback; I would love to know how it went—wishing you the best of luck!
PS: Lamide, call me back, joor!
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One With Kayleen Johnson – On The Scars We Share
The words “you are not alone,” though simple, carry a powerful sense of reassurance that humans often crave, a gentle reminder that your situation isn’t unique to you. When we open up about our scars, we not only help ourselves process things, but we let others see that they are not alone. Our guest today, Kayleen, is at the heart of driving such conversations through her podcast.
Kayleen Johnson has a passion for people. She loves quickly and whole-heartedly. She has a BA in Theatre Arts Studies from Brigham Young University. People and their stories have always been important to her, which is part of the reason she started the podcast, Scars We Share.
Kayleen takes the hot seat in this episode as she talks about her physical scars, the current emotional wound she is working through, tips for supporting a spouse with mental illness, and her gratitude for life despite her experiences. She created an actionable journal for women called the Empress Journal.
There is a journal giveaway for this episode; check our official IG page to get more details!
Here’s to feeling our feelings,
The Empress Journal
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One With Krystal Tolani – On Culture, Entrepreneurship and Life In Hong Kong
If you can’t make it better, at least don’t make it worse. It is on this principle that today’s guest runs her eco-friendly business. With a product range that includes tee-shirts and tote bags made from 100% cotton and recycled paper, respectively, she hopes that her company can one day inspire other manufactures to be cautious of the environment.
Meet Krystal Tolani (yea, you read right). Her last name is my first name! She is a digital marketer and the founder of 852prints, a lifestyle label that celebrates the quirky cultural nuances that makeup life in Hong Kong. As an eco-conscious brand, 852prints aims at creating as minimal an environmental impact as a small business can make.
In this episode, we talked about managing a business during the pandemic, her rich cultural heritage, her reason for going eco-friendly, and lots more. She was kind to share the meaning of her name and the cultural significance it holds for her people - the Sindhis.
And find out how Hong Kong helps transplants like Krystal stay rooted in their culture.
Listen to the episode to learn some fascinating facts.
852prints website - www.852prints.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
점점 좋아지고| The One With Mo! Sibyl – On The Long-Term Effects Of Shame: Episode 35 (2020)
Warning: This episode contains messages that might be disturbing to some listeners – especially those who have experienced one form of child sexual abuse or the other.
We are down to the last episode of the SICK-SEEK-RETS series. What a month it has been!
This week’s episode was unplanned; it was born from my "off-the-record" conversation with AnuOluwapo Adelakun, my guest from last week. There was just something about talking to her that helped to finally loosen my tongue to share my story with her, a conversation that I had been unable to have with my mum.
Just like Anu, I was molested at the age of three by a neighbor. Though I didn’t have a thorough understanding of what transpired, an evil seed was planted that day, and I have lived with its fruits since then.
In this episode, I spoke about my abuse for the first time, mapping out my life from childhood to adulthood and the long-term adverse effects the experience left me with. Most importantly, I talked about the steps I have taken and still taking towards healing.
Find out how I broke the news to my mom after 30 years and her reaction to it. There is a word of advice for parents in this episode, give it a listen. As usual, please send feedback.
Free 'n Love,
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One With AnuOluwapo Adelakun – On Finding Purpose Through Shame
WARNING: THIS EPISODE CONTAINS MESSAGES THAT MIGHT BE DISTURBING TO SOME LISTENERS – ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED ONE FORM OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE OR THE OTHER.
To be vulnerable is to put one's self at risk, but it can also be a form of strength when applied in certain life situations. It is in this form that our guest today addressed the issues of shame in her life, which, for a long time, were SICK-RETS. Through her shameful experiences, she has found purpose and is on a mission to liberate others to live guilt and shame-free lives.
AnuOluwapo Adelakun is first a servant of God called to obedience and a channel of healing to God's hurting children. She is the convener of the No Shame tribe, a women & girls' rights advocate, journalist, and award-winning documentary filmmaker working on issues affecting marginalized girls and women across Africa.
In this episode, she talks about being sexually abused as a seven-year-old girl, finding the purpose in her pain, her healing process, and embracing God's love during her time of grief. This story will get you evaluating your life's purpose, see yourself through the eyes of God's love, and inspire you to not wallow in your shame but to set yourself and your story free. Please give it a listen!
S/O to Yvonne Edo-Olotu for the introduction
Recommended Song: "Reckless Love"– Cory Asbury (2018)
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
The subject of marriage is indeed delicate and must be stepped into cautiously. While it may be difficult to decipher a person's true intentions, there are red flags that must never be ignored.
Today we bring you yet another divorce story from a guest who has chosen to be anonymous, so she will be called Raquel. She fell victim to a con man who pretended to love her but was only after getting a US green card. The marriage that began as a rushed and hushed process also ended in the same manner, a few short months later.
In this episode, Raquel owned her story and took responsibility for her actions. She walked us through the process from marriage to divorce, how she is dealing with the mental and emotional strain, and finally coming to terms with the unfolded events. Raquel tells us why she remained married as long as she did, the secrecy and hastiness of the entire situation, the warning signals she ignored, her final wake up call, and how she is finally placing her happiness ahead.
Raquel ends this episode with a powerful note of encouragement that is relevant to everyone. You should listen to it!!!
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Olayinka Favour-Alaka – On Thriving Well After a Divorce: Episode 32 (2020)
Nobody gets married with the intention of disrupting their ‘happily ever after.” Still, a series of events occur, leading to the eventual breakdown of the relationship between two people who once cared about each other.
Kicking off this month’s specially curated episodes is the one with Olayinka Favour-Alaka, a woman I have come to love and admire for her strength and authenticity. She is a facility manager at Alterra Capital, an event planner, a teen minister, and a certified sex therapist.
This is the first time she has publicly opened up about her divorce, and I salute her courage in being vulnerable. In this episode, Olayinka laid bare the events that led up to the disintegration of her marriage - including having multiple miscarriages, her attempts to fix things, the healing process thereafter, and how she is thriving again as a single woman.
This episode is rich in lessons for single, married, and divorced people.
You can send in any questions concerning the conversation, and they will be addressed during the upcoming Shame Conference.
You can find all about Yinka and her sex therapy work on IG @erotaslounge
Our sex workshop: https://motolani-s-school.thinkific.com/courses/Sexworkshop
Book: Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage by Kenneth E. Hagin
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Mojung Sylvia Kim – On Hallyu - South Korea’s Pop Culture Wave
I am very excited about this episode because it centers on my adopted country, South Korea. For over ten years, I have indulged in this one and only guilty pleasure - Korean Dramas, aka K-Dramas. Asides the several reasons I love them, watching K-Dramas have played a great role in elevating my understanding of the Korean language.
To do justice to this subject, I brought my Korean sister and teacher, Mojung Kim. Mojung is a Korean living in America and undergoing her Master's in Early Childhood Education at the University of Central Oklahoma.
In this episode, we trace it right to the beginning, examining Korea's history and the events that lead to the Korean wave, also known as "Hallyu “ (a Chinese term). We examined the concepts of Han and Jeong, the writing style of K-Dramas, the unique romantic display, the dark sides of the Korean culture, amongst others.
If you are new to watching K-Dramas, this episode is a must-listen as we provided recommendations of our favorite shows and where to get them. And if you are wondering how Korea got to be so cool, then go ahead and listen as well.
For me, I would love to see the future collaborations between Nigeria's Nollywood and Korean entertainment.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Jessica Fortunes – On The EndSARS Protests in Nigeria
If you have access to the internet, then by now, you must have come across the hashtag, #EndSARS. The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is a unit of the Nigerian Police Force that has, for many years, terrorized rather than protect Nigerian citizens, with the young people being their primary targets.
For two weeks, young Nigerians have been protesting locally and internationally, calling for the disbandment of SARS and justice for their victims. Joining me on this episode is Jessica Fortunes, the host of @twentysomethingsrants podcast, a young Nigerian, and one of the protesters. We talked about the youth's power using their voices with social media as their tool, the key role women have played in the protests, the solidarity of the young people, and the adjustments the older generation needs to make.
This episode is a must-listen, especially for those who haven't had a personal experience with SARS. I have also included personal encounter stories of young Nigerians in their twenties who have been harassed by these rogue officers. If you can't physically be part of the protest, you can support by lending your voice, creating awareness on your platforms, make welfare package donations, or send monetary contributions to the @feministco.
You can find Jessica on IG, Twitter, and Pinterest as @JessicaFortunes or via https://www.jessicafortunes.com/
It's time to Sọrọ Sòkè (Speak up!) and yeah, #ENDSARS
Recommended Song: “Great Nation”– Timi Dakolo (2011)
History of SARS - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_Anti-Robbery_Squad
Amnesty International’s Report on police brutality in Nigeria - https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/afr44/9505/2020/en/
To donate to the movement through the Feminist Coalition - https://t.co/FvsEKetUL9?amp=1
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Iyanu Adedipe – On Life In Lagos
The reviews from last Thursday’s episode with Iyanu have been amazeballs, so I decided to give you guys a bonus. It’s an excerpt from my conversation with Iyanu focusing on Lagos life and her “serial killer ways” of going to the movies alone.
In this episode, we talked about the changes that have occurred in Lagos since the last time I was there and about the excessive carbohydrate consumption (especially rice) in Nigeria.
Well, Iyanu was bent on defending her choice of going to the movies alone, and she even took a swipe at me for meditating on the throne of inspiration (aka the toilet seat). So I leave you guys to judge (please don’t vote in her favor), which of these is creepy: going to the movies alone as a form of self-care or spending an hour in the toilet meditating to receive fresh ideas?
I await your verdict. Oh, and enjoy this super-duper short segment; I am off to meditate!
PS: Follow Iyanu’s beautifully crafted drinks on IG @ 106bartales
PPS: You can read more about my hotel staycation here
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Iyanu Adedipe – On What No One Tells You About Marriage
When two people with different stories, ideas, backgrounds, and expectations fall in love, getting married seems like the next step to take. But beyond just loving each other, their ability to manage their differences is a crucial factor that will keep them together.
In this episode, I have my sister-in-law, Iyanu Adedipe, on the show to talk about our marriages to twin brothers. Iyanu is married to my husband’s twin, Kehinde. She is a mixologist, a lover of rice and fish sauce, and the only one I know who goes to the movies alone. Really, who does that? #Serialkillerswannabe.
We critically examined the role of communication in maintaining a happy marriage, the importance of continuously teaching one another, unfulfilled expectations, and dealbreakers in marriage—all these with shared with some laughter too.
If you are curious to find out the back story between Taiwo and me, then this is the episode you’ll get the full gist. The good thing for you is that our husbands don’t listen to this podcast anyway, so go on ahead and download and enjoy the whole gossip and a half.
Recommended Song: “Marriage (결혼)”– MoonMoon (2017)
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Olayinka Jolaosho - On Career, Grief, and Addiction
Meet Olayinka Jolaosho (yeah two episodes in a row with Yinkas – guess they truly yímiká haha) - my WhatsApp muse and the bane of my meme existence. She's also a strong anti-fan even though she believes she's my #4 fan. It's my utmost pleasure to share this extraordinary treasure to my listeners. It's one of the many ways I keep making her famous (things I do for you, boo!)
Indeed, there are conventional ways of doing things, but you find people like Yinka who deviate from traditions now and then. Yinka is a pharmacist with 12 years of progressive practical experience working in the development and health sector in several areas, including pharmaceutical research, supply chain management, program management, sales and marketing, and much more.
As a pharmacist in Nigeria, the career options are limited to specific areas, but Yinka has successfully carved out a niche for herself in the healthcare industry.
In this episode, she shares with us details of her 12-year career journey, attitude to work, and finding her unique passion in pharmacy. She also shared the pain of losing her sister to sickle cell anemia and her dad shortly after, as well as her strange but acceptable addiction.
Listen to this episode to find out how Yinka evolved from making purple candles as a child to becoming a "purple cow" in her field of expertise.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Olayinka Favour-Alaka - On Divine Calling and Becoming a Sex Coach
What do you do when your purpose conflicts with your current situation? Do you let go of your dream, or do you launch ahead despite the challenge? Today's story features Olayinka Favour-Alaka, a woman who didn't allow societal expectations to get the better of her. Still, she is fearlessly living her best life as she answers her divine calling. She also happens to be our sex therapist!
After dancing to the tunes of parental demands that yielded no fruits, Yinka stood up for herself and went after her desires. As a teenager in boarding school, she was the victim of bullies who managed to suppress her lively spirit, leaving her with self-esteem issues.
Being able to identify with their struggles, Yinka is now a passionate advocate for teenagers, mentoring them in the Christian faith and through life issues. She is also a certified sex therapist, an event planner, and a facility manager at Alterra Capital.
In this episode, she shares the background story for her various expressions, including describing herself as happily divorced, while testifying of God's grace upon her life.
This episode is a must-listen, especially if there is a conflict between your calling and your life's experiences.
Special thanks to Patricia O from Lagos, Nigeria for the introduction.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Mo! - Mo!nologue III: – On Gratitude, Confronting Fear, and Toxic Traits
One of the many blessings of podcasting for me is having a safe space to talk and share my thoughts with you all, knowing that someone is out there listening and probably learning too.
Today, I decided to do a monologue-something I haven’t done in a while now. In this episode, I talked about practicing gratitude, confronting your fears, and managing toxic behaviors.
As usual, I shared my personal stories alongside these topics. After undergoing an event that almost cost me my life, I am grateful to be alive now more than ever. I also recently crossed a significant item off my to-do list, which I have unconsciously been afraid of doing.
While listening to this episode, take time to reflect, evaluate your position on the issues I raised, and please send feedback. I would love to know how this episode has impacted you.
해라 /hae ra/ (Do it!),
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Enyeribe Ibegwam – On Identity, Becoming a Writer, & Other Stories
How would you define the word "brother?" Well, after listening to this episode, you will discover that your brothers or sisters are not just those with whom you share blood relationship, but also those with whom you share solidarity.
My guest today is Enyeribe Ibegwam. He was brought up in Lagos, Nigeria but now resides in the US. A writer, he has been awarded a PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize and was a finalist for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. He is a recipient of several grants, and his story has been published in the PEN America Best Debut Stories 2019. He's also a Truman Capote Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
As a young man in the US, he initially felt uneasy being called "brother" by strangers because he was Black, but it was only a matter of time before he too became a "brother" to other brothers.
In this episode, Enyeribe walks down memory lane to his childhood experiences; we talk about Africans' duty to African-Americans and go behind-the-scenes of his literary work. Kindly do yourself a favor by visiting here to read more of Enyeribe's stories.
Download this episode to find out more about this amazing "brother" and writer.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Brenden Kumarasamy - On Mastering Public Speaking
If you are like most people, you probably have or have had a fear of public speaking. But the good news is that after hearing from today’s guest, you will discover that public speaking is not as difficult as it seems, but an art that can be learned and mastered.
In today’s episode, I have Brenden Kumarasamy on the show. He grew up in Montreal and had to learn French. He is the founder of MasterTalk, a YouTube channel he started to help the world master public speaking and communication. He coaches purpose-driven entrepreneurs on how to master their message and share their ideas with the world. He also works as a Business Transformation Consultant at IBM, where he helps clients transition to better technology HR solutions to help them do business better.
From an early age, Brenden was determined to lift his family out of poverty, and that became his motivation for going to business school and becoming a business consultant. Being a success-driven person, he competed in over 50 case competitions while in college, which provided a platform where he perfected his public speaking skills and gained years’ worth of experience coaching other students.
In this episode, Brenden shares how he stumbled into his entrepreneurial journey in public speaking, public speaking tips for polyglots, strategies to crack the fear of public speaking, the reason for his drive, and the big questions he asked himself that helped him get an early start in life.
So if you are interested in learning more about public speaking (which you should), you need to listen to this episode to find out where you can access Brenden’s amazing stash of highly educative and free content.
And what the heck does karaoke language mean, anyone?
PS: Learn more about Brenden here or IG @masteryourtalk
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Chiamaka Adepegba - A No-Holds-Barred Interview of Mo! (Part 2)
We are picking it right where we left off last week. This episode is the second part of my no-holds-barred conversation with my dear friend, Chiamaka. Chiamaka Adepegba is a senior pharmacist and independent prescriber who just bagged her master’s degree in advanced prescribing. She is a blogger, YouTuber, and a lover of makeup and fufu. She is married and is based in the UK with her family. Chiamaka and I have known each other since 2004 when we were college roommates. She was the intermediary between my now husband and me in the early days.
In this concluding episode, I answer the rest of her questions, which by the way, are less intense compared to those of the previous week, but equally relevant and cuts across border. Like my views on BLM and why I keep my hair in dreads (hint, it's a spiritual expression). I didn’t make this episode all about me; I gave my listeners a deeper insight into our friendship by sharing two important lessons I learned from her while we were at college. We shared memories of the past from our college years and highlight how those experiences have contributed to shaping us into the women that we are today.
We also talked about her relationship with her late dad, who passed away 12 years ago; Chiamaka lets us into her grief management and how she is still dealing with the pain even after all this time.
Just in case you ever wondered why I locked my hair, you can find out from this episode. Simply download to get the entire scoop!
PS: There’s a video of this episode which I am yet to upload on the Tube. Once I can figure out how editing works on Windows 10, it will be made available on my YouTube channel – Mo! Sibyl.
Link to Part I here.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Chiamaka Adepegba- A No-Holds-Barred Interview of Mo! (Part 1)
Today’s episode takes a different route from the norm, where I interview a guest and ask all the questions. This time, I have a guest who asks all the questions while I provide the answers.
My guest today is Chiamaka Adepegba. She is a senior pharmacist and independent prescriber who just bagged her master’s degree in advanced prescribing. She is a blogger, YouTuber, and a lover of makeup and fufu. She is married and is based in the UK with her family. Chiamaka and I have known each other since 2004 when we were college roommates. She was the intermediary between my now husband and me in the early days (#thelittleimp).
Based on our friendship history, there is no other person with whom I will rather do this episode. You know a person is your friend when you can discuss not only the easy topics but the difficult ones as well. There was no holding back in the questions Chiamaka asked, I also did not hold back in the sincerity of my response.
In this episode, I answer questions that most people, especially my listeners may have about me and share my struggles too. The conversation is fun, playful, emotional, and most importantly, authentic. It is my desire that others are inspired and encouraged by my story.
Please note that this is the first of a two-part series, so download this episode to get more of Mo!
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Bimpe Shode – On Emotions in Business Relationships
The third time they say is a charm! Once again, I have my homegirl, Bimpe, on the show. Bimpe is the type of friend you want to have in your corner – level-headed, stays on course, emotionally mature, and the one you can first expose yourself to, thereby saving yourself from public embarrassment and rebuke. We share things in common, including our faith, which forms the foundation of our core values.
In this episode, we discuss the effect of mixing business with emotions referencing my work-relationship experience with my former virtual assistant, which was on the verge of becoming toxic. Reflecting on that relationship, we were able to glean valuable lessons that are not just applicable to business relationships, but relevant to all forms of relationships in general. We capped it up by sharing the virtues we admire about each other, and frankly, she caught me off guard.
There are lots of laughter in this episode as I find it really difficult putting on my “professional suit” around Bimpe. We all certainly need friends like Bimpe in our lives.
Listen to the episode to catch the full gist.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Akinola Akinlawon – On Community Service, Male Vulnerability, and Self-Care
My guest today moved to the US from Nigeria in 2012 to bag a college degree. While at college at the Cameron University in Oklahoma, Akinola Akinlawon, popularly referred to as “AK,” served as a leader in various capacities, was recognized for his visionary involvement, community building, and academic excellence. As a student, his deep-rooted passion for helping others achieve their dreams inspired him to launch a first-ever student-driven tuition scholarship in 2015 aimed to assist Nigerian non-immigrant students in the US. He also founded his IT consulting business called Digital Designs and Engineering, which he runs to this day. Currently, Akin is completing a Master’s degree in Management of Information Systems at the University of Houston and is the president of one of Houston’s largest graduate student networks, The Bauer MBA Society.
In this episode, Akin shares his motivation for starting the scholarship scheme for Nigerian international students in the US and gives an update of its current status. He also talks about self-care from a man’s perspective using his life as a reference to offer lessons. He advocates for male vulnerability and prioritizing one’s self.
The good news is that Akin, a TFH (Tall, Fair, and Handsome) single guy who writes love poems, is ready to mingle. He gave details of his ideal “spec” and where interested single ladies can shot their shoots. But you wouldn’t know this if you don’t listen to the podcast.
So download and enjoy it!
PS: This show was taped in 2019 BC (Before Covid-19).
Show notes available on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Han Seth Lu – On Leadership, Biracial Identity, and Mental Health
There is no doubt that a person’s mental development is linked to the environment in which he was raised; however, it is essential to highlight that irrespective of the surrounding environmental condition, it is possible to rise above the hindrances and pursue a better life. My guest today is one who was determined to rise above the limitations of his environment but instead allowed it to propel him into the life he now lives. Everyone meet Han Seth Lu, the young man who is positively influencing his community.
Growing up in Myanmar, Han faced the challenge of poor quality education resulting from the military rule and was discriminated against for being biracial. Despite these, his desire for personal growth and dedication to his community drove him to pursue better education in the US and co-founding the Noor Education and Community Center in Bago, Myanmar, where other young people can be empowered to achieve their goals through leadership training.
In this episode, we talk about the impact of his biracial identity on his childhood, cultural identity, his passion for leadership education, mental health advocacy, and sexuality. Han shared a gem on how he manages his mental health struggles, listen to this episode to find out how! And yes, to MENtal health!
Go do great things,
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Aarushi Gupta – Life of a 13-year-old Indian Podcaster
Can you reflect on your 13-year-old self, to a time when life was much easier, and you had no worries about bills or responsibilities? To a time before the internet's popularity and social media was a thing? To a time when your most significant life's challenge was making good grades and fitting in with friends? To a time when lip gloss was the ultimate make-up product, and the school gossips were about who liked who in class?
Today, life has evolved in so many ways, so much so that a 13-year-old girl from India now has keeping up with her podcast show as a thing to worry about!
My guest today is an amazing and inspiring young lady who has just turned 14. She is Aarushi Gupta, a 10th-grade student from Gurugram, near New Delhi, India, and guess what? She is a podcaster! This is definitely a WOW moment. On her podcast called "When I Was 13", Aarushi interviews various people and asks them about the world when they were 13 years old. In doing so, she gets to know about how people make life choices, the varied environments in which people grow up in, and the life lessons that they pick up along the way.
In this episode, she shares with us the surprising inspiration behind her podcasting journey, how she balances it with her academics, and the future she envisions for her podcast. Aarushi talks about her love for music, family life, and gives us a unique glimpse of India from her point of view. She also shares valuable insights into how adults can better interact with teenagers.
Download this week's episode to find out more about this phenomenal 14-year-old whose future I am so excited about and the spaces she willoccupy.
“Everything is changing every second, it's like a time machine.” - Aarushi G.
Show notes available on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Michaella Mutoni – On Acculturation, Identity, and being Pan-African
There is no doubt that the Rwandan genocide birthed tales of woe, but today’s guest is a product of a marriage between two Rwandans who found love in a Burundi. Their family of five would later embark on a global journey cutting across Africa, Europe, and finally, settle in North America.
My guest today is Michaella Mutoni, a Burundi-born Rwandan who has lived in Germany, Senegal, Eswatini, and the US and is currently based in Canada. She is a global solution manager for a software company and also serves as the host of a bilingual (FR/EN) podcast called “Jase Avec Moi” that highlights the stories of African professionals in the diaspora. In this episode, she opens up about acculturation, adjusting to life in different places, and the tips that have helped her adapt to new environments.
She also talks about her identity as a third culture kid (TCK) and mistakes TCK parents should avoid, thoughts on returning home, telling African stories for the coming generation, her views on grad school, traits necessary for success, career switch, and her purpose here on earth. And we also talked about why Nigerians are more pronounced (read: loud) compared to other Africans in the diaspora.
Michaella was also kind enough to give us a sneak peek into her upcoming wedding. Do well to listen to the podcast to find out where and when we are all turning up!!! COVID be gone! Amen!!!
Learn more about Michaella here: https://jaseavecmoi.com/
Quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson
“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
Show Notes available on www.mosibyl.com
Be curious and empathetic,
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
The One with Mr. Felix Ofiwe – On Fostering Community & Engaging Nigerians in the Diaspora
As a Nigerian living in the diaspora, I am sometimes saddened about the relative economic contributions we make in our resident countries, often at the expense of the Motherland. For example, in the healthcare and engineering fields, Nigerians have made a lot of advancement to the U.S. economy but have hardly been given the due recognition we deserve. And as a group, we are yet to leverage and harness our collective strength together to improve governance and effect changes back home. It’s why I engaged in a dialogue with Mr. Felix Ofiwe, a Nigerian who has been living in the U.S. since 1991! Before his move to the U.S., he was a news and sports reporter with The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in Benin City, and The Guardian Express and Punch Newspapers in Lagos, Nigeria.
Since arriving in the U.S., he has written for or edited several Houston, TX news publications including African World News and the now-defunct African American Focus newspaper where he served as the founding Editor.
Borne out of a desire to help Nigerians living in the U.S. know what is happening around them so they can make the right decisions, every day, he and his wife started The Nigerian Community (an online website).
In this episode, we also talked about practical tips to engage Nigerians in and outside the diaspora to build the country and so much more.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Mom – On Faith in God
See that beautiful woman in the flyer? Yup, that’s my mother. For real! Yeah, I know what’s exactly going through your mind. I know. Like how come she’s sitting down but there’s no chair? Yeah, there’s an online app called background remover that makes your picture pop like this, and no, I was not adopted. Haha. I was super excited to bring mom back on this show to talk about something she’s super passionate about – her faith.
My mom has always been that person who helped me lay a strong foundation of faith, and she still remains a woman of faith and prayer (it’s one of the reasons I can sleep soundly at night because she is always praying). But the process of laying that foundation was undoubtedly not easy because of the many church tantrums I threw over attending church and some questions I had over the whole religion thingy (yeah, I started out as a rebel, haha, no shock there). But like many African moms, Mother Dearest never gave into my wily ways. Instead, she tried to answer many of my questions, instructed, and instilled the word of God in me. I can say this foundation was useful during the period I left the faith.
In this episode, I played the role of a skeptic (hey, God isn’t done with me yet, haha) and had my mother answer questions on raising kids without religion, how to cultivate one’s faith after a protracted period of being away, and what the big deal anyway is about Jesus. We hope you enjoy this episode. And mom will like for me to let you guys know to send in whatever faith or life-related questions you may have as we plan to have more iterations of this.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
e More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Olabimpe – On Boundaries
Let's talk boundaries! Especially the ones we need to have with friends, families, around sex, money, as well as with ourselves. Just as I had to learn how to navigate grief, setting boundaries has been an enormous learning curve for me. But indeed, there have been gains in the learning, and I have this book by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life to thank for getting me started. I have since been encouraged to stand up for myself and also rethink the seductive lure of "loving relationships" that often drain the life out of me and often leave me with the feeling of resentment. Here's the hard truth, to experience deep and authentic connection, you need honesty! And setting boundaries in one way to get started.
So to do justice to this topic, I brought back an old friend who also happens to be very wise – Olabimpe – back to the show. It's an episode infused with mirth and abundant examples of potential boundary issues including how to avoid being a pushover at work amid work politics, or a dormant Nancy in a relationship with a s/o, inlaw, friend, or family member. We also tackled a listener's question involving a dilemma about a house pest, sorry guest, who has overstayed their welcome and has refused to move out.
What stops you? The boundaries? Nah, they define us. Boundaries define us.
When two people are free to disagree, they are free to love. When they are not free, they live in fear, and love dies: "Perfect love drives out fear" (1 John 4:18).
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Ramblin’ Randy – Radio Show Host, World Traveler, & Music Aficionado
Imagine being 15 and landing your first and dream job as a radio DJ, which then leads to a cascade of events that led to a primetime radio show that’s syndicated globally? Today, that radio show, Sunday Night Slow Jams, has grown from being aired in just three radio stations to about 200 stations in 14 countries, including Lagos, Nigeria =, and Kenya! This is Randy’s (R Dub) story, and he shares a lot of tips on turning one’s passion into a reliable source of income.
In this episode, we talk about his life’s passions and missions and all the numerous lessons he has learned along the way. Randy provided a lot of travel tips on traveling on a tight budget with a busy schedule. We also talked about his most recent trip to Lagos, Nigeria, and why we encourage more Americans to travel out more!
PS: Can we also talk about how that life-changing move when Randy turned the radio dial to the left? Talk about a watershed moment!
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
결혼기념일| The One with Mo! & TDawg – The 9th Wedding Anniversary: Episode 11 (2020)
What does a nine-marriage look like? Many things that are hard to explain or even try to fit into a pod episode. But that didn't stop us from trying. In this episode, which began with a fight (yes, at the very beginning), you will hear TDawg and I respond to answers sent in by our top supporters/fans ((thank you, Sanket S, Tope O, Linda J, Adebola D, and Tutu P).
The questions ranged from our couple goals, what we think of couple's therapy/counseling, how we set healthy boundaries (find out who's more prone to emotional cheating), and how we balance relationships with our in-laws, and so much more.
Above all, this deeply flawed couple owes everything to God, therapy, and godly third-parties. For without them, we would not have made it this far.
PS: Do you agree with my assessment of TDawg's intellectualism vs. intelligence?
TDawg says: There's some security in vulnerability.
Recommended Song: "Love You Like That"– Dagny Norvoll Sandvik (2017)
Yours in Neuf,
Mo! + TDawg
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
Wow! That’s the only word I can use to describe this guest’s story. Meet Dr. Tosin Odunsi – an OB/GYN who has had a non-traditional path to becoming a physician.
She took the MCAT (medical entrance exams) three times, took Step 1 USMLE (required to enter medical residency) three times (she failed one of them by two points), and took Step 3 four times before finally passing on her fourth attempt. Unfortunately, Tosin became a young widow during her intern year of OB/GYN residency in June 2015. This significant life experience has given her the courage to be transparent on her Instagram page (@lifebytosin) and serve as a life motivator. She is a coach to many and encourages people to live a full and intentional life now!
Know anyone who has ever struggled with taking or passing professional exams? Or perhaps, a widow/widower, especially those younger? Kindly share this episode with them, as Tosin did not hold anything back in talking about the long, unwinding grieving process as well as the importance of not letting exams define our identity. She also shared how she’s navigating her remarriage, rising above abandonment issues, and giving love a second chance. So WOW, Tosin! You are a ball of amazement.
About Dr. Tosin Odunsi: After graduating from Cornell University in 2008, she started her Masters in Public Health (MPH) at Thomas Jefferson University, PA. She went on to begin medical school at Meharry Medical College, TN, and completed her MPH between her second and third year. Subsequently, she graduated from Meharry in 2014.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Adam Mendler – Entrepreneur, Public Speaker, CEO, and Podcaster
Imagine having a platform where you invite leading CEOs, founders, athletes, and generals/admirals to distill their success stories into 30-minutes bite-size and provide a plethora of practical and actionable advice? Well, imagine no further as this week’s guest – Adam Mendler - has just the platform through his personal/professional development podcast – Thirty Minute Mentor.
Adam, who also created the Lessons in Leadership interview series in Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global, has conducted over 300 one-on-one interviews with many of America’s top leaders, influencers, founders of household name companies and a slew of other elites. His guest list boasts of the CEO of Deloitte, Suzanne Somers, actor Rob Lowe, NBA legend, Rick Barry, and so many more.
Adam, who was born and raised in California and in addition to being a podcast host, is also an entrepreneur, public speaker, CEO, and Forbes contributor. In this episode, I asked Adam to give me nuggets of the successful traits and habits that all his guests share in common, tips on how podcasters can cold call their heroes for guest appearances on their show, and how he’s able to seemingly do it all.
And if you stick around to the very end, there’s a special treat for ya!
You can follow Adam on IG or Twitter as @adammendler and read more about him on www.adammendler.com.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Folahan Ojolowo – Suicide Survivor & Mental Health Advocate
What does depression look like? We don't always know the answer to this as it manifests in different ways. Mental health issues, such as depression, are globally underdiagnosed. And in Nigeria, limited access to mental health services coupled with attitudes and behaviors towards seeking help result in a mentally unhealthy population. Statistically, men are also less likely to seek help for medical issues, especially those related to mental health. But one man is working on changing this narrative. Having suffered from chronic depression for years coupled with surviving sexual abuse as a child, all which led to suicidal attempts, he now uses his voice to help others, especially the younger generation.
This is Folahanmi Ojolowo’s story. He is the founder of Lovemade Foundation, a mental health youth network geared at helping people find the root cause of their mental health illnesses and to help them heal from their emotional pains.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Angel Moms (Part II)
Last year, I made a promise to a sister who was going through (in)fertility challenges that I was going to keep in touch with her, in a bid to make her journey lighter. I am happy to say that I kept that promise. We have communicated since then weekly and even met up in Dallas last year. After doing this episode, we both have now decided to make this a yearly pod follow-up.
In this episode, we shared our current states of mind, reflected on the past year, and designed the future. Know anyone like us, who’s been “trying” for quite a while and needs a little pick-me-up? Why not share this episode with them.
Let’s keep hope alive and take joy in everything that already abounds within and around us.
Recommended Song: “Up Again” – Dan Bremnes (2018)
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Abena Boakyewa-Ansah
Here’s introducing Abena Boakyewa-Ansah, a first-generation Black British woman, living in the American South since 2016. She was born in Scotland, raised in England by her Ghanaian father and Trinidadian mother. After studying the American Civil War as an undergraduate, she learned the untapped power of black narratives in American history, and how they can inform pursuits of racial justice, equality, and reconciliation, today. This led her to where she is now, Nashville, Tennessee, pursuing her Ph.D. in History. Besides being a self-confessed nerd, Abena is a woman of faith, enjoying theology and seeking to ask the hard questions of the world and life, in order to have a deeper understanding of God.
And in this episode, we explored her identity via her ancestral roots and the one borne in Christ. We also talked about surviving America, racial identity, mental issues in grad school, and dating in your 20s.
PS: S/O to Dr. Ayomide Adebayo for the introduction.
PPS: With a single click, you can now rate the podcast. Kindly leave ratings/comments: RateThisPodcast.com/mosibyl
Recommended song: “Yesterday Everyday Always” – Tatiana Manaois (2020)
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Ada the Explorer – Catching the Travel Bug
Meet Adaeze Vanessa Nnanna (aka Ada) – In-house counsel (lawyer) by day, tourist at night, and founder of Tourmate by Ada the Explorer. I met Ada earlier in January when I was visiting Nigeria. While recuperating post-surgery, I needed an outing to get me out of my funk. And Ada’s scavenger hunt around Lagos was just what I needed (don’t tell my doctor). As a Lagosian, I have to admit (with my tail tucked between my legs) that as a Lagosian, Ada’s tour around Lagos Island gave me a fresh set of eyes to admire places I’d frequented several times. It’s funny how Lagos becomes tender when you give her a wee bit of attention. Thanks to Ada.
In this episode, we talk tourism – its challenges and opportunities, her travel logs, why we all need to explore Nigeria more, and a strong need for the Nigerian government to boost tourism as a major export.
PS: Ada asked me about my love for Korea and was shocked to learn I was not married to a Korean, haha. She also asked me to speak some Korean, and I proudly did :-D
Download here: https://bit.ly/AdannaDL2020
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Olivier Day – On Awakening the Awesome in Us
Let’s take a trip to Haiti, everyone, with today’s guest – Olivier Day. Olivier is the host of Awakening The Awesome Podcast where he talks on personal insights, showing people that you don’t have to be a superstar to be a SUPERSTAR. He truly strives to awaken the awesomeness in all of us.
Haiti is known to have a rich cultural history, and its people are resilient people having been through a lot together from natural disasters to economic hardships and corrupt, inept governance, and yet still stand strong. They are known to be entrepreneurial, warm-hearted, fun-loving, positive, uncomplicated, welcoming, and also a HUGE sense of pride. Could that be the pride that made our guest face adversity and still come out strong? As a Nigerian, I could not help but draw the parallels between my country and Haiti.
Olivier and I also talked about his marriage; how he purged the toxicity that almost damaged his marriage and the need for men to be more open and vulnerable with their partners. I also asked about parenting tips – the ones he’s recycling from his father and things he’s doing differently.
My overall impression of Olivier is this -
Here’s a man who shows that strength comes from admitting one’s weakness, having the courage to change, and knowing that changing the world begins with changing oneself.
Check out his podcast and learn more about Olivier here - http://awakentheawesome.ca/
S/O to Naga and Stephanie.
More details on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with FEGGO Girls - We Were Once Girls: Episode 3 (2020)
Here’s an episode about a flashback. To a time when we were girls, and our earthy possessions could be condensed into two Ghana-must-go boxes. To a time when colored checkered house wears and white shirts and pinafores were as unique as identifiers as social media handles. To a time when mobile phones were non-existent, and the only source of entertainment we had was found within and through ourselves. To a time when we made music with plates, pots, stainless steel pots, Vinod cutlery, banging school desks to produce beats. When we tucked in our blue-dyed white blouses, flew our white shorts, shortened our skirts, and oiled our eyebrow and lips with Vaseline. To a time when chewing gum, eating sardines, scaling walls were as Kosher as putting the “#” after the operative word.
Evoked enough nostalgia in you or not?
Here’s an episode about the six years we spent in boarding house – the defining moments, friendships made, myths and folklores, our impressions of each other, the labors we endured, and most importantly, how all these have shaped us into the fine women we are today. You will hear from two of my good friends – Kehinde Melbury (Tinubu (pink) house, formerly of SS3D, and now customs officer at the Nigerian Customs Service) and Dr. Olivia Fasola (Manuwa (blue) house, formerly of SS3E, and a family physician).
PS: This episode was shot in January during a sleepover at Dr. Fasola’s house when it was still legal to be in close proximity to people.
PPS: With a single click, you can now rate the podcast. Kindly leave a rating/comment:
Guests Bio link and show notes here: www.mosibyl.com/podcast/feggogirls2020
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: Of Women and Bikes
Woot, woot! She’s back!
Welcome to Season 3 – triple the sauce, spunk, guts, and glory! In this episode, I did a recap of Season 2, highlighting the moments that helped us build community around hot issues like women’s health, immigration, mental health, marriage, divorce, faith, and so much more. You also get to hear a sneak peek of some of the hot episodes I will be sharing in this new season.
I also shared some practical tips on how to learn bike riding as a fearful, chubby (or otherwise) adult. Including how to choose the right bike, overcoming the fear of falling, balancing, pedaling, and links to helpful YouTube videos (see show notes).
Based on listener feedback (thank you, Mr. Kenny!), the song playlists for Seasons 1 and 2 are now available on Spotify!
Join our mailing list here!
Hope you enjoy this episode!
PS: With a single click, you can now rate the podcast. Kindly leave a rating/comment:
Season 1 Spotify Playlist: http://bit.ly/moplayer1
Season 2 Spotify Playlist: http://bit.ly/moplayertwo
Join the mailing list - https://www.mosibyl.com/contact-us
YouTube Bike-riding tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIsDrtPTTd8 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyLlw1CgXf8
About Moradeun Balogun:
My review of her podcast: https://mosibyl.substack.com/p/becoming-by-design
Her friend’s tribute episode: https://anchor.fm/becomingbydesign/episodes/Moving-Forward-With-Grief-ebl0bh
Follow her podcast to get updates: https://www.instagram.com/becomingbydesign/
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
If I could make a list of the many ways I would have wanted to herald in the new year, undergoing a major surgery would never have been on that list. But it was precisely what happened this year. With the excitement of the new year also came the frightened resolve to put my life and body on the line, yet again, for a chance to have a somewhat pain-free life.
And while I cannot go into the specifics yet, in this episode, you will hear just how my surgical experience helped me with a perspective shift that could possibly last all through this year and beyond. Also, I did lots of shout-outs to my friends and family who saw me through this painful but illuminating period.
I hope this episode gives someone else too the courage to keep seeking answers to those health questions that seem unresolved. Here’s wishing you the best of health and may a lot of good things happen to you as well in this new year.
PS: With a single click, you can now rate the podcast. Kindly leave a rating/comments: RateThisPodcast.com/mosibyl
Recommended song: “아주 먼 훗날 (A Long Way From Now) [OST: The Crowed Clown]” – SE O (세오) (2019)
THE MORE SIBYL PODCAST PRESENTS: THE ONE WITH T-DAWG (AGAIN) – ON GOING BACK HOME TO NIGERIA
It’s been eight years since T-Dawg visited Nigeria. Before we boarded the plane, I did a sesh with him to gauge his expectations – which sadly were non-existent. But I did try to dig out some potential things to be excited about regarding going back home.
We also answered a personal question from one of our listeners about our braces.
Hint: If you are using your teeth, you are doing it all wrong. Well, you have to listen to find out what this is about.
Happy New Year, and may it be the best year yet!
Recommended Song: “Always Waiting” – Michael Kiwanuka (2012)
IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND DON’T FORGET TO SHARE, RATE, AND LEAVE A COMMENT.
THE MORE SIBYL PODCAST PRESENTS: The One with Stephanie Fuccio– Hysterectomy Saved My Life?
Hello Mosiblings! Merry Christmas!!!
Here’s reintroducing Stephanie Fuccio! Steph, as I call her, is an amazing ball of energy! She’s one of my podmentors who has blazed the trails for people like me. Steph was born in New York City and has intentionally taught English in a few countries in places in Asia like Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, and China. She currently lives in Shanghai. She is also the host of the Geopats Podcast.
Today, I am sharing Steph’s story of her hysterectomy. Though we both agree that this is a procedure that’s too overprescribed in the US, it did save her life and relieve her of excruciating and heavy periods. Listen to hear all about this and more, especially on why we need to create more spaces for women to be able to talk about their period and vaginal health.
By sharing this episode, we both hope to have a world where women are more comfortable talking to each other about these issues. To form allies and microcommunities and hopefully strike up a conversation with the woman next to us in the waiting room or checkout line.
Here’s a tip to women in their 30s who may want to have kids someday and are not yet married, consider freezing your eggs.
And kindly get your yearly medical checkup done as a lot of these issues are not detected early for timely interventions.
Waiter to me: “How would you like your eggs, Ma’am?”
Me: Fresh not frozen, and fertilized, please.
Recommended Song: “I Shall Be Released” – Traces Gospel Choir (2011)
IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND DON’T FORGET TO SHARE, RATE, AND LEAVE A COMMENT.
THE MORE SIBYL PODCAST PRESENTS:
The One with Kelly “Nerdzilla” Mendenhall – From Mess to Message; On Trauma Survival and Recovery
How do you mourn the loss of your functionality, especially when you feel betrayed by your body? In this episode, Kelly “Nerdzilla” Mendenhall talked about coping with chronic pain and invisible illnesses and the process of grieving what used to be.
We also talked about medical gaslighting and the need for women, especially, to keep seeking spaces where they can be heard and understood. In the meantime, don’t forget to utilize your pharmacist as the no. 1 resource for drug safety.
Kelly Mendenhall lives in Middle Tennessee and, in 2017, became medically disabled and unable to work outside the home. Her mission is to show the world that a medical diagnosis does not have to mark the end of one’s story. She describes herself as a spoonie and is ½ of the @Nonmomhappyhour podcast.
PS: Did you know what spoonie or the spoon theory meant prior to listening to this episode?
Find Kelly on Twitter and IG: @nerdzillakelly
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Five Immigration Stories - On Mental Anguish, Familial Separation, and Overcoming the Odds
Life in the United States ain’t easy; contrary to what many people think. In this episode, I share five unique immigration stories of people who moved to the US on different tracks. The common thread here is how they all overcame a lot of odds to be where they are today. The hope is to encourage those who are currently in these situations to never give up, especially international students who feel trapped in the US, particularly at this time of the year.
For those in the position to do this, reach out to an international student and if possible, invite them over for Christmas for dinner or something. Or even engage them in conversations and you will be amazed at how much these acts of kindness will go a long way.
PS: Thanks to Ada U, Olabimpe, Linda J, T-Dawg, and Morin for sharing their inspiring stories.
Recommended Song: “My Life” – Iris DeMent (2004)
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
The One with Morin Omopariola - On Divorce Stories and X-Files
You asked; I listened. By popular demand, the audio version of my Facebook Live show with Morin Omopariola is now available on my website – www.mosbiyl.com as well as Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, Anchor, and wherever you get your pod on.
So why am I releasing an episode on a Tuesday? Well because the lessons from this episode deserve such attention. Using an introspective and exploratory approach, Morin and I talked a lot about her divorce, missteps she took before and during her first marriage, the lies and traps she believed and fell for, and the red flags that were ignored that eventually led to her being jailed. Since our talk on Saturday, Morin’s commitment towards helping women especially those who are undergoing abuse in their relationship is renewed now more than ever.
Finally, remember that abuse, in any form, even the emotional kind is never OK. You are not as alone as you think and your salvation is just around the corner. Reach out today if you or someone you know is in a similar situation.
Morin has generously provided her email address if you need to talk to her directly - firstname.lastname@example.org
Recommended Song: “Build it Better” – Aron Wright (2015)
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Dr. Manuel Mota-Castillo- On Attention-Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder
I was honored to have had Dr. Manuel Mota-Castillo – a child and adolescent psychiatrist – on the show. Dr. Mota is Dominican Republic descent and for the past 28 years has served people of all ages in Florida, NM and Arizona and currently practices in Florida.
In this episode, we talk all things ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder); its definition, reasons for hyperactivity in children, and how it should be rightfully diagnosed and conservatively managed. Drawing from his clinical experience and using his latest book as a guide, Dr. Mota helps clarifies the differences between ADHD, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, and oppositional-defiant disorder. Dr. Mota also provided answers to the audience questions on the roles of diet, vaccines, CBD oil on ADHD; resources for parents; reasons for over-diagnosis and overuse of stimulants; causes of ADHD; and implication for children in third-world countries with ADHD.
Finally, I hope this episode serves as a reminder for parents and caregivers to seek second and third opinions regarding these diagnoses before pumping your kids/wards with the wrong medications. In the meantime, go grab a copy of his latest book on ADHD; it’s a worthy read!
More on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Dr. Ernie Kaninjing – On Black Men and Prostate Cancer
In this episode, you will see me get my nerdy on, like for real. I began conducting cancer research since 2012 and my focus was on Black men. This interest was borne from a personal loss of my father-figure who lost his battle to prostate cancer in 2006. My research focuses on the socio-behavioral aspects of cancer and measuring outcomes related to the cancer continuum from prevention to survivorship.
While cancer is very difficult to understand, there are several proactive tips we can take to reduce our likelihood of getting it and also with early detection, improving our chances of not dying from it. In this episode, I sat down with Dr. Ernest Kaninjing – another cancer scientist who hails from Cameroon – to talk about why Black men are at the most risk of prostate cancer than men of other ethnicities and what we can all do to begin to close that disparity gap.
Together, we unpacked our collective experience, spanning several publications and collaborations with other scientists all over Africa, Caribbean, and the US, to explore stigma, myths, risk factors, awareness, prevention, detection, survivorship, advocacy, and so much more related to cancer. In this period of thanksgiving, in addition to bickering about politics over the dinner table, I hope we can use this opportunity to have meaningful discussions with our loved ones about their health. I hope this episode serves as a reminder to those reading this to get their health check done. Wives, girlfriends, baby-mamas, nieces, and sisters, let’s get to work on improving the health of the men in our lives.
If you liked this episode, please let me know and don’t forget to share.
Get a yearly checkup done; know your numbers!
Know your family history (if you can).
Exercise regularly and consume more food with beneficial nutrients.
We also made a video about this episode; you can watch the 1-hr long feature on YouTube: http://bit.ly/prostatecancerYT2019
Be well and Happy Thanksgiving,
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Two Nigerians - Renewing your Nigerian Passport in the US
Ha! My dearest Nigerians! It’s that time of the year again when the holidays are around the corner and a lot of you are considering flying back to Nigeria to celebrate with family (don’t do it)! But then you remember that your passport is expired and you are dreading to get it renewed.
Fret not, dear friends! This episode will help guide your passport renewal process, especially whether or not you have a US passport and if you need to apply for your underage child(ren). Knowing how scary the Nigerian embassy can be like, my guest – Dr. Temitope and I will be holding your hands all through with our detailed description and plentiful tips that abound in this episode. Whether you end up doing it in DC, Atlanta, or New York, know that a lot of these passport officials are still as scary and irksome as can be – so pop a Xanax or two beforehand (and don’t forget your Hail Marys and prayer beads too) because two angries don’t make a right.
If it’s of any consolation, the Nigerian passport renewal process is lots better than Zimbabwe’s (listen to find out how so). Also listen to our suggestions to the Nigerian Immigration Service on how the renewal process can be made better, especially leveraging already existing technology in the US.
All in all, I hope that we can enter the passport office one day and be greeted with smiles, top-notch customer service, and certainly no NTA playing on an analog TV caged to the window. Or even better still, scrap the mandatory, costly trips to the doggone embassies and do the whole process online! A girl can dream.
If you liked this episode, please let me know and don’t forget to share. God bless Nigeria!
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Naga Subramanya: Strictly Podfessional – On Passion, Purpose, and Podcasting
Naga Subramanya, who is Indian and lives in Bangalore, is one of the guys trying to do great things in the world. You only have to hear his story to see his passion for living and purpose. And speaking of passion, he began a podcast with that same title - Passion People Podcast – while couch-surfing during a gap year he took three years ago. As a Nigerian, the concept of taking a gap year (except the JAMB-enforced kind) is as alien to me as adopting a vegan cat. And I think my fellow Indians might agree with me on this one. But hear from Naga, who did just that in 2016.
We also explored Naga’s childhood, the peculiarity and opportunities of dating in India, given the caste system and the increasing adoption of technology and dating apps. How he waited two years to ask his wife out and another nine years before he could finally get to marry her. So I made him leave, Krithika, his dear wife, a love note in his native tongue. Finally, Naga and I talked about his concept of self-love and body image.
Naga says: “Taking a gap-year is not a sign of weakness or failure. On the contrary, it is a sign of success and confidence!”
He is the host and curator of the Passion People Podcast. A podcast that focus on the stories of people who follow their dream to make their passions manifest in tangible ways. Naga is a Finance Professional and works on his podcast as he is passionate about meeting new people and sharing their stories with the world. Naga took a year off in 2016 and wrote all about it in 52 blog posts that he released every week before embarking on this podcast journey.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Loretta: The Life of a Creative and Other Stories
As a Nigerian who moved to the US in her 20’s, it was quite a challenge making long-lasting friends, especially due to cultural differences and well, inadequately managed expectations. All of which I talked about with my guest.
So meet Loretta Nwandu: who moved to the US at the age of 15 to begin college and later earned a Masters in Engineering Management. Listen to her story on how she acculturated, found community, and built friendship. Loretta and I both believe in multiculturalism and it's one of the many reasons we love the US! Today, Loretta lives in Atlanta where she does ministry work for Jesus and uses her skills as a creative to meet the needs of her clients.
In this episode, you also get to hear about the unique opportunity and challenges of being a creative person as well as the duality of being one while under the employment of someone else.
Loretta says: “The only person who can understand a visionary is another visionary.”
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
The One with Cyrus: The Iranian-Mexican American & Football Coach – On Why We All Need to Fail
It’s my 33rd episode this year! How auspicious considering I am raising funds for my educational scholarship – The 33 Project. If you are yet to donate and will like to (really I accept all currencies and denominations), kindly click on the donate link below. The GoFundMe page is looking all lonesome without your contribution :-D. Also, we are now accepting applications for the scholarship beneficiaries (see link below).
For this week’s episode, I was honored to have Cyrus Mohseni on the show to talk about his life and passion who was born to an Iranian father and a Mexican mom (you need to listen to hear how they met – it’s a better love story than La La land (don’t @ me)) in Bellflower, California. Cyrus started playing football at the age of three in American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), eventually moving to Europe at 18 and even got signed with Icelandic club Vestri. Now armed with the title of a former professional soccer player, Cyrus has been coaching for over six years and through his charity – Giving Football, he provides underprivileged youth the opportunity to play football. Cyrus is also the founding party of the Keystone Team – a family-owned real-estate business located in Southern California.
In this episode, we talked about his upbringing, what soccer meant (and still means to him), how he navigated a career switch, and why we all need to rethink our attitude towards failure.
Cyrus says: “I am a big believer that failure is a positive thing. I think that you HAVE to fail, in order to be successful at anything, you HAVE to fail!”
Random fact: Iran’s and Mexico’s flags are similar in color. Now I made you Google it, bahaha.
You can read more about Cyrus and his work here: http://www.cyrusmohseni.net/
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Mo! + CausePods – Why I Do What I Do
This week, I share an episode I did on Causepods; a passion project of The Podcast Consultant, Mathew Passy. Mathew’s platform is designed to interview folks who are using podcasts to raise awareness for a good cause.
During this time, we talked about why I started my podcast platform (hint, it began with my love of radio as a child of the 80s) and how I have been able to build community through my episodes. I also talked about my heritage as a Nigerian and my love for the Korean culture, as well as how I address tough issues for Black and Asian communities.
Finally, I shared my passion for education and how the gift of education has helped me become and what I am currently doing to give that gift to indigent children and families in Nigeria via my educational scholarship project – The 33 Project.
You can read more about Mathew here: https://www.thepodcastconsultant.com/about-me
GTB Account, 0014352121, Motolani Ogunsanya
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Claire Mukashyaka – From Rwanda with Love
Hear from Claire, on her life as a child growing up in post-genocidal Rwanda being born at the cusp of the Rwandan genocide. On how education paved the way for her as a young girl growing up in rural Rwanda, herding cows to now working in Boston as a PK/PD modeling (pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic modeling) scientist working on precision genetic medicine for patients with rare genetic-based diseases. Hear about the change agents and sacrifices that got her there.
Claire also shared about her recent grad experience on academic failure. The hope is to encourage anyone struggling with grad school, especially when to make crucial decisions for when to take a pause and explore other options.
About Claire: Born and raised in Rwanda in East Africa, she is the number five of seven children with three brothers and three sisters, five nieces and three nephews. She moved to the USA in 2012 for a college education at Oklahoma Christian University, where she graduated with BSc in Biochemistry in 2016. She then started graduate school at OUHSC in 2016, and just graduated with an MS in Pharmaceutical sciences in 2019.
Academic failure as an African or Asian feels more than very personal. Because a part of you feels not only like you have failed yourself but the community of people and family (seen and unseen) that got you there. It is why failing academically feels like failing in life.
Still on education, the donation link is to open to help children like Claire get better opportunities in life via education.
Recommended Song: “Nimekupata Yesu” – Ambassadors of Christ (2017)
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Mo! – On Bad and Good News
The past year has been a rollercoaster of fun and not-so-much fun stuff. In this bare-all episode, which was taped at the cusp of turning 33, I shared some good and bad news about a recent medical diagnosis and the odyssey it took to get there.
Giving how overwhelming as you expect this to be, I brought my therapy dawg – T-Dawg – back on the show for moral support. I also reflected on what year 32 great which included having the courage to face some personal demons, practicing vulnerability, responsibility, faith, and creative expressions.
Perhaps, the one message I will leave here to encourage anyone reading this is to remember that suffering is an integral part of life. We all suffer; we all are just not equipped in talking about it. Also that in suffering we can find meaning and I have found just that in mine and that is using my story to set people free and that by lifting a load off of others, I find my own pain tolerable. It’s why I started that #33Project. If you know me, you know I am big on education. So I implore you all to consider donating towards this cause. No amount is too small (see links below).
I also hope this episode serves as a reminder that in addition to the greatness that you all see that abounds in me, you now get to hear about some of the sufferings as well, to understand that this is just the right margin God needs to show his supremacy. And that his grace is just enough balm to sooth this wild ride of a life I am blessed to have. And even if it is schadenfreude you take out of my message, that’s also very OK, haha.
That said, I am grateful for life. Yesterday, I spent the whole day with my favorite person in the world doing things as simple as getting on a cable car, eating at my favorite Korean restaurant, going on a late-night movie date, and walking hand-in-hand chatting like a couple of teenagers in love without a care in the world. Life’s good, indeed.
Thank you all for your messages and calls.
I remain your lantern,
PS: Created a Spotify playlist of some of my most-played songs in the past year. Check it out and let me know which ones you like.
“Lanterns” – Passenger (2017)
GTB Account, 0014352121, Motolani Ogunsanya
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Dr. Elizabeth Unni - On Integrating Academia and Motherhood
Women rock! Especially in the workplace and more especially in academia. Despite an increasing number of women entering academia, research has shown that women (especially those with children) are less likely to achieve tenure than their counterparts without children. Whereas having children is actually a career boost for men.
As a woman who recently entered academia, I have always wondered if it is possible to have it all at once – family and thriving career and while I am yet to find the answer to this question, it has not stopped me to keep seeking answers. More than answers, I have more questions like “can we really have it all,” “have we been sold a lie about work-life balance?”
In today’s episode, I chatted with Dr. Elizabeth Unni on her decision to prioritize family over career and how she was able to forge a path in academia. We also talked about the perception of how the tenure track might be designed to force women to make a hard choice between career and family. She also talked a bit about her research which identifies patients' psychosocial factors – their beliefs or social factors that can influence medication-taking behavior. You also get to hear about tips for visiting India.
About Dr. Unni: She is an Associate Professor of Pharmacy who received her pharmacy degree from Manipal University in India, an MBA from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Later, she received her PhD in Pharmaceutical Socioeconomics from the University of Iowa. Dr. Unni is a health services researcher and focuses on the psychosocial aspects of chronic disease management. She loves traveling with her family, reading books, and dancing. She is an active member of the International Society of Quality of Life, International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research, American Pharmacists Association, and American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Patricia Kio - Mom in America
Nigerian immigrants make up a lion share of Africans in the diaspora. Today, I bring you the story of one of them – Patricia Kio. She immigrated to the US two years ago with her two little kids to pursue a Ph.D. in architecture at Texas A&M in College Station (that UT Austin wanna-be school). Patricia is an avid Scrabble player and has traveled to over ten Nigerian states and Malaysia to compete in Scrabble tournaments. In this episode, we talked about the struggles of moving to the US, especially the financial and emotional adjustments. We also chatted about gender roles, the traits needed to succeed in graduate school, and my experience teaching in American classrooms. Finally, Patricia answered my question on the many ways architecture, as a field, is embracing technology.
Fun fact for you: Did you know that Scrabble was invented by an architect named Alfred Mosher Butts? He originally named it Lexiko.
PS: The education scholarship has been officially launched. Kindly go on to my GoFundMe page and see how you can be a part of this great initiative: https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-33-project
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with T-Dawg – On Enneagrams and Marriage
What do you get when a 7w8 meets a 1w2 or when an ENTP-T collides with an ESFJ-A (his E is highly questionable, BTW)? You get Mo! and T-Dawg! And what do these alphabets and numbers even mean? Well, glad you asked! The former is from the Enneagram while the latter, the Myers-Briggs’ – both personality tests. If you are yet to figure it out by now, T-Dawg is my current husband (haha) of almost a decade and best friend of almost two decades. We are quite the pair of imperfect people, oddly matched but striving to perfection by God’s grace. To know our story is to know that God is involved in the affairs of men. And our story is one we hope to slowly share more of with you as time goes on.
Listen to this episode to hear from a man that I highly look up to and the man who’s behind and beside the tour de force that is Mo! The one I call 내 반쪽(Google that :-D). He is a man of quiet strength and one who does not announce his strength to the world. Also, get to hear our responses to a question sent in from one of the listeners:
Why did you choose him then, and why do you choose him now?
PS: The education scholarship has been officially launched. Kindly go on to my GoFundMe page and see how you can be a part of this great initiative: https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-33-project
PPS: Wanna win $20 (yes, open to everyone)? How well do you know Mo! and T-Dawg? The hints you need in acing this quiz can be found in this new episode? You can maximize your chances of winning, in addition to taking this quiz if you follow my page on Instagram @mosibyl. The winner can reside anywhere in the world. Payment will be transmitted via PayPal, Venmo, Paystack, or Zelle. Winner will be announced by Monday, Sept 23, 2019. Take Quiz Here: http://bit.ly/MoTeeQ2019
“By You” – Simi ft. Adekunle Gold (2019)
New Blog Article on Substack:
Shame in Rest - https://mosibyl.substack.com/p/shame-in-rest
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Mo!- Mo!nologue II: Unmasking my Thoughts
Another monologue coming your way this week courtesy yours truly. In this episode, I got a bit intimate with the mic and shared a lot of the thoughts circulating in my head. Think of it like I was reading my diary aloud.
So, what things did I unearth in this episode, exactly? A lot, actually. Beginning with some personal reflections on stress, rest, and therapy. I also talked about all the travels I did this summer – spanning 11 cities and states and one foreign country, the 5-week cancer fellowship done at the NIH (National Institute of Health) and the amazing people I met, the implications of my beloved therapist quitting her practice, and how my imminent birthday is giving me major depression vibes.
Finally, I am turning 33 in a couple of weeks and I’d like ALL of the attention from that to go towards my educational scholarship – The 33 Project. My goal is to identify and shortlist 33 indigent children in Nigeria who will benefit from the scholarship for a given period of time. I am hoping to raise $3,300. Look out for more information on that, especially how you can be a part of that (yeah, I need your money :-D), please and thank you!
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Lizzie Lopez – Mexican-American, Korean-Speaking, Spanish-Learning Lizzie
Meet Lizzie! A Mexican-American who is learning Spanish. I met Lizzie at my language school (s/o to Northwest Baptist Church); she was one of my former Korean teachers. Lizzie spent a year teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to Korean elementary students (K-6) in Gunsan, South Korea. Lizzie is also an artist who teaches arts to children and the elderly. She belongs to the Canadian Valley art Guild (CVAG) and loves to paint human and animal portraits, abstract art and illustrations.
In this episode, we talked about her cultural history and what her identity means to her, especially the pressures of cultural expectations. We also talked about the year she spent in Korea and why she won’t be moving back there permanently. She also shared some tips for those considering teaching abroad. Finally, we explored the downsides of being creatives, how to cultivate friendship, and what her faith means to her.
Listen, download, share, and please leave a comment to support the show!: http://bit.ly/LizzieL2019
Recommended Song: “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” – Selena (1994)
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Omotayo – A Nigerian in Brazil
It is a well-known fact that Nigerians can be found in several pockets around the world. In fact, it is said to avoid spaces where Nigerians cannot be found because we go where prosperity can be made (#Amirite?). In today’s episode I introduce you to – Omotayo Fadina – a Nigerian living in Brazil. She moved there three years ago to pursue a PhD in Environmental Geochemistry after completing a Master’s degree in the UK
In this episode, we talked about why she left the UK, life being a Nigerian in Brazil, the culture and lifestyle of Brazilians, her research and its environmental impact especially opinions on climate change, opportunities for Nigerians in Brazil, and why we should all include Brazil on our next travel destination.
Finally, we also briefly talked about Yoruba not as a culture but its traditional religious and spiritual concepts, as widely recognized in Brazil.
“Han is to Koreans as Hygge is to the Danish people. I wonder what collective term can be used to describe the Brazilian spirit”
“The average Brazilian sees happiness as the most important thing. And they derive happiness from interaction with people and nature, rather than in material things.”
PS: Speaking of BRAzil (see what I did there. This is why my friends won’t say hello to me anymore :-D), check out my new post on braffering (a term I just coined about the pains of wearing bras) to hear more about my convoluted history with this contraption of tortures.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
From his book – The Four Loves, CS Lewis had this to say about friendship. “The ideal climate for friendship exists when a few people are absorbed in some common, but not always necessary interest. Lovers are usually imagined face-to-face, friends are best imagined by side; their eyes ahead on the common interest.”
That said, here’s reintroducing my dearest friend – Olabimpe - with whom I am well-pleased. Our common interests being doing God’s will, Jesus and plantains (expect a 7-min full convo on our love for Jirade’s plantains: s/o to my supplier – (Mojirade Bepo of Jirade Diadem (@jiradeventures), and fighting injustices in our little spaces. Bimpe and I met when I was 16 when we both signed up to be a part of a choir for teens and youth ministry (@solid_live). So you can say we go a long way, despite how much I moan about not being good with female friendships.
In this episode, you get to hear all about Olabimpe’s story which is a rare opportunity given how private she is. We talked about her being single, a recent heartbreak that almost made her curse the guy out, signs you might be dating a narcissist, how she nursed her broken heart, why she’s still hopeful about love. We also talked about what it takes to be a good friend, the huge fight we had that nearly changed the course of our friendship, as well as conflict resolution tips. If anything, you get to hear two silly friends talk about everything! Yeah, we failed the Bechdel Test a few minutes into the episode.
A friend loves at all times and a brother (or sister) is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17)
Question of the Day: Why would a man who’s on his way to marrying someone “commit” himself to another?
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
This week’s episode with my guest – Bibi – attempted to answer the following questions surrounding single life: How do you maximize your singleness and joy in a world that wants everyone to be coupled up, by any means necessary? What can the church do to encourage everyone, especially singles, to find their life purpose above and beyond the institution of marriage? We also explored the many gifts singles have that are envied by the married (especially yours truly). And yes, we also went there – to talking about premarital sex, porn, and masturbation. And finally, I threw a wild question at my guest as to why it seems that single (godly) men aren’t committing to women these days.
My guest, who is in her 20s and whom I met on Twitter BTW, Bidemi “Bibi” Babatunde, is a minister of the gospel of Jesus with this central message: “God is not angry with you, He expended all His anger on Jesus.” She is passionate about helping believers grow in their full identity in Christ and drop the cloak of meaningless religiosity. She was the best graduating student of her bible college (The Stand Point Church Refinery) in 2018 and currently lives in the Greater Toronto area where she manages fundraising and communications for a charity that helps children with autism.Find out more about her on www.bibilamour04.com or via Twitter bibilamour04.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
Meet Adekunbi Oyelade, a lawyer, youth advocate, and the CEO/founder of Sesewa - Nigeria's first internship-focused career development company. Sesewa was founded in her college dorm room in 2009 while a student of the Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria. She founded it due to the frustration with difficulty in getting an internship position.
Subsequently, in this episode, we talked about her entrepreneurial journey, regrets, and future plans. We also did a smooth segue into gender roles and the relative advantage of the gender-selective child-rearing conferred upon the Nigerian girl child as well as tips to balancing this.
Mo! adds: A brief observation about Adekunbi: She’s business, man!
PS: Got some major announcements to make regarding the podcast, if you are yet to subscribe or will like to be in the loop, sign up here: https://www.mosibyl.com/ (scroll down to the very end to “Let’s Get in Touch”)
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
Let’s take a trip to Nepal, everyone, with today’s guest - Sujana Rupakheti. Sujana is a pre-med international student from Nepal and she holds a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry and mathematics. In this episode, we talked about her move from Nepal to the US, adjusting to the educational system here, acculturation challenges, and her reasons for choosing the US to pursue a medical degree.
Facts about Nepal
Their flag is the world's only non-quadilateral flag.
Despite sandwiched between two super giants – China and India, Nepal has never been colonized.
In 2001, there was a royal massacre that decimated several members of the royal family.
Nepal has its own calendar system – the Vikram Samvat and according to it, it is the year 2076
You also hear about the similarities between Nigeria and Nepal and why relocating from either of these countries to the US is not without its challenges.
Here’s the much-anticipated story of the other woman – aka Dr. Diana Escobedo or Diana as I fondly call her. Because you get “more” listening to the show, we also explored her life. In addition to the unique role she plays in our lives, Diana comes with her own story.
She was raised in Mexico and grew up in a less-traditional household where children were given free reins to explore their unique individuality. With this flippant freedom, Diana found herself pregnant at 16. Yet, she pushed through this and completed medical school only to be bedridden for almost two years. With her liver failing, and a looming diagnosis of the autoimmune condition – rheumatoid arthritis, she was at the brink of death.
Listen to hear more on how Diana turned all of these around, broke the family cycle of alcoholism, found purpose in her suffering, and her suggestions on how not to give up on our own dreams too. Diana is now a licensed family medicine practitioner and will be opening up her clinic in the El-Paso area with a focus on providing care to low-income families. Also, hear about the key people that helped her get from there to here.
Listen, download, share, and please leave a comment to support the show!
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
하늘의 왕국| The One with Patricia Qhobela-Jenkins: Stories from Lesotho – The Kingdom in the Sky: Episode 18
Still on Africa! Today I bring you stories from an expat Brit/Mosotho who was born in the UK to Mosotho (refers to persons from Lesotho) parents. When she was 16, she was whisked back to Africa, which made for a lot of stories that we unpacked in this episode. Patricia Qhobela-Jenkins, who I once dubbed ‘African Leprechaun’ the very instant I met her, and I talked about Lesotho’s history relative to Africa’s and why we don’t know so much about her country, her losing both parents and the process of grieving, as well as upholding choices regarding marriage and decisions not to have kids. Lesotho, a constitutional monarchy, regards water as white gold and exports it to South Africa to boost its economy. Lesotho, where owning cows is a sign of wealth, is a beautiful country with hillsides reminiscent of The Shire, traditional ponies, and lush greens but find out why I won’t be visiting it anytime soon.
Patricia is the founder of Podcast Maven (www.podcastmaven.com), and for over four years has helped introvert female business owners find their voice, connect to their audience, and launch their unique podcast.
Follow Patricia on IG: @the_podcast_maven
PS: Looking for investors and partners for a cultural exchange program idea I have for Africans and Asians.
Listen, download, share, and please leave a comment to support the show!
Recommended Song: “This is Me” – New Found Glory (2019)
Visit www.mosibyl.com to see show notes.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Selena: The Girl from Mauritius – On Island Living
Let’s explore an African country together in this episode. And no, it’s not Nigeria, haha.
Welcome to the Island, peeps! This African island boasts of enviable beaches for destination weddings. It is a religiously diverse nation, with freedom of religion given as a constitutional right and the only African country with a Hindu majority. As Hawaii is seen drifting away from the continental US, so is this country relative to Africa when viewed on a map. It’s also a country close to Madagascar and the only known habitat of the now-extinct bird – dodo. Mark Twain once quipped that Heaven was copied after this country and Lewis Carroll was inspired by the dodo to write his famous book “Alice in Wonderland” in 1865. Life expectancy here is well higher than the world average and is well above the average for African countries.
Welcome to Mauritius – one of only four countries in the world with no involvement in ongoing international or domestic conflicts and no tensions with neighboring countries. The others being Botswana, Chile, and Uruguay.. As a result, Mauritius does not maintain a standing army.
I invited Selena – who I describe as a spunky, ethnically-ambiguous, culturally-rich, cosmopolitan, Mauritian gal - to talk about her country’s history, its unique aspects, and what her identity and nationality mean to her. We also talked about her overcoming body image issues, experiences as a US immigrant, and how she responds to questions about her origin.
Recommended Song: “Lingua Lebi” – Talulu (2006)
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Dr. Ozi: Tales of an African Princess in America – On Imposter Syndrome at Work and in Marriage
What do you call it when two podcasters come together to talk about podcasting (and so much more) on a podcast? A meta-fricking moment! Today, you guys get not one, but two African royalties, both with PhDs, dripping in finesse and sauce. In this episode with Dr. Ozi of the Tales of an African Princess in America Podcast, we unpacked a lot on imposter syndrome, its root causes, impact on our work and marriages, and how we have tried tackling it. We also talked about the importance of having mentors, not only in the workplace. If anything, you also get to hear two nerds gush about their research. Special shout-out to Mr. Kenny (from Episode 30, 2018) who made this connection happen!
Ozi is a fashion guru who lives in the music city of Nashville, Tennessee where she does research on sarcoidosis. #Peng
What Dr. Ozi and I have in common:
We are both kicka$$ podcasters and storytellers.
We are total nerds and can gush about our research all day.
We both work on research areas involving rare diseases – she, sarcoidosis, and I – lupus erythematosus.
Our disease areas both have gender and ethnicity disparities; sarcoidosis and lupus affect more Blacks and females.
Recommended Song: “So Far So Good” – Phyno (2017)
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Mr. Lanre Jacob – The Two-time Nigerian Cancer Survivor
Cancer has become a major source of mortality and morbidity in Nigeria, and with the growing population, impact of westernization, sedentary lifestyle coupled with genetic factors, cancer is on the rise. Today’s guest – Mr. Lanre Jacob of the Lanre Jacob Sarcoma Foundation - has survived cancer - Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans - not once but twice IN NIGERIA. His cancer experience spans three decades with multiple surgeries that have taken a considerable chunk of his head. As a cancer survivor, he went beyond the last stop of the cancer control continuum (survivorship) to become a cancer advocate.
In this episode, we began with his life before diagnosis, the diagnosis odyssey he went through, delayed treatment due to ignorance, and why he is passionate about using his voice to reduce cancer incidence and mortality in Nigeria. We also explored potential opportunities for religious leaders and cancer survivors to lead the campaign in cancer education, reducing stigma, and advocacy. Finally, drawing parallels from our fight against HIV, we talked about why cancer is a war Nigeria is not ready to win given its weak healthcare infrastructure, low budgetary allocation for health, and poor engagement in cancer research.
All in all, I hope this episode serves as a cue for you to go visit your doctor to get a run-down of your numbers and explore potential risk factors, especially for cancer.
PS: Wanna support his foundation and grassroot community efforts on cancer control in Nigeria? Contact him on email@example.com; ljcancerworld.blogspot.com; +2348130133902
PPS: Can you say Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans three times without blabbing?
Recommended Song: “El Cóndor Pasa” – Simon & Garfunkel (1964)
The awkward conversations replete in today’s episode is made possible by my guest and friend - Angela; a real-life princess (things I do for you guys, honestly), one of my privileged, certified haters (because I don’t even acknowledge the rest), and a dear friend who is totally in awe of my awesomeness.
Angela is the last of 10 kids, which explains why she is really spoilt. She is a geology scientist and one of the many victims of the oil market collapse, which caused her to seek greener pastures in the oil-abundant area of Calgary, Canada. But as all that glitters isn’t always oil and in need of a job, she did a two-minute elevator speech of her resume. So prospective employers, if you are need of skills like hers, kindly email her on firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela has overcome a lot to be where she is today, especially a delicate, high-risk surgery to treat her chronic back pain from sciatica. And I could not be more proud of her, especially her resolve to find meaningfulness in suffering. That said, I will wish for her to quit her chronic staple diet of Yoruba Demons (and I speak freely on this issue as a Yoruba person) as they have brought nothing but indigestion to her. So, I conducted an intervention for that, and she also used the opportunity to talk about what she wants in a mate. So if you are single and NOT YORUBA, kindly inquire within.
Most importantly, Angela is kind, caring, very thoughtful, and genuine. She will always be unforgettable for a lot of reasons – chief among is how she worked in cahoots with my husband to throw me a surprise party for my 30th birthday that had over 60 people in attendance. I am yet to forgive this transgression.
Love you, Angie. 2,999 times!
In light of the COZA events, a guest and I explored societal influences on the churches' reactions to such happenings. Also, a take on cultural influence on religion and reverence for men of God, and so much more.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Mine Tafolar – The Turkish Adventurer
Meet Mine Tafolar – Latin American-loving Byzantine lady. I met Mine through a mutual friend of ours – Gio from Nicaragua (hello, Gio! We love you). Mine was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, where she studied political science and international relations and history at Bogazici University. She has also worked as a journalist for Hurriyet Daily News and prepared internal and international news stories. She holds an MA degree from the Government Department from the University of Texas at Austin with a thesis titled: Buying Support without Brokers: Conditional Cash Transfers in Turkey and Argentina. Right now, she is a Ph.D. candidate at the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She's lived in Istanbul, Ankara, Austin, Buenos Aires, and Chicago.
In this episode, we talked about her life, Turkish pride, starting a Ph.D. program, transitioning from being a teaching assistant (TA) to a teaching role, teaching tips, how she deals with imposter syndrome, and her strategies for balancing being a newlywed grad student.
Mine is pronounced – Me Nay.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
Here’s a follow-up to Episode 10. In this episode, I present Dr. Alalade with a real-life case scenario of a patient named “X.” Her story touches a lot of points discussed in Episode 10. Patient X is a 32-year-old Black lady who currently resides in the US. She has had two pregnancies that resulted in miscarriages during the first trimester. Her clinical diagnoses include left ovarian dermoid cyst, severe pelvic adhesive disease, and stage-4 pelvic endometriosis. Together, Dr. Alalade and I explore this patient’s history with him providing a handful of options in helping Patient X reach her goal of multiparity.
Patient X may very well likely be someone you know or someone whose story eclipses yours. Regardless of which category you fall under, never quit seeking the answers you need. The hope, in the meantime, is to build community around these difficult, untalked about socio-cultural issues.
Let me know how I can help.
Disclaimer: Please note that all the contents discussed in this episode are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
It all began with this Facebook post I made in March to find answers to some gynecological questions I had. A friend, then, connected me right away with Dr. Alalade – the award-winning, stock market-loving, UK-trained gynaecologist and founder of the Facebook Group – AsktheGynaecologist, which currently boasts more than 1.3 million members worldwide! Dr. Alalade is a diplomate of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and currently a member of the Institute of Clinical Research UK and Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health, London. According to him, his mission is to bring about a total change and accessibility to healthcare information in Nigeria and Africa. He is also a fervent promoter and advocate for maternal health issue. Learn more here.
How, then, can pregnancy outcomes be maximized? How are pregnancy outcomes and sexual intercourse affected by ovarian cysts, fibroids, adenomyosis, and endometriosis? Can you tell the differences between these four gynaecological issues? And why do these issues plague more Black women? What foods can worsen or lessen the symptoms from these gynecological issues? Are herbal products safe to use? Why do fibroids cause painful period and sex, and irritable bowel syndrome? How do we prevent and conservatively manage these issues while maximizing fertility outcomes in women of reproductive age? Why does upward mobility from developing to developed countries worsen reproductive outcomes in women?
So many questions. Not to worry, listen to this episode to get the answers.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
#Phew (breathe in and out)
Let’s take a deep breath from the back-to-back heavy episodes of ovary talks and whatnots. In this episode, I titled ‘여기도 거기에 없어 요’ meaning ‘neither here nor there,’ I talked with my friend, Adrian Patenaude – a confessional poet, one of my pen-pals, and one of the 20-something-year-olds who greatly inspire me. Growing up White in rural Northern Thailand sure had its ups and downs; all of which we unearthed in this episode. We also talked about nostalgia of the moment, our love for books, poetry, and music, giving the gift of music to friends, and reminisced on our Black Mirror viewing party days gone by. I live vicariously through Adrian as she does a great job of archiving her 20s and embracing the awkwardness, quirkiness, otherness, and everything-ness of those growing pains – something that came too late for me in my 20s.
Her poetry has really inspired my work and process, especially with my writing and the show. Reading her poetry is like reading a diary that was accidentally left opened, intentionally; a process she calls performed vulnerability. Also, listen to this episode to find out how she practices self-care.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: Rising Above the Voices – A Deep Exploration of A Nigerian Living with Schizophrenia
For more than 15 years, I have battled with pulsatile tinnitus (the closest diagnosis I have been given) – a condition that equips me with the ultimate pleasure of hearing my own heartbeat (24/7) in the form of a pounding or whooshing sound in both ears. I have done all kinds of series of test ranging from MRI, Doppler scans, to conductive hearing tests, but everything checked out. My symptoms are worse at night, away from the humdrum of the city, causing me increased irritability. Using ear plugs and not thinking about it have helped considerably. For the most part, I have been able to cope with it. It doesn’t really affect me except when it does. I think it’s bad enough having this.
Now imagine that scenario but rather than your heartbeat, you hear actual voices – three distinct ones to be exact. Voices with their unique characteristics and personalities with names to boot. This is a tidbit of what those diagnosed with schizophrenia go through. Schizophrenia is an umbrella-like diagnosis (meaning very broad) with symptoms ranging from delusions, hallucinations (auditory and/or visual), disorganized speeches or behavior to some negative symptoms. Suffice to say, each person’s condition is unique to their own.
Take, for example, our guest for today (let’s call her ‘Sis’) loves the color pink and get excited by it whereas, in another TEDTalk video I watched, the speaker therein talked about how the color red triggered them negatively. Today’s guest is based in the south south part of Nigeria. Sis was diagnosed in 2012 and attributed this to being sexually abused for a prolonged period. Noises from a running tap or generator set trigger her.
For a while, she was catatonic when she was first diagnosed – meaning she could not speak, move, or respond. Getting on medications not only helped her regain her activity, reduce the number of voices to three, but also to harmonize the characters and rule over them. She regrets delaying treatment.
In this episode, we explored her life from diagnosis till date, the impact of this condition on her social life, relationships, activities of daily living, and so much more.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents:
First, Happy Mother’s Day to moms – in every way, form, or the other. This episode is especially dedicated to a special category of moms – angel moms; mothers with babies in heaven. On a day as triggering as today, I hope you remember the strength that already lies in you.
I brought on a dear friend, Jolasun, to share her experiences as well on pregnancy losses and struggles with motherhood. Drawing from our own experiences, we provided tips on how to retain your joy and not feel resentment towards others. Finally, we shared resources on how wives can facilitate the difficult talk with their husbands regarding the anger, sadness, and missed expectations stemming from miscarriages. To such couples, remember that the best place to be is together.
Remember, it's okay to mourn your loss irrespective of the cultural influence. After all, it’s YOUR loss not the culture’s. The hope for sharing this episode is to encourage anyone out there who’s hiding in the shadows out of shame or sadness from pregnancy losses. Come onto the light, lift your head high, and let’s heal together.
I am here, if you need anyone to talk to.
All my love, tender as it may be,
Mo says: Losing a child (especially one you never got to meet) is like being lost in a crowded marketplace trying to locate someone without a face.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
Vaginal talks, because contrary to what you've been told, the vagina has more uses than just sex. Sometimes, things come out of it and other times, things go into it . Today, we will be talking about the former. And by period, I mean menstrual flow, Aunt Flo, Aunty Fola, The Red Robot, Crimson Tide, Lilith Streak (I came up with this one), Carrie, Shark Week, The Red Wedding. Ah, you get the point already!
This episode is a painfully accurate account about all the changes we women go through and the accommodations we have to make during those days of tumultuous bliss, periodt! Plus a no-holds barred convo style on sex education, vaginal (and women’s) health, symptoms management (boob tenderness, mood swings, painful periods), dealing with heavy flow, preventing and cleaning bed stains, and how to properly insert a tampon without impaling yourself to death!
Rihanot Jolasun, RN-BSN, is a nurse with several years of experience who currently practices in the Dallas area of Texas. We did this episode to build support around taboos that have shrouded this topic for way too long. We hope that by getting this conversation started, women too can serve as an ally to other women.
PS: Heavy blood clots during your period are often an indication of something problematic. See your doctor to learn more.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Victory - An Aspirational Nigerian Youth
Nigeria has made a lot of impact on increasing the diversity and talent pool in the US educational system. Meet one of its contributors - Victory Ogunbanwo - a junior student majoring in forensic science and accounting. Victory is young, beautiful and one of those aspirational Nigerians I have been honored to meet here in the US.
In this episode, we explored her life growing up in Nigeria, moving to the USA, and the challenges of preserving cultural values. She also shared what she likes and dislikes most about living in the US as a Nigerian.
You will also hear a little bit on about Nigerian names and their meanings and why names are important to us.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Rania - On Being Muslim and More
Meet Rania Zeithar: A Middle-Eastern Arabic Muslim woman who has lived on three continents: Africa (Egypt), Asia (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), and now North America (the United States). Rania is married with two children and currently works in special education in the Plano public school system in the US. She is a member of Plano Library’s writers’ group and keeps current with a blog.
In this episode, we explored her tripartite life as a Muslim, African, and an American woman. Other topics explored included whether Islam is a religion of peace and how/why do extremists justify their actions using the Qur’an. It was important for me to initiate this conversation because I could not reconcile the Muslims I knew, while growing up in Nigeria, with the ones portrayed on the news. In short, I wanted to create a space for civil discourse on these matters.
Fun facts about Rania
She overcame glossophobia to help who are suffering from Islamophobia.
Has written and published a book and is currently working on another one.
Credits the humanity and kindness in the American people she’s met in helping her navigate America better.
Book review: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
Link to Rania’s book: https://amzn.to/2Y08GJ0
Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/moresibyl
Be a guest: Share your story or process, email me on email@example.com
Subscribe on: iOS, Android devices, RSS. OR join our email list: for weekly podcasting updates
I would love to hear from you! Socials: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn
Artists (songs) of the moment:
Neotheater Album by AJR. My favorites (so far) from the album are:
Don’t Throw Out My Legos
Break My Face
100 Bad Days
Let’s build bridges,
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Tolu - Of Female Friendships, Shared Spaces, and Empathy
Here’s a bold story for you on female friendships and how sometimes, it is not organically formed. And how when you get to a space in your life, and you find yourself in shared spaces with some people and realize that you may have been probably wrong about them all along.
Today’s story is about Tolu. She and I go way back; we went to college together. Tolu is a medical doctor and a researcher who’s based in Denver, Colorado. In this episode, which was taped in Denver, Tolu and I examined our paths – the times they did not cross and when they finally did. And the circumstances and commonalities that brought us together. Her story is one of hope and God’s presence, especially in our darkest, lowest times.
More importantly, this episode is also how to walk away from the intergenerational cycle of pain, the burden of firstborns, grieving the childhood you never had, and loving oneself.
Read more on www.mosibyl.com
Woot, woot! She’s back!
Welcome to Season 2 – let’s just say that the creative break taken since December was well worth it. I am kicking the new season off with something a bit different – Mo!nologue series (see what I did there :-D?) – where you get to hear me just talk.
In this episode, I did a quick recap of Season 1 and gave some updates on the outcome of some episodes. A big one is how my podcast episode on miscarriage is changing a clinic’s practice in New York City.
I also provided some updates on what I have been doing since December, upcoming travels (let’s hangout, if I am in your city), how I handled a recent failure in my life, my beef with the IRS, and some other moaning of life, in general.
Finally, I will be rolling out a new initiative this year to help with education scholarships and mentorship programs. Find out how you can be a part of this by supporting the show.
PS: I started adopting ASMR recently to help with insomnia, and I have stumbled upon some good videos. See show notes for details and listen to the end of the episode at my lame attempt to recreate ASMR.
Read more on: www.mosibyl.com
So, I am not officially back from my creative break. However, as a matter of urgency, here’s a public service announcement to my fellow Nigerians (especially those in the diaspora) about renewing their Nigerian passports through those Passport Intervention exercises.
It’s about time for me to renew mine and if there’s anything the last two renewals taught me, it’s that it’s a stress-inducing expedition coupled with perhaps, the worst customer service experience I have ever had. I did not want to make the trip to any of the Nigerian embassies in Atlanta, DC, or New York (partly to save time and money), so I searched Google for nearby Passport Intervention activities. What I stumbled upon was startling, to say the least, especially an article written by today’s guest – Prof. Umez (firstname.lastname@example.org) - on what he uncovered. There are several reports and eyewitness accounts of extortion and corruption by those entrusted to provide this public service to Nigerians. Prof. Umez is the president of the Nigerian Foundation in Houston, Texas and the Founder of the Nigerian Leadership Council in the United States.
In a few days’ time, the Consulate General of Nigeria based in Atlanta will be holding a Passport Intervention in Houston, Texas (see link below for more details). This episode highlights the ban and warning already in place to prevent innocent Nigerians from paying additional charges for this services.
Please share this with every Nigerian you know.
PS: In other news, the Federal Government of Nigeria has launched a new passport scheme that’s damage-proof and weather-friendly with a 10-year validity!
“The true deterrent to crime is not the severity but certainty of punishment.”
“Nigeria Go Survive” – Veno (1985)
Passport Intervention Exercise in Houston this coming weekend: http://nigeria-consulate-atl.org/
Article referenced in the episode: http://umez.com/Ongoing-Passport-Intervention-in-Houston-and-Dallas.html
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with The Villagers
“It takes a village to raise a child; it also takes a village to help when you have lost a child.” – Mo!
Here you will hear some voice notes from the Villagers - some of those who have been supportive in this journey of miscarriage and pregnancy loss.
I reached out to some of them to leave me voice notes and voicemails. My hope is that some of their words might be encouraging to you too in your own journey.
Resurgam (we rise together),
Of all the things we experience as women, there are some stories that remain hidden. And even when you do get to hear these stories, they are often told from the standpoint of someone who has weathered a forgotten storm.
Here’s a story that defies all of that.
In this episode, I had a heartfelt conversation on a recent pregnancy loss with a fellow sister. Mine ended in an early-stage miscarriage in October and hers, a still-birth at 31 weeks, in November. Culture says we are not supposed to tell you this story. But here we are telling it, anyhow.
Please note that I’m not sharing this story because I expect people to care about how all of this affects me. But because it’s comforting knowing that I am not alone. Maybe some of you who listen to this episode will see your story here. If not, I hope you at least find insight into something that happens all of the time, but only few talk about. After all, this affects one in four women.
Background: “Penelope’s Song” – Loreena McKennitt (2007)
Outro: “Let It Be” - The Beatles (Matt Hylom acoustic cover) (2014)
I see you, Sis:
In Episode 45 – The One with Zainab, Zainab and I talked about the song – Wear Sunscreen by Baz Luhrmann and what this song means to us. A line in that song “Get to know your parents, you never know when they'll be gone for good,” inspired this episode with mom.
Like most families, mine isn’t without its secrets. Growing up, I had a hunch that my family was different, in terms of its origin. For starters, there were no wedding pictures (my parents legally got married eight years after I was born) and I thought my parents’ lives were interrupted. So what was the big secret?
Country bumpkin girl moves to the city with big dreams and bumps into city boy. Boy falls head over heels in love with girl. On one stormy night of passion, one thing led to another; girl *fell pregnant and yours truly was conceived. Girl gets kicked out of the house and begins life, which became the life of mom. Sounds like an R-rated Korean Drama, right?!
This episode is really about getting to know that girl before she became mom and also an opportunity to give words to her fear. While, it’s a story about mom, her sacrifices, and the sheer strength of this woman I am blessed to call my mom, it’s also one about setting our stories free.
So, here’s me hoping you get to know your parents before they became mom and dad. You might just be surprised as to what you may find. I hope you let me know how it goes.
PS: You also get to hear one of my own struggles in this episode.
*Refer to The Linda Ikeji Dictionary, version 18.5
“When You Learn To Sing” – Rocco De Luca (2009)
Here’s a joke for you:
Two Ghanaians and a Nigerian walk into a bar… but left because they didn’t have Nigerian jollof rice.
Ghana, a relatively unknown place until Nigeria shot them into popularity (ugh, the things we do for them!). Also, Ghana, the place filled with people of mystery, strange English diction, low production movies, and weird jollof rice concoction. In a bid to explore this enigmatic country, I invited two Ghanaians over to my house over a meal of Indo-Thai goat curry, Korean steamed rice, and mixed vegetables (all made by yours truly). We explored salient issues like jollof rice (of course! And why Ghanaians cannot get this right), pet peeves (turned out I am more finicky than I thought, ugh), acculturation problems, adjusting to the educational system, books, what traits determine success in grad school, racial identity, questions about my marriage, and so much more.
PS: One of the guests – Elias – took me on my offer to cook any meal of choice for anyone who was visiting Oklahoma and wanted to stop by my house – this is still an open invitation to anyone BTW. Living in America, the off-and-on Ghana-Nigeria banter never ceases. In fact, we unite more as Africans against common causes like acculturation, socialization, and just everything else American. So I guess this is the story about three Africans who are trying to hack it in America.
We Ghana be alright,
Meet Zainab – single mom, graduate student, and special-ed enthusiast! She hails from the Hausa tribe in the Northern part of Nigeria. Zainab has faced some adversities in her life as a domestic violence survivor and divorcee, but she’s turned that all around to pursue her dreams. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Special Education at The University of Texas at Austin, majoring in learning disabilities and behavioral disorders.
She plans to go back to Nigeria to establish a world-class school in rural areas and provide free and subsidized education to children, especially those with special needs, who will otherwise not have access to education.
I met Zainab on an online forum, and we became fast friends. In this episode, we talked about her life story, why Northerners don’t migrate to the US, her dreams for her daughter, and why we all need to wear sunscreen, and so much more. Also, find out one thing Zainab does well, that shook me as a Yoruba girl.
Perhaps, the most central thing about this episode is the merit of educating the girl-child and providing her with equal opportunities to change the world around her. Also, remember to seek help if you are in an abusive relationship. Abuse is not OK!
PPS: Hausas was used interchangeably to refer to those from Northern Nigeria. Please note that this is an overgeneralization.
“Wear Sunscreen” – Baz Luhrmann (1999)
Trust me on that sunscreen; wear them,
As this is a show for Blacks, Asians, and those who love them, what better way to solidify that message than with this week’s guest – Teresa Nhi Nguyen. Nhi is pronounced /ɲi/ and Nguyen /ŋwɪn/. Teresa is a freelance graphic/web designer based in Austin, who hopes to create work that can serve to communicate beautiful messages, inspire others, and change the world. In her free time, she dabbles in HTML/CSS, goes on food adventures, and learn new skills to add to her arsenal. You can learn more about Teresa and her work here: http://nhibnguyen.com/.
In this episode, we talked about what being Vietnamese-American means to her and the gentrification of the Asian culture via food and clothing. We also explored career switch, fear of failing, and managing parental expectations.
Perhaps, the most central thing about this episode is how our dreams can shape our world and that of the people around us – from Teresa’s father’s dream of fleeing communist Vietnam (way back then) to start afresh in the US, to Teresa’s dream of changing the world around her through her eyes and talents.
She’s really versatile and comes highly recommended. She is the brains behind the More Sibyl website as she designed it. She also curates logos. So, you got design and branding needs? Hit Teresa up; mention the show to get a discount.
Before design became a passion, she was on her way to optometry school. Find out more by listening.
Parents, especially African and Asian ones, are alike in many ways.
To appreciate and honor other cultures, learn more about its underpinnings and why things are the way they are. Don’t take parts of a culture, relabel it and tag it ‘authentic.’
Cultivate your hobbies because they may someday become your passion and lifework.
“Try everything twice – once for the novelty and second time to see if you really like it.”
Meet Rev. David Esosa Ize-Iyamu, one of the more than 30 Nigerian presidential candidates running in the 2019 election. On a warm, humid Friday evening, just before I was scheduled to catch my flight out of Nigeria, I sat with him in his office to talk about his platform, why he is running, and what he hopes to achieve if given the opportunity to become the next president of Nigeria.
Rev. Ize-Iyamu is the senior pastor of Jesus Evangelical Assembly in Lagos. For more than 20 years, his platform – the Youth Revolution Movement (YRM) has aimed to mobilize youths to play a decisive role in the national socio-economic development and to see empowered Nigerian youths fully realize their potentials and positively contribute to the overall growth, development, and governance of Nigeria.
According to Rev Ize-Iyamu:
Here are the things we need to look for in a presidential candidate: courage, strong nationalistic interest, and integrity.
A lot of credible Nigerians have stayed away from politics. They have focused on different fields and have excelled. As a result, the political terrain and governance realm have been left in the hands of a lot of incompetent, unpatriotic set of Nigerians. And that is why we have the kind of system we have today.
How do we then change this narrative?
Look out for a new breed of Nigerians who are patriotic with burning national interests, be given the competence to lead at every key level of governance. A new team of competent levels can spark off an overwhelming change in the entire governance of the nation.
Remember to exercise your civic duty by voting and doing so wisely.
God Bless Nigeria,
Here’s re-introducing, Yvonne Edo-Olotu. She is a lawyer during the day and a content creator at night/weekends. She is the brains behind the Beautiful Mind Podcast; you can find that show on iTunes/SoundCloud/Stitcher. We met when I worked in Ibadan (a Southwestern city in Nigeria) several years ago. She got her LL.M at Cornell University and recently returned to Nigeria.
In this episode, we took a drive to memory lane to explore our differing personalities and how this defines our friendship; our love-hate relationship with Korean dramas and favorite shows; and why we, as women, need fewer mentors and other kinds of key players to advance our careers and grow personally and professionally.
We also talked about adjustments she had to make when she moved back from the US and how she builds social support in a city as boisterous and crazy as Lagos!
Tips from Mo!:
Never trust a person who kisses with their eyes open.
About our friendship:
She is introvertish and I try to be sometimes (haha).
We bonded initially over the song - 99 Red balloons by Nena.
She is an avid reader as well.
She is a podcaster too; check out Yvonne’s podcast: https://soundcloud.com/beautifulmindpodcast
“Free Fallin’” – John Mayer (Matoma & Nelsaan Tropical Mojito Remix) (2014)
Today’s guest on the show is very dear to my heart and has been a source of support and an oasis of wisdom, especially during some rough patches I experienced in my first few years in the US. Dr. Nnabuchi Anikpezie or 'Buchi (as I like to call him) is another Nigerian in diaspora trying to make a home in his new environment.
Though he trained and worked as a physician before moving to the US, he currently works in healthcare administration as an analyst. His work does not define him, rather it is his Rotary affiliation that he credits for much of his experience and culture. 'Buchi has been part of Rotary for almost twenty years. He is the immediate past president of Rotary eClub One. 'Buchi lives with his family in the Houston metro area.
In this episode, we explored his childhood dreams, why he studied medicine, his decision to switch career trajectories, considering he took a different route than most of his counterparts who end up writing the USMLE and practicing in the US. We also talked about home, our constant search for it, and the sad realization of what we find at the end of it all. Also, on how his accidental stumble into fatherhood changed his life and sharpened his focus.
PS: I really loved taping this episode with Buchi, especially as he talked about his regrets and why he would not change any of those. Here’s a special shout-out to the Bro. Emmas out there: siblings parenting and raising their siblings. Thank you for all you do!
Support the show:
Buchi has a full-concierge travel agency. If you book a flight or hotel through his website, you get a discount, and I do too. By using the code – “MOSIBYL”, you get:
A $10 discount (minimum booking of two nights) on hotels.
$30 off flights (international flights only and does not apply to promo fares).
Check out his page here: www.bcatravels.com
“Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.” – Allen Saunders.
Sometimes, we come to certain decisions or pathways for different reasons. Once we make that decision, we have to own that decision and live it.
Don’t dwell on your regrets, no matter how mighty they were.
“Ojigi” – Phyno (2014)
Now, even more than before, many Nigerians are leaving the country to seek better opportunities in developed countries. This is unsurprising if you consider the prolonged political and economic instability that have rendered the country hard and reductive for its inhabitants. For those who have moved abroad, fewer are even willing to relocate to Nigeria voluntarily. That’s why I find today’s guest intriguing.
Meet Afolabi, who holds dual citizenship as a Nigerian and an American. He spent a chunk of his formative years in the US but made the decision to move back to Nigeria after college. In this episode, we explored the reason behind this decision, returnee issues, and how small businesses can thrive in a parasitic environment like Nigeria. Finally, what Nigeria, despite its extractive economic and political institutions, where a culture of monopoly, corruption, and lack of political rights are the norm, does relatively better to help businesses grow compared to Western countries.
PS: As a Nigerian living in the US, I have been asked several times by several people if I plan on moving back home and my answers have varied throughout the years. These days, I say an emphatic ‘no’ with poignant reasons. However, my discussion with Afolabi has given me a lot to think about, so let’s see and never say never.
Tip #1 for returnees: Be flexible.
Surviving as an entrepreneur in Nigeria takes a lot of effort and consistency.
Nigeria offers a greater foundation for transformation and creation than the United States and other countries in the West.
Not everyone who is living abroad is doing well as most live mediocre lives.
Nigeria needs our help; the more hands on deck, the better the country will be.
For Nigerians who are living abroad, what strong factors would make you consider moving back to and staying back in Nigeria?
“Motherland” – Sound Sultan (2007)
Meet Tanya Crossman – she grew up in Sydney and Canberra, Australia, and lived in Connecticut, USA for two years of high school. She moved to China independently at age 21, where a study year turned into 11 years abroad. While in China, Tanya began mentoring Third Culture Kids (TCKs) - young people who, while not Chinese citizens, were growing up there due to parents' choices of work or study. After ten years spent supporting TCKs, Tanya wrote a book to explain their experiences and perspective to others. She currently lives in Beijing with her husband.
In this episode, we talked about homesickness, the constant search for home, acculturation, and how to build emotional support in a new country. In addition, we explored emotional resilience, why we should visit Australia, and what I would want people to know about Nigeria.
PS: Find more details about Tanya and her book here: Misunderstood: The Impact of Growing Up Overseas in the 21st Century
Fun facts about Tanya:
Like me, she finds language fascinating and unlike me, has studied more than 11 languages.
She studied Mandarin for many years before relocating to China.
She is a data nerd.
Her job entails serving as a liaison between TCKs and their parents. Tanya comeswith some expert authority on TCK life including statistics and stories from her original research.
We should never take people at just face value. Looking at me, you wouldn’t be able to tell that I speak Korean, or that Tanya speaks Mandarin. Our experiences are etched deeply in our stories and you would not know until they are shared.
OCTOBER 25, 2018
This is one episode you should not miss as it features my very own Poojee!
In this episode, Poojee aka Omonike (my mother gave her this name, and it means ‘a child to be cherished’ in Yoruba – A Nigerian language) and I gush shamelessly about the love we have for each other. Pu, as I love to call her, and I went to grad school together in Austin, and she now lives in London. If you’re my friend on Facebook, you would have seen posts of me her and together. In this episode, we explored Poo’s story: growing up (female) in India; dropping out of grad school; how she coped with managing those expectations and from others too; our friendship and its oddities; and why we will not be breaking up anytime soon.
Poo is about one of the very few friends I chased (I am usually the one being chased), and I explain why this was so and why I would shamelessly do it over and over again. Poo is as geeky and nerdy as I am and loves Korean drama too. We also both share a mutual disdain for Apple® products. Suffice to say, our friendship will irretrievably break if either one of us cheats on the other by taking a bite from any of the already-bitten Apple products that are Mac and all of its i-Friends.
TL; DR: It’s a story of an odd love, friendship, and sisterhood between two most unlikely people who share different beliefs on religion (she is Hindu, I am Christian) and food (she eats rabbit food (aka vegetarian), and I eat rabbits (aka non-vegetarian), and even personalities (she’s introvertish, and I am hella extravertish, yup it’s a word!). How we make it work and how a little understanding and radical acceptance is needed in cross-cultural friendships. It’s also a story of resilience, dealing with the fear of failure, and keeping things moving.
PS: I would love to hear from my listeners sometimes, you know. My inbox is getting too lonely, and I am feeling a bit insecure about this. Please help me overcome this podcast insecurity by emailing me at email@example.com on what you either think of the show in general or this current episode. Please and thank you!
Poojee says: “Don’t be afraid to look like a fool asking for help.”
Speak candidly and gently to a friend about their hang-ups and things you think they could work on. In return, listen patiently too to what they have to say about you. The goal is to establish openness in your friendship.
“Monta Re” – Swanand Kirkire, Amitabh Bhattacharya (2013)
Hey friends, I want to take a hot moment to let you know how grateful I am to have this platform to share stories and connect humanity. So, if you are reading this and would like to come on the show to share yours, please let me know. This is our platform, and together, we can set our stories free.
Meet Shama Farag – an Arabic-English Translator at TED talks, Coursera Global Translator Community. She’s an author and a journalist blogger at HuffPost Arabic, Aljazeera blogs, Sasa post. She is also a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church Interfaith community FIRE “ Fostering Interfaith relationship in Eastside,” a member at MAPS MCOC “Many culture one community,” member of IOC “Interfaith outreach community at Muslim Association of Puget Sound. She is Egyptian and a mom of two boys.
In this episode, we talked about heart stories and immigration, how Africans aren’t really taught about other African countries and what we can do to fix this. We also talked about what it is like being Egyptian, and she gave us reasons why we need to visit Egypt.
Her book, “Hi, I am Syrian” was inspired by some negative experiences she had as a Muslim and she decided to do something to change that narrative.
Shout-out to Salma for making the introductions!
PS: My ignorance about African countries, especially Egypt, shone brightly in this episode.
Question: Why do you think Africans aren’t taught about other African countries?
There are many Arabic dialects – I did not know this.
Egypt has a lot more to offer than just the pyramid.
We can use our stories to transform the world around us.
Notable Quote by Shama:
“Every calamity you have in your life will treat you a lesson.”
السلام عليكم (Peace be unto you),
First, happy birthday to me! It’s the second anniversary of my 30th birthday! As a way of saying thank you to you all for being wonderful fans, here’s a bonus episode. It’s also a special one because it depicts my favorite trait in all of its rawness – vulnerability. In this episode, my guest – Mr. Ayokunle Falomo and I traded stories on our struggles with depression, how we cope with it, and how religion can be a cure and curse, depending on how it is wielded. I chose to share this with you all because I think it is important to remind you of the story behind the glory. I also believe that God is not silent when we suffer and that we ought to reject the shame and embrace the hope in Christ. Finally, that: 1) depression is not as uncommon as you think and affects a lot of people, 2) it’s OK not to be OK sometimes, and, 3) there’s always help around the corner.
So, I hope this episode helps someone feel connected and to remind that someone that they are not alone. Don’t give up on fighting and it’s OK to seek help. Here’s me saying that a new day will dawn tomorrow and you’d be there with me to practice your purpose once again; one replete with choosing life and finding ways to be more gentle and compassionate with yourself. That you would always remember to remind yourself that you are enough and always will be.That every baby steps you are taking right now to get back on track are a significant move towards the right path.
PS: We also explored how funnily our depression can be brought on by just not our fear of failure but when we succeed. And how there’s a recurring struggle with purpose and productivity, and how these are tied to our self-worth. Ayokunle Falomo is: a Nigerian, a TEDx speaker, an American, the winner of the 2018 Stacy Doris Memorial Award and the author of kin.DREAD & thread, this wordweaver must! As a poet, his singular mission is to use his pen as a shovel to unearth those things that make us human. He and his work have been featured in print (Local Houston magazine, Glass Mountain) and online (The New York Times, Houston Chronicle, and Berkeley Poetry Review. You can find more information about him and his work at www.kindreadbook.com.
Shout-out to Dr. Ayomide Adebayo whose post in 2013 about depression gave me the insight needed to seek help.
“The work of digging into the past is the work of the now. For some of us, the past is never past. A lot of things still hold us back, and factors such as family dynamics, environmental and work factors contribute a lot to our mental health.”
Read more about my story here: https://goo.gl/dtc2ZQ
Intro: “Eye Adaba” – Asa (2007)
Outro: “Fame” – Adekunle Gold (2018)
Love you all,
Welcome back to another episode of the podcast! I have not been getting feedback about the show like I used to, so I am guessing things are either good with the show or I’ve been forgotten :-(. Guess all that was just to say, I’d love to hear from you. Please send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or just say hello here :-D
Here is introducing Dr. Planas, Ph.D. - an Associate Professor of Pharmacy, my senior colleague, and African sister! Her office is two doors away from mine, and she’s partly one of the main reasons I landed my academic position at the University (it began with a conference in 2015, listen to find out how). I met through my advisor while I was still in grad school.
Dr. Planas or Lourdes as I call her is Cubana-American; her parents fled Cuba when she was just one month old. In this episode, we talked about life in the US and growing up in New Orleans instead of Miami (this has the largest concentration of Cubans). We also explored racial identity and how pharmacy helped her overcome racism and cultural identity issues, especially growing up in a time when it was certainly not cool to be Cuban.
You will also hear about the two clocks that are churning fast for fecund women in academia – the biological and tenure variety. And why Lourdes’ deliberate plan of putting her biological clock ahead of the tenure one is one she does not regret. Also, we talked about why women require more than just mentors to have a successful career.
Dr. Planas is married to Rick (also a pharmacist), and they have two adorable kids who I have had the pleasure of babysitting a couple of times. I am technically family :-D Lourdes also emphasized the importance of having a supportive spouse when on a tenure-track or in grad school while raising kids.
PS: After taping this episode, her mother’s DNA results were updated and linked with hers. She is 0.5% French, yayy her wishes finally came true. Only 0.5%, you say? C’est la vie!
Fun facts about Lourdes:
She waited 12-13 years to have kids.
She was recently promoted to Associate Professor.
She is really of mixed heritage; a small part of her is Asian, African, European, Native American.
She made me see Black Panther with her as a condition for coming on the show.
She has all the cutest tchotchkes; there’s almost nothing she doesn’t have in her office.
We both serve as co-advisors to the organization - Student National Pharmaceutical Association #SNPhA.
Go to conferences – it helps to build your social capital and network that could land you that job.
Find yourself a Lourdes at work or even better, be a Lourdes to someone.
Whether you put the biological or tenure clock first, make sure it is a decision you have given careful thoughts.
Women have been over-mentored and under-sponsored.
Try a Cuban sandwich but not outside of Miami or Tampa Bay, Florida.
“I got the biological clock and the tenure clock, which one was going faster. I put the biological clock first, I really did, I don’t regret it. Sometimes, things happen in life, and everyone is different, but I wanted to be in a stable position, put down some roots.“
“Once I moved to Jacksonville because I was a Pharmacist and helping people, I felt more connected to that community, and I felt less threatened by them, and I felt empowered. Being educated, having a career, and being a pharmacist, helped empower me to rise above the tension I perceived between my culture and the society at large.”
Intro: “Big Chief Part 2” – Professor Longhair (1964) &n
A little-known fact about me is that I grew up on a staple diet of Indian movies, and this continued shortly until after Bollywood became a global phenomenon. India, for me, will always be my first entry point into Asia and its cultural diversity, as a young child growing up in Nigeria. And still on India, this week’s guest has a unique story, especially how her love for India was forged at a young age (hint: it began in a classroom). In this episode, you will hear how her dream spurned into something glorious that has now shaped her life-course and those of the generations coming after her.
Meet, Emily: she describes herself as Jewish-ish and a lover of Jesus. She is also a wife to Jose and mother to two delightful, energetic kids. In this episode, you will learn what it means to follow your calling even when you are not sure where it might lead you. You will also hear tips on multicultural marriage and how to raise kids in such a dynamic environment, as well as its beauty and challenges.
PS: This episode was shot in my house when Emily came visiting with her kids; you may hear her daughter’s voice in the background. Shout-out and a Namaste to Daphne Raj for introducing me to this wonderful lady.
Fun facts about Emily:
She convinced her mother to let her go to India when she was 15 (Please do not try this at home with your African parents, thank you. And if you must, approach them with caution).
She loves tea.
From the ages of 15, till she turned 22, she visited India up to nine times.
Her interest in India was initially piqued by her need to fix Christopher Columbus’ error #DiscoverAmerica.
Similarities between the Jewish and Indian cultures
They are both family and community oriented.
People from both cultures have driven personalities.
Differences between the Jewish and Indian cultures
Women have a lot of say-so in the Jewish culture, in general, and can be headstrong.
The approaches towards money differ.
Find the beauty in both cultures and highlight those but bear in mind that there is going to be a more dominant culture. You kinda have to accept this otherwise you are just gonna fight all the time.
Let your kids take part in the different cultural activities that are part of their background.
“The Whole 30 diet is like Paleo on steroids.”
PPS: After our talk, I got this text from Emily later at night.
“I think I should have said on intercultural marriage... Jesus! Without Him, we would fight like cats and dogs! He puts it all into perspective...culture and His perspective on it all really helps us to keep our particular preferences in check!”
Nama’stay here, with y’all for a bit,
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Kenny
Still on the daddy issue (I know! But hear me out on this one). This week’s episode started with an email I received from one of my ardent listeners - who was also today’s guest on the show. It was also the first official fan mail I got!:
Everyone believes fathers should be strong and just provide financially while the mothers raise the children. I am a father of a 3-year-old daughter with a rare medical condition (which has resulted in massive learning/developmental delays). My wife and I are very hands-on in raising our daughter. What I've experienced in the three years of fatherhood is that the mothers get more support than fathers. I'm Nigerian born but been living in the UK for the last eight years. Do you have any guests who can talk on the topic - fathers and support for them?
The contents of the email tugged at my heartstrings. After much reflection on the choice of guest, I decided to ask Mr. Kenny if he wouldn’t mind doing the honors as I could not think of any other perfect guest to do justice to such an important and rarely discussed topic.
In this episode, you will hear about the challenges, societal expectations, and triumphs of raising a child with special needs. You will also hear tips on how to build and foster support for those with special needs, especially for parents and caregivers. More importantly, you will hear about a father’s love; the kind that is unspoken but constant, affirming, assuring, and ever-giving.
PS: Olivia’s condition is called 1p36 deletion syndrome (also known as monosomy 1p36). It is a congenital genetic disorder characterized by moderate to severe intellectual disability, delayed growth, seizures, limited speech ability, and weak muscle tone with varying symptoms depending on the exact location of the chromosomal deletion. There is no cure for this disease. Treatment depends on the symptoms and may include rehabilitation/educational programs, antiepileptic medication, and standard therapy for affected organs. You will also hear about a day in the life of Olivia.
According to Kenny:
Olivia’s condition has brought him and his wife together, as a closer family unit.
Don’t be afraid to be open and vulnerable, especially to those who love and care about you.
Be their voice and advocate, especially when talking to health care providers.
Read, research, observe, and pay attention as much as you can on the condition.
Love is a powerful tool with healing powers; make sure to show your children love.
Social support is critical when dealing with rare diseases. Find a patient advocacy group to belong to and if unavailable, consider starting one that is relevant to your cause.
Fun facts about Olivia:
She just turned three and is quite the spunky three-year-old with some sass. #Yasss
She loves her soft toys.
Her favorite color is blue.
She loves grabbing things so be careful with your earrings, headphones, or necklaces when around her.
She is the boss of the house.
Hearing her distinct laughter echo around the house, according to dad, always warm his heart.
And to dearest Olivia, when you can get to read this, dad (and mum) would like for you to remember that:
You are beautiful and specially-abled.
You will be able to live a fully functional life.
You can achieve anything you put your mind towards.
Always show love to people.
"Daughter" – Loudon Wainwright III (2007)
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Nathan - My Burmese Friend
Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is the second largest country in Southeast Asia with a population of more than 50 million people. Chances are Myanmar is one of those countries that has never crossed your radar. It used to be this way for me too until I met my dear friend, Nathan, in 2014. Nathan is from Myanmar and is ethnically Chinese. He left Myanmar in his teens to live in Singapore. He holds a Masters in computer science and software development but switched his career by bagging an MBA with a focus on public health, so people won’t think he is the IT guy (*insert Asian joke here*).
In this episode, we explored the shadows of our countries, post-British colonization. If I learned anything from this episode, it is that poor countries (as measured by absolute poverty) have similar presentations, no matter what part of the world they are located in. This is because poor countries are poor because they have extractive economic and political institutions, where a culture of monopoly, corruption, and lack of political rights are the norm. (Recommended text: Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty (2013) by D. Acemoglu and J.A. Robinson). As a result, Nigeria and Myanmar as so much alike in more ways than I thought, and not just due to our common colonizer – the British.
I gauged his opinion on Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, who is making headline news over her alleged inaction to the persecution of the Rohingya people in Rakhine State and refusal to accept that Burma's military has committed massacres.
We also talked about his hobbies – reading and traveling, as well as our mothers and WhatsApp broadcast messages.
PS: Nathan and I met in 2014 while interning at the same biotech company in Boston. During that time, we hung out a lot and explored a lot of the Boston scenes.. This episode was shot at his house in Somerville while I revisited Boston in July.
Fun facts about Nathan:
He loves to dance and is exceptionally adept at it. I have gone dancing with him a couple of times, so trust me on this.
He is a polymath; a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning.
He is not good at Math (Shocking! Insert yet another Asian joke here).
We both have a dark sense of humor, haha.
Similarities between Myanmar and Nigeria:
The income gap in Myanmar is among the widest in the world, with supporters of the former military government controlling a larger share of the wealth.
A lot of people move out to seek greener pastures elsewhere. Think push and pull factors, with Singapore being the top destination. With the UK, USA, or Canada being top destinations in Nigeria.
June 12 is to Nigeria as August 8 is to Myanmar #8888.
Self-censoring was rampant throughout the 80s under the military era.
While there is a huge importance placed on education, both countries experience corruption in educational equality mostly due to poor government infrastructure.
Both countries ‘run’ on US dollars, with hundred dollar bills being the most preferred.
Inflation rates are off the roof and highly unpredictable.
Mothers in both countries have a special thing with sending cringe-inducing WhatsApp broadcast messages.
Due to outdated power grids, dating back to the British colonization era, blackouts are frequent.
The people are really about the best thing about these countries.
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with The Lawals
In talking with some of my friends, especially those who just became new parents, I found that a lot of them struggle with the feeling of insecurity around parenthood and fear of not doing enough as a parent. It humbles me when I hear these conversations because I think most of them are really good parents. In a bid to build community for these issues, I invited The Lawals on the show. Thus, this episode is dedicated to those friends and others like them. I hope you connect to this and that much more, you realize how amazing you already are.
This episode features a candid conversation with Nigerian parents who are raising Nigerian-American kids. You will hear about their insecurities, fears, and rewards regarding parenting. On how certain adaptations and tag teaming are necessary when raising kids in a different society than the one you grew up in. Also, on cultural differences and why some Nigerian parents do not allow their kids to go on sleepovers or playdates.
PS: This episode was shot in their house on a lazy Saturday morning. I have come to a soft conclusion that third-culture kids, raised by Nigerian parents, have a lot of shared experiences, especially of being grounded similarly, regardless of where they grow up in the world. Gotta give it to Naija parents for the homogeneity.
Fun facts about The Lawals:
They have twin girls! I am crazy about twins; so much so I married one (not only for this reason, haha).
Mrs. Lawal is still a patriotic Nigerian; you need to see the glimmer in her eyes every time she talks about Nigeria.
They met online way back when we used dial-up technology to surf the internet. #truelove
They play good cop, bad cop with the kids; listen to find out who plays what.
Be mindful as parents. Always turn back to say: “Hi, I love you, I will see you later.”
Tell your kids what to do but make sure you show them why, when needed. Especially as they grow up and become more assertive.
Parenting is a continuous improvement process. Parents learn through their kids as much as their kids learn from them.
Be a lazy parent – let your kids figure some things out, engage their curiosity to help their brain grow.
“It is crazy that the one place that you seemingly cannot truly feel that your kids are completely safe is inside American schools. You are not truly sure of whom you are handing them over to or with whom they are interacting.”
You cannot raise your kids in a bubble. From Monday to Friday, they spend more awake hours outside of the home, and you have no control over these external environment. This is why we communicate the whys and hows with our kids and lead them by example.”
These struggles, we have as parents, will never go away. What we need to fight this is the constancy of the parents, and hopefully, some of our teachings will stick. Not all will stick because they will form some of their own thoughts based on the environmental influences.”
" Ode to My Family" – The Cranberries (1994)
PPS: My prayers for us is that we never lose our purpose and inherent functionality unlike the dishwashers in Nigerian homes.
The kids are alright,
The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Dr. Bamgbade
For this episode, we need to do 100 cartwheels, throw some confetti, and roll out the red carpet, because it features the very Queen in all of her splendid glory! Here’s introducing Dr. Benita Bamgbade, aka BeNyoncé (get it?) Born to first-generation Nigerian immigrants, growing up in H-town (Houston), Benita grew up very conscious about her heritage, especially at an era when it was uncool to be African (pre-Wakanda times). In this episode, we talked about all these and what it has been like moving to Beantown (aka Boston) from Texas. We also explored life as a new assistant professor of pharmacy and how dating or making friends in your 30s can be Herculean tasks.
PS: She does research on mental health and designed an intervention recently on the health-seeking behaviors between Blacks and Whites in the US. She loves Jesus and Beyoncé! Also, we may have been well oiled and highly spirited when we taped this episode #redredwine #invinoveritas
Fun facts about Dr. Bamgbade:
She is so extra like me, and we connect on a deeper, spiritual level with that. We work well together and always come up with the most extra, lofty ideas, haha!
For her research on mental health, she has won two back-to-back awards at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) meetings. #gogirl
She is the first rapper on the show.
We both love and miss #HEB. If you never lived in North and Central Texas, you won’t understand the struggles #lesigh
Significantly higher proportion (81%) of young Black adults living with depression in the US do not seek help when compared to Whites.
Don’t get too bogged down about what your friends and family would think. The people you are worried about care about you. If you are living with depression and not living your best self, go get help. It gets better when you get help.
So people don’t like you? Oh well! You will be alright, and they will be alright too.
We cannot be our jobs; there’s gotta be more to life. Find your ‘more.’
Being Nigerian now is super cool, but it was not cool growing up from elementary school till the beginning of high school. Being African was not cool, but now everyone is like ‘Wakanda Forever.’ Like no! You used to make fun of me; this is not for you. Go sit down or apologize or do both.”
“Being Nigerian and American to me means being the best of both worlds. I love being Nigerian; I thank God that I am Nigerian, I love the culture. My American side too has its merits and having a ground foundation on both sides are great. The downside is not being fully grounded on either side.”
“Being a professor is like graduate school on crack. The pressure is so much more now on a tenure clock.”
" Red Red Wine" – UB40 (1983)
I woke up like this,