Happy New Year!

Yaiy!! We made it to a new decade! 2020 is here. You are here. You are reading and I am glad you stopped by. By the way, how are those resolutions coming along? 🙂 I have some important gist for you today so grab your juice or tea and sip away.

I don’t know about you but this past decade was a trying one for me. On many fronts! The decade started with me finishing at Harvard Ed School. I was looking forward to the future, hopes and dreams all lined up….. then my immigration status became invalidated. Homeland Security (bless their heart) decided not to approve my application because it was short by $60.00 (apparently the immigration form had been updated). My application was returned. I corrected it within 2 days but it was too late. I was no longer eligible for adjustment of status.

I have a Harvard degree, I cannot find gainful employment as a recent graduate, my husband is also unemployed. I poured my energy into my passion for catering. That focus was what birthed TamBo’s Kitchen. By the time I was ready to open operations, I was able to adjust my immigration status 5 years later. Hubby had to become a citizen first. That way I did not leave the country. Today, I am a newly minted citizen of the United States (6 months and counting).

Between 2010 and 2011, we were this close to loosing our home. It was getting ready to be foreclosed. I still remember that cold day sitting in front of the loan officer at Bank of America. We needed the mortgage refinanced. Hubby was collecting unemployment, while job hunting, I was a business owner with no immigration status. Where will help come from? The mortgage could not be refinanced with unemployment income. I was afraid of exposing my immigration status. The loan officer looked at me and told me point blank “Ms Adewumi, we will take the house, you leave us with no choice. You have no income, your husband is on unemployment, we are going to foreclosure.”

I got up and began walking away. As I reached for the door, I heard that still small voice say to me “….but you have income….use what I gave you.” But I have no papers….” Go back and tell him you own a business, be plain and transparent….”

I walk back and sit where I sat in front of the loan officer. ” I have an income sir. But I am out of status. I own a catering business from the comfort of my home. I do not have a formal business account but I have spreadsheets that track income and expenses. I also leverage Bank of America mobile transfers and accept mobile payment.” The loan officer sits straight, looks at me and ask if I can show him my bank account statements to verify the inflows. I get to work. I produce all the documentation needed. I wrote letters. I had to produce my life history from when I entered the US.

We did not loose the house. Today, the mortgage is much lower. We now have a tenant living in it. We are well on our way to building generational wealth. We just moved to our second home this year.

In 2017, I was ready to move out of my home and have a formal place where people can have West African comfort food with hospitality. The dream came through……then came breast cancer. Over $75,000 of blood, sweat, equity and debt had gone into birthing my baby but life decided to throw another curve ball. What do we say to breast cancer? “Not TODAY” #AryaStark. By faith and God’s infinite mercy, I went for treatment. I am alive to tell the story. TamBo’s Kitchen is alive and very well. I am alive and very well. My marriage is intact and very well. My children are alive and doing very well.

I share this with you because I want you to succeed no matter what life throws at you this year and this decade. Don’t think you will not see challenges and all will be smooth sailing. Whoever sold that to you lied to you. Life happens. It will happen in different shapes and forms but you need to be ready. How did I survive the past decade?

  1. I identified friendships and relationships that mattered and I nurtured them
  2. I was not afraid nor ashamed to ask for help

May you not be a victim of the “spirit of packaging” this decade (Nigerians will understand that). May you not be a victim of “what will people say?” This decade is going to separate the knowledgeable from the ignorant, the wise from the foolish. Are you ready?

I wish you all the very best in 2020. I pray you have all it takes to navigate it and be successful.