Monday, December 31, 2007

A year of new beginnings

2007 was for me a year of new beginnings. Not in the things that were obvious and external, but where it mattered most- internally. You'd have to get into my head an see what goes on there to understand what I mean.

I had spent most of the last years walking the thin line between doing what I felt was right or pleasing people. Sometimes I failed and on such occasions, I beat myself up about it. 2005 and 2006 were years in which I felt really unhappy- basically because I had failed to please the people I care about - although many of the expectations which I failed at were, when I look back now, unreasonable demands anyway.

Anyway, I started 2007 with a trip to the UK on the 1st of January. I did very little socially - spent lots of time sleeping, hanging out with family and reflecting on my life. I returned back home, refreshed and determined that whatever happened, things were going to be diffrerent in my life in 2007. I was not going to be satisfied with the Status Quo.
I have ended this year with another trip to London. As I look over the last 12 months - which have flown by, I must say- I can say that even though I did not achieve my goal of radically changing everything- a lot has changed and I am satisfied.

I have made new friends, reconnected with old ones, been to Florence twice - it is fast overtaking London as my favourite city. I am learning Dutch and have decided to continue next year, I am learning to be less reserved with my feelings, without caring too much when people don't understand. A couple of friends have died this year - leaving me with a sense of urgency to do the best I can when I can. Its been a great year for my husband and I.

I have made some friends on blogville - some are no longer here. I have reached out to say hi and been named a stalker- which I find a bit hilarious with hindsight. All in all I am happy to have found this avenue to share my thoughts even when they are not always worth reading.......

I am glad to go into the New year continuing to change things - more determined than ever to try to do the best I can to be worthy of every extra minute that God may chose to give me.

To anyone who reads this - a blessed and prosperous 2008 to you. In the words of Steve Jobs: Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish in 2008!

Friday, December 28, 2007

In London

Hubby and I arrived in London last night. Time to get off the internet and go explore........
(more like go visit friends and family)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Zwarte Piet

I was recently in the Netherlands, the first time I've ever been there around the Christmas season. As I walked the streets, in a bid to do some Christmas shopping, I came across what was for me a shocking spectacle. It was the Sinterklas, the dutch version of Saint Nikolaus or Father Christmas, accompanied not by Elves, Knecht Ruprecht, or Sneguruchka, his granddaughter like the Russian Ded Moroz usually is. No, the Dutch Sinterklas is accompanied by his "black" , nowadays clownish, previously sinister servant Zwarte Piet. Zwarte piet as I saw it in Holland was a white person with their face painted black and wearing red lipstick, a curly, essentially afro wig, gold earrings, like those worn by the slaves of old. And on almost all shop windows, there were the too numerous to count essential stickers of the black, goggle-eyed, red lipped, curly haired Piet. You can read more about Zwarte Piet and see pictures on Wikipedia

As I walked through that shopping center, I was in shocked that the very "tolerant" dutch people should have such a tradition, and should live it in the 21st century with such gusto. And still wonder why integration isn't happening. For me the fact that Dutch people try to justify this practice when a considerable part of the population is non white says it all. It all reminds me of the carnival in Germany last February, when a colleague told me he and his wife wanted to dress as Africans, asked me where the could find African fabric, which I told him. I even showed his wife how to tie a head tie. Only for him to send me pictures later on and I see that the had also painted their faces black and of course applied red lipstick as well, with the required gold rings in their ears of course. I guess I should be grateful that they at least wore clothes.

As for Zwarte Piet, I am pretty certain black people in Holland are taunted with that name. God help any balck parent who makes the mistake of calling their kid Peter. Maybe one day the Dutch will finally move into this century, and I don't mean by allowing all sorts of junk to be smoked in their coffee shops or sex shows in every street corner.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

In twos

I saw a white Jesse Jackson in the Tram yesterday. He was smiling at me, but I couldn't work up the courage to ask to take a photo of him. It might be true what they say, that we come in pairs....

Monday, December 03, 2007

Totally random

-I was on the brink of a breakdown, due to exhaustion, both physical and mental. I needed some time out, and I feel so much better after a few weeks off from everything. Note to self: next time, don't wait till you've almost lost your mind to switch off.

-I was in Nigeria in between. For the first time, I slept through the nights, probably due to fact that I was mentally exhausted, although after the gen was switched off, I left a candle on my bedside table- I wonder that I did not burn down the house.

-I am discovering family again, friends come and go, but your family sticks by you forever( mainly 'cause they haven't got too much of a choice, lol).

-Got my hair nicely braided by "the cotonou boys" in Ikeja, decided to get braids all the way to my waist, they are really nice, and I am already saving for the next trip home to get my hair braided, and if I have a bit of time also visit friends and family, lol. If anyone needs their phone number, let me know. I now realise that all the stares I've been getting are probably due to the hair, pity, I thought I had somehow magically grown more beautiful :)

- Was able to get money with my debit card in Nigeria, and no, I wasn't ripped off- Zenith Bank takes Mastercard and hence also Maestro cards, and Standard Chartered takes Visa. Took my first picture of an ATM in Nigeria, might put it up here if I have time.

- Zenith doesn't give receipts so I was worried I'd get back to find my bank account empty. I obviously didn't.

-Went to the new local airport to see it with my own eyes.

- Lost patience with my shallow, I think, 22 year old cousin. I hope she doesn't end up with a guy who breaks her heart. She is so shallow!

-I got copies of "Everything good will come", "Yellow-Yellow", and about 6 other books including two Segun Afolabi books at NuMetro. I tried getting Kemi's Journal, even contacted Cassava republic, but my trip was too short and I left a few days before the new copies were released.

-Spoke to Jeremy of naijablog. He sounded different from what I expected. I wonder what I expected him to sound like though.

-My husband gave me a lovely Moleskin "London" Notebook yesterday. The best thing about it is that it doesn't have any dates. Anyone who reads this blog has probably realised by now how much of a moody writer I am.

- I saw a comic book with a black girl on it in a bookstore on saturday. The background sort of hinted at the fact that the setting was in Africa. Out of curiosity I bought it. Curiousity and the fact that I try to buy afrocentric books and cosmetics especially from mainstream stores, to encourage them to keep stocking them. I even bought a Bobbi Brown lipstick once- big mistake; it tasted like ink. Anyways, the comic was titled Aya 2. I loved it! Infact, I am ordering Aya 1 this weekend.

-Having internet at home in Lagos is affordable, but exorbitant if you compare the cost to the cost in the west. It was much faster than I expected too.

-I can't believe its Christmas time again. Where did 2007 disappear to?

- I hope to be here more regularly again.

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