2 and a Half Suitcases




verb: regret; 3rd person present: regrets; past tense: regretted; past participle: regretted; gerund or present participle: regretting

feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity).

When someone tells you that for a ‘reasonable’ fee, you will get an apartment in Florida and a job in a country club so prestigious, the Williams sisters call it home, you don’t pass go, you don’t collect $200, you don’t think or stutter, you say YES.

At 23 years old, with no kids, no husband (yet), no mortgage, no savings, I found it hard to find reasons as to why I would exchange this opportunity for regret and shoulda, coulda, woulda’s.So with that the process began, I had three interviews to pass, paperwork beyond your wildest dreams and most importantly a lot of money to earn. Despite having all the dedication and heart in the world, I can’t pay bills with it, nor could I cover the hefty expenses that came with moving my life to a different continent.

So I balanced my studies between two pretty awesome jobs, one I mentioned in my previous post, was working as a waitress in The House of Commons. I walked past and under Big Ben every shift and held a pass that gave me access to one of THE most historical and powerful buildings in the world. I served MPs, Lords, Ambassadors and a range of individuals with titles that I’m completely clueless about. Along with colleagues from all over the world, including Spain, Portugal, Vietnam, Thailand, Nigeria, Congo the diversity goes on.

My other job gave me life! Like literal life. The yellow uniform, combat trousers and heavy boots weren’t quiet the fashion statement I was going for, but let me tell you it was a small sacrifice. Because I got to see live performances by; Rhianna, Craig david, J. Cole, Future, Action Bronson and a bunch more, most of Wireless and Lovebox and WeAreFSTVL for the last two years.

In addition to that *takes deep breath and relives moment* I saw with my 2 eyes live and in my face, THE Queen B, yes bitches bow down, I saw The Beyoncé two days in a row live in a packed Wembley stadium. I was willing to lose my job that day to watch her, booty pop, drop it low and slay, all while remaining as prestige and classy as the queen herself does.


Good Times…. Great Times

But yeah, summer was long and hard this year, yes I got to see all the people I just boasted about, but the downside was the 12, 14, 15+ hour shifts I had to endure, late nights, early mornings, quick showers and long journeys.That was a small sacrifice for the chance of a lifetime, I had accepted that and in all honesty I was pretty chirpy about it all, convinced myself a little hard grind is part of the story.

Something I tell myself quiet often actually ‘it’s all part of the story’, see in addition to my beliefs in God and Christianity, I see my life as the pages would unfold in my autobiography. When something bad or unexpected happens I just think to myself that would make an awesome book, Chantelle Olaiya: commis chef to restaurant mogul, I’m still working on the title.

Hmmm, do me a favour google that in around 10-15 years and we’ll see how well that went!

As I was saying, by assuring myself I was okay with what I was going through, I think I opened myself up to more trial and tribulation, like that time when my head gasket and water pump blew 6 weeks before I was ready to move to The States *straight face*.

The thought of paying out £650, with America fees already in excess of £2000 rapidly had me succumb to my knees asking God if I could win the Euro millions on a triple rollover week.

Moving forth and to your satisfaction I will skip the fine print and state the obvious.

  • All interviews were a success and I was accepted to complete my internship at BallenIsles Country Club, West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Paperwork was a bore, tears of frustration ran occasionally as well as the rare forget it moment (PG Version).
  • Eventually I gathered the funds by selling my car, borrowing from family, Gofundme page and maxing the heck out of my overdrafts (yes plural). Maybe a little too honest of me, but I wish I knew the extent of the sacrifices made.
  • Quit my job at The House of Commons and event stewarding.
  • Made my way to the American embassy to interview for my J1 visa – also a success
  • Spent the last few weeks of my last summer in the UK car-less, poor but the happiest I’ve been for a while (I’ll explain why in my next post, wahhheeeyyy suspense!)

And there I was, having battled through procrastination, set backs, financial woes, fear, anxiety, tears of joy and happiness and the odd “Not today Satan!” moment, I traveled 4,368 miles to Florida with my life scrunched, rolled and folded into 2 and a half suitcases.

The most common way people give up power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

– Alice Walker



2 thoughts on “2 and a Half Suitcases

  1. What a detailed experience Chan!
    You have always been a bold Girl and taking this giant stride can only take you the next level which you deserve .
    Continue to wear that comfident look even when inside you have small doubts I believe you will surpass your goal! I’m so proud of you and wish you the very best darling😘😘😘


  2. I have waited patiently for your update. Chan you were born determined. You have always shown us that you knew what you wanted and what you aim for. You are resilient, a go getter who never shirks responsibility and will do whatever job in the process of reaching your goal. We all have moments of doubts and wobbles but we are human and is expected but it’s how you push past it is what is important. You never let anything defeat you. You always get up and fight back. We are so proud of you sweetheart. You just keep being thehumble, caring, determined person you are and with God on your side and with him blessing your every move and plan, success is your babe IJN 😘😘😘


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