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Trip Home

Well, firstly, MERRY CHRISTMAS IN ARREARS!There, I know its late but better late than never, you know.I went to my mother's hometown, to attend my mum's cousin's housewarming party. They are wealthy, and I don't even mean Nigerian wealthy. I mean really wealthy but not filthy rich yet (the husband's 50th birthday party was aired all through Nigeria). So, they just finished their second house in their hometown, after building two mansions in Lagos. Its tastefully furnished and well - planned, something we have all come to expect from them. Now my cousins are really exotic - the girl barely stayed in Nigeria to finish her university education - she left in yr 2, went to London and made her mark, did her masters, and is now working for a reputable oil and gas company in ireland. She's got twin brothers, who are so similar and dissimilar at the same time. One schooled and now works in the US, while the other stayed home for his education, did [horrible] NYSC, and travelled for his Masters degree.Now, their sister's always telling me to 'look good', wear make up, wear high heels (she keeps giving me about three inches shoes), so on this occasion, while my mum and brother decided to wear native, I dressed up in jeans, a shirt and a suit jacket, you know, usher style. I got three inches matching pumps and had just done my regular dreadlocks style. I was sure I was looking good. We got there within three hours, only to discover that only the twins had returned home for the occasion (and Xmas and New Year). She called though - spent about two hours on the phone talking to everybody.One of the twins came back home with a Jamaican. Lovely babe, she looks like a half-caste trained abroad. Overall I made some new friends - as usual.The highlight of the day for me was when one of our aunts pulled the Jamaican babe onto the dance floor. Now, if you are a Naija babe, or know enough about us, you;ll have an idea what the dancing floor looked like: a live band playing, with everyone in glittering lace, wriggling their waists and spraying mint money in low denominations. Barbie was just staring for a few minutes, before she started moving from side to side. I leaned in and shouted into her ear that she would have to do more than that. She made me chuckle when she leaned over to give me reply - she said she thought we only did it at weddings. I told her we did it all the time.Its one of the reasons we are called the happiest people. Somebody dies? We party, and dance. Somebody's birthday? We party and dance. Somebody's retiring? We party and dance. Somebody's wife just gave birth? We party and dance. The child is one year old? We party and dance. In short we look for any reason to party and dance. Even my mum had to throw a 'small' party for kids the other day, just cos she wanted to. The girl was surrounded by the grownups - those that have a lot of money to spray that is! Her boyfriend's parents, uncles and aunts were so delighted to see her try to wiggle, while the rest of us just looked on, with big grins on our faces. I was moved by it all - the beauty of someone loving another person enough to try to adapt to another culture.She came all the way from the US just to meet the family and be with him. Its really big, you know. I wasnt that brave - I had to have a tangible excuse to go be with Vicky, and I thank God for the opportunity.
Well, she had a lovely time, and I gave her one piece of advice - learn the language. If you know the language (and pretend you don't), you have an upper hand in every situation.Nigeria unites against an outsider, most of the time. And there's always in-law trouble. Nobody wants in-law trouble, and being wise, cos you know you can never satisfy them. True!


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