Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Yesterday, I was riding in the car with Fatai. As we were driving, I was looking out the window at all the interesting things happening: a toddler helping her dad fix an okada, taxi drivers sleeping on mats next to their taxis, a man peeing on the side of the road. But, the most surprising thing came out of Fatai's mouth. He said, "Madame, while you were gone, I had feelings for you." And he smiled at me. I was really surprised at first, but then realized he was trying to tell me he missed me.:) I really shouldn't laugh at all because I only can say good morning, good afternoon and good evening in Yoruba, and he can speak English better than my Yoruba. I thought that maybe I should tell him what his words meant, but then, I thought ( as a smile passed over my face) why take away the smile from another person's face.:) I just said," I missed you, too, Fatai."
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
When I left Lagos in early June, the road outside the compound was still under construction. I really don't know what they are trying to do with it, but every day you will see okada drivers yelling at cars and car drivers yelling at okada drivers. Occasionally you will see a Nigerian man so upset that there are more gestures than words coming from his mouth. So, it was no surprise to me to see that the road is even more of a mess than it was when I left...who knows how long it will take. So it was a huge surprise to me to see that there is a brand new KFC completely built and open for business right across the street from the compound!!! There was nothing there when I left and 7 weeks later...voila!!!! There it is!!! I always thought it took forever to get things done in Nigeria....apparently not when it comes to food!:)
Monday, July 26, 2010
On Friday, we started our journey back to Lagos. It started with Elizabeth waking up on Friday morning with a seal bark cough and a slight temperature with a runny nose. I had a sinking feeling the flights home wouldn't be that great. Isn't it funny how a mothers intuition almost always comes true??? The flight from Houston to Amsterdam was horrid. It was 8 hours of non stop crying. Elizabeth was crying the whole time and wanted Guy or myself to carry her up and down the aisles. She didn't want us to sit down with her in the seat at all. When we landed in Amsterdam we were all exhausted. Jeremy was a great traveller, but even he didn't sleep that great on the plane. Thank goodness Guy had booked a room for us at the hotel in the Amsterdam airport where we all took a three hour nap before getting on yet another 6 hour plane ride to Lagos. The ride from Amsterdam to Lagos wasn't as bad as the first plane ride....I think the Tylenol and Motrin was finally kicking in for Elizabeth. Finally she was quieted down when we landed. Then, all the familiar signs of being in Lagos started in. Once the plane was on the ground and stopped everyone was up and getting their bags down before the seat belt light was turned off. I still don't know why many Nigerian people have the need to get up and try to push to the front of the airplane....is there a connection they are going to miss?? ha ha Then, the smell of people wearing no deodorant sets in...ugh!!! After the cattle like way we got off the airplane, we stood in the immigration line. We were standing there for about 10 minutes and then the power went out so we were standing in the immigration line in the dark. ( the power has been off at the airport but I have never had it go out in the immigration line). The Nigerian flashlights came on ( back lights to cell phones) It was kind of funny because the power outage didn't even phase Guy or me at all. We just made sure we had one hand on the kids the whole time. After getting through immigration, I needed to go to the bathroom. I tried not to have to go, but I couldn't hold it. I went to the bathroom and was not surprised there wasn't any toilet paper ( I brought my own) but was really surprised to see soap on the sink. I went over and pumped two pumps in my hand and turned on the water....but the water didn't work...I should have known!! There was nothing to get the soap off my hands...so I just rubbed it off on my jeans.:) We waited for our bags on a luggage carousel which was going slower than a 100 year old woman with one leg and a walker. Guy got all of our bags and as we were leaving the customs officials wanted to know what we had for them....of course I told them all of God's blessings...and we were finally out of the airport......two hours after our plane landed...
The kids were really excited to see Bernice and get back to their own rooms. It was as if they had all new toys they hadn't seen in 7 weeks.:) Today Jeremy asked me if this was Nigeria and I said yes. He said " Oh, it kind of seems like Houston." I wish I could say it was like Houston, but it is nice to be able to unpack and have a place for everything after being gone for 7 weeks.:)
I realized that it has been a few weeks since I have done another post. After we stayed in Chicago, we visited friends in Illinois before heading down to Houston. Guy was pretty excited for a fishing trip he had been planning for the last six months, and I was able to visit with a dear friend in Houston. Jeremy and Elizabeth had fun playing with their friends they had not seen since January. As it was hard to leave my friends in Illinois, it was hard to leave Houston as well. It was hard not to remember our lives there. The great group of moms, the playgrounds for the kids to play, and the friends my kids could have grown up beside. It was funny because one day, I was driving home from having lunch and I turned down the street where I used to live. I couldn't believe that I did that....it felt like it was such a natural thing to do until I realized that I didn't live there anymore...it was really strange. This summer has been a wonderful one. We were able to see our family and friends. The only thing that is missing for me is a sense of where my home is. I am coming up on living in Lagos for one year and it still doesn't feel like home yet...but living out of a suitcase for the summer doesn't feel quite like home either. I guess the old saying about home being where the heart is is right...everywhere I visited felt like my home for the time I was there...and for that I am truly grateful.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Yesterday, we arrived in Chicago to see Guy's family. We were so happy to also come at a time when Rachel, Guy's sister, was home from Japan. The kids were so excited to see their Aunt Conch ...or as Elizabeth says, "Aunt Chonch".:) We had fun cooking out and visiting with Guy's brother, sister, mom, dad and cousin.....I thought I would share a few pictures.:)
We arrived in Michigan the night of June 30...and we hit the ground running. On Thursday night we went to Sherman's for ice cream. Jeremy's absolute favorite ice cream is blue moon and so we had to get that.:) Elizabeth has also decided that she liked it, too. The next day, we went blueberry picking which was very confusing for Elizabeth because she kept thinking we were blue moon picking.:) The kids had so much fun...but I think Jeremy ate more berries than he actually picked.:) Saturday, we visited my aunt, uncle, great aunt and uncle, Grandmother and grandfather, and cousins. Jeremy LOVED catching fireflies in my aunt's backyard....I think he could do that forever. Let me just tell you...my cousins really know how to play beer pong.:)Sunday, Jeremy and I walked in a parade with my dad to support my uncle who is running for the state house of representatives in MI. Jeremy was too excited about riding on a float and throwing candy to everyone with his cousins. I wish I could have ridden on a float...my feet were killing me by the time the parade was over...
That night we celebrated all of the summer birthdays in our family. Let me tell you, July and August are HUGE for birthdays in our family...and it was even sweeter because my grandmother was able to be there with us...she is such a fighter!!!!:)
Monday, Guy flew in to see us and we watched fireworks on the beach at Lake Michigan. I don't think it can get more Midwest than that...catching fireflies, parades, cookouts and fireworks.:) It was so fun to spend time with so many members of my family.:) The rest of the week we pretty much spent at the beach and visiting with our family. Thank you to everyone who was able to visit with us this summer....we love you!!!:) ( especially my beautiful Grandma)
On June 30, we left sunny California to head to Michigan to visit with our family there. The kids and I had a wonderful time with my parents out in California. There are so many sweet memories from this summer. I think the cutest one was seeing my mom water her flowers with the kids. they loved filling up their own watering cans and watering the flowers with her...until next year!