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Monthly Archives: December 2009

The Nigerian Bomber Edition

I was the queue at the Department store today waiting to pay for my items when this woman a few yards away started shouting to the checkout assistants;

“Hey girl! hey girl!”

The woman in her sixties had a very strong Nigerian accent; she wore ankara with a turtle neck sweater on the inside and a long coat on the outside. Her gele was tied in a way that completely covered her ears.

“Hey you girl, hey you!” She continued very loudly. “Have you got Longjohns?!”

Pardon? The assistant had a can’t-you-see-I’m-serving others-attitude along with a why-don’t you-come-closer-so-you-don’t-have-to-shout? look.

Me? Embarrassed, but only slightly. I wavered between thoughts of directing her to Uni Qlo where thermals are sold, costing me my place in the queue and staying put, hoping she stopped her shouting. I chose the latter.  I chose the latter because thanks to Mutallab I have not been in a very patriotic mood. I have not been too keen on aligning myself with fellow Nigerians, even if it was just to offer help. I thought of ways in which I could successfully fly under the radar. From reverting to my maiden name and a first name I’m not fond of, to claiming Ghana as my motherland. At least the Ghanaians are a calmer bunch. They don’t shout, brag or do 419 (not that much anyway). I will be sad to curb my enthusiastic association with  Nollywood, Ovation magazine and designer  rice  and stew, but at least I enjoyed it when it lasted. Since I don’t attend Naija parties, I won’t be missing 40 year old bald men in tight jeans trying desperately to look 23, or the Naija-London babes with weaves down to their bums almost wearing shimmering mini-dresses. I look forward to the mouth-watering culture of Kenkey and shito, I binged on it while I was pregnant with child #4 so I’m well versed. I will also finally learn how to speak Twi, that way Suzy and I can at last gist to the exclusion of all others present.

 In the end I chose not to deny my people, instead I will face up to the fact that hailing from a country where one person chose to have  illogical idealolgies that resulted in him attempting to blow up NWA flight 243  is not the worst thing in the world. It is just one individual. Nigerians are not only shocked but dismayed and are certainly not in support of that sort of behavior. Come to think of it the population of the country is so high, the odds are there will be at least one nut-case. In fact I think we’ve done quite well 1 terrorist in every 151,319,500 people isn’t that bad, statistically speaking if the only requirement for being a terrorist was to be a Nigerian, and all the world was Nigeria, we would have a grand total of 44 terrorists in the entire world.

After paying for my goods I felt guilty that I didn’t help mama. Thankfully I found her in another part of the store and gave her very clear directions on where to find Longjohns. Not only that but I said goodbye to her with “God bless you ma” and the sweetest smile, you know how we love respect!  It felt good.

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Letting go…

If I run into you or speak with you anytime between now and the next ooh- let’s say 6 weeks, chances are I will ask if you have any goals for the New Year. Its funny how very often a lot of folks tell me they don’t believe in resolutions; they tend to get broken anyway. Some say why wait until the new year to make changes in your life? It’s just a hype, they would rather live it in the hands of God anyway. No doubt there are others still who believe any reference to the calendar year is all a big conspiracy by the government to control their life.

I have a ritual I perform annually about this time. This is the sweeping away of the old and behold the slate has become new event. It is when I gleefully look at my list of yet-to-be dones, label each with a new name and then put it on my to-do list for the next year. It’s also the only time that I don’t groan while looking at my list of still-to-dos. This year a wise friend has told me to let go. If it didn’t get done, does it still need to be done? Or can I simply cross it out and move on? Today is my letting-go day. I will be giving up several goals which have morphed into fantasies.

  • Doing laundry on Tuesdays and Fridays. I’m not a robot, I’ll do the laundry when it needs to be done.
  • Have a flat tummy by the end on 2009- it ain’t gonna happen in 6 days Toks.
  • Have all my paperwork organised by the end of the year. Ha!

There’s more that I will not be carrying-over into next year, but I will be setting some realistic goals. Not ten or twenty but about three to five that will improve the quality of my life. After all it’s just one life right? Merry Christmas and a happy new year y’all!

Spoiled Brat!

You’ll probably conclude by the end of this post that I was raised a spoiled brat, I wasn’t!

My worst Christmas as a child occurred when I was about 8. This was the year I saw my present before Christmas day. My parents went the extra mile at birthdays and Christmas to make sure those days were special. We usually had a party for our birthdays and we always celebrated the end of the year with an end-of-year party. It was huge. We’re talking stacks of chairs being delivered, tents put up and tons of kids from the neighborhood were invited. Our presents were usually grand too, nearly as grand as our tree which was decorated not in any particular theme or colour way but instead was a potpourri of every imaginable color, shape and size of bubble. Even wall decorations went on the tree, anything in fact so long as it was shiny and Christmassy.

So when Mr Michael showed mummy this unique brand new, must-have-since-no-one-else-had-it gift, mum was absolutely chuffed. On Christmas morning we rushed to the tree to open our presents. All we got was the white tee-shirt that said “Smile, it’s a happy New Year“. The same one I witnessed Mr. Michael showing mum days earlier. The large circle in the middle had the individual’s name on it. Smile Toks, it’s a Happy New Year. That was my Christmas present. I think what spoiled things wasn’t just the present but the fact that I saw it before the day, ruining any chance of  a surprise. Needless to say, I wasn’t smiling. Personalised tee-shirts were a fad that was just beginning, at least in my neck of the woods. I was miserable the whole day, it didn’t help that every member of our household and every worker had the same top, they were all very happy and wore their’s with pride.

Thankfully these days waking up alive is a present in itself, bigger and more valuable than any gift I can imagine. I am in good health and in my right mind. I am filled with joy, I believe the word of God, I have a great family and I’m blessed with good friends.

May your Christmases be many and blessed!

Death’s Sting

Jim Rohn passed away on Saturday. I didn’t know the man personally, I never met him but I would recognize his voice if I heard him speak because  I listen to him regularly thanks to my small collection of audio CDs. Jim was a motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, author, philosopher etc. He was funny and witty and genuinely wanted to touch people’s lives by constantly staring them toward success, and he did. I think he knew Christ but I’m not certain, I hope so.
I guess that’s what started to bother me. He lived a full life and died at 79. He impacted millions of people’s lives. As at last night there were nearly 4,000 names on his tribute page- that’s a lot in three days!

The last time a death disturbed me was Michael Jackson’s. And the time before that was a former schoolmate’s that I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. Unlike many of my school friends, Jide wasn’t one of those I got reunited with. As a matter of fact I never actually thought of him at all, there was no real reason to. But when I heard that he passed away suddenly I was perturbed to say the least. It bothered me because I knew he wasn’t the most popular kid in school, so of course I started to wonder what life as an adult was like for him. You may already know about my hyperactive imagination. Armed with memories of over 20 years ago I began to carve out Jide’s life for him- it was a sad one too, not that I wanted it to be but that was how my mind chose to weave his story. The story carried on from how unhappy he was that he wasn’t the coolest kid with the coolest nickname. Do bear in mind that the boy never told me this, it is all the workings of an animated psyche. For all I know he could have been the happiest kid around! Then I began to feel really guilty that he had this unhappy life. I felt bad when I learned that he even lived in the same city as I did for years. It got worse as I faced up to the fact that if I had found out that we lived near each other I probably wouldn’t have bothered to visit him. But all was forgotten when I was told he knew the Lord! I was also assured that he had no lack of friends.

Here’s my conclusion: No matter how full or how empty one’s life turns out to be, what is truly lasting is the positive impact you make on others’. To have 4000 mourn you in a couple of days is no small feat especially without being a rock star. And no matter what impact you make on their lives, there is no impact greater than staring others in the direction of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. In the same vein our knowledge of Christ should lead us to have fulfilled lives so that if we do die empty,  it will be because we gave away so much and not because we had Christ lacking. I pray that you live long and full and die empty.

www.punkinpatch.co.uk

www.punkin-patch.com

Totally Random & Unrelated, Not Even Close

When I meet someone nice for the first time, I exchange phone numbers, email addresses, etc. I do so with every intention of staying in touch because I enjoyed our conversation, I think they are lovely and would add to my life and I would love to add value to theirs too. I always add a warning though, I tell them recognising faces is not my strongest point. So if you ever see me walk right past you in public as though I have chosen to “blank” you, actually I haven’t. I simply did not recognise you.

Dear friend Bolatito always had my back when we went out and ran into people we knew. She would say to me; “Toks, the one in the red shirt we know, the one in black we do not know”. I can’t think of the number of guys who thought I was making a pass at them because I smiled at them. I have been known to hug perfect strangers, ugh!

So there I sat at the hairdressers chatting with a really nice lady. It turned out that her son is a well known Christian artist. Not only that but she was married to Maxi Priest’s brother.  (Remember Maxi Priest- cute looking 80s Reggae/R & B singer with dreadlocks? I just wanna be close to you). Now Hubby and I watched him perform on TV recently after a long hiatus and were surprised to see his new look- dreadlocks all gone, in a suit with a new single. So I told this nice lady at the salon (in the spirit of showing off, and  I’m in the know) that Maxi Priest looked nice with his new look.

“New look?”

“Yes, you know without his dreadlocks”, I replied with confidence.

“Maxi Priest hasn’t cut his hair off” she replied, “has he?”

She had this bewildered look that said why would a total stranger know something that I don’t?

“He’s been growing that hair since he was 13! He wouldn’t do that!” She says with disgust. So I call hubby to confirm. Who promptly told me that the singer we watched was not Maxi Priest but Maxwell- another R&B singer with hair.

My back was turned to her and I asked hubby; “where do I now put my face? I’ve just been arguing with Maxi’s sister-in-law!”

It was with great confidence that I turned to her, cleared my throat and admitted that I was wrong and that it was in fact Maxwell I was referring to. Of course at this time I wish I hadn’t gone on and on about how nice he looked with his haircut. I  went to great lengths to assure her that I loved her brother-in-law and loved the dreads too. I don’t know how well I did there. Not that it matters, I didn’t ask for her phone number or email address. So if I “blank” her next time I see her it won’t really matter. Or would it?

www.punkinpatch.co.uk

www.punkin-patch.com