So it has been almost a year since the post on “How to find a Husband” according to my aunt. I am doing a stock taking of events in my life in the last 11 months. It may please you (or displease my aunt) to note that; no I have not cut off my hair/locs, and no I have not suddenly changed my age from the actual to the mid-20s. I still exercise and I remain consistent with my views on politics and the world.
But you see, I am still not married, and her patience is running out. You would think that I am the one whose patience will be running out, but no, this is a case of “drinking panadol on top of somebody’s headache”. The psalms and things keep being thrown my way. I think my aunt knows that I do not say them (for the most part), and so she sends even more to make me feel guilty. Anyway, it’s been over a year, and I have now decided to take matters into my own hands. I reckon these steps will fetch me a nice Igbo man in no time.
1. Buy a 32″ human hair. I haven’t decided if it will be from Brazil or Peru. All I know is that I am buying it, and it is going on my head where it will sit tight and walk around with me in my search.
2. Buy some Dencia otherwise known distastefully as bleaching cream. I do not know why trouble makers insist on giving this thing a bad name. The Igbo brothers like yellow sisi, so I better get cracking. Plus the new colour will match my new hair.
3. Learn to smile and keep my head down, you can’t be engaging anyhow with your eyes and discourse. I have been trawling youtube looking for videos on “how to be coy”. Chi m, it is not that easy. But it seems to be working, or maybe those vloggers are just messing with me.
4. Find an Igbo church here, that should not be too difficult. I went to a church in East London and for a minute, I thought I was in Gbagada. When I find the Igbo church, I shall join the youth forum, ushers, video team, caretakers, welfare team, readers, choir, women/mothers group (yes people like that sort of thing, it draws sympathy that you have shown so much faith and vulnerability. In no time, the married women will begin to introduce you to all their husbands’ single friends. I must remember to call them all “Aunty”). This is a question spreading your bets as much as you can. This blog is as much for me as for you single out there searching for your Igbo prince charming o. Shine your eye.
5. Stop being a smart ass, even me I am tired sef. Henceforth when I meet those potentials, I shall be saying the following, with a coy smile and downcast eyes:
5a. “I only just recently arrived, my father paid my fees to do a master’s, so I just want to bend down and study o”. Yeah I reckon that line spoken in the softest of voices should work.
5b. “I don’t really believe in all this new talk, people have learnt bad things from the west. A man is still the head of the home, every woman should listen to her husband no matter what. He’s beating you, he’s cheating on you, something must have gone wrong in your attitude. Me, I believe if a man does something that you do not like, it is not your job to engage him or fight and nag, no matter what it is, you don’t talk back. Just go on your knees to God, then after that, cook him a hearty meal”
5c. “Ah ah, but my husband should know how much I earn. There’s nothing wrong with giving your man your ATM card or even pay cheques once you receive them. He’s the head”
6. On the first date, I shall invite him over and cook some jollof rice with spicy goat meat. I shall also make white soup with poundo and some chocolate brownies. Before he starts eating, I shall cover my hair and say the grace. The long version. Ok make it second date, I mustn’t appear too keen.
7. All my high heels are going on sale on ebay. You can’t be a 5ft 8inches woman and be wearing 6″heels. As one igbo brother told me at a party in January, “your height is intimidating”. He then proceeded to bolt, and came back only after he was slightly inebriated and made me sit down while he stood. Henceforth, only 3″ heels, thank you very much.
8. I must stop calling myself a woman. It sends the wrong message. “You don born”? I have been asked. So from now onwards, I am a girl. or maybe lady?
9. No more JD and coke, or wine at these Igbo things. Henceforth fanta and coke. Or five alive, if we can find any. I don’t drink alcohol. It’s even bitter anyway.
10. And I must not dance every time I hear music, just sends all the wrong signals.
11. Imagine the swishing of my south American hair, when I walk from one single and searching Igbo man to the next at the upcoming event, freshening drinks and smiling. Fetching chicken wings and dips. It’s all for the cause.
12. Who has an opinion about the upcoming elections? I don’t! I am just praying about it, I do not discuss politics. That one is for you men o. I am facing my work.
13. Ask for money for most things. Why should I pay for things myself? A man is in control when he pays and hears thank you. The youtube vlogs said men do not like independent women, so why should I be independent? No wonder my asoebi plans haven’t come to fruition.
These are all I have considered, and I shall take it from here. I am also open to advice, if you know of any quick fixes, please send them my way. I suppose in some ways my aunt was right, one has to be smart about these things and use local sense. You have to know and understand your audience, it doesn’t matter how, it’s the end that justifies the means. Enough said, I must get cracking. Au revoir
My birthday which is in January is always a reminder to express gratitude for who I am and for my life in its entirety. It is also a time for self reflection. It is a time to look at my plans, my road map for my life so to speak. Today I shall review 60 things out of my bucket list of 100 things to do. If I am lucky, I shall get to do most of these things in my lifetime. I think it is something worth writing. I enjoy going through it and working out the maths involved in cost or years required. So here are the first 60 things on my bucket list. I have done some of them, but most of the items remain I have not fulfilled.
1. Climb the Kilimanjaro
The Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania and is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free standing mountain in the world. I hear it is quite the challenge to climb. This is ideal for me because I love challenges. I plan to climb this within four years. If you are interested, let me know, you could be one of my climbing partners. If you have climbed it yourself, let me know how you found it.
2. Write and publish best selling books
I really enjoy writing. I hope I can get to the point where I am actually published and reach a lot of people. I have a few friends who have been published and it is such a great feat to 1) Finish a book 2) Have it published 3) Have people read it and actually give you feedback about how great it is while also bringing their perspective on the characters. Now only if I can actually sit still and finish my manuscripts.
3. Write a blog
I write this blog. Hurray!!!!
4. Travel somewhere incredibly beautiful, meaningful and relaxing with my parents
I love my parents, and there’s nothing I would love more than to travel somewhere with them. It would probably be Prague or Rome. Although my parents have been to both places before, it holds a special meaning for them and I haven’t visited Prague so it would be great to do it. But first, I must work and save enough. The last time I checked, the airlines do not accept promises of double pay when I can afford it. The actually want their money now 🙂
5. Go skiing
Need I say more? Those ski locations are so stunning
6. Speak a new language fluently
This is work in progress. I am learning French, I have studied it off and on for a while now and I can’t wait to become fluent.
7. Mentor someone
The power of mentors and mentoring programmes is something that is probably less celebrated than it should. I wonder if there are structured mentor programmes in the communities in which I grew up? Or in the more urban cities?
8. Become a certified exercise to music instructor
This is something I am keenly researching. It is something that is a useful skill and will ensure that you have an extra set of skills with which to earn some extra money on the side, or just commit to service in some way in the community by running aerobics, or body combat classes for older people, or just people who may not be able to afford a fancy gym. Why not? The best part is that in return, your body will remain fit and active. Win win
9. Understand and practice yoga
10. Kiss in the rain
Ah the bliss, the love, the sheer joy and happy tears from the heavens.
11. Learn to swim
Yes, this incredibly essential life skill has not been acquired by yours truly. I had hoped to be able to swim before hitting 30, I tried a few times but just did not follow through. Hopefully 2015 is the year.
12. Learn to ride a bike
What can I say? I only piggy backed on my brothers’ carry-on bikes as a child. As I grew older, I just was not interested. It looks like such fun when people are doing it.
13. Study for a postgraduate degree full time away from my home country
14. Learn to bake
15. Read the Bible cover to cover
Hopefully I can do this. When I was growing up, my parents would have us read parts of the bible together most nights. We would start on one book of the bible, reading it for a few weeks and finishing it before the next book was started. It was great. It is something I want to do again, from start to finish.
16. Read another religion’s holy book
Broaden my horizon and that sort of thing. It would be between the Quran and Bhagavad Gita. We shall see.
17. Visit the Mona Lisa at the Louvre
It was wonderful to stand in line and go into the louvre, to finally behold Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece. I am doubly glad that I shared that moment with my sister.
18. Visit the temple of Olympian Zeus
I am a big fan of Greek mythology, so it was great to visit Athens and walk through the ruins of Acropolis and visit the temples.
19. Read Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Read a synopsis of it and see why.
20. Spend six full months being a non-paid volunteer
I had a great time volunteering at different grassroot organnisations doing great work around clean water supply to rural communities and legal counselling for people affected by domestic violence and abuse. Some of the friends I made during that time have become lifelong friends. That was my introduction to the career path that I chose.
21. Start a business
I would like to start up a business around coffee and the arts. We shall see how that goes
22. Live and work in another country
23. Marry my deepest love and dearest friend
Amen. As you know, I have many people championing this cause including my wonderful aunt about whom I blogged in “How to find a Husband”
24. Have children
25. Trek the El Camino De Santiago
I want to do the pilgrimage and walk the “walk of St James” for three weeks. A good friend of mine did it and talked about a certain sense of freedom and self-awakening at the same time. I have read a lot about it and the route, the experience. This is something I hope to do soon enough now that I can take off without worrying about the little bambinas.
26. Learn to play a strategy game
Chess would be great or poker.I am really bad at these types of games, but I think it is something that one should learn. I can imagine playing chess with my grandchildren 🙂
27. Plant my own garden and prepare meals from self grown vegetables
Think about the fresh tomatoes, and pepper, herbs and okro.
28. Go on a safari
Kenya, South Africa?
29. Go on a cruise
Ah yes, somewhere nice and warm with blue and azure waters. I am thinking the Bahamas, sunglasses and lounging, casinos and shows, the food!!!
30. Work internationally as a a project management and/or knowledge management specialist
31. Buy a house
32. Be paid to work at my own pace
33. Build a brand and have multiple streams of income
Amen again. I feel like saying too much about these could jinx it 🙂
34. Watch a solar eclipse
There’s one happening in the UK this friday, shame it’s up North
35. Get a dog
Man’s best friend. I used to be scared to death of dogs because one literally pounced on me when I was about 8. I am still not sure if that dog had been playing or was really going to attack me. I had a few minor scratches and that was it. But after that, I became really scared of dogs until 2009 when I made friends with an owner of two massive but really sweet and goofy dogs. I still can’t believe the transformation.
36. Commit to and invest in girl child education in Nigeria
Educating women is really the best gift that any country can give itself. Studies have shown that children are most likely to succeed if their mothers are very well educated. Need I say more?
37. Throw a costume party
Masks and people in character, monsters and superheroes. It’s going to happen soon enough 🙂
38. Attend Photoshop classes
I love photography and for the most part, I leave my photos untouched. But every now and then, I like to dabble in the software. Thus I need some classes to improve my interaction with it.
39. Hold an exhibition of my photos
I have thousands of photos which I have taken over the years from travelling and just everyday routine living. I just have to look through them and find a theme and a good cause.
40. Frame my photos myself
41. Plan and host a study tour
42. Run a marathon
I ran a half half marathon once in Abuja. I was so proud of myself for finishing, but it was hard. Hpefully one day I can get back into shape enough to run a full marathon
43. Climb a hill
I climbed Arthur’s seat in Edinburgh eight years ago. Climbing down was a problem. I am ashamed to admit that I came down on my behind.
44. Fly business class in a commercial airline
It looks great when you see all those business class seats as you walk to cramped economy. They are sitting down, sitting champagne already and looking like they will get a good night’s sleep? Don’t blame me for wishing, if you fly for 8 hours with a tall and huge man who is slightly drunk, and keeps snoring and falling into you in economy, then you will appreciate why I want to fly business class. Don’t judge me 🙂
45. Host a radio show
I did that at Uni, does it count?
46. Get a complete makeover
Yes, change my hair colour, change my clothes, maybe speak a new language as part of the whole deal eh 🙂
47. Take an etiquette class
Yes, it can get confusing when tables are set too “properly” and you can’t really tell the aperitif glass from the wine glass, or the soup spoon from the pudding one?
48. Direct or act in a stage play with an audience
49. Play an instrument
Does shaking a tambourine count?
50. Learn to drive
51. Dance the salsa
Salsa gives you wings. Literally.
52. Visit all the continents in the world
Yes Asia and the Americas next.
53. Invent something useful and groundbreaking
54. Grace the cover of a great magazine
55. Act in a film
56. Get featured in the media for something truly remarkable
57. Spend one full year doing what I want
58. Write a column
I wrote a book column for a newspaper for a while, did not pay me a dime, but I really enjoyed it. It certainly gave me a platform to start honing my writing I would say.
59. Read and understand Nigeria’s upstream and downstream sector and what the hullabaloo is about
I am a little bit ashamed to admit that this is all I know really about the industry from which Nigeria generates most of its revenue. I became interested to research it recently as oil prices fell. It is all very interesting how dependent the world is on energy in many ways and how OPEC countries are equally dependent on that sole revenue channel. Things are changing though, and not necessarily for the better.
I love Maya Angelou’s works. “Letter to my Daughter” was the first I read and got hooked. There is a glorious dignity about her poems and her narratives and her words are full of wisdom. Here’s a video of that incredible poem she read at Clinton’s inauguration in 1993.
So I just got off the phone with one of my favourite aunts, the aunt from the first post on finding a husband.. When I saw her number flash across my screen, I was so happy. You see, I speak to a lot of people back home, but they are mostly people from my generation who use social media quite a lot.
“Aunty!!!” I screeched happily into the phone
“Nne kedu?” She responded.
Then she spoke very quickly, her words tumbling over one another in her rush to say her bit and get off the phone seeing as it was an international call and all.
“Are you keeping your eyes open? Nkiru’s mother told me that many Igbo men live there.” She said
I was a little disappointed because I had hoped to have a conversation with her and catch up on the gossip back home. When I did not respond, she continued. Here is a list of what keeping my eyes open means, in her own words;
1. Find out about the Igbo forum and join it, you will find all the Igbo men there.
2. Try to attend their ceremonies, and make sure you help out, people always need help with frying the chicken and even serving.
3. Put on nice wigs and cover those your dreadlocks. Do you not see how other girls have nice weave-on.
4. Ehen when you join those forums, don’t be going to sit with the men to discuss politics in Nigeria, face your work.
5. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a suitor there, because those Igbo men are always coming home to marry good girls, show them that you are a good girl who has just arrived and is not yet corrupt by that place.
6. When anybody asks you, tell them your father sent you to do masters. That way they will not run away and think you will be stubborn.
7. Reduce your age by 4 years.
8. Everyday read Isaiah 62, the whole chapter, everyday. Go to only the churches that our people attend.
9. When you are going for those Igbo meetings, make sure you go alone, and befriend the married women, if they like you, they will introduce you to their husband’s single friends. You don’t have any business with the single ladies.
10. Don’t be doing too much sports, our men don’t like women with strong body o.
There you have it. I don’t think she wrote it down, but somehow she managed to get it all out quite clearly under 3 minutes. I think number 4 is my favourite! Face your work literally means face your work; keep frying those chickens and serving the men. I also like the “reduce your age” bit, and I wondered how someone could ask you to lie in one breathe and bug God in the next. I could have called her back but as I did not have any calling card, I thought I would blog about it. So people, do you think I should face my work and not discuss politics anymore? Feel free to add on to my aunt’s list. I am sure this is not the end of this post. I shall do an update once I speak to her again 🙂
I was reading a post by JannaT about facets of change when I recalled an incident which happened to me and decided to articulate what I was feeling. Luton is an incredibly diverse town; thousands of people from all over the world have moved here, sometimes with their entire families, sometimes very wealthy families have come here to set up businesses and invest here for the safety net and low risk business environment. Others have come alone with no money, sometimes with only the clothes on their backs to sojourn for better lives for themselves and the people they love. They remain here for decades and begin a new life, marry and have children. Thus there is a sense that anyone who comes here and speaks in a different accent is an immigrant. I went to the bank to set up a student account and the lovely customer care lady I spoke to said to me;
“Are you an immigrant?”
“I do not believe I am, are you?” I asked
To be honest, I was shocked by her question and my response. I think we were both shocked. Anyway, we cleared that up; student vs immigrant; two completely different things, thank you very much. When I thought about it later, I wondered if I should have reacted that way. I wondered if I should feel a bit ashamed? It is like there is a stigma attached to being an immigrant, a feeling that these people are aliens and a burden to the state. You can tell who the immigrants are because they have no language and money is often times a struggle, they also work the hardest jobs which nobody else wants.
According to the international migration organisation, an immigrant is someone who moves to another country usually for permanent residence. I have moved here to study not for permanent residence. In the event that my project Management qualifications are needed by a company and I am hired, then by all means call me an expatriate, thank you. Immigration is incredibly fascinating, equally fascinating is the host community’s reaction to it. When you think about it, the world is one huge immigration case study. Most of North America was “founded” by immigrants. Australia for example, was used as a penal colony by the British; the dumping started with the ships arriving in Botany Bay in 1788. There are certainly disadvantages to immigration; the culture of deprivation and alienation shows in densely populated immigrant areas; there is very high incidence of crime and poor integration which can then beget problems which last for generations. There is also the culture of resentment in some parts of the host communities towards immigrants for competing for jobs that are already scarce, few and far between, and for using other facilities which are bursting at the seams already.
It has been three weeks since I moved here to study and I still feel like a part of me is incomplete, that feeling you get when you forget something but can’t quite place your finger on what was forgotten.
“Do you miss home?” People constantly ask me.
It really is not that big a deal, I say most times. I wake up as usual, put on my warm clothes, and conduct my business as best as possible. But you see, change is tough, it is like a scab on a healing wound; you know that pulling it off will reveal a new layer, a much needed healing. But you are also afraid of the pain and possible bleeding. When I decided to move here for 14 months, I knew this was not the usual holiday where I saw sights, did some shopping, visited friends and went home. Nonetheless, nothing prepares you for the tightness in your chest when you hang up after speaking to your mother, nothing prepares you for the tears in your eyes when the wind slaps your face and howls in your ears. More than anything, nothing prepares you for that feeling of being an outsider, when you open your mouth to speak and it is evident that you are a stranger.
The phone calls are still coming in, people want to find out if this is true. I do not want to speak to more people. It is not in my place. My phone agrees with me and crashes. I lose all contacts worth over 4 years. Apparently there is a way to retrieve it, but what do I care? What do I care? Why should I care? When my phone rang pre-crashing, I saw her name flash across my screen, and I hesitated, panicking as I had done for a week now every time I spoke to her. Or visited the hospital. It was something that the doctors expected; like the Ukwa fruit that inevitably fell at its time, an open secret. How can you say that? One never mentions the journey of no return. You keep it in your heart. Till you burst. Her name flashes through my screen again, and I answer, clearing my throat.
“He’s gone,” She wailed, ululating over and over.
The goose pimples settled on my skin and refused to leave.
Phone calls, words, a blur, a flash, messages, phone crashes. I thought about M lying on that hospital bed for months, eyes closed, or open, depending on when you saw him, struggling with his kidneys. I thought about his poor wife, sitting by him, waiting, praying, hoping. I felt like a fraud, not knowing what to tell her as she wept. Who am I to speak words to the grieving? What do I know about how she feels? She’s stunned, the children are devastated. She shared his life, they shared his life, we came and went; friends, colleagues, at our convenience.
I have known M for about 3 years now. I worked with him. He was gentle and kind, we disagreed, but always with respect. Not only was he a man, he was at least a dozen years older, yet he did not conform to the common ageist and sexist ways of our society; he knew this was work, nothing personal so he got on with it. He put his family and charities first, he cared deeply. He was a good man.
Death is the Tortoise
“All of you”
But wailing birds sometimes sound the unheard warning
Who knew Opi could be so loud
Rest for the wounded must be easy ba?
The tugging from both ends
Now we try corn and pear
Let’s beat the drums for you
One more time
I hope you sit sprawled
Yogurt na Akunechenyi
Red sand and moonlight
The smell of earth and water
Raindrops on dusty ground
Be happy M
Ramblings of a Recently 30 Woman, Project Management Professional, International Development Enthusiast, Globetrotter, Writer and Happy Shutterbug®