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  • Jason Inanga

Jason's Jive: December 2018

Good day my dear reader. How has your month been? Also, how was your Thanksgiving Holiday? There is nothing like being able to relax with family, eat a good meal, have a drink or two (water is my new friend) and enjoy good conversation. The government should make the day after Thanksgiving a partial holiday, so that folks like me who eat a lot of food, can recover, instead of having to go to work. (I am slim but can eat a good plate of food plus more. My metabolism rate is very high, and I am thankful, lol).

This issue I was trying to narrow down a few things to talk about and a random social media greeting between a good female friend and I created the opportunity for me to look at her story. What would make a young lady decide to leave the city (Baltimore) where she grew up, and relocate to Atlanta, or even relocate at all?

Please meet my friend, Janae. Wow, I don’t know how long ago we met, but it has been ages. We met in Baltimore where I work. Janae worked in customer service and is a natural. Most times I went into her place of business, I would make sure she was the one to attend to me. Her colleagues were nice to me, but I was always intrigued by her courage to wear her hair differently. She used to have some very interesting hairdos and would also have some interesting colors in her hair. We got talking and have remained friends ever since.

So when Janae indicated to me that she would be moving out of Baltimore to Atlanta, I was surprised. I wished her well but respected her courage to get up and leave. It brought back memories of when I left my country of birth, in 1994, Nigeria, and relocated to the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. (My father is Nigerian, and my mother is from St. Kitts --- you probably never heard of it : the population is 40, 000, we just got traffic lights a year ago --- and we do not have McDonald's.) So I can relate to Janae’s action. She left a nice job with a telecommunication company here, in addition to a weekly radio show, and relocated to Atlanta.

I just want to share her experience, so I asked her a few questions, to understand more. In my case, my decision to leave Nigeria was based on the politics of the country. The summer of 1994, the country shut down for almost three months, as a decision was made to frustrate the military rulers out of power. There was a general strike in the country – no electricity, banks closed, markets shut, no water – you had to walk to and from places. Survival took another turn. I probably will share that experience with you in a future Jive. Let me get back into Janae’s story.

Janae, what would make a young lady decide to relocate? Is it love? A job? Adventure or a desire for independence? (Her response is in italics). The desire for adventure and independence. I always wanted to travel the world and live in many places, so I left Baltimore for Atlanta.

What factors influenced your decision-making in terms of zooming in on a specific city? I chose my location based on the recommendation of people in my circle (of friends).

How has it been, adjusting to a totally new environment, new food, new friends, learning to drive like they do in Atlanta? Adjusting was easy for me. I’m very social. Meeting new people allowed me to find great food spots. I am not a fan of the crab cakes; they’re Louisiana style. The traffic has been the hardest to adjust to, because of the amount of people who live in Atlanta. Rush hour lasts about 3 hours here.

What differences between Atlanta and Baltimore were very noticeable to you? The major difference has been the size. It affects public transportation, which isn’t as good as Baltimore. Georgia is a Conservative State, but Atlanta is a democratic city… politics is very weird here.

Would you encourage other young people to relocate as you have done? Your comments?

I would definitely encourage other young adults to relocate, see the world, don’t be afraid. I would definitely emphasize though that one must prepare prior. Do not jump out there blindly. Plan, Save, Execute.

Janae, thank you very much for sharing. Like Janae, when I moved from Nigeria to a small island, I had to deal with the culture shock, difference in food, different music, make new friends as most of the cousins I knew who were my age had left the island and lived either in the USA, Canada or England. I was an English Teacher at the Basseterre High School . I also taught Literature, was responsible for a Home Room and also had Sports House duties. (We operated under the British system, so the school went from 3rd Form to 6th Form --- similar to a US High School, Grades 9 to 12.)

Teaching was fun. I miss those days. I made it my duty to ensure the children in my classroom had a fun learning experience. Bonds of friendship have been formed for life --- with their parents, their relatives. Three of my former 9th Grade students became pilots for the regional Caribbean airline, LIAT. Shout out to Joshua Crooke, Nigel Lewis, and Desroy. I actually had the honor of flying from Trinidad to St. Kitts with Joshua.

Time to fast forward… In October 2018, I had a chance meeting with a quiet-looking young man. We got talking and then got to realize that I was on to something. Meet Brendan, a young man involved in a very interesting industry. I am excited about what he does, and I hope to be able to help him tap into my network. Brendan Hall is a documentary filmmaker who tells stories rooted in travel, culture, and adventure. He's a director, cinematographer, editor, and time lapser; He is an FAA-certified drone junkie and avid nature enthusiast. After graduating from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Brendan went on to work at the National Geographic Channel, assisting with the development of new programming. He has since created content for brands including GE, Adobe, National Geographic, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Volkswagen and The Atlantic. His cinematography credits include traveling to Greenland with science communicator Bill Nye to shoot for the documentary "Bill Nye: Science Guy," which is being released on PBS this year. His first feature documentary, "Westward," follows a journey through 22 national parks to meet the incredible people within them, and is set to release this fall.

To date, Brendan has been to 35 countries and 36 U.S. national parks but feels like there’s so much more of the world to see.

Please visit Brendan’s website and let him know you learned about him and his work, from The Beltsville News. I will do an interview with him in 2019 on upcoming projects he is focused on.

Let me wrap up the Jive for now. I wish you a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year in advance. And please, if you can, pop over to Laurel to watch Oliver. It should be a nice play. Details on this theatrical performance appear in other pages of this publication.

Thanks for reading and I appreciate the kind words I have received from some of you readers. Bye.

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