So, I’m letting you know up front that this isn’t the first blog I’ve ever had. I know. You’re blown over from the shock. I can only imagine.
When I moved to Nigeria some years ago, it was such a culture change to me that it appeared the best way to deal with the change, with tons of humor of course, was to blog about it. I’m bringing the blog posts back to life by inserting them periodically on here till we reach their end. I think it will serve as a cultural experience and will resonate with some who are quite aware of the quirks that make Nigeria and Nigerians that much more fun. Enjoy!
Well, heeeey…guys! How are you?
This is my very FIRST posting and I hope it fits the bill of informative plus entertaining!! Woooooohhhooooo! Ok, first, I’ve been told since forever that I should consider starting a blog, but in my mind a blog constituted a number of things I wasn’t too excited about: it was geeky, time consuming, and un-fun. Terrible combo, that.
But since I recently relocated to Nigeria for God-only-knows-how long, my daily observations of the lifestyle and culture here prompted a good friend, who we will rename “Sylvia” in this blog (for her safety and well-being naturally), to tell me to start writing about my observations. After much of said prompting from Sylvia, ahem, here I go. Hope I may be found faithful. 🙂 She reckons I will have fresh observations and insights especially after it having been about 15 odd years since I last lived in Nigeria. For the sake of perspective, it is handy to realize that I am writing from Lagos; my writings in this blog will thus be about this geographical location primarily. Always good to state one’s “biases” upfront, isn’t it? 😉
I have an awful lot of backtracking to do though. First funny experience was being on the flight leaving Houston for Dubai (first stop), and sitting across from a hardcore Yoruba lady. Somewhere in the middle of traveling, we experienced quite a bit of turbulence in our traverse across the desert. Having our seats literally at the back of the plane didn’t quite help and while I resorted to holding my breath periodically between bumps, Yoruba lady on the other hand resorted to calling out “Jesu! Jesu!” in perfect rhythm with the bumps! “Jesu! Jesu Christu! Jesu! Oluwa! Oluwa shamaa!” I had to literally hold my breath – this time to stop from exploding in fits of laughter. At some point, my prayer stopped from being about me to my asking the Lord to make the plane calmer – for her sake. The poor American guy next to her found his only safety from her woeful cries in his wearing his headphones at all times. Never to take a break! Hahaha. She moved on from calling on the name to going through her rosary, and, as if that must’ve failed her, to singing choruses pretty loudly – certain that would definitely save our souls. And save, it did. I was saved from any chances of sleeping on that flight – that’s for sure. She has no idea, I’m sure, that she is hereby immortalized. 😉
We became good friends somewhere along on the flight and I told her of how much she made me laugh! Her reply? “If I’m going to die, let me at least die on the ground where they can see me to bury me. You know?? Not up here!” Goodness. That’s a true Nigerian for you. No shame, they say what they’re thinking….and you know what? I love it! I still plan to visit her…
Arriving at Nigeria’s international airport, I was stunned to find that there were no consistent signs to lead me right to baggage claim. I ended up being entirely lost but, of course trying not to show it or appear like a JJC (Johnny just come), I sidled up to a man holding an unruly toddler and asked for directions. Without blinking, he replied: “eeehn! It’s there! You can just follow me.” From that reply, I knew that following him was my next “to-do” since “it’s there” constituted no actual direction. He led me to the place. The baggage claim area is truly an interesting market place. The screens present did nothing to alert me as to where my baggage would be spat out from. Again, as with many things Nigerian, your best bet is to follow the crowd. As an aside, I’ve truly always wondered who the first person is in such crowds who gets the real info – the person who the rest invariably just follow. And could I ever be such a person? 🙂
More to come. I’ll pause here for now and hope you’ll indeed watch this space. Knowing fully well that NG is a happening country, and that Lagos a most happening city, you can be sure there’s more to come.
The expat – signing out! xx