Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Interesting fact...

Interesting fact: I spent 18months in Lagos, Nigeria. I met my husband there and what began as a 6month visit from 6th form college in the UK became an 18month life-changing event. Really, given the choice, I wouldn’t have left.

The first week that I was in Nigeria was overwhelming but I loved it immediately. It is a difficult place, volatile and under-developed in many places but for the most part, safe and wonderful to visit and live. Within 20mins of the two places that I lived in Nigeria was the Lekki Conservation Center, a patch of jungle land with paths cut through for people to walk through. There was a crocodile watching stand from where I saw one monitor lizard, a troop of monkeys that were occasionally friendly and even brave enough to go up to groups as my father experienced, though they never came down from the trees for me – my husband would say that’s because they knew I wanted to take them home… By far the highlight of this center was a tree house somewhere in the middle of the area, located HIGH into the tree probably two or three stories up. It was a hell of a climb to get up there; a vertical ladder nailed onto the tree and with a cage built around the upper reaches to prevent accidents, which just made it scarier, and then a small square for maybe 4-6 people. From here you could see for miles on a clear day, you were above the tallest trees imaginable and it felt like you were Tarzan. It was an amazing feeling and an amazing experience, just to be there. I saw many animals while visiting the center, from centipedes as big as a man’s foot, to 6ft long green tree snakes, however the savannah section was always disappointing and we rarely saw a glimpse of anything while walking this arid area.

There was one occasion where my brother was in Lagos visiting my family. He and I took a car and were dropped off at the conservation center to look around and visit. This was the usual wonderful visit but became all the more exciting when the car didn’t come back to get us and we decided to get public transport back to the school grounds on which we lived. White people in Lagos do not take public transport. Locals have a name for white ex-pats: Oyinbo Pepe, basically “white-man, red pepper” ie, burnt guys. Hilarious no? ah the joys. Anyway, for the most part, the locals didn’t see much of the expat community which mostly tried to avoid public transport or local areas so my brother and I jumping on a fully loaded Damfo (think 60s hippy bus with no doors and painted bright yellow) was amazingly funny to them. We squished onto the back seat of this damfo, I might even have had to sit on my brother’s lap at first, I’m not really sure I remember that as clearly as the woman whose chicken was in a cage on her lap and the children who stared at us the whole way back. Even people on the sides of the road saw white faces and pointed and laughed at us being there. It was made more incredible by the idea that, typically, expats don’t use public transport because it was unsafe but of all the time I spent in Nigeria, I never felt threatened while around the locals, not once.

I met a boy through the friends of my brother and he and I struck up a mutual friendship in our admiration of the locals and general awe at our surroundings even though he had lived in Nigeria much of his life. He arranged a trip for us to go to the tiny waterfront home of a fisherman around the back of where we lived when we were first in Nigeria (we lived in two places). These tiny shacks were dotted along the water of the lagoon all over Victoria Island and I hadn’t ever really given them much thought, though I marveled at the tiny canoes the fishermen used to travel from one side of the lagoon to the other. The canoes were basically tree trunks scooped out to fit a couple of people and sat in the water, fully loaded with men and women and boys and girls, just barely above the water’s surface. My friend had arranged for us to take one of these boats, take some line and bait from the fisher man and travel from my side of the lagoon to his family’s dock on the next island over. It was terrifying. The boat sat so low in the water I was afraid of it capsizing every second. The man who ferried us thought I was hilarious and my friend was much more at ease than I was. We made it across the water unscathed and we sat on the little strip of wooden decking dangling our lines over the water, and I caught my first tiny little fish. Someone came out from the house and brought us some cokes and I noticed a flash of brown moving in the garden. My friend’s sister apparently had a pet deer. A deer. It was a tiny little fawn (a special kind of deer that doesn’t grow very big but I can’t remember the name of it) and it was the most adorable and random pet I had ever seen. We spent the whole afternoon sitting under the sun fishing and drinking cokes before getting in a car and going home. It was a great way to experience some of the things the locals did and have fun. I don’t think my friend knew how much that day meant to me… I’m not sure *I* did until later.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Alcohol: A Blogger's Best Friend

Most people consider typing while drunk to be a challenge; a difficult yet amusing experience. Me? My introductory post was made while half drunk and I have tried for the last hour to come up with something interesting along the same tone as my first post, failing miserably each time I start. My conclusion is inevitable: this must only be a durnk blog… yes I typed that wrong… It seems appropriate to leave it in here particularly because the irony is that I’m not drunk.

Well, my idea for today focuses on a frustrating aspect of my life: That no one appears able to be on time to any event and everyone is afraid of any and all sickness, equating a snotty nose with life threatening illness. I take the opposite approach; plan to arrive on time if not early and only the very worst puking will keep me and my kid in quarantine. I’m sure this makes me very unpopular as well, particularly with the current Swine Flu panic in schools and “mom’s” clubs all over America but I simply can’t find it in myself to really give a damn. We did not get the seasonal flu jab, nor did we get the piggy flu vax either, terrible parenting on my part I’m certain (shock) but if we die, at least lots of people can say, “I told you so” and when Brat and I survive the season without illness, *I* will be the one saying “I told you so.” I suspect we will come out of the winter completely unscathed, as will 99% of the rest of the population who currently believe the piggy flu will wipe out most of the pregnant women and young children in the next 3 months (even though the regular flu kills more people each winter than this whole thing has caused in the last 12months). Who says logic is dead?

On another completely unrelated note, I have started applying for jobs in retail for the temporary xmas season. I’m hoping to get some work experience behind me before we leave here and start afresh (again) in California. Unfortunately, whenever I have applied for work before, I haven’t even got an interview and I have no idea why they wouldn’t even consider me… I know when I get into the interview I would be 100% in for the job (who couldn’t love me?!) but on paper I must look like I don’t need the work or something… who knows. Fingers crossed anyway. xXx

Friday, October 23, 2009

Here I am...

So here I am. I’m 24, with no degree, no job and no work experience. I have one child, an amazing 3 year old girl whose independence shocks and amazes me while making me the proudest mother around, and yet, here I sit with nothing more to show for my life than a big clean house (for sale by the way) and my beautiful daughter.

This blog will follow my journey from my current position of stay at home (terrified-of-the-real-world) wife and mother to fully fledged working wife and mother. Over the last 4 years I have obtained my 2 year Associate’s Degree in English Literature through online classes in my spare time. Over the next TWO years I hope to obtain my Bachelor’s degree in English Lit. After that, I hope to find joy in teaching until my husband is out of the Marines (7 years from now!) when I might have a stable lifestyle and finally be able to follow some of my previous dreams.

As things stand right now, we are leaving in 3 months for San Diego, California where we will hopefully have a successful 3 years. We have spent the last 3 years in Pensacola, Florida, finishing school, raising a daughter and coping with married life. Married life is not all it’s cracked up to be. Children are not the joy of life without effort – they are hard work and draining on your patience, smiles and love…. But they are worth it.

On a personal level, I am a UK citizen living in the USA as a naturalized US citizen. Convoluted eh? I am UK born, but I paid some god-awful sum to become naturalized as a citizen, here in the USA. I did it so that ultimately, my parents and possibly brothers could eventually move and live here and be near me and my daughter, however, that goal seems so far off, it hardly seems worth it. I used to be smart and clever and funny… now, I’m not so sure. I feel I am massively out of place here in the military community and in the USA in general. Yet another aspect for me to explore over the coming months of my blogging experiment…