Monday, December 26, 2005

Discovering Nizlopi

Just discovered a fantastic duo who call themselves NIZLOPI. Their debut album 'Half these songs are about you' is absolutely fantastic. I am in heaven.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The need for space

When you get married there are a lot of things people tell you but then there are a lot of things they don't. The two which spring to mind are:

1. How much your life changes when you have a baby.
2. Your need for space.

I am concentrating on number two today.

Although I am not an only child, my sisters are both quite a bit older than I am so they left home when I was quite young and the only time I got to see them was when they were home for holidays. So in a weird sort of way, I became an only child in my early teens. But I loved it. I had a wide circle of friends so I didn't want for company whenever I needed it but I discovered that I enjoyed my own company the most and I still do. I would lose myself in a world of books, poetry (of which I wrote quite a bit), creative media (making cards, jewellery and my number one love - sewing) and BBC world radio. Looking back, I must have seemed a strange child to enjoy listening to BBC world radio and Joni Mitchell at the age of 15.

Then I finished secondary school and moved on to University and I found myself on my own again, in a sense, because I never stayed in the hostels (which were vile), instead, I lived off-campus. Sometimes I went home for weekends but most of the time I spent indulging my passion of being on my own. I journaled, listened to music and wrote some more poetry. So over the years, I became so used to being on my own and enjoying the stillness that came with it. It was a great time of reflection and dreaming for me. A time of planning and charting out the course of my life.

Even when I did meet my boyfriend (who is now my husband) I still had my space because we didn��t live in the same city. We saw each other perhaps every other weekend and although I looked forward to those weekends with eager anticipation and enjoyed every minute we were together and cried every time we parted, it was a strange mixture of sadness (that I won't be seeing him for another x number of weeks) and relief - I was going to get my space back!

Fast forward ten years of which we have now been married for four and have a child who is coming up to three and what is the one thing I really miss? Yep, MY SPACE. And I don't feel bad to admit it. I love my family more than life itself and would not change anything AT ALL but I do miss being on my own and that's one thing you lose when you get married and start having kids. You have someone around you all the time. I know loads of women would probably not like to admit to it but almost every one of us (married or attached) 'need our space from time to time. It doesn't mean I love my husband or child any less, but it makes me a better person when I have some 'me' time.

And what special things do I do with my space or me time? ? nothing, special that is. I do things that other people may find quite boring. I read, garden, watch a documentary on TV, give myself a manicure and generally just be. Its time I spend thinking, dreaming, and connecting with who I am. I have lost a lot of that in the last four years. I remember when I used to hear people say 'I don't know who I am anymore. I need to find myself.' My immediate response would be 'get real! What do you mean 'find myself'? Look in the mirror.' And now, years later, I find myself in exactly the same position. I honestly don't know where my self has gone. I have become a wife, a mother , a colleague at work but that's not me, its just bits of me. The first two are situations over which I have no control, they are the result of positive choices I made consciously. But what of the choices I am making unconsciously? Those are the choices that are stifling who I am. Those are the choices that I have to stop making. My dreams and plans are all getting buried under the busyness of life, the incorrect choices ? I find I am always doing, but never doing for myself.

I plan to rectify that in 2006.

A friend of mine once said to me that I shouldn't wait for things to happen or rely on my husband to do things with me, I have to go out and grab time by the scruff of its neck because thats the only way I will get some for myself. And in a way I think thats why I keep this blog. Its a way of escape. I can pour out my thoughts, ideas or feelings without feeling I'll be criticised and to be frank not caring if I am criticised because criticism from strangers hurts far less than criticism from your nearest and dearest.

So this year, I have decided not to go down the resolutions route instead, I am going to set some goals. Just three or four, no more than that. And goal number one will be to get some space back.


Speaking up for white meat!

The cows speak up for white meat!!


Friday, December 16, 2005

Christmas Presents

Have to go into the city today after work to get my Christmas pressies sorted. The only person I have bought anything for is my little darling daughter ? she��ll love me whatever I give her. The adults? Not so easy to please.

It��s pretty difficult trying to get unique Christmas presents for anyone over here because they usually already have EVERYTHING already. Very annoying. In Nigeria it was so much easier buying presents for people as almost everything that was given was appreciated no matter how small. I was also a lot more creative back home so many of my presents were self made and different.

I have made a tentative list of stuff to buy and ranging from candle holders to a collection of specialists teas. Not very exciting ? so shoot me. I think one of my presents will be my long dreamed of iPod (thanks darling, however did you guess?). Any ideas on what I can get for my man?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Why are we Crying? Please read

What You Are Not (or becoming Who You Really Are)

Give yourself about an hour of quiet time to complete this exercise.

Grab a notebook. At the top of the page write, 'What I am NOT', then write out a full page (preferable two) of a list of what you are NOT. For example: I am NOT a priest. I am NOT a school teacher. I am NOT a star athlete. Define all of the things that you are NOT in as many ways as you can think of to describe what you know for sure that you are NOT.

As you create your NOT list, be as precise and specific as you possibly can be as you explore your expos�� of what you are NOT. When you know what you are not, you have the opportunity to negate those things. I am not a start athlete, as much as I would love to be, it is true and it will continue to be true until I die. No amount of exercise, training, coaching and great career breaks will ever get me to the point that I will become a star athlete. Yes, I do enjoy volleyball as a participant, walking as an exercise, the gym as a way of life, BUT I will never be a start athlete and I will not expend energy, time or money to get me prepared to ail at that endeavour. Defining what I am NOT, gives me the freedom to more thoroughly be what I AM in my world.

If you need a little more direction, break the areas of your life into areas to explore. For example, find out what you��re NOT in the areas of your health and physicality, career, relationships, spirituality, finances, interests, virtues, etc. Once you learn what you��re NOT, you can become more of what you ARE.

After you complete the exercise on 'What I am NOT' set it aside and allow your list to rest for a week. Then pull it off the shelf again and add to it and edit it for the purpose of becoming even more authentic and honest about who you ARE.

Next, slowing begin to define what you ARE. Take your time and divide your life into segments so you can cover every area of your life thoroughly and completely as you slowly, gently and lovingly describe and define what you ARE and who you have become. This part of the process may take you a little longer and its always subject to modifications and even corrections as you may suddenly discover some facet of yourself that you didn't realise was a NOT your and that revelation helps you define a new area that you ARE.

Be patient with yourself. Other people have been defining what you are all your life. Doing it for yourself is a new and exciting proposition for most people. There are times when you will be confused and even angry with what you discover. Be gentle and be persistent in keeping your focus and energy directed into what you ARE and stop feeding or supporting what you are NOT. Select one or two of your new 'ARE' areas and make them dominate in your everyday life. Examples: I am patient. I am strong. I am a good coach. I am healthy.

There is a caveat here to be aware of: Notice that the examples are statements of fact. They are NOT comparisons as in; I am more patient. I am stronger. I am a better coach. Each statement of what I am stands on its own and describes what I am right now today.

By consistently and constantly being what you REALLY ARE, you will very quickly make your life different in ways that are incredibly rewarding and fun. As you get used to the new you and learn to only put energy into what YOU ARE, you will have more time, money and prestige to use and play with in your life.

Have fun.

Credits to

Driving Test

I just booked my driving test. Agggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I already have heart palpitations and sweaty palms. STOP IT WOMAN!! You have driven a car for the last 15 years!!

The English and the Art of Ill Health

Completely forgetting the title of my post, I made the grave mistake of asking someone whom I hadn��t seen for a while the question 'So how have you been?' No sooner had the words popped out of my mouth I was wishing I could drag them back in again because for the next 15minutes I was given a blow by blow detailed account of an operation she had had some months ago, told about the infection she caught, how her stitches burst etc etc etc. It took some artful diplomacy on my part to extricate myself from her tirade of complaints about her health.

One thing that has stood out so clearly since arriving on these shores is the way the English moan about ill health or how poorly they are feeling. They NEVER seem to be well! I can quite honestly say I have never enquired after the health of an English person and got an 'I am very well thanks!' in response. It's like they lay in wait to be asked after their wellbeing and then they launch into a rundown of how ill they are feeling, have felt in the last two weeks or will be feeling in the weeks to come. In Nigeria by contrast (unless things have changed since I was last there) the closest you will come to hearing about ill health is a body just dey inside clot, my sista or Oh boy, I get malaria oh! while they are go about their daily business as normal like they have not a care in the world. I have had to endure many a moan from people at work and from total strangers standing in queues, sitting on the bus or even ones I have shared an elevator with, about this illness or the other.

Another curious trait I have noticed as well is their need to outdo you in the ill health stakes department. For instance, if I happen to say 'Yesterday I fell down a flight of stairs and cracked my cranium' more often than not - nine times out of ten and I guarantee you this - the response would be 'Ohhh, dreadful but did I tell you about the time I fell down FIVE flights of stairs and not only did I crack my cranium but I broke a leg, lost two front teeth, broke my jaw, and then I got evicted, lost my job, went on the dole, had my car stolen....' Huh???

So the moral of the story is this, unless you are genuinely interested think twice when asking after the health of an English person.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Nigeria - where the truth is hard to find

Interesting BBC article. It's bitter to swallow but oh so true!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Murder is fine, it's the witchcraft that's dangerous - A week long diary

My friend just sent me this. A very amusing read.,11710,1654604,00.html

Friday, December 09, 2005

Feeling Homesick

Today I miss Nigeria. The easy lifestyle . No big brother watching you 24/7. I miss the food - its never really the same when you cook it over here- I miss the sunshine, the beach, the slower pace, the 'backwardness' of things and I don't mean this in a bad way at all, its just that I can't put my finger on the proper word to use. I can't really describe the yearning I have at this very moment. I just took a look at the Plateau State website and pictures they had on the site just brought everything back to me( and I am not even from Plateau State). I could FEEL what was going on in the pictures the heat, the people, what they would be saying, and the languid pace of things. Oh, words absolutely escape me today.

Its strange but I have found since moving here five and a half years ago, I am even more Nigerian than I was when I lived in Nigeria. I am a little more eager to speak pidgin English, seek out fellow Nigerians, have purely Nigerians only parties, eat the food, listen to the Nigerian Pastors on SKY's Christian channels, watch BEN TV and I can spend hours browsing the web looking for interesting things going on there
Lagoslive is a really good website. I log on often to the Genevieve website as well - I just wish they would follow the footsteps of Ovation and find an outlet here to sell their magazine. Its one of the best ones to come out of Nigeria in a long time.

The irony of it all is if you ask the question 'Would you move back to Nigeria then?' My answer will still be 'No'. I guess I am one of those people who love Nigeria from a distance and enjoy going back for a couple of weeks each year, and thats enough for me. Besides, I don't think I am up to coping with NEPA!!!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Driving, public transport and smells

Woke up this morning, took one look outside (dull, dark and pouring with rain) and decided ��?$%^@~$% it, I��m driving to work today. I have had enough of bus jumping and this is the worst time of the year to be riding on public transport. Many a time I have to hold myself back from screaming ��Don��t you guys have any running water in your homes?!�� The smells that emanate from the bodies around you have to be smelt to be believed, plus the windows of the bus are locked shut as well because of the cold so all passengers are stewing in a cesspit of evil smells. I thank God for scarves which filter the air you breathe when you pull them up over your nose.

But I digress. Yeah, so I took the decision to drive into work today and I am so proud of myself. I made it here in one piece. Did all my appropriate observations, did my mirror checks, hit my biting point and kept within the speed limits.

Driving instructor finally gave me the go ahead to book a test so I shall do just that and in the meantime, squeeze in as much practice as I can which translates into me driving myself to work and everywhere else, for the next few weeks. It does baffle me though, that after driving in the mad traffic that that fills many Nigerian roads for over ten years, driving here has become such an issue for me. It��s like a part of my brain is just keyed into the notion that I cannot move a car unless I pass my DVLA driving test. It��s crazy.

The Depravity of Man

Yesterday night, my colleagues 102 year old grandmother was attacked and sexually assaulted in her home. She lived alone and was an easy target. He beat her to a stop, assaulted her and left.

How sick is that? Really makes one wonder what the world is coming to. Like I said to her (my colleague), this is the sort of thing you watch on Crimewatch and say to yourself ��This only happens to other people��. I just keep wondering how the old lady feels.. no time is EVER a good time to have such a thing happen but imagine it happening in your very twilight years. What a memory to carry.

It makes me sick to my stomach.