Happy Thursdays: Week 10

This is going to be short. As short as I can make it.

ONE
I love rain. I love the smell, and every once in a while, I love dancing in it. When I’m in my house. When I’m outside though, I still like it, Nigeria can be a bit too hot and I have a perpetual tan but then, the rain can be a drag to walk in. And I mostly love to walk.
But that day, my shoes were soaked and I still had a long way to walk.
So, I asked a tricycle to drop me where I needed to go. I planned to pay too. He said no. Then I asked another one, he took me all the way there and the only payment I made was “Thank you”. And it was accepted.

TWO
I have a special relationship with God. Whenever I’m very angry with someone and I don’t want to fly off the handle, I talk to Him and he tells me something that makes me laugh and calm down.
When I’m sitting on a chair sometimes and leaning back, he tells me to right the chair because if I fall in that position, my spine will be compromised.
It’s a special thing knowing that you have the most powerful being in the Universe looking out for your interests. Looking out for your happiness. And I just want to reiterate how much I love my GOD.

THREE
I have to make plans. If I don’t have a plan, then I’m postponing the making of the plan until I have all my variables in order. And when I have all my variables in order, I pray about it all and then I decide.
I have made 2 long term plans. One has been debated in my head for almost 5 years. I’m happy I finally came to a resolution.

FOUR
I’m happy Adaezenwa finally completed Shadow of a Rainbow. She’s also got a new blog theme. Go check it out!

FIVE
I’m happy that I have life, food, health and a home. The rain raged so hard one night no one wanted to go switch off the generator. And at that moment, I thanked God that the rain would only get me wet for a couple of minutes before I dried off inside. And I thought about those whose beds are underneath bridges. I have much to be thankful for.

What about you?

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23 Joy

How do I love you? Let me count the ways:

1. I love you because you have a laugh that is even louder than mine. When the both of us are laughing, no one looks at me. They look at us both.

2. I love you because you made me ofada sauce and got me slippers. I didn’t ask for the slippers and that sauce was lovely.

3. I love you because you finally learned to save! Do you know how many times I actually started creating a budget for you? When you told me you had finally started, I was so relieved.

4. I love you because you don’t indulge my flights of generosity. Because I have had to trick you to get you to take something from me. I plan to keep remembering. It makes me smile.

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5. I love you because you’re honest. And principled. And it’s nice to know I can count on you.

6. I love you because you sent me that document almost 5 times. You could simply have given up. But you sent them so many times until I could finally read it. Thank you!

7. I love you because you call me. You hold me accountable. You and Ife are kinda the only reasons I haven’t deleted my WhatsApp. Kinda.

8. I love you because you’ve made my godmother leave me at your house. Like, I didn’t even realize that it had gotten so late.

9. I love you because you called me to ask me to describe you. Here’s another one: You rock.

10. I love you because when you’re at home, you only wear skirts. It’s funny to me because… Well, it’s just funny.

11. I love you because you keep foisting earrings on me. And threatening me if I dare give them out. You can be scary.

12. I love you because when you, me, Tomi and Ife go out, I don’t feel so alone because you’re dark skinned too. And it also comes out in pictures.

13. I love you because you taught Ife some bad language.

14. I love you because you buy me credit and send it to me. It’s so nice!

15. I love you because you like food as much as I do. You’re one of the only people who does not comment on my portions or tell me I’m eating too much or too little.

16. I love you because you help in tangible ways always. When I told you I wanted to prepare a document, you sent me articles for pointers and you keep following up.

17. I love you because you’re a bully. In your own way. And usually for other people.

18. I love you because you can calm my temper down by displaying some of yours.

19. Because, beauty consultant.

20. I love you because when I was saying I’d probably not have kids, you told me you had to see a child with my face in the future. It’s one of the reasons I’m coming around to the idea.

21. Because you gave me a mug that says “Good morning Beautiful”

22. Because you make the best Mac and cheese ever

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23. Because you make me feel good, important, loved.

I’m happy you’re alive sweetie. May God bless you very abundantly for me.

Amen!

Feliz Cumpleanos!

Article Recommendation

The Word- Guilt.

Woman Crush Every Blessed day – Mama

You’re the amazingest woman I know. I also know that if I ever do write down the name of this blog for you, you will take offense at the word amazingest. And tell me, “Uju, English!”. But you are. And unless Chike or Uche or Nkiru show you my blog, you won’t see it. I might print it out for you. I don’t know. I think I will. But I don’t know.

Granted, you and I were not close when I was 11 till I was 17. But I understood. I still understand. I forgive you and I genuinely don’t care anymore.

You taught me how to laugh at life. No, not because you laugh at it, but because you have said and done some of the most amazingly irrational things that I had no choice but to. I plan to keep remembering the time you screamed at me to put off the generator by 7:10pm so that we could use it in the night, or how you told me that we don’t fry plantain in pans and then later, that it was irresponsible to fry it in pots. It makes me smile on days when I realize that the sun is being an annoying Chike and I’m not wearing a hat. It makes me laugh sometimes, the kind of laughter that caused that girl to walk to the other side of the road in 2014.

You constantly tease me that I couldn’t be your daughter. How could your daughter not have any fashion sense? How could your daughter be comfortable being an introvert? Shior! Well, the growing number of people who tell me I look like you will disagree but have you actually realized that there’s no way I could not not be your daughter? Because it would really amuse me to watch you deal with a daughter who likes going out and who out fashionistas you. You won’t be able to deal. But then again, you’re the strongest woman I know. You can deal with anything.

I hate people shouting at me. I do. But because I grew up with you, I’m no longer scared of it. Which is amazing because my current boss has a shouting type of voice.

Remember the time you told me to accompany you to the airport? I didn’t want to say anything to your driver that day but you pulled out the emotional blackmail card and I trotted after you. You really should have gotten on the plane without feeling the need to give me anything, really. I did not ask you for anything. And I had to wonder exactly how you expected me to hand over 500 naira to Chike from you with a straight face. But really, thank you for the 250. I bought credit bringing my balance to a round 1000 naira. You know how much I like round figures.

You taught me not to complain. Ever. Amazingly, (since this lesson came at 13, the I don’t like you years) I learnt this lesson and learned it well. I do my best to improve on every situation I do not like instead of complaining about it.

Nwanyi agu, Adaeze, the way you give amazes me. I hated the salon when I was younger, remember that time you kept sending me back to the salon because I refused to wash and set my hair? But the time you followed me to make sure I did it, I noticed a side of you that I actually envied. You most likely don’t remember it. There were 2 girls, they looked like they were in the university and they were hotly arguing with the stylist about the bill. You asked her how much it was, told them not to worry, you’d take care of it. I put myself in their shoes in that instant. I’ve never been able to get myself out of it. Thank you. I remember that time a woman came visiting and you gave her your only silver shoes. I will never forget that the next day Obiamaka gave you an even prettier pair. And you kept exclaiming happily. No matter how many personal details have slipped through my memory, that one never has. I could tell a million stories of your love for giving.

You magnify the good in each of us. I remember the first time I started writing. You’d happily read every story and tell me how great a job I did. It didn’t scare me when I read one of my poems aloud in secondary school, JSS1. Because if my mommy liked it, who was everybody else? Fortunately for my overblown self confidence, every body liked it.

Every once in a while, I look at this wide family you brought me into and I mentally pick and choose who my mom should be (I’ll look into extending it and rearranging entire families soon. Don’t be scared. You’ll still be Mama Doctor na Lawyer. It’s just my vibrant imagination). All things considered, I think Aunty Obi would be my best fit. She doesn’t shout at me, she lets me eat as little as I want without asking me afterwards if that thing on my plate was food, and she very calmly unlooks when she sees me awake by 3AM or she joins me and we have nice conversations, she doesn’t mind if I don’t come out of my room all day and she buys me stuff even when I haven’t asked. But then again, she juices lettuce and cucumbers and drinks it. And she tells me to try it because it’s good for my bones. Actually I’ve tried it and I like it if I add a little fresh juice to it. But if Aunty Obi was my mother, you’d be Aunty Eliza to me. But I have a feeling I’ll miss getting up by 1AM because Obianuju, I’m hungry. And you’ll miss me oh, because Ifeanyi will not share her perfumes with you or tell you to take them the second time you sssssssssssssssssssssssssssspray them. Or her jewelry. Or her shoes.
Will Ifeanyi know to keep quiet when you start shouting? Will she actually come out of her room to bring you your phone that is in your bag right next to you? I hope she does. Really.

But most of all, I wanted you to know that I love you. May thousands come when you call, may you have fantastic friends, may your children think up inventive ways to spoil you silly. Kisses and hugs.

Article Recommendation

http://poetrybydeborahann.wordpress.com/2016/04/23/deep-waters-2/

Happy Tuesdays Week 9

STORY ONE: EVERYTHING GO DEY ALRIGHT

So, last week Wednesday, at night, I was scrolling through my Twitter timeline and the hashtag #fuelsubsidy was trending. I read a couple of tweets and I realized why President Buhari had been hesitant to release the 2016 budget. There was no provision for fuel subsidy. And with the foreign exchange crisis, the price of PMS per litre had almost doubled.
As a Nigerian who cares about Nigeria, and believes in being optimistic about the country, I had trouble catching my breath. I cried, I prayed, I cried, I prayed.
By the time I went to sleep, I was no longer hyperventilating and no longer on the verge of a panic attack.
No the fuel subsidy removal does not affect me directly. But it scared me, the potential increase in everything. Everything of course apart from salaries. The potential of retrenchments. My mind was in a tailspin and I was massively upset. I was even more upset at the thoughts of all the wasted opportunities our leaders have had to turn this country around, I was angry at the more than excessive allowances our lawmakers are given every month while the majority of Nigerians only look in impotent rage as we read about the monies they feel compelled to steal apart from those allowances.
I was very upset. I know that the last government quoted price for PMS is not implemented nationwide really. But still, we don’t really feel pain until it’s in our own bodies.
My aunts were visiting and the next morning, on my way to CDS, I went to greet them and they noticed that my expression was unhappy. Anyway, they got the news out of me and they didn’t comfort me or tell me Ndo. They expressed some lukewarm irritation with our leaders but it was what they said when I was leaving that caught my attention and gave me some peace. “Don’t worry. We’ll be fine. We go dey alright.”
On Friday last week, I was at court and I met a seriously old friend I’d known first from church, then secondary school then the university. We’d actually planned to meet earlier in the year but best laid plans…
I sat in his car and we had a discussion that lasted exactly 13 minutes. We were on work time. We caught up, and he was giving me advice and I was listening because what the elders can see sitting down and all that 😛.
And then when I asked him how he was coping with the hike in fuel price, he told me that he was dipping into his savings and things were currently dicey but we’d be alright. When he said that, the reserves of my panic attack, intended to be examined later that evening completely depleted. Sometimes, we just need a word in season. And obviously, God wanted me to know that everything will be okay. Thank You, Lord!

STORY TWO: I met an honest repairman Earlier this year, Chike’s iPod screen broke and he the touch button was stiff. He asked me to help him get it repaired. Honestly, when I want to be, I’m an amazing sister. The kind of trouble I endure for the comfort of my brothers ehn?
I asked in about 6 places, assessed etc then I settled on the guy who had given me the cheapest quotation for two reasons:
1. He had a “shop”. Somewhere he stayed where I could easily track him to.
2. Cheapest price quotation.
Originally, he told me to come back in 2 days, when I went there, he wasn’t around so I went back on Monday. He asked me to come back on Friday, because he didn’t have the replacement screen as yet. I came back on Friday, he hadn’t fixed it as yet. He told me sorry and gave me the full deposit I’d given him back. Very nice of him. I suspect that it’s a common occurrence but, with someone I refuse to name prophesying that he’d increase the price he’d agreed to replace the screen for or run away, it was a very pleasant surprise.

3. Thunder lighting my way
A fortnight ago, on Friday, I went to computer village after work for my brother’s Ipod matter. Seeing as I was already in Ikeja, I boarded a bus going from Ikeja to Ojodu Berger. There was none going to Berger straight. And the prices had skyrocketed. Why? I asked. Traffic, they replied. What kind of stupid traffic causes a bus of #150 to hike its price to #400? But there were about 2 buses and the park looked deserted. So when one came that was reasonably hiked, I entered. More drama. I was on the road for 4 hours (6pm – 10pm). I didn’t really mind, I was rereading the Percy Jackson books on my phone. But I had an unbelievably fussy seat partner. This woman would complain about everything and by everything, I do mean every blessed thing I did. If I stretched my leg, complain. Folded it, complain, looked into my bag, complain, stood up (big bus), tirade. I really wanted to put on my headphones and block her out but battery was at 16% and getting drained further.
Then there was an intervention, it started raining. I love the smell of rain, that slightly dusty, pleasantly cold smell. Love it! Well, I didn’t quite love walking in puddles when the bus finally stopped but I was free. It was pitch dark and it had started raining again so I was reluctant to bring out my phone and use the flashlight. And then I noticed something. Precisely when I’d be about to bump into something or someone, a flash of thunder would illuminate my path. When I got to the bus stop, a tricycle passing by my street was there! I got home safe and happy.

4. Toothless and the 22 year old baby

I love animated movies. I love them. Frozen, Up, the Toy Story trilogy, Wreck it Ralph, but my favorites are Tangled and How to Train Your Dragon. I had them both once on my laptop but in 2014, some demon from the pit of hell caused me to delete my favorite movies off my hard drive.
I got Tangled off a friend’s laptop earlier this year but not HTTYD. And I really, really miss it.
But I remember a couple of scenes from it and they’re so beautiful. Remember when Stoick thought he’d lost Hiccup and started crying? And then Toothless opened his wings and showed Hiccup alive? Or when Toothless regurgitated the fish and dropped it in Hiccup’s lap and he took a bite? I always laugh at that scene. I also miss Easy A, the X- men trilogy, A walk to Remenber, He’s just not that into you, Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, Ghost of Girlfriends Past and How I met your mother.
Cheers, to all our favorite movies. Celluloid has been a blessing. I’m thankful.

STORY FIVE: Finally!

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Rhyme and Reason is finally here!
June 11th, The Dome, off Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1.

Register at rhymeandreasonng.com.
Yay!
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What are YOU thankful for?

Happy Tuesdays Week 8

STORY ONE: Na you kill Bola Ige?

I’ve lived in our house since I was 9 months old. Or 6 months. At least so they tell me. And I have seen a lot of people come, go, get married, pregnant and even die.
Opposite our house is a face-me-I-face-you. When I was younger I used to run races with the girls there and I almost always won. And I admired the fact that when there was no light, the occupants of the house would bring their mattresses, or mats and lay them on the ground and doze off. I did not admire the mosquitoes or the creepy crawlies. Next to our house, there used to be an uncompleted building. Until 4 years ago that is. It was half built when it became the subject of a court case. Weeds choked the uncompleted structure and lots of people threw stuff into it. Every couple of months, someone would go in and burn all the weeds and refuse. Personally, when Tessa wouldn’t eat my garri or whatever else I couldn’t, I’d ball it up in a black nylon and haul it over the fence separating both houses. Or when I cleaned out my room. Now it’s a duplex and I keep trying to get used to people being able to look into our house. Plus their baby kept me up for 2 years straight with his night crying.
Then there was our neighbour three houses down. I remember her most for her goofy smile and the way she kept calling me Ada even though I kept telling her that my name was Uju and I was technically not the Ada. She had a daughter named Nonso. My parents of course remember her more as the woman who disconnected our water pipe so that when Water Corporation gave us water, it diverted to her house instead of ours. Apparently she diverted somebody else’s light as well.
But the funniest neighbours we’ve ever had are merely a house down from ours. She is a white garment church member with a penchant for shouting loud prayers at midnight, 3PM, 6PM and other times. I learnt pretty early on to start walking when I was greeting her. If not, you were liable to be pulled into a very long conversation in which she’d offer you and your family a “gift”, most usually a book and then 6 months later she’d come to ask for it back. Something she told you to keep oh. I have to laugh, if not I’d be super angry and it takes energy to be angry. I do not have that energy to be angry at an old, obviously lonely woman.
For about 4 years though, she didn’t stay in the house. Her husband, he’s dead now, was funny as well but in a different way. He did not seem to attend her church or keep the whole street up or wake the whole street up with loud prayers. But he had his own drama as well.
I remember him most as asking people, my cousins, myself, my brothers if we had killed influential people.
“Na you kill Bola Ige?”
“Na you kill Funsho Williams?”
About a year after he died, his wife moved back in.
My street is changing yet again, two new buildings are going up. I hope I don’t miss these days and that whoever moves in doesn’t advise my 13 year old brother to get a girlfriend like I heard one asshole doing last year. I don’t have the energy to keep arguing with idiots biko. And that the people who move in don’t scale our fence and steal my wallet, my Dad’s money or our generator. Amen.

STORY TWO

So I like walking to the bus park. You know that. Unless its raining, or I don’t feel like, or I’m trying to avoid this keke driver that has taken a liking to me and seems to want to touch me etc
Last week, I was happily walking to the park but I had to pass through the Valley of the Shadow of Death i.e underneath the bridge. It’s a road on its own but it’s underneath the Expressway. As a teenager I used to love walking the path until the fifth time a truck almost hit me. The other option that would see me avoiding getting hit was to jump into a very dirty gutter filled with excrement, used plastic bottles and soupy algae. It smells like death. When Uche was around, because of the wait occasioned by her fear of okadas and the scarcity of tricycles she’d ask me, “Uju why can’t we just walk?”
I never did until this year when there were no bikes or tricycles so I walked. And it was all good until I was going through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. A green car swerved headed directly towards me. It would have hit me but somehow it didn’t but it brushed me aside quite roughly and it took so much restraint not to break his glass. There was so much space in the middle, what’s your problem? Anyway, I’m still alive, he didn’t run over my feet and I didn’t have to jump into the gutter. Thank you Lord!

STORY THREE

So on Thursday last week it was raining so my dad dropped me off at work. After work, I was walking to the place where I’d get a tricycle or Keke to Oregun when a woman hailed me. She asked where I was going. I told her. She said to get into the car and she’d drop me off. I hesitated. She asked me if I thought she wanted to kidnap me so I laughed and relented.
She said she knew me. I couldn’t place her face and I told her so. Then she recounted an episode to me where I’d done something nice for her. I’d forgotten about it but she hadn’t. She lived in Berger too. And she was super nice.
When I got out of the car, I just thanked God for encouraging my faith. It gets difficult sometimes.

STORY FOUR: My butt hurts but I’m happy

So I started exercising again and I started a new exercise regime- squats and lunges. My thighs hurt badly but still I keep on. Walking up stairs is quite painful though. And walking straight lines is just a little less painful but I really didn’t want to do that either. But today for so many reasons and at so many times I had to. Going to the police station, having to walk super far to get a tricycle to Ikeja, then the bus I was on overheated at just before 1st Oando and the choices were as follows:
a. Run across the Expressway. Heck no!
b. Or walk from 1st Oando to my house through another Valley of the Shadow of Death. This is the one I chose. Surprisingly with all the walking the tension on my gluteus maximus and my thighs has eased. Yippee!

STORY FIVE: Thank You God

So today, I saw a motorcycle flip over, dissemble on impact and throw off the rider and a passenger. They’re still alive and last I saw, they were well enough to argue with each other. So please thank God for those lives as well.

Cheers all!
Have a fantastic week ahead!

Article Recommendations

http://sisiakowe.wordpress.com/2016/03/26/whats-the-difference/

http://subulolajiboye.wordpress.com/2016/05/03/the-unanimous-quest/- I really loved this one.

Man Crush Everyday: Daddy

My father is an icon.

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When I was growing up, I used to think that my father’s favorite TV show was Tom and Jerry. Then football.
Disney. Nickelodeon. High School Musical. Telemundo. Whatever we wanted to watch, he’d let us and watch it with us. Be interested enough to ask questions, interested enough to ask about the characters if he missed the show. It was later that I realized he genuinely did not care about Tom and Jerry or Super story or Telemundo. He just wanted to spend time with us. My dad really just wants to watch news. And Africa Magic Yoruba. And some football. Shikena. He doesn’t care about Disney or Nickelodeon or Telemundo or Super story. He just wants to spend time with us.

He’s one of those men who takes his time to look great. From his clothes to his shoes, to his car, my dad is quite fantastic in the overall effect. Nothing, as far as he’s concerned is ever enough reason for him to look less than his best. His shoes are polished till they sparkle, he brushes his teeth thoroughly, he shaves so regularly I tease him that he’s shaving a bald head.

No one cares about my comfort and safety like my father. No one. If I’m out of the house at a particular time, I can always expect him to call to find out exactly where I am. And if I’m not home on time, he and my mom will rotate calls to me until I knock on the gate.
My dad is very invested in my comfort. I cannot count the number of times he has given me rides to places that were not even on his route. Not only that, he would drop me off directly at the gate. Or if it is the court, directly at the court’s door

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My dad does not beat me. I have the freedom to express shock when I hear of fathers who beat their wives or children up because I have never seen my dad hit my mom and the only time I saw my father beat Chike was when Chike beat me and the only time my dad beat me was when I beat Nonso. For nothing else. At no other time.

My dad makes his own garri. Very rarely do I make it for him. He makes breakfast about 60% of the time for the whole family, sweeps the house, cleans the dog’s cage, the fans, sweeps out cobwebs from all the rooms etc. This is a man who does not believe in telling anyone to adjust when he has to enter a bus, they do it. My dad commands respect, he does not demand it.

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My dad is not afraid to cry. And I’ve never thought him any less of a man for doing so. He’s only cried twice though that I can remember, when Nebo died and when my grandmother died. I remember him being very upset when Uncle Felix (his then closest friend) died but I can’t remember him crying.

My dad taught me financial responsibility. After watching me fritter away money, a day came when he took me to a shop and asked me what I needed, why I needed it, if what I planned to buy would last me longer than a month. By the time he was done, my mindset changed and shopping was no longer a stress reliever for me, it was serious business. I expanded on it and I began to budget, track my spending, weigh the cost against the benefits.

My dad taught me to be nice and to treat people respectfully.
If I wanted to fill this story with vignettes that show how my father is a man in a billion, I would. But then again, you might fall madly in love with him and I don’t want to cause anyone the pain of unrequited love. 🙂

Happy birthday Papa!

Umu gi ahurum gi n’anya

Article Recommendations

Two amazing articles I found recently that buttress this post:

http://ujuconfyokorie.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/on-the-heavy-burden-society-has-foisted-on-men/

http://ujuconfyokorie.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/on-the-women-who-have-learnt-to-mask-it-with-a-bogus-press-release/