May 23, 2010

The Lagos Road

Four oyibos and one dudu
Driving the Lagos road.
Laughing. Chatting. Dancing.

A "go-slow."
Traffic backed up.
Miles and miles of cars.
Impatient. Frustrated. Hot.

Finally. Some movement.
Some action.
Let's get this show on the road.

A semi. A danfo taxibus.
A man's purple-clothed arm.
A woman's head, wig askew.
No more laughing. No more chatting. No more dancing.


Four oyibos and one dudu
Driving back the Lagos road.
Proud of their purchases. Showing off their buys.
Forgetful. Callous.


May 22, 2010

Five Postcards from Far Away

1. We went by the bay and
In the car; watching the birds; listening to Coldplay;
As the rain kept time on the glass.

2. I saw how she hurt you, but
I saw how he comforted you.
What trials.
What love.

3. Letters. Simple; deep; pure.
Each a glimpse to the everyday heart
Of my friend.

4. That day when we came home from Church.
We played cribbage, drank tea, and talked about Home.

5. I remember the first moment I saw you
From the balcony. I knew that we would be friends.
I was right.

May 14, 2010

In Which the Author Anticipates the Weekend

With only two more livable weekends left here this year (the third will be crazy busy with exams, cleaning, grades, etc), my housemates and I have been going into what I've come to think of as "Nigeria hyperdrive." I realize that this is, perhaps, the nerdiest way I could say that.

This hyperdrive consists of two day trips this weekend, hosting some people at our home for lasagna, the customary weekend market trip, and of course, lesson planning.

The two day trips are what I'm most excited about. The first will be to Erin Ijesha waterfalls. We'll be going with a German, Canadian, Nigerian, and another American. It should be fun. Then on Sunday we'll be going to Lagos for some gift shopping, as well as some fun. Not a bad weekend (except perhaps professionally).

May 12, 2010

One More, Then Nine More

It's strange to me that I leave Nigeria one month from today. I knew that this year would fly by, but it's funny how quickly it has really gone. I wonder if next year will go even faster.

I can say that I'm definitely glad to have my first year of teaching almost behind me. Looking back at the year, I can see a LOT of places where I made mistakes. Which is funny, because after such good reviews in my student teaching placements, part of me expected to come into this job and be amazing right away. Talk about an unrealistic expectation! But even though this year has been difficult in many ways, I'm glad that my first year of teaching was in Nigeria. It taught me right away how to deal with a lot of issues that I may not have experienced until much later in my career if I were in the U.S.

Though it will be a bummer to say goodbye to my students for a few months, I am definitely getting excited for my trip to Europe and for my "vacation" at home. It will hopefully be relaxing and uplifting (as well as exciting :)!

May 8, 2010

In Which the Author Enjoys (for the most part) a Day at the Beach

We went to the beach with all the staff this weekend. And it was amazing! We had some training (which was actually fun because it was all very interactive/easy) and some fun times as well. We had a campfire next to the ocean and watched the stars come out while eating s'mores (a first for all of the Nigerian staff. They had mixed reviews.) We watched The Blind Side which was better than I was expecting and we had a generally good time. That was all on Friday.

Today (Saturday) was even better. Well, mostly. I woke up early to take a dip in the Atlantic and had a blast while the waves had one, too. Several sand burns later, I came out of the water feeling extremely invigorated. We had some more training, some great meals, and then we did a "community service" activity which was basically go and "help" the Nigerian fishermen to pull in their loads from their boats. Except they were done and sorting things out by the time we got there. Still great to see where the fish I eat comes from, though. Also, we got to enjoy playing with some non-stinging jellyfish that were huge!

I rode a horse on the beach (cliche, I know, but it's really fun!). I don't really have anything more to say about it, but writing "I rode a horse on the beach" as the only sentence in this paragraph seemed lame and boasty.

Then we went swimming again (by "we" I mean the American staff. The Nigerians are afraid of water), and this time wasn't so smooth. As I was reveling in the power of the ocean, a tiny but long strand of jellyfish tentacle curled itself around my neck. And it burned. It burned bad. I tore the tentacle off my neck and then tore out of the water to find someone to pee on me. Luckily, one of the male teachers was able to oblige.

Here's something everyone should know. We've all heard that if you get stung by a jellyfish, pee on it and it will make it better. That is a lie. At least for African jellyfish. After a hot stream of liquid human waste falling on my neck, the mark of the jellyfish still burned. And burned. And continues to burn. (I did have a sweet mark around my neck, though).

We came home and I found out that our fifth computer charger has fried in this country. Four hickory-smoked Apple chargers and one Dell charger brulee later, and we have no computers. Thus, there will be no more Facebook pictures until June or July, whenever I can get them up.

To sum up, this weekend was awesome, but also not so awesome, but at least I have several new life experiences (some of which I could do without experiencing again).

May 3, 2010

In Which the Author Has Six Remaining Weeks in the Current School Year

Six weeks from today I'll be in Paris.

It's hard to believe that almost a whole school year has gone by and I am almost done with my first year of teaching.

That being said, I have SO much to do before the end of the year and I'm already planning out how I can get it all done and remain sane at the same time. Cleaning my bathroom, beginning to write my exams, and determining student grades thus far: these are the things I've been doing to prepare for the end of the year.

One of the main stress points is that the week of exams at the end of the term will be June 7-11. June 12th I'm leaving Nigeria for the summer. That means I will have less than 24 hours to ensure that all of my grades are in the computer, class comments are written, bags are packed, things I'm leaving behind are safely stored for the summer, and house is cleaned. It will be a stressful day. I'm not sure how much sleep I'll get.

But then I'll have a few weeks in Europe to "relax."

(On a completely different note, I went to a Lebanese church service last night - First Communion for a student at school. It was really beautiful! The whole service was in Arabic and most of the words were sung/chanted in the Middle Eastern fashion, which made a simple yet elegant atmosphere. I loved it.)