Monday, 15 October 2012

One Cat Two Cats

When people say dogs are man's best friend, they don't lie. In my case, a cat is a man's best friend.

I never knew how painful it is to lose someone you love dearly until it happened to you. Our male cat, Tikka, passed away about a week ago. He was my faithful companion all these years. Even though he's a cat, he's not just A cat. He was family.

It all happened in Saudi Arabia about 12 years ago. My husband and I just got married and we moved to Saudi Arabia shortly after. We had been talking about getting a cat as a pet and I suggested that we got two instead of just one so that they can play with each other. Cut the story short, went to a pet store in Al-Jubail (that's where we got posted for several years) and saw these two cuties! They were so tiny and fit just nicely on the palm of my hands. After we left the pet store about US$600 poorer, these two cats of mixed Persian breeds came home with us. Had to gave them a bath as soon as we got home as their butt were stuck with lots of poo and they had so much fleas on them. Needless to say, the whole car stunk all the way home! We also thought we had two sisters but apparently, while cleaning them up, i "accidentally" felt something funny down there that definately told us that we had one brother and one sister! Their names derived from a food signboard that we saw on the roads. Yes, they were named after food! Seika and Tikka.

We still have Seika with us but she knows that something was missing. I know she knows that her brother's gone. She had been hissing at him for a few days before he died eversince he became sick. Tikka was in pain. Few months ago, we noticed that he had been making these crunching noises with his mouth/jaw. We didn't know what was going on and didn't think much about it. The week before he died, his jaw couldn't close up and he was drooling lots of saliva. He couldn't eat and drink. I had to spoon-fed him. He was struggling. We knew we had to find a vet quick. Now, being in Nigeria, we couldn't get hold of any vet that was available to come immediately. I was cursing and really frustrated with the way things turned out.  Finally we managed to find a local vet to come the next day. Two days later, Tikka had to be in a surgery. His rotten molar was taken out. For a few days, he seemed fine. I noticed the last two days before he died, his tongue was sticking out and he was breathing quite heavily. I know he was suffering and in pain. He refused water and food.

Then, last Sunday, we went down to the pool to hang out with a neighbor and our boys swam with a couple of kids from our building. As soon as we came up, I went over to Tikka who had been under a table the whole day and patted him. He was still breathing very heavily through his mouth. He got up, walked towards me, made some noises as if he was talking to me and right then it happened. He collapsed, half choking half crying. Then, all of a sudden, he was gone but I did managed to "say goodbye". We all did. I went berserk. I couldn't believe that Tikka passed away. It was so sudden. He waited till I come up from the pool to say goodbye to me. I was a wreck for a few days after that. I still am really. It feels like a piece of me was gone. It really does. I just broke down last night thinking about Tikka.

It have been one week since he died. I know he's in a better place and he's not suffering anymore. We buried Tikka downstairs at the compound. I get to "visit" him now and then. He crossed that rainbow bridge and went to kitty heaven. We love you, Tikka and we miss you. Mama miss you. BIGTIME! You will be in our hearts forever.

Tikka 2001-2012

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

I've Caught The Bug. Agege Bug.

I can't help giggling writing this post. Caught a glimpse of my neighbor out the window, buying Agege by the roadside as she was walking one of her son to school this morning. Wait, be patient, i'll explain to you what the hell I'm talking about! Usually, to buy something by the sidewalk/roadside, out of your comfort zone, it's being frowned upon. It's a big NO NO! You know being an Oyibo (E-X-P-A-T), you are supposed to do all things expat. I'm not going to be in a freaking expat "bubble". This neighbor of mine is like me. We are like whatever.

So, you've heard about Wonder Bread. Yes. Wonder Bread is an American icon. It has been around since 1921.

Over here, Agege, is Nigeria's icon so as to say. You see ladies carrying a tray on their head full of Agege bread everywhere here. Best to buy them in the morning when it's fresh.

Lady selling Agege bread
Lagosians swear by their Agege bread. Everybody here eats them. From the very prominent to the low-income earners. As they would say, it's Agege or nothing at all. It was first produced in Agege, a suburb and local government area in the Ikeja Division of Lagos State, Nigeria. From there it made its way into other parts of the state. Apparently, it is originally known as Ayokuno Bread. When it became popular, it became known as Agege Bread.

With all the hype about this bread, I had to try it. I know why Lagosians are crazy about them and so is my neighbor upstairs. These bread are soft! They really taste good too.

Hey, Agege!
With a price tag of N50 (US$0.30) for a small loaf and N120 (US$0.80) for a bigger loaf, you can get one yourself too. Just don't think about how these breads are being processed/made and you'll be just fine! So far, my tummy and ass like them. So far, so good. Experience life in Lagos. Stop being too much of an expat, suck it up and try these Agege bread.

Monday, 27 August 2012

La Vida Lagos

I cannot say my life here in Lagos is, well, boring. Those who have been here, should know what I'm talking about. For those who have not been here and may be here for an assignment, get ready! Do not listen to all those bad stories that you will hear about Lagos, Nigeria. It is not as bad as what people would describe it. Yes, it is a dangerous place. People treat guns like toys here. If you think about it, it's dangerous everywhere. Of course, if you bring attention to yourself, then you will invite trouble, stupid!

Oh yeah, listen to me! I had the same feelings before we got here. Now, after just a little over one year, I am so used to Lagos. Sort of.

I have been busy eversince school started. I took over the bus mom coordinator job. Basically what I do is to update the bus rule, send out information to the parents anything related to the bus and coordinate the bus duties of parents who have kids riding the bus to school. We usually take turns every few months to be the bus mom/dad. That's right, I'm important. Don't piss me off otherwise I'll make sure you really savour and taste the meaning of bus duty!

Now that kids are back in school, ALL the activities start to roll one by one. Yesterday, was the first birthday party that our boys were invited to.
Kids are busy and so are the moms especially. Busy with school activities, house chores and party! Hey, we, moms, can party too. We deserve it. In fact, I'll be partying every month till Christmas break. Every week, every month, there will be someone's birthday. Our boys' birthdays are coming up soon in a few weeks and so is mine!! This weekend is GNO. If you don't know what GNO means, for goodness sake, it's Girls Night Out. That's right. This is La Vida Lagos.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

I Don't Want To Go Back To School!

Yes, I've been hearing that lately. All the moans and groans about going back to school. "No! I don't want to go back to school!" our two boys would say to me. Guess what kids? You WILL have to go back to school. You WILL stop being wild for a while. You WILL let me have a bit of peace and quiet in the house. Tomorrow, our boys go back to school and I'll be "shooing" them away first thing in the morning.

I guess I won't blame them for feeling that way. If I was still a kid, I would be saying that straight at my mom's and dad's face! It have been a good summer. We all need it. I need it.

I will feel pain early tomorrow morning. Not that I am sick. It's just that I have to start dragging my butt off my comfortable bed before sunrise. Can't sleep in late anymore. This morning I woke up at around 9.15am just because my nanny/stewardess is going to be here to clean the house up. It was a sweet feeling. I felt rejuvenated. Ha!

You probably won't find me blogging everyday in here as sometimes I can't be arsed! I will "see" you when I see you, folks.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Back Oh Back

After experiencing a HOT summer break, it is always nice to come "home" to some cool weather and Lagos has that. Right now.

Rainy season is still around. I love it!

I took a blogging break the last 2 months. It have been a great summer break catching up with some good friends and family but it is also good to be back. You know how it is when after you've been away for so long, at some point, you are itchy to come back home. That's exactly how I felt!

Kids have two more weeks of holidays left till they are back to school. I know they are NOT looking forward to it but I am! Ha!

Enjoy some pictures that I took while we were enjoying the sun, sand and sea/sceneries.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Out With The Old, In With The New

That phrase always get stuck in my head eversince I heard it.

Yes, this is the time when lots of expats move out of Lagos and I can't believe how many expats are leaving. Some are going back to their home country and those that are moving on to other places, lucky them! Really miss living in our own house. Living in this apartment building is alright. There are pros and cons to it. To share a common bus among the kids to go to school is even horrible in a way that when your kids get into a situation with another, it's not good! Some neighbours I don't really see them though we all live under the same roof. Some, we see them ALL THE TIME! My husband would tease me and said, "Ah, you are good friends with our this neighbours so and so..". I had to correct him saying that good friends and neighbours are totally different! Good friends are good friends. Neighbours are neighbours. There's a difference to it. Believe me, I am not too keen with some of them. 

So I say, adios to the "old" and hey, hello to the "new" if there's any other new expats coming in!

Best thing that happened today was I got the chance to meet some very important people. I saw Nelson Mandela, Anne Frank, Leonardo Da Vinci, Cleopatra and the list goes on. Jealous much? Relax, there's nothing to be jealous about because the 3rd Graders were doing their Notables presentation in the gym today. Each of the kids had to choose a notable person, someone who has made valuable contributions to society, set/reached personal goals and achieved personal greatness in their field. Our oldest son became Nelson Mandela :) Thus this morning, they had to dress and play the role of their notable.

Cool Cleopatra!

Leonardo Da Vinci  :)
I came out from the gym and went straight to our youngest son's classroom next as they were having a mini year end party. These cute 1st Graders gave us, parents, a short but really cute mini concert. Each of them received a certificate and a really nice farewell wooden frame from their teacher. I can't believe that our boys will be in 2nd and 4th Graders come August. They are growing up way too fast!

That was my Wednesday morning. Busy but good. My luggages are calling me. I'd better get back to packing. Have a nice, cooling rainy day, Naija!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

What's Up With That??


Yes, that's how and when my Tuesday starts in gloomy-looking Lagos. Not good. Freaking power outages woke me up! The generator has been very unreliable the last few days if not the past week. It is not a shocker really! I don't mind the power outages happening and the blaring of the UPS machine during the day but in the middle of the night? A few times throughout?!!? It makes me a grumpy b**** the next day! Almost one year here, the power outages somehow ALWAYS gets to me!

In a few days, I will not miss all these wahala.

Living in Africa is an experience but not everything is as smooth as butter that's for sure.

One's told that to survive in this country, one will need to get out every now and then. Leave, rejuvenate and take a deep breath in. Damn straight! Whoever told us that is a damn real genius! Damn, damn, damn genius. Did I just repeat the word "Damn"? Damn it!!!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Obe Dindin

Wondering what the heck is that??? Have a sit and I'll explain though this will sound very familiar to the locals :)

Obe Dindin is one of the dish that I had when I went to a local restaurant called Yellow Chilli on Friday.

Entrance to Yellow Chilli

Calm and decent decor inside

Yes, it is a local Nigerian restaurant here in Lagos. They serve local fare and some not so local. Apparently, it is quite a popular restaurant and lunchtimes pulls in a loyal crowd of professionals. I went there with a few of my girlfriends as we want to check it out since we heard rave reviews about this restaurant. It is not a big place and perhaps Yellow Chilli seats only about 50-75 people probably. Upstairs they have a lounge area/bar with a cosmopolitan ambience that is more for after-work-get-a-beer and hang out kind of place.

The food was quite good and I was impressed. Started with of course, a spicy chicken pepper soup. Nigerians like their food pepper as they say and so do I but not my friends. Wussies!!

More food came out after the chicken pepper soup. Obe Dindin followed by Seafood Okro Soup. The servings are quite large if you are not a big eater. It's best to share with friends. I had to pack mine up as I had to rush to school to watch our youngest son receive an award in school (yes, I'm a proud Mama!).
Chicken Pepper Soup. One of my fav Nigerian dish.

Obe Dindin (Beef Stew)

Obe Dindin close-up

My Seafood Okro soup with pounded yam
Overall, I am quite impressed with this place and put this restaurant on your list to do if you are here in Lagos, Nigeria. It may not be your kind of scene/taste but be a little adventurous and try it! You might find yourself coming back here again and again.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

How To Behave Badly

OK, this blog i'm writing is going to sound bitchy, grouchy and probably tasteless all at the same time. I don't freaking care. I don't know but probably I am just tired. It's only been almost 2 days since my husband left for a business trip and won't be back till late next week. I am already tired. Tired looking at the surroundings around here. Tired dealing with people's bullshit around here too. It's just that some people are just simply unbelievable! Ok, maybe I should just say this out loud. Correction...some parents are just unbelievable!

Yes, yes, I know everybody's different. The way each of us discipline our kids are different. I am not being judgemental or anything.

Our youngest son came home from school yesterday with tears in his eyes. The bus dad told me that there's this stupid boy who also happened to be one of our neighbours downstairs, purposely tripped our son as he was on his way to the school bus. Of course, our son fell down, scratched his knee and also scraped the right side of his waist pretty good! His mom couldn't accept the fact that her children have been behaving badly. She even had the cheek to tell me that our kids have been bullying this son of hers. WTF?!? So I banned their kids playing with mine FOREVER!

I'm not saying our kids are angels. They have their good and bad moments too but to have other kids bullying our kids, MY kids is totally not acceptable. At least she said sorry but I am positive she didn't really mean it! Don't let this Mama Bear get angry because it is not going to look pretty otherwise!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

I Can Be A Gym Buff Too

Today, I finally stepped on the treadmill and today I finally went to the gym after so many doggone years! I am not a pro. All those machines at the gym SCARES me! I don't know why but they look SO freaking intimidating to me. Was there for only 30 minutes but hey it's better than nothing. Slowly but surely. Maybe a gymaniac in the making!

I made a bet with myself that I will lose 6kgs come June 4th. Can I do it???????? We shall see. I need my body to be bikini ready! Don't laugh!!!!

Maybe I'll make the list this year o_0
There's a lot of noise and movements in our building today. Lots of families are moving out the next few weeks and I don't mean just move out to another building but for good! One of them is my neighbour next door. They've been here for about 6 years or so. The movers have been packing them up since this morning.
It was interesting when she told me that in the beginning all these expat wives that came here looked all nice and dolled-up, pretty-looking but now they are leaving Lagos looking very haggard and old. Shit, I  hope I don't become like that!

To all those leaving, I wish them all the best in their future endeavours. I don't know if I should feel jealous. I certainly am not jealous when I am leaving Lagos myself. Nah, not for good. Just for the summer. I'll see you when I see you, Naija.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

My Mother's Day Weekend

It's Saturday, May 12th 2012. Tomorrow, in the United States, we celebrate Mother's Day.

There's a "garage sale" going on at the boys' school today. So I started my day going to that. It was just ok. Not a lot of stuff and well, you guessed it. Things were ridiculously expensive. For a garage sale! I remember those days when I/we held our own garage sale in the United States. It was tiring but heck, I had a blast! The atmosphere's totally different there too. I can easily purchase a purse there for as little as $2. I REALLY had my eye on one of the faux red snake skin purse at the sale today. It was georgeous but for a price of N8,000 (US$51), it was bloody hideous!

Even if it's BBQ sauces and books, I was happy with my purchase. Kids happy with their Pokemon cards AND candy of course!
With five screaming rambunctious boys in the background and house looking like a pig's den by the end of the day, to have a quiet, peaceful, stress-free Mother's Day weekend is looking very gloomy for me!

My heart melts though when our 7yrs old son came home from school with this for me yesterday....

I will pretend that this weekend is just like any other normal weekends in our household :) As I am writing this blog also, the Goodies delivery man kept on calling me!! He's lost! He went to another building instead of our building. Argh, M-O-R-O-N!! Yup, ordered some pizza for lunch for the boys.

Now, I will make sure that I have a nice dinner out tonight. At least, there will be three boys less at the dinner table.

Happy Mother's Day to you and to me.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Hello World!

I know. I have been A.W.O.L lately.

The last few days, my life as an expat was pretty much challenged with the fact that I received a worrisome news that my dad was hospitalised beginning of the week. Much to my relief, he was discharged from the hospital today and is at home resting. To my friends and family, thank you very much for your well wishes. He had been complaining of heart/chest pains in which the doctors found his arteries clogged and they had to close up two holes in him with "balloons". Don't ask me. I have no clue the medical term for it.

My dad is ok and in about 5 weeks time, he will need to do the same procedure for the second time round. At least, I'll be there when that happens. His oldest daughter will be there by his side.

I have been without a phone service the whole morning today. Not the first time that happens. I've convinced myself to switch to another mobile phone service provider. Yup, that's right. Back to Nigeria-related wahala. It's pissing me off. It's a tell-tale sign for sure that I need my holidays soon. Few more weeks and I am oh definately so counting down. It's going to be a fun summer. Last year, we spend our summer here. It sucks. Not this year, baby! Not this year.

Monday, 7 May 2012

THE Complainer

I just read an email circulated to us regarding one of my neighbour who have "lost" her beloved chair.

This is what she wrote...

"We would like to report a missing chair.  We did not put a GPS tracker on our outdoor furniture, so cannot locate it.  It was there when I left the apartment and gone when I returned home hours later.  It may not know its way home but was a much loved piece of furniture with brown cushions and came in very handy to hold groceries when finding keys.  When you just wanted to sit and look at the sea for a minute and forget where you are!  There is no reward except in knowing that you have done a good deed! 
Thank you in advance."

It sounds like she's complaining and not happy. This is not the first time she did that. In fact, this is the third time she did that. Complaining. No, I don't blame her that she's not happy. The first time she complained via email was when she woke up next to a cockroach one morning and INSISTED that the "pest" people come and destroy that roach for her. If she woke up next to a rat, then that's different.

The second time she complained was when one of her gas bottled for cooking was missing.

Now, this. I like to complain too. In fact, A LOT! Who doesn't? It's only human nature to do that but to "complain" about mere things? Come on. It just irks me. A chair's missing, a gas bottle and waking up next to a cockroach are nothing compare to other problems people are facing in the world. If it's me, I don't care if I am missing a chair. So what? It's replaceable. So what if you woke up next to a cockroach? Just squash it with your hand or pillow even though it sounds gross! So what if your gas bottled's missing? Just call for another one.

All I care about right now is the well-being of my dad. Got word from my sister this afternoon that my dad was in the hospital. He suffered a mild heart attack I think. Or something clogged his arteries. Talked to my mom and thankfully, he seems to be ok. Will know more tomorrow. I hope he will feel better soon. Now, that's what I care about.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Crowd Pleaser

If you have not watched The Avengers 3D yet, all I can say is GO! It's quite a long movie (2 hrs 20mins) but it's worth it. Watch the trailer here.

It was my husband's first time watching a movie in Naija yesterday. I had to "force" my boys to come and watch the movie with me. The Avengers 3D did not dissapoint. It was great! We even get to keep our 3D glasses. We should get to keep it since we paid about US$80 just for movie tickets for five of us yesterday!!

The only thing I was not happy about was 45 minutes into the movie, people were still slowly crawling into the theatre. We were sitting by the aisle near the entrance/exit since it was crowded, so you could only imagine all these distractions while watching the movie. It's freaking annoying!

Despite all that, we had a good time and definately will be back to watch more movies there.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

You Need Help!

Some people just make you sick to the stomach! I don't know what is wrong with the world these days!

Last week, a 12 yrs old Malaysian boy was kidnapped while he was on his way to school. He was abducted and forcefully shoved into a car by two men near his school. In daylight! I guess it does not matter really what time these type of crime or ANY type of crime can happen.

The week before this boy was abducted, another Malaysian, a 15 yrs old girl was reported missing for 20 days. Her burnt body was found about 3 weeks later by a lorry driver at a palm oil estate next to a motorcycle that she rode the day she was last seen.

Earlier on, charred remains of another 5 yrs old Malaysian girl, missing since March 1, was found at a plantation in Nusa Damai, Johor.

After all this, I just couldn't read anymore news of this calibre. At least, the 12 yrs old boy was later released and found alive. Read about his case here.

Keep your children and family close to you. Anything can happen in the world. ANYWHERE. You never know what's next.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Public Holiday

Happy Worker's Day, Nigeria! Yup, today is Tuesday, May 1st 2012. I can't believe that it's already May! Time flies so fast! Today, the school is closed. It has been closed since yesterday.

Yesterday, it was a good day. Yesterday, I have four sons. Not all are mine! Since it was a school holiday, together with my friend, Amy and her kids, we decided to go to the theatre near our house here to watch a movie.

Kids loved the fact that we had the theatres ALL to ourselves!
Got FREE popcorn and drinks! Gotta love freebies! Guess it was their daily specials. We rarely watch a movie at the theatres here. It was not too bad. The theatres are clean inside. Dr Seuss' The Lorax movie's funny. I highly recommend watching it. You can watch the trailer here.

Mondays are always good as it is dosai day at the Cumberland hotel here in Lagos. The whole troop came here right after the movie to get our Indian food fix. Well, more like my weekly dosai fix!

Cheese naan bread. N1150 (US$7) for one. Burned my pocket hole!
At least I get to eat them. Home away from home. In Singapore, we call it thosai. Different name but same good stuff! Expect to pay N1,400 for a plain dosa. I'm telling ya, some of the prices for things around here are really "cut throat" (my S'porean slang for expensive)!!

Today, we gave our driver the day off of course. Nannies don't work when it comes to public holidays. So, I am the chef and maid today. Now, what shall I cook for dinner tonight?

Friday, 27 April 2012

Lazy Bum

I absolutely LOVE days like this and always looking forward to it everytime! The house is quiet. The sun is out. Two days in a row now. It has been raining pretty vicious the last few days. My nanny is not going to be here today. YES! It's 9.20am on a Friday morning and I am still in my pajamas. I plan to be in it ALL DAY!

Yesterday, it was a pretty exciting afternoon in Lagos. You know how I always like to look out from my window to see what's going on out there on the streets. Around 4pm or so yesterday, a fight broke out right outside our apartment building. A big crowd gathered. Apparently, a tow truck sort of hit a car while trying to tow another.

This other car was eventually towed away

After much shouting and pushing, the crowd eventually went away. When my husband came home, I told him what happened and showed him these pictures. He asked, "Did anybody get shot?". My dear readers, fortunately no one got hurt. Then after that, I saw a man squatting down and did his "business". Right in front of me. Well, not literally. All these happened within the hour after the fight broke out.

So, that was my afternoon in Lagos. Exciting stuff. One never gets bored living here.

I plan to sit down on my ass all day today. I plan to watch dvds.
Which ones?

I plan to eat Indian food all day.

Two days in a row already. My ass was burning this morning. Eating spicy food is good for you. This is what the experts say when you eat spicy stuff......

"The heat from any type of hot pepper triggers the pain receptors in your mouth, which turns on the feel-good endorphins in the brain. This decreases feeling of stress or depression. It is a great way to end or begin a day." I BELIEVE EVERY SINGLE WORD THEY SAY. I've been feeling happy since yesterday.

I'm locking the door now. "DO NOT DISTURB" sign have been posted outside but before I sign off, here's a little quote to start the weekend. Happy Friday, everyone! With much love.

~All I can say about life is, Oh God, enjoy it!
Bob Newhart (1929 - )

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Will You Be My Friend?

When you or your husband get posted to another country to work, you are what they called, "an expat". Everything will seem so foreign. Just like a little fluffy chick trying to find its mother, you feel lost. People that you see in that foreign country you may call them a snob just because they are not talking to you. You are introduced to a new culture. You are introduced to a new cuisine though some food you may not call it FOOD! You miss your friends.

Hello, people! Living an expat life does not mean one's living a life on a bed of roses. Totally has its ups and downs.

One thing I know for sure though, as an expat, Ang Moh or Oyibo in this case of mine, mean that I get to meet some new friends. Sometimes, these new friends will and can become your friend(s) for life! I still keep in touch with some families that we got to know in Saudi Arabia. I still keep in touch with friends that I got to know in Texas. I STILL keep in touch with my friends in Singapore too.

My sweet friends, Dana and Sun. Party animals! LOL!

We painted the town red for my birthday :)

My wahala sisters in Lagos

Even our children also get to meet new friends. Being in a foreign country is not bad afterall and you still get to keep your other friendships close to your heart. People come and go when you live an expat life but that's just how it is. As long as you know how to keep in touch, you'll be just fine.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Today Is An Important Day

Today is Administrative Professional Day which is also known as Secretaries Day or Admin Day. This is the day when secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists, and other administrative support professionals are being recognized for their hard work. Being recognized for being a superworker (if there's such a word!). I'm one fine example folks. I was a superworker or at least I thought I was. Yes, I remember those days when I was one.

I can do it all! If only my ex-boss appreciated that!
Today is also Anzac Day. In Australia and New Zealand, Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance observed by both countries on 25 April every year to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

More importantly, today is World Malaria Day. Now that we are in Nigeria (West Africa), it is important that I talk about it for a bit. World Malaria Day is commemorated every year on April 25th since it was established in May 1987 by the 60th session of the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization. This day was established to provide people with education and understanding of this disease that have taken the lives of many in Africa. In 2009 itself, 781 000 people died from malaria, mainly women and children. If you want to know how malaria is spread, click here.

According to the World Health Organization, approximately half the world’s population is at risk from malaria. And while malaria can be prevented and treated, it still claims the life of a child every minute, with more than 90% of all malaria deaths occurring in Africa.

I was told by my nanny that here in Nigeria, some local government clinics provide free medical check-ups for the people. Free malaria medicines will then be given to mainly children.

This has been my "best friend" eversince we came to Nigeria
Every year, there's a theme. This year's theme is,"Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria". Within the last decade, malaria cases have reduced significantly by 50%. Though you may think that it is not a big number, it is a great start. Preventing and treating malaria is a long-term commitment. As my husband would say, "One day at a time, one thing at a time.".

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Do You Have Something For Me?

It is just wrong to ask people for money. Don't you think? Well, I certainly think so.

I don't know about you but I am kind of getting tired and frustrated with the way people around here keeps asking for money. Especially at the airport here. It is always stressful to be at the airport here right from the moment one gets off the bus up till the immigration checkpoint to go to the gates. Same goes whenever we come back into the country. The "officers" there will make a point to stop you. "What's in your luggage? Do you have anything for me? Who do you work for?". It all sounds too familiar to me already!

Our kids are into their last few weeks of after-school activities. Our oldest son's soccer coach apparently "approached" me for money. He said that he is going to United States for a soccer coaching course of some sort and that he needs some assistance. Really?!? I just brushed it off and said ok that I will try to help him by asking the other parents. I don't know why did I even say that. He "reminded" me again last week through our son at soccer. This soccer coach will not get any money. He will not get anything from me or any other parents. Maybe I should report him to the school office. That is just not right. Then again, if it's not the soccer coach that will ask me for money, it can be a "police officer" or any Tom, Dick or Harry on the streets.

I would love to help. There is a lot of need in this country but just not this way. Just not this way.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Thank You, Naija!

It is not easy being a blogger and this is certainly my first time blogging about our experiences living here.

Never in my life have I done this before. Sometimes, when you blog, people criticize you. When they do, they do it BIGTIME! Sometimes, people like what you write. So, when I woke up this morning and saw this comment on my blog, I smiled...

"...awwwww I found this blog through a Nigerian blogger.
I like the blog. It amazing to see your journey to settling in. How its like too.
I think your children will have a happy childhood with amazing stories to share.
God will continue to protect you and family in that very SERIOUS COUNTRY, MY BELOVED NIGERIA.

First time here."

Thank you to you, my fellow reader/blogger for taking the time to read my blog. Yes, being in Nigeria is an amazing experience and I am glad that our boys get to experience it. I want them to see how the people here live in this part of the world. True, I had a hard time accepting the fact that we are here at first. It is a total culture shock but as days go by, I am getting to know Nigeria better. WE are getting to know Nigeria better.

Keep on reading. Thank you once again my fellow readers.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Stress Reliever

I made the decision to make my nanny/stewardess from being full-time to part-time now. I am so glad I did! Afer all, she started just doing part-time with me in the first place. She has since been coming here only three times a week versus five. I know some of you will say, big deal! Bloody hell, it is a BIG deal to me! I have never been a fan of having a full-time help at home. Not in Texas, not in Singapore and definately not here! Yes, I can do it myself. Cleaning the house, cooking etc but I refuse to "waste" my time doing it 24hrs a day. Personally, I don't have any issues with our nanny nor our driver. We have quite a good relationship.

My nanny "in action" during our son's birthday celebrations in school
Both our nanny and driver have been working for us since August last year and so far they haven't created any problems for us at all. I hope it stays that way. It's just that I don't like her to be in the house every day! Otherwise, she's been a great help! I call her my right-hand man or lady in her case.

I love being in pajamas all morning . I feel "free" wandering around within my own apartment and not having someone else aside from your own family members there with you. I don't feel stressed. That's important.

However, I do miss being able to go to Starbucks, Coffee Bean or any nice cafe, sipping a latte while people-watching, scenery-watching. Or simply walk around, window shopping in nice shopping malls. Used to do that all the time everytime my part-time helper came. There are a few places here that I can go to but most of them have that indoor feel to them. What's the use of doing that then?! It's better to sit at home within your own four walls and get comfortable.

Oh well, few more weeks till I can do a REAL people-watching again while catching up with my good friends. One hazelnut latte, please!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Cool But Vicious

No, not me but I can be if you are not nice to me.

I'm talking about the weather. Nigeria's rainy season in fact. It is usually hot year round but now, it has started. If you have been following my post from the beginning, I explained about the wet and dry seasons of Nigeria. Now, we have entered the wet season which will usually last from April to October and sometimes it starts as early as March. Dry season is from November to March.

As I am writing this blog, it has started raining pretty hard. Singapore weather is very similar to this. Personally, I love it. This is my kind of weather. Nigeria does not have four distinctive seasons like most countries do.

Storm's brewing
Cool, cool rain

I don't mind the snow but hate it when it starts to become a wahala (problem) to do daily chores/errands outside of the house. Snow blizzards are not fun. I haven't had the chance to experience it and not sure if I want to!

Too much rain is not good either for us folks in Nigeria. When you have too much rain, flooding occurs and traffic becomes horrendous! I am not going to complain. Instead, I will enjoy this weather of Nigeria right now. Don't bother me, I'm back in my pajamas/lounge clothes again. Is it bedtime yet?

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Arts & Baskets

One of the reasons I love living in Nigeria is to be able to have the opportunity to buy beautiful, colorful artwork, fabrics and of course baskets. Yes, baskets. Oh my gosh, I NEVER have enough baskets! They come in different shapes, colors and sizes.

LOVE the vibrant colors
In the 9 months that we've been in Lagos, we've acquired a number of these baskets, paintings/artwork etc and love them all.

Yesterday, I bought a bunch of baskets at Lekki Market. I am going home to Singapore for a visit during our children's summer school holidays and thus bringing them to give away as souvenirs. They make nice gifts don't you think?

Of course, I never leave the market with these baskets without haggling hard with the vendors! I mean REAL hard!!!

So, family and friends far away, I hope you like them as much as I do!!