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Thursday, May 17, 2012

It's Just different Here...

The past few days, I have been exhausted.  Living here is a "trip"...some days, it feels like I am bored to tears and other days I don't have a single second to think....

This week has been one of those weeks when I really realize it is just different here and no matter how hard I try to explain it to family and friends back home, it is so hard to understand.

For instance, we went out to the beach the other day for our last Board meeting of the year, and I was supposed to be back at the dock in V.I. by 2 p.m.  so I could pick Jeremy up from school and take him to a promised play date.  Of course, the boat was late getting back to the dock and didn't get there until 2:10 ...the exact time he gets out of school!!! (The last time he was left at school because he missed the bus, he was in the front office crying so hard he couldn't talk!)  All I could think was he would be standing there wondering where I was and I couldn't get a hold of anyone at the school.  The MTN service on my phone wasn't working and there are like about 50 different numbers to try to call the front office and almost none of them work!  I tried to call his teacher's cell phone when I finally had service...but there was no answer. To say I was in a  bit of a panic was an understatement.  I texted Fatai and told him to have the car running and ready and we needed to get to the school fast fast!!!!  To my amazement as I jumped off the boat and ran down the dock, he was ready and waiting!!!! ( a small miracle)  I told him we needed to go fast and he just smiled and said "Yes, Madame!"  and we just drove at a crawl.  I said we need to GO FAST!!!!!, and he said "Okay Madame!"  and picked up speed by half a kilometer an hour.  We got to Ozumba Mbadiwe and crossed the street to dead lock traffic trying to get into the school.  I said, "I can't wait..... meet me at the school." and I got out of the car and ran down the road.  There were okadas weaving in between me and the piles of gravel ( and I wondered what on earth are they going to do with that gravel??? Will they really fix this terrible dirt road??" but there was no time for that, I have to get to the school.) It was hot, and I haven't run in about a I was about to die when I got through the front gate of the school, I searched everywhere for Jeremy and when I finally found him I expected to see a cry or some sort of scared look on his face, but he was fine and his teacher was waiting with him.  He just said, "Mom, where have you been, let's go!!!! I want to play!"  I felt like fainting right there in the courtyard at the school, but I didn't.....I just thought to myself....this place is so crazy!!!

Or yesterday, when I was in the car and Fatai asked me about my grinder which was in the trash. I said "Grinder?" He said , "Yes, madame, your was in the there something wrong with it?" I said, " Oh you mean our blender?  Yes.....the motor is doesn't work." He said, " Oh." Then, yesterday afternoon I was taking a bag out of the back of the car and I saw our blender in the trunk.....he went and took it out of the trash.  I know I shouldn't feel upset about was my trash...but there is something very strange about seeing something you know you put in the trash can showing back up front of you.  It has happened a few times to me with a cleaning lady in our building...she has worn a pair of ratty old slippers I threw away because they were falling apart ....I wouldn't give them to anyone....

And, this morning, I ran out of milk in the kitchen fridge, so I went to the hall way and got another box of milk from that fridge.  It struck many people in the U.S. have a fridge in the hallway???

It is just so hard to explain things to my family and friends back home.  Things are just so different here.  Phones don't work, thrown away things turn up, things are in weird places, there's lots of extra help, but sometimes " too many cooks in the kitchen" can make things even more complicated...

The only thing I can tell my friends or anyone who asks what it's like to live here is's just different here.:)


  1. the other day i saw our driver going through our garbage, pulling out the half deck of playing cards that i threw away. what was he going to do with 20 of 52 cards? it really bummed me out in ways i can't explain.

    and the accumulated stress of always being late and struggling to do seemingly simple tasks--i.e., make a phone call, use the atm, drive across town--it eats away at you.

    i can relate to this post.

  2. Hi Asha! Yep!!! living here is a "trip" in so many ways!!! It is so hard to explain it unless you're here.:)

  3. Great post! No one knows until one lives in Nigeria... You did not know until you came to Nigeria (and started crying before you left the airport parking lot) and now the kids don't now anything else. Nigeria is where they grew up... as they know it. When Elizabeth and Jeremy move back to the US, they will be amazed that the lights don't go off 4 times a day, people don't sell goods in the street, armed lead and chase vehicles are not required to go to the airport, and our fence at home does not have barbed-wire.... that is awesome they see these contrasts at such an early age. Got to love it!