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Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Nigerian Alarm Clock

I usually don't have to set my alarm clock here. One, because I have a 16 month old who thinks she is part rooster. And, two, because Nigerian drivers use their horns even more than they use their brakes! From before the sun comes up in the morning until the wee hours of the night, all you hear from our apartment is the constant tapping of horns with the occasional very angry blaring the horn. Yes, this is the sound of Nigeria I am waking up to every morning. Even if I could sleep in, I would feel too guilty. I can hear everyone busy outside. I guess it is the Nigerian wake up call. Get up.....don't waste a day!! ( the picture is the view from the doorway of our flat. The Atlantic Ocean is in the background).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A few pics of our Flat

Here are a few pictures of our flat. I know some people were wondering if we were going to live in a hut. We are not in a hut! Actually, it isn't really too bad. Today, we were coming home from the playground and Jeremy said, "Let's go back where we belong." I said, "Where' that?" He said smiling, "Right here." So, I guess this is where we belong? Maybe I should listen to a three year old's words of wisdom.

An update on some Concerns

I have gotten a few message from some friends that they were concerned because they have heard about Islamic Militant uprising here in Nigeria. Please do not be concerned about us in Lagos. The fighting is occuring in the northern part of the country.

The curious case of the 20 Dollar Grapes

Hmmmmmm.......What do you think?? Do these grapes look like they are worth 20 dollars? No, we hadn't eaten many of them when I took the picture either. I guess they are a nice shade of green. Maybe that is why they were 20 DOLLARS!!!! I sent Happiness to the store the other day to get groceries ( I am still too nervous to do the grocery shopping myself). Our driver, Fatai, took her to the store. ( You do not drive here, either. Every family has their own driver to take them places here. The Nigerian people drive crazy!!!!) Anyway, when she came home and I saw the receipt I couldn't believe it. I guess next time I need to stick with fruits that are local and in season!:)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Going to the Swimming Pool

Today I decided to take the kids to the swimming pool on the compound. I had told Jeremy I was going to take him yesterday, but it rained most of the day. We are in the middle of the rainy season right now. ( there are two seasons : rainy and dry) So, today it wasn't raining so we got all of our swimming suits on and sunscreen and were heading out the door when I noticed an odor. Elizabeth had pooped. I was a little annoyed...but i realized that it was better that she did it here than when we got into the pool. So, after changing her diaper, we headed down to the pool. I wish I would have had my camera ready because there was a very big lizard that walked across the sidewalk right in front of us. Jeremy screamed, and of course, Elizabeth wanted to try to touch it.:) It was another new thing we have discovered in Nigeria. We met a lady and her son at the pool today. The kids had alot of fun. Elizabeth is fearless in the water. I have to keep my eye on her all the time. Jeremy is fine when he gets in the water as long as he has his water wings.:) Before Jeremy got out of the pool today he said, " This is a wonderful day!". I thought to myself, I need to think more like him.:)

Bernice A.K.A. The Swamp Dog

I have been so busy with getting the kids in order and with all the traveling, that I forgot I didn't give anyone an update on Bernice. She came over with Guy in June and did okay on the flight. When Guy brought her to the airport in her crate, the woman at the ticket counter had to turn her crate around because she was barking at everyone she could see. She was probably trying to get anyone to get her out if the crate.:) When she arrived here in Lagos, she bonded very well with Happiness.:) They are very cute together. Bernie is always near Happiness' feet wherever she is.:) I don't know if Bernie was too happy to have the kids back in her home. She kind of had an "Oh *#@#!" look on her face when she saw both of them barreling into the apartment. Jeremy and Elizabeth missed her very much, and they immediately started chasing her around. Elizabeth was trying to pull her tail. Poor Bernie kept trying to find some quiet corners in the apartment. Happiness takes her on about three walks a day, andit is so cute to see them together. Jeremy alway wants to go with Happiness he went on a walk with her and Bernie. All the security guards on the compund know Bernie and yell to her as she walks by. It is really funny.:) Our other dog , Ralphie, is on a farm in Cleveland , Texas. He is doing very well. Apartment life would not have been very good for him since he wants to go in and out about 100 times a day.

Life is a Bidet ol' chum!!!!

Well, Elizabeth has decided that the bidet is a seat built just for her. When Jeremy first saw it , he said " Oh cool, a sink that's just my size!" Yes, we are noticing many different things here that aren't like Houston...and today, the hot topic was the bidet.:) I couldn't resist taking Elizabeth's picture in it. Happiness assured me that she had washed it well before we came. ( thank goodness!)

We found her!!!!

Happiness, that is!:) She was waiting for us at our flat when we got there from the airport at about 10 p.m. that night. She made us lasagna to eat. Elizabeth went right up to her right away. For those of you who may not know, our stewardess/nanny's name is Happiness. I know some people were wondering what she would look like...and here she is. Today was her first day she worked for us all day..and she did a great job. Jeremy and Elizabeth absolutely adore her.:) She makes really great spaghetti and meatballs and lasagna.:)

Arriving in Nigeria

We arrived in Lagos on Saturday, July 25 at about 5 p.m. I had been here once before in March, so I knew pretty much what to expect. I was glad that I did because I was more prepared with my kids with me. We got off the airplane and immediately the heat and humidity could be felt. Right away, a Nigerian man said " You are welcome." As if i said thank you to him. but, I soon found out that is how Nigerians greet people. They mean you are welcome in their country. We walked down the long corridor to the customs officers. The airport is not very we had to wait in a huge line for them to stamp our passports. Finally, we went to get our bags. I am not exaggerating....THREE hours later, we had our bags. The kids were doing really well until the last 20 minutes or so. They were hungry and living on goldfish crackers. They were tired and I was, too. I just wanted to sit on the floor of the airport and have a melt down with Elizabeth, too.:) We got all of our bags took four guys and me pushing the stroller with the kids to go out the doors and walk to the bus that would take us to our compound. Outside the airport , it is completely crazy. I saw so many people sitting around in lawn chairs and they were cooking something in trashcans that were on fire. I have no idea what it was. We got into the bus, and Jeremy said "Cool, the windows are covered". He opened up the curtain and saw the armed police man getting into the front vehicle and the other armed officer getting into the chase vehicle. They were going to lead and follow our bus to our compound. I wish I could have thought it was as cool as Jeremy thought it was. But, what can I say? This is going to be our new life!!!:)

Getting to the airport in London

The next day, July 25, we headed back to Heathrow Airport in London. All twelve bags, four carry ons, two car seats and double stroller. The same van came and picked up our luggage and a separate car took us to the airport. The drive through London on Saturday morning was so pretty. Our driver took us past Buckingham Palace. When we arrived at the airport, our flight was going to be on time. Thank goodness. Getting all the bags to get checked in was another hassle. But, we did it. Jeremy is getting really good at just taking off his shoes when he sees the security people.:) The flight from London to Lagos was 6 hours...but during the not another overnight flight. I think the kids are starting to know what to do on the plane. both of them slept for much of that flight.:)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Our Day in London

Friday was our full day in London. We wanted to do things with the kids that they would enjoy. Guy found out about a boat ride on the Thames River. So we got on the boat right by the Tower of London. We took it to the London Eye ( the huge ferris wheel in London). The ride on the London Eye was amazing. You could see everything from up there. Jeremy loved it, but poor Elizabeth, it was just too much for her. She fell asleep right before we got on and slept all the way past the time we got off.:) We had an awesome view of Big Ben. Even though it started to rain while we were on the Eye, it was still so neat to see London from a bird's eye view. From there, we took the kids to Hamley's Toy Store. It has to be the biggest toy store I have ever been in. There are FIVE full floors of nothing but toys!!! It was complete madness! But, Jeremy and Elizabeth had a ball looking at all the toys and watching the different workers demonstrate the different toys in the store. We went from there to the National Art Gallery. We had better luck finding children frendly food that night. We rode on the Underground ( subway) quite a bit that day. Jeremy loved the train " under the street". We also rode a double decker bus. I think Jeremy was in heaven that day: toys, trains, and buses.:) Eizabeth just enjoyed the ride.:)

Arriving in London

After our overnight fight from Houston to London, we arrived in London at 4:00 .m. local time. I was pretty exhausted. Elizabeth did sleep off and on...but i couldn't really blame her...everything was different. Jeremy slept really well on the flight and was pretty awake when we got off the plane. That child can sleep anywhere!!:) After , we got off the flight, we needed three carts to get all of our bags to the van that was taking them to the hotel. We had a van just for our luggage and a separate car to drive us. Jeremy thought it was pretty neat that the steering wheel was on the other side of the car. We made it to the hotel at about 6 p.m., and then it was time to find somwhere to eat. We walked a little ways from our hotel and found a pub. I was excited because I really wanted to get fish and chips while we were in London. Boy, was I surprised to see rabbit's belly and pigeon gizzard on the menu!!! There were tons of things like that. Needless to say, the kids ate pretty much only goldfish crackers that night. We did order a chicken pie that was amazing.....but the kids wouldn't try one bite of it. It was a good time, though. Elizabeth also learned how to "cheers" everyone. ( Jeremy learned it a while ago) Everyone in the pub was clinking glasses and Elizabeth wanted in on it, too.:)

Leaving Houston

On July 22, 2009, we left Houston. or at least we thought we were leaving Houston on the 22nd. We were in a hotel after our 7 week long " tour of America" I had the kids with me for about 5 weeks in CA visiting my parents while Guy was in Nigeria getting things ready for us. He came and met up with us in MI. Anyway, as I said before, we had checked out of our hotel. The kids were bathed and in P.J.'s and we had twelve suitcases, two car seats a double stroller and four carry on bags for our flight to London that evening. We got to the check in counter and saw that the flight was delayed until 1:15 a.m. July 23!!!!!! UGH!!!! Anyway...we did make it and the kids were really good. Elizabeth finally fell asleep at about 9:30 p.m. and Jeremy watched movies on his DVD player ( thank God for those things!!!!) He finally fell asleep at about 11 p.m. We had been at the airport since 5:00 p.m. and finally boarded the plane at 12:30 a.m. The kids did do pretty well on the flight. Of course, I got to sit next to Elizabeth. And some of you know that she can be a challenge sometimes. But, by the time the flight was over, all the flight attendants on that flight new her by name.:) We arrived in London on Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. local time.