Today was Jeremy's first tee ball game. It was so fun to watch the kids out on the field chasing after the ball. Jeremy is on the Brewers. His coaches were so good with all the children. The head coach is Mr. Pieter from Holland and the assisitant coach is Mr. Philip from our compound. Here are a few photos and videos from today. Elizabeth really wanted to join in on all the action... she just doesn't realize how little she is.:)
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Yesterday, Fatai was driving me out of the compound. As we came to the corner near our compound, I saw many police officers standing in the small intersection. There are usually never any police in this intersection, so they really stood out. One of them waved at our vehicle to pull over to the side of the road. I was a little nervous because I didn't really know what was going to happen. I rolled my window down, and the lady police officer looked at me and said, "Good Afternoon , Madame." As she said those words, she came closer to the car and then, she put her hands inside the window. I was sitting in the passenger seat, and I tried to scoot back in my seat as far as I could. (You just never really know what the police over here will do.) Then, she stuck her head in the car and looked around inside. Again, her face was right next to mine. (Thank goodness my purse was on the floorboard.) Then, she said, "Do you have anything for me for the weekend?" I knew what she was talking about. Sometimes at the end of the month, the police will stop cars before the weekend and ask for money. I met a girl who lives here, and she had already told me what to say in that situation. I looked right at her and said (with a straight face)," Yes,I do have something for you. I have all of God's blessings for you and your family." She immediately stepped back from the car and said, "Amen." Then, she let us drive on. That is one Nigerian police officer who can't say I never gave her anything.:)
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Today, Elizabeth had a playdate with a little girl we met in her playgroup. I invited the little girl and her mom over to our flat for the girls to play together. It was so nice to meet another little girl who is almost exactly Elizabeth's same age. I have to say I was looking forward to it until this morning when the reality hit me. We were having another little girl come to our flat ,AND she was going to play with Elizabeth's toys. To put it mildly, Elizabeth can turn into Attila the Hun when someone is playing with one of HER toys.
When Elizabeth's little playmate got here, everything seemed fine, but only because she stayed close by her mom. When she went to play on the plastic car, Elizabeth immediately dropped her shape sorting and ran over to shout," No!! Mine!!" So, I distracted her by having her push her baby stroller with her doll. The other little girl finished with the car and Lizzie ran over to get on it. Her little friend started pushing the stroller, and Elizabeth got off the car and ran to the stroller. It seemed to go on like that for hours...but, I did check the clock and saw that it was only about 10 minutes ( the longest 10 minutes of my life). I had never seen Elizabeth work so hard to round up all of her toys...even ones I think she had forgotten she had. She was actually sweating trying to keep up with the other little girl. Finally, they came to a truce in Elizabeth's room when they both put on dress up clothes and had a little tea party. I think the only thing that saved me was that there were two pairs of dress up shoes to wear. Too bad we can't all be like a 22 month old and let everyone know how we feel at every second of the day.:) It is days like these that I just have to keep telling myself to enjoy the special moments with my kids because they are going to pass by too quickly.:)
Saturday, January 23, 2010
This week has been a strange week for me. I have been adjusting to coming back to Lagos after being gone in the U.S. for about 4 weeks. I hadn't been back to the U.S. in almost 6 months, and I was really getting used to how things are around here. Going back home, really made me see how much easier things can be done and how much more readily accessible many things are in the U.S. So, this week, I have kind of been in a mode of adjustment thinking about everything I was missing back home. It really made me think of my family and friends. My mom gave me an angel sun catcher I can hang on a window in my apartment so I can look at it and always know she is thinking of me. I was washing the dishes tonight, and looking out the window. The angel is hanging on the window right above my sink. Outside my window is the Atlantic ocean (although you can barely see it with all the harmattan in the air). I thought to myself, just across that ocean are all my friends and family who I miss seeing. I looked at the angel and thought of people saying they had a guardian angel. I told myself to think about what I had instead of what I didn't have. I realized that I am lucky enough to have really seen angels around me. My friends and family who call me over here or send me an e-mail to let me know they are thinking of me are angels. There are many days over here when I really miss all of you; you don't know how much it means to me to get a message or phone call. There are some really nice ladies I have met here who have been angels. Thank you for all the help you have given me. My husband and kids have been angels who do at least one thing everyday to make me laugh even though most of the time I feel like I am going crazy trying to keep up with them. Happiness has been an angel here. Without her, I am sure my experience of Nigeria would have been very different. She has opened my eyes to a whole new world. So, to all of the angels in my life, thank you for making my life a little brighter.
Today, Guy and I decided to head out to Lekki Market to buy some baskets to organize the shelves in Jeremy and Elizabeth's rooms. It is always interesting to people watch when I am riding in the car. One okada driver hit our car on the driver's side. He knocked our rear view mirror. I saw an okada driver hauling about a hundred pound sack of beans on the back of his okada. (Picture above) I really can't believe some of the things Nigerians will strap onto an okada. We got to the market and we were swarmed by young boys who want to help us while we are in the market. We have been out to the market a few times since we have been here and we usually have the same boy help us, Ola. We got there today and immediately when we asked for Ola...the boys said he wasn't there today. Which is the answer they always give. Miraculously after they realized we weren't going to have another boy help us, Ola appeared! Just like magic! Ha ha Elizabeth loved walking down the small pathways between the different shacks set up selling goods. She must have said hello to all the Nigerians there. When we were walking out, most everyone knew her name.:) Jeremy really likes to walk with Ola. Heis much more quiet han Elizabeth, but he takes everything in.:) We finally agreed on a price for the basket after going back and forth between two different vendors about three times. Ola helped us carry our baskets to the car. Jeremy had to go to the bathroom right when we got to the car; so, in true Nigerian fashion, he dropped his pants and peed right there on the side of the building by our car!! I think he is getting way too comfortable here.:) On the way back, we had to take the beach road home because Lekki Expressway was backed up. We saw a car and a truck that had gotten stuck in the sand. Luckily there are gangs of boys who " monitor" the beach road to "help" you get unstuck for a very high price. Thank goodness Fatai is a good driver...and we didn't get stuck in the sand. We were hit again by another okada driver trying to weave his way through the traffic...this time on the passenger side. Then, when we were very close to our compound, I noticed the van in front of us...or I should say the "bus"....since the van is what Nigerians consider the city bus, ( picture above) started to have black smoke come out the back of the tail pipe. Needless to say, it stalled and the poor man next to the van had to push the vehicle. When we got home...I was exhausted and I wasn't even the one who had to drive!:)
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Yesterday when I was taking Jeremy to school, Fatai said to me, "Excuse me, Madame." I said, "Yes." He said, " While you were traveling, I lost my brother." I think I was still a little jet lagged because I immediately thought, how do you lose your brother. Were they in a market and he wandered away? I said, " You did?" He said," Yes, he died." I told him how sorry I was to hear that. Then, I thought about it. I wasn't sure if he was talking about his biological brother or a "brother" from his village. So, I asked him if the brother who died was a "brother" from his village or if he had the same mother. ( In Nigeria, mostly the Nigerian men will tell you that someone is their brother. You can be some one's brother if you are in the same tribe, if you are from the same village, if you are a good friend, etc. It took me a while to realize this...I was beginning to think everyone in Nigeria was blood related.) After I asked him that question he said, " Yes, ma'am...his mother is my junior mother." Yeah...I had no idea what that meant at all! so, of course I just nodded and said ,"Oh, okay." So, I asked Happiness if it was a Nigerian thing to have a junior mother. She started laughing at me. I explained to her what Fatai said. She told me he probably didn't know how to say aunt...so he told me that his "brother's" mother was his junior mother. But really it was his aunt...and his brother wasn't his brother at all...but a cousin. Hopefully you can understand all of this because it was just as confusing to me. I think Fatai and I are still getting used to talking to each other.:)
Monday, January 18, 2010
The kids and I made it back to Lagos on Saturday night. I have to say that I was a little anxious about the flights back from the U.S. with both kids by myself...okay..i was terrified! Not really because of Jeremy...my great little traveller, but because of my Busy Lizzie! I couldn't believe it, the flight from Houston to Paris was okay. She really didn't sleep well...but she wasn't out of control. Jeremy watched a movie and went to sleep. The flight from Paris to Lagos was great. Both kids fell asleep and stayed asleep until an hour and half before we landed. I think God was watching over me!!! THANK YOU!!! I was thankful also that Guy was at the airport to meet us when we came out. Of course, adjusting to the time difference has been a little hard. Yesterday the kids and I slept until 1 p.m., and Guy woke us up so we would be able to go to sleep that night. I think I feel okay today, and Jeremy went to school. He was excited to go and see all of his friends.:)
Today, when I was in the car taking Elizabeth to playgroup, I was looking out the window at all the things happening around me. Here are the seven signs you are back in Nigeria:
1) The pushing and cattle-like way everyone gets off the airplane
2) The smell of the airport ( usually the B.O. is overwhelming!)
3) Not knowing where to stand in the immigration line ( things are different every time I land here)
4) People cooking some kind of meat in trash cans
5) The insistent honking of horns at all times of day and night
6) People say ," You are welcome!" when they first see you
7) You see a family of five riding on an okada
Ah Nigeria...home sweet home!!!
Monday, January 11, 2010
I have been in the U.S. for about three weeks now, and my time here is coming to an end very soon. I have been thinking about what I will miss when I go back to Nigeria, and it became a list of so many things that I thought I would put them into a "Top Ten" list. So, here goes:
The Top Ten things I will miss about the U.S.:
10) Orange juice in a carton
9) Soft Comfy furniture
8) The quiet
7) No gridlocked traffic ( I swear you haven't seen traffic until you have lived in Lagos)
6) Fully stocked grocery stores
5) Good toilet paper
3) Getting a pedicure with a massage chair
2) Getting five errands done in ONE day
1) A Dishwasher!
I guess what they say is really true...you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone!:)
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
On January 2, 2010, Guy and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. I can't believe that it has been that long since we have been married. We celebrated by going out to one of the local wineries to have a quiet dinner. Thanks Mom and Dad for babysitting!:) We got married in the middle of a blizzard in Illinois in 1999. My dad swears that if Elizabeth or Jeremy decide to get married in January, he won't come to the wedding! ha ha!! I know people always say that time goes by fast...well, I can actually say that it does. I met Guy 14 years ago!!! Wow!! Just saying that makes me feel really old!:) We have lived in L.A., CA, New Orleans, LA, Houston, TX, and now Lagos, Nigeria. I am blessed to have a good husband; I am elated to have the two wonderful children I have, and I never thought in a million years I would ever live in Nigeria, but I guess that is life...you never know what can happen. Some people say that life is like a roller coaster. What a wild ride it is!!!
Since I have been out of Lagos, I have been finding it really hard to keep up with the blog. Let's see, I can go to the movies here, watch trash T.V. , sit on nice, soft and comfy couches, and of course spend alot of time with my family.:) I wanted to wish you all a very happy new year!! Our New Year's Eve and New Year's Day was really fun. My brother Greg, was up from L.A. and my brother, Andrew, was able to fly to San Francisco from Florida for a day before he has to deploy for 6 months. So we were really glad to see him before he is gone for such a long time. Since my family is spread out all over the place...it always seems like a whirlwind when we are together..but always a ton of fun. Guy made a crab boil and we played the Seinfeld trivia game and went in the hot tub on New Year's Eve and then on New Year's Day, we all took it easy from all the festivities the night before. I don't remember the last time I spent New Year's with my mom, dad, and both my brothers. I am sure 2010 will be a great year!:)