So Long Naija Living!

As I sit here in Murtala Mohammed Airport Lagos, waiting a gruesome four hours for my boarding time to come (thanks to over-factoring in the Lagos Traffic), I can't help but reflect on the most memorable moments of my eighty three-ish days in Nigeria.
Was it worth it? 
Most of the time it was, but there were definitely some meh days. Somewhere around day 60 of 83, I started getting tired of everything. I got frustrated with the amount of time being in traffic wasted, frustrated with how many hours in the day I lost because I had to factor in the security of travelling in dark hours and then there was the need to wait on someone to take me out because going out and looking like a clueless "I just got back" wasn't really an option ... there are plenty people out to milk you. 
Yes this picture again... Nike Art Gallery is such a beautiful place.
Some of my aunties and I in my late great-grandma's living room.

Moneywise, I didn't spend a lot. I had a lot of people who were excited that I was coming home. My parents paid for my flight, my family friends accommodated and fed me and even paid for some of my entertainment and the bulk of the presents I brought back for my friends. So it didn't cost me too much.  If you're wondering what I actually paid for, I paid for the fabrics and sewing of all the family party clothes (aso-ebi), phone credit and data, some presents, miscellaneous expenses here and there... nothing significant really.
I didn't think I had lost touch with my culture because it seemed silly to have done so in just five years, but in many ways I had. Three months was perfect to reacquaint me with all of it. If I had spent two weeks (like I always thought I would), I'd have been too rushed for time. If I had spent one month, I wouldn't have been able to learn a little sewing, travel to see both sides of the family, and live in both the posh and not-so-posh parts of Lagos. 
My parents and I on a hill in Ibadan, Nigeria.
Three whole months also gave me enough time to eat everyyyything I wanted to eat. I wasn't satisfied with my snail experience, but at least, I ate some. I overdid things with small chops and actually-pounded-pounded yam, I patronized too many road-side Agege bread sellers (found weird things in some of the loaves), ate fresh bread from bakeries, had my buka experience, ate roadside boli and groundnut, ate something at camp that made me spill from both ends for a good week, but all in all, I'm a happy camper. 

Actually-pounded-pounded yam...for breakfast #shameless
Will I be moving back?
I don't think so.  Lol. Was that too short an answer? I don't think so. After all, I've dedicated two whole posts to addressing that topic. See the first and the second.
Very High Highs.
Seeing my grandma! I started this year with a great-grandmother, and two grandmothers and I ended it burying my great-grandma and one grandma. So when I got to see my last living grandma again, I was very happy! We embraced and we rocked from side-to-side in a dance of sorts, still in each other's arms, then we took pictures and spent some time around each other. 
Eating from a Buka. I just wanted to do this. It's unsanitary, the food isn't made from the healthiest oils, but whatever the case Buka food is guaranteed to taste amaaaazing and I wanted to experience that. So it counts as a very high high.
Regular Highs
Seeing all my baby cousins grown up and realizing that my aunties and uncles must be have been seeing me in the same light. Meeting King Sunny Ade of course! Getting sprayed money as the omo-oloku (This phrase translates to "the children of the deceased", which I realize is kind of weird. But it really is a good thing because none of us grandchildren and children died during the deceased's lifetime, so it's a thing to celebrate). 
A photo posted by Fope (@heyfopsy) on
As a Nigerian, every serious party must involve money spraying of the celebrants; I just hadn't considered myself a celebrant. But when my dad danced at his mom's burial reception and I helped him pick his money, some of my parent's friends and family members sprayed me too. I didn't make a lot of money, but it was free money, so hey it was a high moment.  Same thing happened at my greatgrandma's burial. I was generally in higher spirits here than in the burial before.

At the former, I peeked at the body while she lay in state and was shocked to see how unlike herself she looked. I knew she'd look lifeless, but I hadn't expected that she'd look like a darkened wooden carving (apparently the embalmment did that). The whole sight put me in a weird mood. Again, the following day I went to the graveyard for the 'dust-to-dust' part of the ceremony and I just lost it. I cried ugly tears and ended up with red puffy eyes. It was the finality of it all. It was surreal and just incredibly sad. It really was the end, there would be no new memories and if she had any hidden sin there would be reunions in heaven. Life really was over for her.
The reception was a party, a celebration of life, but it was halfway done before I got back in the groove. I didn't even take pictures with family members and I got mad at the photographer for not reverencing the solemnity of it all (although now I'd like to thank her for the (albeit low quality) photos she took).  
Anyway, for the next burial, I decided I'd hold on to the memories of my great-grandma during her life and not do any of the sentimental parts.  So I had a ball here. She actually left instructions to be buried in grand style- she loved to party and had perfect health till she died, so in reverence to her wishes, I did justice to the food, was on my feet for roughly six hours, and got many "I didn't know you could dance like that comments". Safe to say greatgrams would be proud!

Posing for a picture on the dance floor.
I got sick more times than I care to count. They weren't major, but they were bothersome all the same. Sometimes they were infections, sometimes it was the dust that gave me colds and headaches, and sometimes it was a food- related health issue. 
There were so many rude remarks that I would have loved to respond to with a whole lot of sass. But as per Nigerian culture of respecting the elders, and lest I be the child who has gone abroad to loose my manners, I held my tongue. It sucked to have to swallow the best retorts. 
I don't think I'll be repeating this anytime soon, but it'll be one for the books. It was a refresher course, an updated version of what I know of Nigeria. Maybe one day, when I'm a little older, more independent, less afraid of all the things that could go wrong and preferably alongside an equally curious partner, I may redo this. 


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