Happy Thanksgiving!

I was going to type a long post and then I saw this image, and I felt like all I wanted to say was wrapped up in this one image.

I'm thankful for life. I understand more now that life is really not a right, it is definitely a privilege. More so, it can be taken away in the snap of two fingers. Poof. Just like that. So, basically, the key is enjoying life and living it in abundance.

I'm thankful for a sound mind. The way people randomly wake up and stab their neighbors gruesomely or shoot guns at a bunch of innocent school kids makes you realize that having a sound mind is a gift from God. There's absolutely nothing like peace of mind.

I'm thankful for love in my life.

I'm thankful for salvation. Eek. how do I say this? Okay, here; I'm thankful for the privilege to be called a child of God. And that, in spite of how undeserving I'm sure I am, God still decides to color my life beautifully on a regular basis. Awesome God.

I'm thankful for the people in my life. The ones that fate chose and the ones I chose. The people in both categories are God's greatest gifts to me.

I'm thankful for food. I'm thankful that the availability of food in my life has never been a problem. What a huge blessing!

For roof over my head...For education...For technology...For world peace (because I have a dream)...For every single thing, I should list but can't list, I am more than thankful to Almighty God.

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?


You Were My Fave, Olu.

I stood quietly that rainy morning by the roadside. I, together with some other random people sought refuge from the rain under some iron roof-sheets which was normally a stall for a boli seller. My mind drifted away from the moment. I thought of you,  Olu and the last time we saw. I assumed you would be somewhere now, wherever. I was still very angry wit you. How could you? After all your promises,  how could you have given in so easily? I thought you were strong. Well, you were. If appearances weren't so deceitful. Your 6"1 frame, your very baritone tone, you hardly missed your gym sessions and it paid off anyway. I always teased you about your looks and how I saw the envy in other women's eyes when they saw me with you, our hands interlocked, probably strolling to the nearest food vendor to grab lunch or dinner or probably to just hang around to kill time. You were my fave, Olu.

It started that Easter Monday when you casually told me about a cough. You seemed to make a big deal out of it when you told me it was an unusual type of cough.

"Ehn, are you the first person to have cough ni?" I laughed out loudly over the phone.

Nobody made me laugh like you did. Your sense of humor was over the top. You disappointed me though, a whole lot. I didn't expect that, certainly not from you. It was all too sudden. In spite of that, you were my fave, Olu.

When, after a whole week, I heard nothing from you, I dashed down to your house to give you a piece of my mind. I had deliberately not pinged you on BBM or called. I was too angry with you for not bothering to call me or text me when you knew so well about my exam in the carry-over course. When I had unexpectedly seen that 'F' on the boards the previous year and wept my eyes out, you begged me and encouraged me to shake it off. You even said you would stand by me all the step of the way, all I had to do was decide to tackle the course heads-on a second time. When on the exam day and even after, I heard nothing from you, I was furious. I had planned to spit fire and insult you for breaking your promise, something you hardly ever did. Imagine my shock when I saw you on the couch at your parents' home about 40kg less than your initial weight. I wanted to walk pass that stranger on the couch to go to your bedroom, when I heard my name from this stranger. I could never miss your voice, even if one thousand persons were screaming at the same time. I knew your distinct voice and much more about you because you were my fave, Olu.

"Oh My God! What happened Olu? Olu, what happened? What?" I screamed at the top of my voice.

I screamed because that person I was seeing couldn't be you. No, it was too terrible to be you. You looked sunken; your eyes were sunken and lifeless, your cheeks were hollow. You looked like something had sucked a huge part of you. Your ribs were so obvious, like they would pop out of your flesh anytime soon. Your skin looked bruised sort of, and you my sunshine and best companion, you were the scariest thing I had ever set my eyes on. Aunty Laide came out. She sighed and said you were too weak to engage in any long discourse. She explained that the cough had taken an unexpected turn. The same cough I had laughed about. The same cough you complained about when I thought you were being petty. Aunty Laide said by the evening of Easter Monday, when you coughed, you felt like a tug of war was going on inside of you. She said you felt like something was burning and even with that, they all didn't take you seriously enough to get you medical attention. My jaw dropped and tears were pouring down from my eyes. It was not what she said that made me cry, no. It was your sight that did. Little did I know that the worst was yet to come.

"But why is he here, why is he home and not in the hospital?"

"We took him to the hospital o on Tuesday, they said it's an infection. He has been given some drugs. He is even much better now. He just needs some rest."

I didn't understand. What was  before me didn't seem like someone who was much better. How could this being before me be much better? There was nothing much to say. Your Mum already explained that you saw a doctor and I couldn't possibly be more concerned than she was, right? I doubt that now, because my instincts told me it could not have been a mere infection. What hurt me the most was that I was helpless. True to what Aunty Laide said though, by evening that day, you were very much better. We talked about my exam and some other things. I teased you about the importance of my presence in your life and how seeing me was really the only drug you needed. You laughed. But it was a different kind of laugh. It lacked vigor and life and the type of humor you always brought to a gathering. It was empty. I told you that evening that you were my fave, Olu.

It was 9pm and you told me to leave because it was getting really late. I bade you goodbye, gave you a hug and left hurriedly. Omolara's call woke me up the next morning. She said you never woke up. It was the most devastating news and phone call of my life.

No way, I saw him last night. He was really better. How can? How? What is his plan and how does he expect me to go on in this cruel life without him, without his calls, without his raucous laughter and without his endless support?

Those were few of the questions I asked myself  the following days. I became angry. Angry with Olu. Angry with God. Angry with this world. How could everything, my whole world just come crashing in the flash of a light. The twenty four years we knew each other was not enough. It could never have been.

"Yaba, Yaba, Jibowu, Yaba." The noise from a bus conductor and the struggle of two men beside me to catch the bus jolted me back to reality. I checked my watch, I had been standing there for 28 minutes. The rain had now stopped and the boli seller needed to get started for the day. It had been a year Olu since you left abruptly. One whole year  had gone by just like that. You were my best cousin ever. You were my best friend ever. You were my best companion ever. You were my fave, Olu.

I walked across the road, to get a bus. I was running late.

Happy Birthday, Adeolu.

For quite a while, I was the youngest child in my small family before my awesome sister later joined us. As a child, I did not have friends, not in school, not in church, not even among family friends. Of course, I had few acquaintances that I seldom spoke with but in the true sense of friendship, I had none. It was not that I was socially awkward or that I had a mental disability or a complex, none of those. I really just came alive in my own space (I still do.) I was comfortable with playing with myself. In fact, some of my family's fondest memories of me as a child were me playing/talking to myself and having all sorts of fun all by myself. Because of this, my older brother played a double role in my life; brother and friend. He was both to me, he still is and will always be.

I did everything my brother did and did many other things for my brother. We played together, talked together, ate together, saved up together. Ah! Our Savings! I used to save up my pocket money with my brother and then we would buy games I never liked. I've never enjoyed playing games but I agreed to buy those games because I knew how much my brother loved them. I did so many stupid things just to please him. But he in return, protected and loved me very much. One incidence stands out in my mind. When we were much younger, our Dad volunteered in the church vestry as the church's Accountant or Financial officer (can't remember which). Anyway, since they did the jobs for free and it always made them wait so long after church service, their kids were entitled to a bottle of drink/soda each. Probably as a compensation for waiting for their folks.  On one of such Sundays, after emptying my bottle of Fanta in my stomach, I broke the bottle. I was terrified. I ran to my brother while he was with his friends who weren't my friends and I told him I needed to tell him something.

"Deolu, I've broken my bottle. What will I tell Daddy?" I asked, terribly shaken.

He paused for a while, realizing the magnitude of what I had done. Thinking back now, I don't know why ordinary breaking of bottle was such a big deal. But, if there's anything my siblings and I know, it is that as cool and fantastic as our Father is, he is also a disciplinarian and maybe even more of that.

"Okay, you know what, take mine. I'll tell Daddy I broke my bottle. Don't worry, go and play." My brother replied me.

I was shocked. He was going to take the blame for what I did. I don't remember the aftermath of that Sunday but my Parents never found out I was the one who actually broke the bottle. Those were the kind of sacrifices Deolu made for me. That must be why whenever he was being scolded, my eyes would well up in tears. (Deolu abeg that was then oh, if they scold you now, O.Y.O lo wa. Lmao). He also played very annoying pranks on me and I always fell for them because I trusted him too much. One day, he had accompanied me to the hairdresser's and on our way back home;

"Ehen, Ife, I wanted to even tell you. You know the thing that kills someone in cars, as in when a car hits someone, the particular thing that kills people has been removed. So now if you stand in front of a moving car, it won't even affect you."

For the sake of my reputation as a smart person, I'd rather not say what my next actions were.  My brother was such a happy child. He was always laughing and smiling. His childhood photo album can actually attest to this. There is not one childhood picture of my brother where he was not grinning. I was the one who put up a faint smile just for the camera, he was the one who had a smile plastered 24/7. From going to birthday parties and dancing to Shina Peters so much that twenty something years later, my mum's friends still remember him as a Shina Peters' fan, even though he swears he can't imagine ever loving the Afro-Juju musician. And when he was a huge fan of the king of pop and made me like Michael Jackson too.

Recently, my brother sent me an IM to ask if our baby sister knows, lets call the person XYZ. XYZ had made a comment on one of my sister's beautiful pictures calling her 'angelic' or 'adorable' or one of those Facebook languages. He wanted to be sure my sister was safe. At first, I was quite irritated because I felt, hey my sister is with me, what wants to happen to her under my nose? Then when I carefully pondered on his statement, "That's how it always starts oh, those weird Facebook people", I realized he was just being what he has always been, a brother who watches over his siblings. Not that alone, but a person who watches out for others.

Dear Deolu,
Thank you for being an inspiration. Thank you for being very level headed and not being an embarrassment to us. Some people may think you are too gentle/quiet and stern (side eye at them), I prefer that to having an 'agbero' for a brother. Even though, I may not always agree with your methods, your leadership qualities are very outstanding and we appreciate you for your kindness and your very good heart. You are a good man.

I changed to a letter mode because it was beginning to look like an eulogy. God forbid! You see, that is because we never say good things about people until we lose them. Why am I saying all these things anyway? Because my brother is a year older today. Happy Birthday, Adeolu! You have big dreams, dreams so big, they sometimes scare me but that just shows how great you are. May God give you the wisdom and courage to live out those dreams. May God bless you with long life and prosperity and may he bless you with a wife and children of your dreams (Twins, to be specific). All those that have laughed at you WILL come to laugh with you. Wa pe fun wa o, Akanni!

With so much love,
Your sisters.

Thank God It's November; Thank God it's Friday; Thank God I Finally Read Things Fall Apart.

Oh-Em-Gee, it's actually November already. Happy November! And oh, It was Halloween yesterday. I understand that some people don't believe in Halloween because it celebrates the dead or something like that. Is it really weird that I could care less about whether it celebrates dead people or evil spirits, and that what really irks me about Halloween is little children going around begging for candies? I mean, I would certainly not say no to a child asking me for candy but I don't like the idea at all. I was talking about it to my Dad some days prior to Halloween and I think I mentioned that I may never allow my own future kids go around begging for candy from strangers and he said I would never want to hurt my kids so much because its an old tradition and every child wants it.

Well, there were MANY things I wanted as a kid but never got because Daddy and Mummy said no. So erm...

On to the next thing.

Hayyyyy, I hope it doesn't feel like I've abandoned my blog oh, nah I have not. I just never want write when I don't feel like it. No pressure or anything, this is just a place to express myself in anyway I can, to keep my mind busy and to just do something I love to do. So, I usually want it to come naturally.
Now the main reason for today's post *rubs palms* Shall we?

Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart.

I like it when I start a book and never want to drop it. Hehe. And frankly, this is more likely to happen to me with an African author than with foreign, assorted authors. I got the eBook-eBooks are the new cool-and wasn't sure if what I had  was the complete version. So, of course I asked my Dad if he knew how long or short the book is. You should have seen the look on my father's face when he found out I was reading the book for the first time in my life. Surprisingly, I actually was just reading it for the first time ever. I don't think his expression implied that I was an avid reader as much as it implied that the book was so world famous that it was quite an abomination for a twenty something year old to never have read it. He even asked me how I went through secondary school taking Literature and never read it. Excuse him, but I went to school in the twenty first century. Okay, that doesn't quite cut it since we read Hamlet. But apologies to you Achebe's fans but I think we read even better books in school. Emecheta's 'Joys of Motherhood' is still stuck in my mind. OH! that book.

Anyway, one thing I couldn't get off my mind while reading Things Fall Apart was "WHY?" Why was the book such a hit, so much that some people still think it was the best thing to come out of Africa? I know, I'm sure it is a good read, I just need to know what is so fantastic about it? It did have a huge international acclaim and I just need to know why. I am genuinely asking, not because I'm a literary genius or anything (I'm not), I'm just curious as to what makes that particular Achebe's book different from any other book. Frankly, Achebe portrayed an African man as one who acts, and then thinks later. Okonkwo (main character-I don't want to call him the protagonist)  was so insecure and overly scared of failure that he failed to really appreciate the most important things in life. My Dad thinks that's the exact reason the book was such a hit; that westerners love things that portray bad images of Africans. This WEBISTE described it as " the most illuminating and permanent monument we have to the modern African experience as seen from within."

For some parts of the book, I (a Nigerian) was distracted and maybe even irritated by some of the so-called cultures that were described. Why do we refuse to accept that CULTURES DO NOT MAKE THE PEOPLE, rather,WE THE PEOPLE MAKE THE CULTURE? We should not go about doing barbaric things and blaming it on 'culture.' If an act is inhumane or point blank stupid, stop it, don't call it culture. I digress. In his lifetime, Chinua Achebe was so proud of that book that when 50 cent wanted to use the same title for a movie, (he was going to pay Achebe) he refused. Ugh.

I was talking to my friend, Ugo yesterday about Chimamanda's Americanah and how desperate I am to read it. He told me how he felt Adichie, just like her role model, Achebe manipulated her characters too much. And, I agreed. I see a lot of Achebe in Adichie. I prefer Adichie's books though. There's an interesting relationship between the two; Chimamanda Adichie's family lived in a house just after Achebe and his own family had lived in the same house in Nsukka. Please don't ask me how I know this. Lol. It's no surprise Adichie was so in love with him. Which leads me to my next question. I should write a disclaimer first; I didn't hate the man ohhh and this isn't racism or tribalism, I didn't even know too much about him anyway. My question is why were people calling him "hero' when he died. It certainly was not only me that saw "R.I.P to a great Nigerian hero." "Another hero has fallen." "Oh Nigeria will feel your impact." and so on and so forth. How was he a hero? Literary hero, maybe but national hero, how?

In the twenty first century (before you say I've not read my history books please note that the 21st century started in year 2001) one of the biggest challenges we faced as a nation started on the first day of 2012 and went on for a little over a week during the subsidy protests and the mini revolution, when for the first time, Nigerians came together against our leaders. There was no Achebe in sight. I don't think I had ever seen him prior to that in matters concerning the affairs of the nation. Besides the literary world, I'm not sure he ever had any impact on the nation. Please educate me if I'm wrong. But I don't think I am. If that is true, so how exactly was he a hero? Instead, he released a book that if taken much more seriously could have had adverse effects on the already volatile Nigeria. I thought the Ibos had outlived Biafra and had moved on? I have not read the book but I heard specific names were mentioned. I should attribute this to the issue of people wanting desperately to say fantastic things about a person when he/she is dead. Ha, I read an article by Wole Soyinka where he said people were furious Achebe never won a Nobel Prize. In fact, several people suggested Soyinka should speak to the organizers of the Nobel Prize and ask them to award Achebe a posthumous Nobel Prize. Loooool.  Jokes apart, Things Fall Apart is arguably a very interesting novel, it just didn't meet up to the high expectations I had of it. Not that my opinions matter anyway. And please, we need to stop with our petty sentiments already.

In a nutshell, that's how I spent my Friday night; reading a book and partially re-watching season 5 of Gossip Girl with my sister. Am I boring or am I boring?