Thursday, August 31, 2006

You Love Me! You REALLY Love Me!

For like one week, I've been wondering why I wasn't getting any comments from you people. I mean, I thought the "nilon hair" blog was pretty amusing, but not even Naijabloke made a peep to talk about it. I was acting like the thing wasn't paining me, but I have to say that my heart cut small when no one even said Happy Birthday. Turns out my comment moderation was enabled and I didn't even realize it. I'm such an idiot. But I've been giggles and smiles ever since I realized that my bond with the likes of Naijabloke, Errata, and Addy has not been broken. I lurve you, internet pals!

I'm leaving London in three days for the barren land of Connecticut. To say I feel bad is an understatement. No more fish and chips. No more running to catch the 472 bus. No more calling people for no more than 59 seconds because I am counting credit. No more staying at home for days at a time because I can't be asked to buy #5.40 travel card every time I want to go out. No more abstaining from buying WICKED clothes because I cannot afford them, but feeling pained because those clothes do not exist in America. Wait, why am I going to miss this place?

Long story short, I just don't want to go back to that Yankee of a place. But, to ease my pain, I am going to Edgware Road (a.k.a. Little Lebanon) tomorrow to buy a hookah. Why? Because I will not have cable next year, and must replace my TV with something. So I will smoke shisha. I will smoke shisha as I: talk on the phone, write my papers, finish my dinner, write my blog...assuming I have time to write this blog. I hate grad school.

I'm going to go and watch my boy play footie now, but my next blog has to be about the last interesting incident on Bus 472. I don't know why Nigerians must bring their madness out of Nigeria, but it does make for great drama for we who have managed to remain sane. Watch this space.

Monday, August 28, 2006

And Now I'm 24!!

Here's some evidence of the good time we had. Sadly, my camera is a dud, so I could only take pictures from part one of our 3-part birthday celebration weekend. God, and I looked so freakin' cute in part two...alas! Anyway, enjoy!

Don't mind the raccoon eyes. I HAD to be up at midnight and blow out my candle...

...which I did--THREE times! Forgot to make a wish the first time, then changed my mind about the wish twice. Hope the birthday fairy got it straight! There is a birthday fairy, right?

Me and my darling Tomi...I'm so glad you came, sweetie; it was great to see you again!

Ok, clearly we had too much to drink...and too much of it ended up in my bloodstream!

Blowing out the "real" was sweet in more ways than one! Thanks, Dore...fab surprise.

Cutting the "real" cake. No boyfriend to hold me, so Mr. Terfa stepped in...thanks, bruv!

Ok, Blogger has decided it's not taking any more pictures, which is good cuz I'm getting bored with loading these sh*ts anyway. Check out this page for more. And if anyone knows how to upload videos on this thing, let me know cuz there's priceless footage of drunk girls shaking their booties on the dance floor that is too good to keep to myself! Peace and love,


Sunday, August 27, 2006

First I Be Ashewo, Now I Don Turn to Tief...I Bow O!

Where do I find these people, Chineke God of Allah?? When I was trying to sublet my apartment at the beginning of the summer, I came to realize how fickle the mind of the average American is. And selfish. And stupid. Very, very stupid. There was one Ghanaian in the mix, but I'm used to those ones frustrating me, so I won't talk about how he would phone me at 7 in the morning to ask me foolish questions about whether I wouldn't mind having him as a roommate in my one-bedroom apartment when I returned from Nigeria. No, I won't talk about that one. Let me talk about the six people that phoned and/or came to view the apartment, enthusiastically promising to return immediately with their deposit lest someone else snatch the place, and then disappear. At $500/mo for an $800/mo apartment, it was a steal, I have to say (thanks for your landlordship, Oga Landlord!). One of them started making me praise God prematurely as I happily packed my load. He came in OOZING of cologne (and he was white--shocking) and noticed that we had the same trainers and shared a love for guitars, heartily and readily agreed to take the apartment, happy that he was first in line, promised to come back in two days, then never answered his phone again when I called to ask "how far?". Then, the day I was moving out--in fact, I was carrying my last bag out to my rental SUV at the time--he called to say almost these exact words: "Hey, I'm sorry I haven't been in touch these past two weeks. I was planning a trip, so I didn't think I'd be able to take the apartment, but now I've cancelled and I remembered I was supposed to be moving in today. Is the apartment still available?" I said, "Yes, I've been waiting for you to call since. Ee-dyot." Then I hung up. He may not have gotten it, but it made me feel better. I sucked my teeth all the way to I-95.

Meanwhile, I did find someone. At the last minute, Tammy F. from Cornell University sent me an e-mail expressing an immediate interest. I was shocked when the first thing she did was ask me for my address so she could send me security deposit. I was even more shocked when I emailed her the subleasing contract and she faxed it back, signed, within a number of hours. I said, shooo, so God answers prayers true-true! Very responsible chick, man. I've never met her and never will, but she was the only one not giving me the runaround, so I had no choice but to agree to sublet to her. And things were going well. Oga Landlord used to go and check up on the place for me (let's not ask if that is standard procedure--we all know by now that things are a bit dodgy on that front), and give me feedback.

Then it happened. One day, he sent me an email saying, "Did you tell Tammy she could have a pet or did she tell you she was bringing an animal into the apartment? Because she's had a dog in there for three weeks now. I've asked her to confine it to the kitchen space, and it should be fine, but I just thought I should ask." All I could think of was my couch.

Let me see if I can bring this couch to life for you. When I found out I had to move to New Haven and that I didn't have any furniture to call my own except my bed and small TV, I went shopping. But this shopping was equivalent to hunting, because I decided that I didn't just want to buy one secondhand futon, some quarter-to-broken down dresser, some used dishes...I wanted to like everything I got. And the centerpiece of my living room was going to be my couch. I scoured North Carolina and the internet for the perfect couch. Each one I saw was too lumpy, or the wrong color, or too big, or too small. I was losing hope. Then, one day, I walked into the Carolina Sofa Factory, and was instantly filled with rays of light and elation. This chocolate-brown linen couch was on display, with deep, colorful cushions, and it glowed. I walked towards it with open arms and hugged its arm as I sank into its perfect seat. I saw the price tag and my heart cut, but I could not bring myself to walk away from this work of art. I phoned my sister and she said everything I needed to hear to convince myself that this was the right purchase for me to make. I bought the couch. I have treated it like an egg ever since. When my then-boyfriend came to visit me all the way from London, I told him that if he was going to put his feet on my couch, he should not rub them because he would leave dead skin that I may never be able to get out. He looked at me with incredulity, but I was unfazed--the couch had to be protected at all costs. And this girl was bringing dog into my apartment. Near my couch, perhaps even ON my couch.

And you people know how American dogs can SMELL! God forbid bad thing. I love dogs o, in fact I love most mammals. I had a gerbil named Ayo in NC that Adaure killed (though she denied it for almost one year), and I let him crawl all over me and my bed, sotey he chewed my remote control buttons (I'll never understand that). I like the warmth, I like the fur and, when they're clean, I even like the smell. But I love my couch more than any dog, and I would be damned if this girl thought she could get away with breaking our agreement and perfuming my apartment with Fragrance de Dog without even seeking permission! I wrote her an email and told her that she should get rid of her animal with a quickness, or I would consider her in breach and keep her security deposit. I copied Oga Landlord on the email, and he applauded it. She, on the other hand, told me that I didn't tell her anything about pets and that she will be expecting her security deposit when she leaves. My head was too hot when I responded to her email, so I'm not really sure of everything I said. But I'm pretty sure I reminded her that any fool knows that they should read their leasing contract, especially when someone has gone to the trouble of finishing her last ink and paper to print it out for you and left you a note on top telling you to be sure to read it, where you will see in black and white that NO PETS ARE ALLOWED ON THE PROPERTY!! I also reminded her that I'm a fair person and that provided the place is cool when I get back, she'll get her money back, but in the meantime, I don't want any creatures in my apartment. There is a reason I've deigned from having a pet this year, then it is her own that she thinks I'll be cool with. Wonders shall never cease.

She didn't respond to the email. Then yesterday, Oga Landlord sent me another email informing me that the babe don ja, but that she didn't pay her rent for August before she left. I started laughing to myself. So she cannot read, but she knows how to do original 419. Basically, Tammy F. was using cunny to make me convert her one-month security deposit into rent. In my mind, this was because she had trashed my place and wanted me to be able to do nothing about it because I would have none of the deposit left. But luckily, I was laughing, so my email to her was quite calm as I asked her whether she just forgot to pay before she left or what? She replied that she didn't think forget, she just didn't think I would be fair with her just because she had a dog (which she never got rid of, by the way) and that she felt like no matter what she did, I was going to keep the deposit. Even now sef, my blood de boil. Can you imagine the nerve of this bitch? Ok, ok, she doesn't know me from Adam, but how can you now call me a thief just because you are an illiterate engineering student from Cornell? A whole Ivy League institution. You no de shame? But, as Desmina enjoys telling me, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, and even though na vinegar full my mouth most of the time, I managed to squeeze out a few drops of the sweet stuff and convinced her to send Oga Landlord his rent check and let her security deposit serve its purpose. She said that she will send him his check next week.

If that girl smells $1 from that security deposit when I get back, my name is not kulutempa*. Ee-dyot.

*Lol...I'm kidding, but Lord, I wish I could be that sort of person sometimes.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

T Minus 2 Days...and Counting

Until what, you ask? MY BIRTHDAY!! It's a special one: I'm gonna be 24 this year ON THE 24TH! Har har har! So, uh, lots of birthday wishes, eh?


This Is What Happens When You Date White People

*Out of love and respect for the people I an writing about, they shall remain nameless. But this story was too good not to tell!

My girl friend (who is black) is dating this guy (who is white). His English isn't very good, and he's never dated a black girl before, but he saw the ebony skin and taut, round behind of my girl and fell head over heels in lust with the chick. Having never dated a white guy before either, she was confused at first, and therefore dismissive, but as he heaped flattery upon flattery on her, she and her ego succumbed to his advances. After all, body no be wood and it had been a while since she had experienced toasting of this caliber. As it turns out, he's the best she's ever had and the lust has turned into something closely resembling love. You know how it is: they spend a lot of time on the phone, saying sweet nothings to one another, and while some of the rest of us have a difficult time wading through the murky waters of his strange English and his thick accent, "lurve" has opened her spiritual ears so that she even knows what he's about to say before he says it (na wa o!).

When the phone disappoints, they switch to text messages. I was privileged enough to share in one of his last text messages to her, and I partly extend this privilege to you that you might witness the epitome of interracial dating faux pas. Read:

"When I see dark coloured girl in tv...when i find your nilon hair in room, then i must think about u and i must start be VERY VERY VERY HORNY!!! [Whole bunch of sweetness, then...] Mwuah [nickname he's given her in his language that means "bum bum"]."

Minutes later, after I had picked myself up off the floor and wiped the tears of mirth from my eyes, I sat back and started to analyze these words of love from our homie. It's actually quite profound. First of all, here is this guy who clearly doesn't have the same hangups about race as the rest of us and will straight up tell his ebony queen that any "dark coloured girl in tv" serves as a reminder of her. It actually caught me off-guard for a second: is “Dark Coloured” going to be the new “Black”?

Then of course the piece de résistance: “nilon hair”. Here was my friend, knacking weave-on (not just a weave o, but weave-on), feeling as if she has managed to deceive the bobo small. For where! I mean, the boy even named the material they used to manufacture the hair! People are finding hair in their beds, dude is finding nylon! Lol…kai, I’m never going to stop laughing at this. Reminds me of the first time I ever made out with a white guy. I was really getting into running my fingers through his hair, since I usually can only rub scalp or, last last, pull on some of that curly wool. I don’t know what made him feel as though he could return the gesture o; whether he did not notice that it was afro I was rocking. As e chook finger and the thing no gree enter, the guy confuse small. He was looking at my hair like it was a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, then he eventually settled for patting it, like it was a dog or a bereaved widow: there, there. Priceless. I guess the moral of the story is that there is no winning with these white people. If you put in a weave, you are not deceiving anyone and you just look stupid for walking around with leatherbag strings on your head. If you get a relaxer, you can’t go near water, and we all know how these white people love to swim and enter rain. If you go natural, they don't know what to do with it. No wonder black women have complexes about their hair.

Lastly, our friend actually nicknamed his girlfriend “Buttocks”. Yes, yes, he buttered it up and said it actually means “Bum Bum” (which none of us can verify as he is the only person from his country that we know), but must he carry his love for that body part so far? And what’s up with these men loving our asses so much anyway? My oyinbo was in LOVE with mine, me who is frequently called “flat waist” by my Sierra Leonean friends, “kulu-no-nyash” by my Nigerian friends, “don’t worry, it will come out soon” by my family members and “I’m a breast man, anyway” by my boyfriends. I mean, I could have married him for that alone! But yes, the fascination with which our friend admires my girl’s ass has made her question whether it is truly her he adores or her posterior. She offered to frame it and give it to him as his girlfriend, and he only rejected the idea after a brief hesitation.

There’s no point to this story, really. I just had to share.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The End and My Beating

Goodbye, bad food! Goodbye, crazy dumb host mother! Good riddance, ants on my toothbrush and crawling all over my Listerine bottle every morning (who knew ants liked to be minty fresh?)! Goodbye, overly bold gecko, you sunnuvabitch! Jay-sus, I thought this day would never come! The time was 10:37, on Saturday August 5. As I climbed into the front seat of my sister’s car (also known as “The Savior-mobile”), I couldn’t even contain my excitement. I tried to be sad for my host family, I really did. But I think I blinded them with my toothy grin as I shook hands and hugged them (or, in my host mom’s case, stood from afar and bade her a cheery ‘Adieu’). Our car nearly ‘spoil show’ sha. As I waved my final wave, my sister’s friend, Patrick, turned the key in the ignition—and nothing happened. I didn’t even know when I shouted “EHN!” See somebody that has not prayed for two weeks; I started calling on Holy Ghost, Father God Almighty, Sango, Ifa…I just could not bear to be in that place for even one more minute. Patrick, who drives barefoot, started putting on his shoes so as to check the engine. As he put on the first shoe, I reached for the key in desperation and turned it myself. Maybe Sango heard me. Maybe all the positive energy in my body had charged up my hand with electricity that the car responded to. I dunno, but it started immediately. I forgot that I wasn’t the one driving and pressed my imaginary accelerator, shouted to Patrick, “LET’S GO!!” and off we went! I have spent the past two days in Port Harcourt with my family, eating like a war refugee and sleeping in the buff in an air conditioned room, just because I can. The craw-craw is disappearing from my skin, I’ve braided my hair—I’m slowly starting to resemble a normal human being again. Glory be! But now I’m waiting in the airport to go to Abuja and I’m sitting beside this guy who smells so bad, I had to smell myself to make sure it wasn’t me!

But, no matter. The time has come for me to gist you about those touts that wanted to ‘discipline’ me in Lagos a couple of weeks ago. In hindsight, I’m starting to wonder why the hell I went to Lagos that weekend in the first place. The universe tried to deter me in all kinds of ways, but did kulutempa listen? I thought myself clever; I was going to disobey the rules and not get caught, bla bla bla. Idiot.

I mean, I had an OK time. To be honest, it wasn’t really worth the bother, except for the four shots of tequila that I got at this great Brazilian steakhouse on the Island, Churrasco. The owner of the place is 22 years old, Brazilian and a millionaire by almost anybody’s standards. So this “small boy” was giving me free drinks (by virtue of my being able to prove that I could speak his second language, Spanish) and reminding me of the fact that my life as a professional, perpetual student has virtually no meaning and little promise (at the moment, at the moment—no worry, I no de curse myself). It was with a bitter, remorseful heart that I left Lagos Island the next morning, heading for Ife. I was supposed to stop and see my friend, Sola, on my way—he said he’d give me a ride back to The Village. I’d never been to his place before, and he said that if I took a cab, it’d be a lot easier for both of us (meaning it’d be easier for him). His instructions were:

1) Go to Ojota Motor Park.
2) Get a car going to Ife, but tell them you want to get off at Ilishan.
3) Call me when you get there.

Straightforward enough, right? That’s what I thought. I got to Ojota and asked tout after tout where the cars were that were going to Ilishan. I’m calling them touts now because they proved that that is indeed what they are, but ordinarily, they are mini-bus conductors whose job it is to persuade passengers to ride in their respective buses, destined for various towns all over Nigeria. I met the first one, I told him I was going to Ilishan. He said, “Onitsha?” The second one, I said “Ilishan,” he said, “Ilesha?” When the third one I asked also said, “Onitsha?”, I realized I wasn’t getting anywhere, so I decided to try another approach. I met another one and decided to tell him the name of my friend’s university in Ilishan instead. I said, “Babcock University,” he said, “Taiwan University?” Now consider the fact that I was on a typically noisy Lagos road, in front of a rowdy motor park, and being harassed by other touts who wanted to drag me into their buses by force, in the hot sun, with an empty stomach and my giant sack of a purse filled to bursting with my clothes from the day before. I was so irritated. Actually, let’s call a spade a spade; I was livid. Sola chose that moment to call me and ask me what was taking so long. I started screaming at him on the phone, asking him why he’s trying to get me to come to a place that doesn’t exist, with a car that doesn’t exist (cuz all I could see around me were buses, and I sure as HELL wasn’t getting in any of those). Sola looked at himself to make sure he really did exist, then started trying to calm me down and convince me that Ilishan was a real place and that I could get to it. As I’m screaming at him, the touts are grabbing my arms to try and get me to go into their buses, despite the fact that I’m rejecting each one by snatching my arm out of his grip. For them, it was a game: Let’s Grab the Pretty Girl ‘Cuz She Doesn’t Like It. They formed a line and started grabbing me as I walked past, still trying to find the cars.

After the fifth grimy motherfucker touched me, I lost it. I didn’t recognize my own voice as I howled, “Leave me alone! I am not going where you people are going, what is it?!?!” Apparently, that was too much for them to take. They wanted to grab me and I had the audacity to dislike it? Did I think that my own body was for me alone to enjoy, me a mere woman? They abandoned their buses and started gathering around me. I looked up and saw about three of them in front of me, yelling loudly and beating their chests. It was very reminiscent of a moment in Planet of the Apes. When they started to block my path, some of my anger began to give way to a hesitant, doubtful fear, and I remember saying to myself, “Uh-oh.” There was a very tall one who had been blocking my way along with the others, but he seemed to have a different agenda because he kept saying, “Wait, wait!” I didn’t know what he wanted, and I didn’t find out just then because the other touts (there must have been five or six of them at this point) had started demonstrating to me that I didn’t really know what it meant to be grabbed by a Lagos tout.

They first tried to snatch my phone out of my hand, then they tried to snatch my purse. And please, don’t get caught up by the fact that I’m using the word “snatch”. The English language lacks verbs to describe the rough and aggressive nature of the “snatching” those touts were doing. The average broke Lagosian is tough as nails on the inside and on the outside. It felt like I was being hit with baseball bats that hadn’t been sanded down until they were smooth. When they couldn’t get the purse away from me, they started with my body, yanking my arms, my clothes, my hair, trying to drag me away from the park so they could deal with me thoroughly. I was weak. My body was freezing, and it felt like it wasn’t mine anymore. I couldn’t believe this was actually happening. It was at this point that the very tall tout made his intentions known, as he quickly put himself in a position to shield me and deflect the worst of the blows (which he bravely took on the back of his head—I felt the vibrations from the hot slap someone gave him in my own stomach), then tried to guide me into another bus heading for Onitsha (how ironic is that), telling me to “just wait here, until they calm down, because they will take you somewhere and beat you if you don’t stay here.” I clambered into the bus weakly and sat down, dazed.

There was another man in there who had witnessed the whole thing, a middle-aged man on whom life had taken its toll. He said, “Are you going to Onitsha? If you are going to Onitsha, just follow us on this bus and let’s go together instead of going to find a car.” I heard myself squeak, “But I’m not going to Onitsha! I’m going to Ilishan,” for the umpteenth time, as I watched the touts beating each other up outside the bus, as they argued about who had the right to beat me first. Then someone else caught their eye, a small featherweight of a man who was struggling with him luggage; I’m not sure what he did to offend them, but they just started beating him up instead. He put up a good fight, the poor little thing, but they really took him apart.

My savior, whose name turned out to be Rotimi, helped me get to the cars heading to Ilishan. He got me an okada (a motorcycle taxi) and told him where to take me. I was so relieved I nearly hugged him, but I didn’t. When I got to the cars, another horde of men encircled me, offering to pay the okada man for me, calling me “fine girl”…just basically catching trips off my enrapturing beauty (hehe). It made it hard for me to pay the man, seeing as the last thing I needed was for my wallet to be snatched out of my hand by one of the idiots, but then their ring leader came and dispersed them, like the pack of wolves they looked like and helped me on my merry way. Well, it wasn’t so merry since the taxi broke down when we were too far away from Lagos to turn back, but not close enough to Ilishan for me to walk to Babcock and meet up with Sola. He came to get me though, so I guess I survived. But this is the madness that caused the stressed that caused the migraine that led up to my poisoning at the hands of the quack at APEX MEDICAL CENTER that kept me going back to the hospital where I eventually developed malaria that was misdiagnosed as appendicitis—are y’all starting to see now why it was imperatively and unequivocally time for me to leave Ife?

Chilling in Abuja at the mo’, at Le Méridien, pretending that I’m as important as my brother, who now works and lives here. Ife is nothing but a distant memory, and now the only thing I have to worry about are the arrogant toasters that abound in the form of “honorables”, i.e. House representatives and the like who want to get with you, but would rather walk right past you silently as they flippantly hand you their card, then send their PAs back to get your phone number, by any means necessary. The last one I turned down wasn’t taking no for an answer. He sent his PA to me three times, and you could just tell that the poor guy was getting increasingly embarrassed on his master’s behalf. Welcome to Abuja, I guess. Alas, I must leave you now cuz my room service is here and there’s a succulent half chicken that demands my full, adoring attention. Life is good again. Peace y’all!

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I checked my email today and saw a multitude of comments that a kulutempa just wasn't expecting! To say I was befuddled would be an understatement. But I might have known that there was a man (or woman) behind the madness...thank you, Adaure, you crazy nut! I didn't realize I was worthy of a plug on the famous "According to Adaure" spot! Lol...idiot. That's "ee-DYOT" o, laden with all the strength of a solid helping of akpu accompanying it, not one of those barely discernable hiccups that we can thank the Valley Girls for (seeing as they are your role models)--you know only a Nigerian can really make you feel like an ee-DYOT when they call you "idiot". Anyways, uh, I guess I should say a general "thank you" to all o' y'all who heeded the guru and checked out my spot recently--it was great reading your comments, and thanks for the compliments as well. I'm reading all your comments like, "Wow, I can actually write!" Much appreciated. I'm definitely blogging about those agboro boys in Lagos, but only after my blood stops boiling about it. Nigeria is such a STUPID place!

Meanwhile, my hospital saga never finish. Since Tuesday, I have been going back and forth from that zones--e remain for me to pack my load there, because e be like say Ife never tire to destroy my body! In sha Allah, I shall be all right, though. I went to hospital complaining of malaria, them tell me say I get appendicitis. Wonders shall never cease. I'll holla, though. Peace!