Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Wrapping Up 2015


I am putting some thoughts I have had in the last week down and this will be my last post this year.

Spending time with loved ones  - So my friend and I were talking about Christmas and we were talking about how our families always spend Christmas together, but I was saying that I might break the tradition next year as I would like to travel at Christmas. Her response was don't do that, the whole family should travel. I wondered why I hadn't thought about that option, but thinking about it, I realised that I had probably concluded that travelling at Christmas might not be a preferred option as they like to travel earlier in the year. Well, she lost her mother a few months ago and her family had spent Christmas in a certain country for the past three years or so, but the plan was to spend it elsewhere this year. Plans changed as her mum is no longer here and things were left undecided, Christmas would never be the same, it must have been especially hard this year being the first one without her.



I was speaking to another friend who lost her mother a month ago and she asked what my plans were for Christmas and I said none really but the whole family would be together as usual. One line followed 'family is everything'. That was a loaded sentence and I knew just what she meant, same with her, it would be her first Christmas without her mother, it must have been hard. 

On the other hand, I asked a third friend if she would see her mother on Christmas day as they live in the same town but she said she didn't think so. I asked why and she mentioned that she spent the day with her mother two days ago and I said 'but it's Christmas' and she said she didn't think that it was a big deal, she had spent Christmas her whole life with her family, then I apologised for asking.  In my mind, Christmas is a special time for family/loved ones so it sounded odd to me but maybe I was over thinking it.

Life is an irony isn't it? Some realise only after they lose loved ones how important it is to spend as much time as one possibly can with loved ones, while others who have loved ones right there have the tendency to take them for granted...There really is never a perfect time to show the people we love how much we love and appreciate them, that perfect time may never come if we keep waiting.

Oh and by the way, my friend went to spend the day with her mother of course, hahahaha.

Bashing ones country of origin - Now there is thing that seems to be trending especially with people who move from their home countries. I have family and friends who are guilty so I will be addressing this based on my experiences with some of them.

A friend with whom I went to secondary school moved to the U.S. just when we started university. She has lived there since, she is now American in more ways than she is Nigerian, at least she likes to act and believe so. Her entire family is in Nigeria and she visits once in a very long while. She was  recently offered a job in Nigeria but would be paid as an American and all other benefits of being an expatriate would apply. The offer was too good to pass up and she took it, who wouldn't actually! She moved back to Nigeria and is meant to execute a project for four years. Since coming to Nigeria, she could not relate to so many things, understandably so, but then she didn't want to be seen as Nigerian. This baffled me more than anything but her wish was respected for the most part. However, what I could absolutely not stand was her speaking so badly of Nigeria unashamedly. I do not dispute that there are a thousand and one things wrong in and with Nigeria (no place in the world is perfect by the way, including her America), but c'mon, there is also a lot of good in this beautiful country of ours. Even the things that are good, she finds ways to bring out bad. Her life here is absolutely fantastic, she could never afford this life in her America, many would say she was living the dream but all she has done is complain.



Another one who is originally from Mali moved to France, now when she wants to talk about her country, she refers to it as 'Africa'...back in Africa, this or that...First, Africa is a continent and not a country so when we speak and she does the Africa thing, I ask, you mean in Mali or which country exactly are you referring to? Another friend who hated the Africa thing so much has been in 'Europe' for the last year and suddenly when he talks about Nigeria, he says 'Africa'. The last time we were talking and he did the 'Africa' thing, I asked him if he was alright. He laughed at himself and said I remember back then I hated hearing that whenever I travelled but I guess it's acquired language. I asked him to quickly ‘unacquire’ that language because I'm not having any of it! Back to Mali, all of a sudden, she claims not to remember how to cook Malian food or she would describe the food as disgusting, all food that signified 'Africa' to her was referred to as such. Note that she studied all the way to university in 'Africa'! It's okay not to like food or certain things from your home country but why speak so badly of it?!

I could go on with examples, like a cousin of mine who tried to make me pronounce computer like an American, but I was very quick to remind her that I speak English which she understands and the origin of the English she learnt and spoke all the way to university was England so...
If you have watched Tyler Perry's temptation, there was a scene of a native of Georgia who had an acquired French accent after two weeks in Paris. I watched it again last week and everything was well captured in these lines below: hahahahaha

"You know I've been meaning to tell you , you are in an existential identity crisis; I've done my research on you. You spent those two weeks in Paris and now all of a sudden you come back with a French accent, we know you from Georgia!"

I wonder what the identity crisis is all about and why there is a need to try so hard. I understand that unfortunately in the world, citizens of some countries are more equal than others but please people of the diaspora, in the countries you left, people live normal and happy lives and as a matter of fact, there are many who would not trade living in their native countries for anything. It is pointless making the Africa (or wherever) that formed you suddenly become a plague as you actually should represent that place you come from, whatever country it might be. 
So this is a wrap for 2015! Thank you for constantly coming back here to read my thoughts and to share yours with me, let's do this again next year. 2016 is in two days so Happy New Year in advance :-)

4 comments:

  1. Re Christmas I think anyone who gets to spend time with the people they feel happy with is fortunate. This is often family but not always. But yes, it is interesting how people so often fall in line in the end. The idea of travelling at Christmas time does have its attractions, though, lol.

    On bashing one’s country of origin, I so knew that Chimamanda was right all along. You have your own Ms Americanah for a friend ! She is living the dream but complaining. I think I could handle a change of circumstances with much more grace and respect for my homeland. Maybe Nigeria is just not her home anymore. I suppose your friend is entitled to think that, but not to give her former home a hard time.

    Now, country v continent. You are so right to stand up to your other friend and to tell him to unacquire the concept and language of a generalised Africa. I am glad you are proud of your country. This can be challenging and we will always have things that need to be improved, wherever we are. And in some areas of life the pace required is more urgent than others. I suppose we need to be ever aware of where we come from as well as where we find ourselves and where we are going, and willing to appreciate what we have and ready to make a difference where it is necessary.

    So, Ene, as the year draws to a close, I must tell you how much I have enjoyed reading your words / ideas / opinions / anecdotes / creativity and more in 2015, and how much I look forward to everything to come. Roll on 2016. Happy New Year. Eddie.

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    Replies
    1. I know Eddie, travelling at Christmas, let's see how that goes!
      Thank you for always coming back here and especially for your feedback. Without people like you reading my blog, I may not have had the will to continue writing.
      So cheers to 2016, Happy New Year :-)

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  2. Thanks for sharing and always having something substantial to say.

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