Friday, 30 March 2012

It's Here. It's Finally Here!

Yup, spring break is FINALLY here. Good God, yes, it is!

Yesterday, after weeks and weeks of putting off cutting their hair, our two boys finally went for a hair cut. Right on time before we get on the plane today.

The hair salon was buzzing yesterday when we came in. As soon as we opened the door, we were engulfed by all those hair sprays, chemicals etc. Ironically, this was the SAME salon that damaged my hair. Oh yes! Our boys however LOVED their new hairdo. If only I felt the same way the last time!

Five months later, I think I finally got rid most of my damaged hair and I plan to grow it long again! I don't care about it right now. All I care about is clearing security at the airport and start to chill out! Pass me the cold wine please. Thank you!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Living an expat life is not easy at times. Friends and families give you grief when you tell them that you are moving away on an expat assignment. "Lucky you!" they would say. Some would even talk behind your back secretly. I know who you are.

So the question is, where is HOME?

This was our house in Beaumont, Texas
This was our "house" in Singapore before we came to Lagos. LOVE the pool at the backyard. LOVE the green grass. Miss that!

Home will eventually be where we end up when we retire. Don't know when that will be. We have an idea as to where we are going to be calling home. As for now, we are in Africa. Hands down, Nigeria is quite a challenging place to live in. We are going to use this opportunity to explore it nevertheless. Nut case? Stupid? Out of our mind? Yes, yes, yes. Guilty as charged. That's us. After all, when will you get another chance to be here. To be in Africa and experiencing it! Gotta go. Safari is calling.

Quote of the week:
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony~Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, 26 March 2012

I See Kids Everywhere

I gave birth to another eight kids on Saturday in Lagos. In an instant.

Did I catch you off guard with that sentence?!?! Good. I did not. I did not gave birth to another eight more kids during the weekend. Come to think of it, that wouldn't be so bad after all. I can try to form a soccer team in that way since my family's so cuckooed with soccer. We fell in love with soccer even more eversince we moved to Singapore.

Our youngest son had a playdate with a few of his classmates. He felt left out because his brother ALWAYS have playdates and sleepovers. So a pizza playdate it had to be! Several of our neighbor's kids came to hang out with our oldest son. 
Most of the boys were running around

Girls doing what they do best :)
Thankfully, I did not give birth to 8 more kids. I love kids but two is definately plenty for me and my husband :)

Friday, 23 March 2012

Mean, Mean, Jelly Bean


Not exactly! I probably was one of the most hated person in the world yesterday. After I made our driver "surrender" his car keys towards the end of the day starting yup, yesterday. I finally did it after eight months. I am actually a very nice, sweet person (typing this with a SINISTER grin!) if you must say.

Around 1.55pm yesterday, the look and reaction on our driver's face was, well, "priceless"! Our driver didn't think I was nice and sweet at that moment. Biatch was more in his dictionary. I just had to do it. I probably wouldn't resort to this if I didn't caught him red-handed using the car one or two times for personal use. Even our nanny/stewardess rides in the car ALL the time just to get to the bus stop. Take leg, woman! I am trying to close my eyes on that one.

They didn't know that I've been monitoring them all these while. I could care less because the car really doesn't belong to me but that doesn't mean that they can do whatever they want.

Nevertheless, it's all good. Our driver doesn't bear a grudge though I know, downstairs, secret meetings have been going on. For now, I shall stay away from the lion's den.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Are You A Tai Tai?


My husband admire hated my guts for being a full-time housewife and not having to work especially being here in Nigeria! Mind you, I haven't been in touch with the working world for almost 11 years now and hello, I am so loving it! How do I do it, you may ask? If one have the opportunity, why not?

"Oh boy…must be nice to be tai tai (tie tie) expat wife slurping coffee and piddling around…" This I quote from my husband's email to me this morning. Before you judge me, I will say this. We are not wealthy. We are not millionaires. Ha!

I like the fact that I don't have anybody telling me what to do. I have two boys to take care of full-time, well, three boys, if you include my husband. That's a full-time job already. I don't mind it. I love doing it. I am a mom. That's my duty. I also LOVE to cook! I find that eversince we came to Nigeria, I have been cooking even more. I learn how to cook some dishes from scratch here. I learn how to cook from BIG jars of food.

What am I going to do with this? It's been staring at me for months!
I learn how to make my own pesto sauce. I know. I know. You would be saying to me it's easy, how can I not know how to cook/do my own pesto sauce! I was "spoiled" before. I used to buy those pesto sauce in jars. Until I get to Nigeria! After I bought one jar from one store, I couldn't find them anymore. For months. So I gave up and made my own.

I love the green colour
So you see folks, becoming a tai tai is not all about shaking legs all day, eating bons bons, getting pampered in the spa all the time (gotta do this once in a while though!) and so on. My sister-in-law once said, "I don't see how my brother don't gain 200 pounds with you cooking all these great food?!?!". I'm taking it as a compliment. He did not gain 200 pounds. Our kids did not gain 200 pounds. I did not gain 200 pounds. Though I did gain a few. Don't ask me again how much. I am planning to lose it. The weight that is! Slowly.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Good Days And Bad Days


Two days ago was Monday. Was it going to be Monday Blues? Well, I hope I won't get it! I didn't get it. Yesterday was Tuesday. I wasn't sure what they would say about Tuesday but I did get the Tuesday blues if there's such a thing! I was not feeling good. Felt like a cold coming. I told my nanny not to come and I didn't do a shit except to go to Multiker to get a few groceries. Multiker is a small supermarket 5 mins away from where we live at.

Thank you to all my wonderful friends who have been cheering me up with your kind words. I didn't have a good weekend. Today will be a good day. The rest of the week will be a good week.

One or two things have been weighing down in my mind. I have been doing a lot of thinking. Been thinking if I should just be a "superwoman" and let go of my nanny/stewardess. Then, I think about all the household chores that I will have to do, dealing with the maintenance people etc. Yesterday, the maintenance people stopped by our apartment. This guy started jabbering but I couldn't really understand a word he said. All I can remember was they wanted to make a hole on the wall in the master bedroom. I was in no mood for them so I told them to come back. I'm going to let my nanny handle it. See, this is EXACTLY why I will need her to be around!

So, I stopped thinking. I stopped thinking about letting my nanny go. I froze. I don't really want to do ALL that! "You will have NO social life! YOU will have NO social life!", is all I hear screaming in my ears silently though deadly. Damn! I mean I don't mind doing those chores BUT I don't want to be spending ALL day ALL week doing them. So I have decided to keep my nanny. Reluctantly, very reluctantly. Until I find an excuse to let her go.

Lately, I have been quite happy with the power outages occurence in our apartment building. It has been ridiculous the last few months. Power would go off every now and then in one day. Thankfully, for our emergency lights that I had them installed in our apartment. We no longer live in the dark.

Now, it would go off only once or twice in a day and sometimes once every few days. I can handle that but it's not exciting anymore!! I can't play hide and seek with my husband no more. I won't be able to hear the screaming of our kids whenever they are upstairs alone everytime the power went off. The only thing that's exciting is not hearing the UPS (uninterrupted power supply) machine. That thing drives me bonkers!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Sunday Poetry

Stumbled across some great African poetry. Just want to share this with you on a gloomy-looking Sunday in Naija. Happy reading folks! 

I have a dream By Folarin Kolawole
I have a dream.
The trendiest hut of the village, I strive to acquire.
Although, the cowries to buy I have not.
I have a dream.
The Oòni’s daughter, a must to marry.
Although, the cowries for bride price I have not.
The company of the village aristocrats, I strive to belong.
Even if I have to borrow an agbádá to gain acceptance.
I have a dream…
It was a dream…a life it has become.
I have a dream…
I call it a dream, yet it takes away my daily earnings.
Another affluent man, to the villagers I seem.
Some envy me; some even wish they were me.
In the village square, the damsels admire me.
Yet, borrowed damask and Òfì fill my rickety closet.
My shame, with those I owe they pile.
Lies and tricks, my best friends become.
Although, sweet the waters of ostentation.
Yet, deep within, a fool’s dream it feels.
On this, my fears amass.
My life… a life or a mirage?
This question my future asks me.

In Isarun Land, So Far Away By Folarin Kolawole
In Isarun lands, so far
hid a timeless orifice
A hole so stygian, inside like the night
A tunnel, ensconced in granite
Air so light, its heart, without life
Temperatures at 40deg Fahrenheit
In past times, gave life, its shelter
11,200 B.C; a home for Yoruba man
So old, far older than Oduduwa
Alack!Liars told us…we’re from Arabia
Na wa!
This cave, so elusive like an abalone
Though narrow, but high its throws
Reposed in a cocoa grove
Alone, so bold, its pose
Our history, it holds, we probed, it told
In silt sands spread below
Lay its numerous gemstones
Chalcedony and flint, as big as the toe
edges as sharp as a hoe…
tools for people of old.
White on the rocks, ashes like snow
from fired pots…we were told
to this, the cave,its name owned:
”Iho Eleeru ni o!”

I Saw A Naked Man! Yes, I Saw It!


Few days ago, I went to the beach with a few of my friends. That was my second visit to that beach. It was always relaxing at the beach. On the way home, I saw "it". I saw it, mommy! Yes, I saw "it". A naked African man. He was totally freaking naked! My very first. ZOO WEE MAMA! That was THE highlight of my beach trip and it made my day!

Lagos Port. So this is where all of shipments come in from and where things got "lost".

Way to the beach
School was in session at the beach school. We kind of interrupted them but the teachers do not seem to mind it at all. The enthusiastic school children were vying for attention. They simply love taking pictures! They were posing for us. I was most definately happy to be their photographer!
School in session

Cute kids!!

I was hoping those vendors would come by to show us what they have to sell. Man, I was ready to spend my "dirty" money! Oh well. Three hours later, I became a bronzy and I was ready to go back to my chaotic life in the city. So long my naked African man. I'll be back!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

This Is Depressing.


Oh man, I hate to feel like what I am feeling like now. Depressed. Yup, I feel depressed. I was ok this morning until I went out of the apartment. Our oldest son, was supposed to go to a birthday party this morning. As I write this post, the party is still going on. He didn't go. All because we were stuck in this stinking Lagos traffic AND we couldn't find our way to the birthday place. Our driver didn't know how to get there either. I was frustrated. I was frustrated with our driver. I was frustrated with the parents' of the boy who is having this party. They were not organised with no directions to their place nothing. I was frustrated with the traffic. I was frustrated with Google map because it couldn't locate the place that I was supposed to go to. I was frustrated with Nigeria. I still am. We were lost for about an hour. At the end of that one hour, he lost all interest in going to his friend's birthday party. I don't blame him. I would be too!!!!! So, in the end, we stopped by KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and got some lunch. I reached home I asked my husband whether it was too early to drink. It was only 12.45pm in the afternoon. So maybe yes!

I am also frustrated to know that two or three of my friends in Lagos that I am close to will soon leave me to "fend" by myself here. It's not that I don't have other friends here but somehow it's not the same with these other group of friends that I am close to. I told myself this is life. This is how it is when you live an expat life. People come and go. I don't want to think about that yet. I tried to keep myself busy here by finding things to do. Going to gatherings, functions, volunteering etc. Now, I don't know if I want to do any of those anymore. I might just decide to stay home, begin my own book club and start reading again. Then, if I stay indoors ALL the time, I'll get even more depressed. I'll be at home with my nanny ALL the time! *Sigh*.

I'm about to finish this blog of mine when I saw one of my good friend in Singapore message me on Facebook. She asked why am I depressed after seeing my post. I burst into tears!!!!!
I've never cried eversince I got to Lagos. NEVER.

Come on, Cape Town. You are not here soon enough!! I want to go on a safari.

I need a break. I need a different surrounding. I want to be out of Nigeria for a while. Two more weeks. Two more weeks!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Bring It ON


Don't you just love it when you are having a good day and a good week?

Today is Wednesday, March 14th.
5.02pm....I have four boys running around the house amok!

Boys are doing this but...
in 2 hours, I'll be doing this! Ok, but not in a swimsuit :) 
But then you know what?!?! Going out with a few ladies tonight to celebrate a fellow friend's/blogger's birthday. Catch her blog here if you haven't discover her yet. She's been here since November 2011. Freaking hilarious lady. Gotta love her!

Tomorrow will be Thursday, March 15th. I know Wednesday is not even over yet but I am so excited about tomorrow. Off to the beach with a few friends tomorrow. Hope the weather and everything else will cooperate. I will report back. So far so good. Keep it that way. Tune in tomorrow. Later, tater.........

Nigeria In The Eyes Of Our Children


Our two boys were born in Singapore. They became US citizens instantly since my husband is an American. At that time, we were living in Saudi Arabia. I cannot imagine giving birth to our boys there. Much more, giving birth here!!! For me, it was a very much tedious process and took a couple of years before I was naturalised.

I went from holding a red passport....
 to holding a blue passport :)
When my husband decided that we will bring our family of six (including our cats) here to Nigeria for an assignment, I was not happy at first. In Singapore, lots of families especially expats have full-time nannies. Just like here, some even have 2-3 nannies/steward in one household. These nannies live with their employers in Singapore. Somehow, I do not like that idea so which is why I only hired part-time help. I also do not like the idea of our kids becoming spoilt brats this way. Always relying on the helpers to do EVERYTHING for them. In a way, by coming here to Nigeria, it will be an eye-opener for our boys. I want them to see the poverty, the way the Lagosians/Nigerians live, how the children here do not get EVERYTHING that they wanted. So far, they are enjoying their time here in Lagos. Which is fantastic and I feel relieved. They have made some good friends here and they have a lot of activities in school that keep them busy. Yes, their social life are as busy as mine!

End of soccer season 2011. Kids with their trophies. See you in 2012 :)
Nigerian Cultural Day
 First birthday celebration in school in Nigeria
Moving to Nigeria made the bond of our family stronger. I hope so. I sure hope so.  I have seen and heard too many stories of families that moved here (and also in other parts of the world) only to be broken up by intriguing factors. For now, we are happy here. I am getting happier.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Traffic Is My Next "Best Friend"


Meat puff and chicken samosa anyone?
This is what one will look like when one's stuck in Lagos traffic, STARVING, after one hour spent jiggling every part of your body at Zumba class! I hate getting stuck in the traffic here. It gives me a headache! Yesterday, traffic was horrible. It is always horrible. EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Of course, when I am stuck in traffic, I get to see "shows" everywhere I turn my head to. It's even better because it is free. Who doesn't want to watch a free show??? The day before, while I was at a traffic light, there's this man, standing behind a coconut tree, reached inside his pants and started to "rub" himself. Don't ask me what the hell he's doing. He saw me looking at him looking at "it". Oh, isn't he proud of himself! I can't believe I am sharing this world with these gross people. Yesterday, stuck in traffic AGAIN, while I was trying to devour my meat puff and samosa, I saw two men standing side by side next to each other. They were of course peeing BUT glancing at each other's "thing" to see whose mightier?!?! I wanna puke out at that moment.

Everytime I see this....
I want to laugh straight at the faces of the local people. Centre of Excellence. What are they excellent at?!?!? Don't even get me started. Today, we have been in Lagos for 224 days. Oh yeah, 224 days worth of free shows! Anyone want to swap places with me?!?! Living in Lagos will enrichen my life in a very feastful sort of way. 224 days free from an eye sty so far, thank GOD!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Ikota, I Dey Come


It's funny how my neighbour next door, Doris, said..."I'll follow you ladies. You are more adventurous than me!" She have been here in Lagos for about 2-3years I believe. If you know me well enough, I am the type that will not sit still at home and the type that will try anything some things to get that adrenaline rush feeling. Eat worms? Maybe. Bungee jumping? I'll think about it. Dare me to poo/pee on the road in public just like the Lagosians? Fuggin' NO! Gross! Everytime I see them poo, pee, touching themselves in public, I feel like handing out some anti-bacterial wipes or sanitizer to them. The expressions on their face would be priceless.

On Thursday, myself, Amy and Janet went to Ikota market.

This is another market in Lagos located further down from Chevron compound. Big complex of shopping area with rows and rows of shops in between.

Sanders anyone? :)
Household items, fabrics, American products, no can pretty much find them here. Just be prepared to take leg (walk!). There is no way you can do that in just one day. This complex is too big.

BIG dodo
We are coming back here next week. Got word that a few other ladies would like to go. How about you? You dey?

Busy, Busy, Buzzing Bee


"Pack your best clothes. DO NOT FORGET!", I was told by friends while we were being packed in Singapore before heading here to Lagos. After eight months into our African adventure, my friends were not kidding! Life in Lagos are buzzing. Oh, believe me, my ears are buzzing too because I simply refuse to listen to them. There's always events going on. Day and night. Every week. Every month. Everyday. My calendars are filling up fast. You either gotta love it or hate it. Being in Lagos, I gotta love it! Today, there was an expat bazaar. There was an Indonesian bazaar.

Few of my friends with their stalls at the Indonesian bazaar

There was a carnival in school.

Soap soccer, anyone?
 Our oldest son, is having a sleepover with two classmates at our house.

11.37pm. Boys are totally zonked out!! Shhh....
I have yet to picture myself in my best clothes. It's coming. It's coming.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Reach Out For My Hand


A few days ago, I went with a few ladies to visit one of the charities that the American Women's Club Lagos have been supporting throughout the years. It is a maternity clinic and right beside it, is a school/nursery. The clinic provides pre and post-natal care for indigent women. Apparently, they also provide care of abandoned children and orphans from all parts of Lagos, Nigeria. Sometimes, when these women come in, they do not have the means to pay. So that means, the staff at the clinic won't get paid either.

While in the school, there are about 114 kids ranging from 2 yrs old till about 12 or 13 yrs old. There's a lady who's in charge of the place. She is simply known as "Mama". I am no saviour nor am I an angel but what I saw and hear touched my heart. Mama was not there when we came. We talked with Ms Rasheeda instead. She takes care and is in charge of the school.

Of course, just like in every part of Nigeria, there are so many needs. The clinic need some rubber gloves, malaria medicines among other things. The school was lacking of proper curtains among other things to shield the children in the classroom from the bright sunlight. The children even ran out of food once. These children are very smart. I was watching Ms Rasheeda teached the class for a bit while we were there. Enjoy the pictures. I enjoyed taking them!
These children were happy to see us. 5, 6 and 7yrs olds.
Playground area shared by 114 kids!


These children were reading/writing in a dark classroom. These are 4 and 5yrs olds if I'm not mistaken.

Ms Rasheeda and her two daughters
Measuring to make curtains for the classrooms

Modest sign at the entrance of the classrom

12, 13 yrs olds.

The Clinic

The emergency room. Not the typical ones that you imagine it to be.
Up the stairs to the labour ward. At times, they have to carry the patients up the stairs.

Scanning room

Guess what room this is?

Tiny room they call laboratory

I should be thankful with what I've got!