Posts tagged culturalnomads
희망을 본다| The One with Afolabi - The Nigerian-American Returnee: Episode 37 (2018)

The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Afolabi

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.

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마음과 건강| The One with Ayokunle Falomo - On Mental Health and Being: Episode 33 (2018)

The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Ayokunle Falomo

 

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

 

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하바나, 하바나| The One with Dr. Planas - The Cubana-American Professor of Pharmacy: Episode 32 (2018)  

The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Dr. Lourdes Planas

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 L. Guess this is just to say, I’d love to hear from you. Please send me an email on talktomo@mosibyl.com 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!

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올리비아에 대하여| The One with Kenny -  The Unspoken Love of a Father: Episode 30 (2018)

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. It was also the first official fan mail I got!:

Dear Mo:

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.

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우리 가족의 가치| The One with The Lawals - On Raising Nigerian-American Kids: Episode 28 (2018)

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 find community through this episode 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 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 Nigerian kids, raised by Nigerian parents, have a lot of shared experiences and of being grounded similarly, regardless of where they grow up in the world. Gotta give it to Naija parents for the homogeneity.


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내 일본 섬에서| The One with Mai - On Multiculturalism and Being Okinawan-American: Episode 26 (2018)

The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with Mai

Born to an Okinawan mom and an American dad, thus growing up bi-racial in a multi-cultural home meant Mai had to ask tough questions from the start about identity, equality, community, friendships and the like. An aspiring graphic designer and a secretive poet, she uses the arts to continue the journey of those questions, through her multi-cultural marriage, and the community around her. A fighter for love to be in action in all places; who loves hearing the stories of those around her in hopes to build better bridges in all places and with all people. Mai also enjoys the simple pleasures of puppies, coffee, food of all kinds, and summer activities. 

In this episode, we talked about her cultural heritage and tips on how to navigate multiculturalism in language, marriage, and expressions.

PS: Okinawan-Japanese is the equivalent of Hawaiian-American; thus, Mai is ethnically Okinawan. Also, it would mean a lot to Mai if you went to see 'Crazy Rich Asians;' according to her "your ticket purchase helps affirm the industry that people want to see diverse leads."

 

Fun facts about Mai:

  • Her parents met in Japan when dad was in the US Airforce.

  • If she speaks too much in one language, her brain gets tired. So, she needs a fine balance of people with whom she can speak English and Japanese.

  • She spent a lot of time in Japan when growing up. So much so that when she moved back to the US, she was classified as an international student and had to take ESL (English as a second language) classes.

 

Takeaway Points:

  • Mai had two very good questions for me as a Nigerian about Nigerians.

  • Your insight as a multicultural person is always needed and valuable.

  • Be proud of your heritage.

 

Notable Quotes from Mai:

“I find the Japanese culture at times fascinating because even though it is a communal society, there is so much pressure on the individual to succeed which sometimes creates a painful tension.” 

"In America, it is harder to build quality friendships because it is an individualistic society. Thus, self-love here, ironically, is to schedule spontaneous activities to make sure I spend quality time with my friends.

“Being married to a Chinese-American, we both have to learn how to navigate this space of multiculturalness we share. We both have parallel lives of being able to relate on how it feels to navigate multiple cultures and not really feeling like we belong to anyone in particular.”

 

Recommended song:

"Say Anything" - X-Japan (1991) [Mo says: "The arrangement of the musical instruments reminds me of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody"]

 

Jya-ne,

モ /Mo!/

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부부 선교사| The One with The Bunns - Americans Serving Internationals: Episode 25 (2018)

The More Sibyl Podcast Presents: The One with The Bunns

Meet the Bunns or like I call them, Love Bunns; they are one of my favorite dyads in the world. Despite just meeting them a little over a year ago in Oklahoma, I consider myself blessed and honored to be a part of their family and that I get to call them “fremily” (family+friends).

Charlie and Dona Bunn are also the Directors/Chi-Alpha campus pastors for the University of Central Oklahoma. Chi-Alpha is an outreach ministry to universities to reach students, reconcile them to Christ, and transform the university, the marketplace, and the world. Statistics have reported that 85% of international students have neither eaten in an American home and 75% have never been in an American home. The Bunns, through their ministry, are trying to change those statistics. For twenty years, they have been building community for international students to give them a sense of belonging.

In this episode, we explored how Americans can benefit from multiculturalism, and how internationals (students) in the US contribute to broaden the worldview of Americans. We also talked about what Americans can do to change the perception held by most internationals of Americans of being just friendly but not necessarily good friends.

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