Just the two of them

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The Brownie
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This sugar is made of salt
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A December to Remember
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Bangers, bisco ‘n’ brawls
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Our Red Sand Christmas
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Sand, Sun & (loads of) Fun: The Reception
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Sand, Sun & (loads of) Fun: The reason, the highlight of the trip
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Sand, Sun & (loads of) Fun – Part V
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Sand, Sun & (loads of) Fun – Part IV
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Sand, Sun & (loads of) Fun – Part III

The Brownie

I do not like meetings. The gathering.The deliberations. The arguments. The duration or dwelling on one particular issue that extends the meeting even further. The need to contribute or say something, anything as long as it casts you in an intelligent light. I do like one aspect of meetings though – the end of it. That part where we all get up, disperse and go on with our individual lives. I am not keen on group activities either. Three people (I included) can be too much of a crowd for me sometimes and I am content being in the background, the unobtrusive one, looking in. I have no trouble with that. What I write hereafter should come as no surprise; during all my years of formal school training I was part of no organization – voluntary or otherwise. I didn’t need gatherings or discussions to fill in the perceived spaces of my life. I couldn’t be bothered. It was different when I entered the workforce. I was obligated to attend meetings that concerned my job function. It was difficult to blend in with the furniture then especially when I had to contribute to the matters discussed or make a presentation[…]

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This sugar is made of salt

In the last decade or so, my food life has altered considerably, and I’m always reminded of that fact every time I visit my mum’s. Last month’s visit was no different. Her vegetable sauce is devoid of the tomato taste I’m now accustomed to in efo riro. My palate waits for the fish and tomato flavour in her fried beans dish when I know there won’t be any because I didn’t cook it. White rice and red stew feature constantly any time rice is the food of choice while that combo begs for a place in my kitchen most of the time. Eggs are always a mix of cream and red (pepper & tomatoes) colours; mine are cream, white and green (green pepper) with the taste of paprika, garlic and Knorr seasoning. All of these (and other meals, habits of hers) I can stand, it’s the cubed – sugar she still uses as a sweetener that I am yet to come to terms with. After all these years. I grew up with them and still see them every time at her house. She doesn’t seem to trust its easily–dissolving sister – the granulated kind. Maybe because there is a tendency[…]

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A December to Remember

‘I’m Annie’, Chairman declares loudly. ‘My name is Gabby,’ T states just as loudly, not to be out done by her brother. For the past couple of days, the children have been saying these statements often. Annie and Gabby are two of their cousins whom they met at their grandma’s and spent the recently concluded holidays with amongst seven other adrenaline – filled, very active children. It is nine days today since we returned to Lagos, and back to our lives but apparently the memories of the holidays are still playing back constantly in the minds of my children. And who can blame them? They had a whale of a time with their cousins! There was Santa Claus with four presents each per child, their favourite cartoon characters featuring prominently. Barney. Mickey Mouse. Ben 10.      They played games and had competitions – artwork (creating a Christmas card) competition, dancing chairs and fashion parade. Of course, this meant more presents. Yay! They had more ice – cream and sweets during the two – week period than I would normally allow in two months.  Yum, yum. Everyday was Christmas day at grandma’s! Or how else would they describe going to[…]

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Bangers, bisco ‘n’ brawls

Last night the children began their annual bisco – lightening tradition. All nine of them. Nine children ranging from ages 7 1/2 – 2 1/2. Picture this. Nine adrenaline – filled, ever – ready for action, chattering, racing, never – tiring little humans. Their gathering and constant interaction recipes for a lot of things. I’d have thought two days together was too early for any kind of altercation but there have been at least three already. With threats of slaps and promised beating. Now add bisco – lightening to this mix. Almost total chaos.Spontaneous screaming in reaction to the fire cracker like quality and blaze of the bisco; scolding one another as they run riot, lighted bisco in hand, and willing the fire to last longer; and trying to cheat one another of taking more bisco sticks, leaving the younger ones in near tears as the older ones are always faster to bulldoze their way to this goal.   My sister in law, Eva, spices up the activity with glow-in-the-dark head bands. The girls look pretty in a Minnie mouse creation while the boys’ vary from Santa Claus to numbers to lighted decorated strands.  The bands give them a halo[…]

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Our Red Sand Christmas

Here’s another reason I like December: the holidays at grandma’s! Definitely not for me but for the children. I have to admit though that it takes the pressure off me to provide entertainment and excitement for them. So I’m always game for a visit to grandma’s. The children join their cousins, play and trouble one another, bring the house down with an increasing cacophony of sounds and try to pack into two weeks all the fun they’ve missed having together throughout the year. As though trying to make up for lost time while shoring up enough playtime memories to last until they meet up again. For the adults among them, it is a working holiday. We cook, clean, care and repeat until it’s time to go back to our different lives. But first we had to make the road trip to red sand land Benin, and sit it out for four hours or more (depending on the state of the highway and its accompanying Christmastime travelling traffic. Usually, we are out of Lagos on any of the weekdays and way before the highway bears striking resemblance to the central business district. Not this time.The children’s school closed for the holidays[…]

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Sand, Sun & (loads of) Fun: The Reception

When I decided to do this, recount our vacation experience, I didn’t think it would take this long. This is just the third day and I’m tired already, losing interest even. Plus I am not including EVERYTHING that happened in the trip because not only can I not remember every single bit of it but even if I did, chances are I’d probably still be writing the account on my eleventh birthday! Apparently, I didn’t know exactly what I signed up for when I took up the challenge. So forgive me if I tell this part of the reception in shorts. Those clicking sounds are everywhere at the church ceremony – before, during and after. They go crazy especially after. Thankfully, the church has loads of shaded areas to enable us indulge relentlessly. Though some of us brave the heat for optics. The reception takes place in a hotel two and a half hours later, fifteen – twenty minutes’ drive away from our hotel. It must have been about 7pm when we arrive at this awesome place simply called The Address. Drinks – red, blue, peach and other inviting colours – welcome us at the lounge, and of course more optics as[…]

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Sand, Sun & (loads of) Fun: The reason, the highlight of the trip

The next day, in the afternoon, Uncle Tg got married to Aunty Cathy. (I don’t know how, in all my recount of this trip, I forgot to mention that Aunty Cathy and her entire family of very fair – skinned people became part of our entourage too. My sincere apologies. We met her siblings and their family, as well as her mummy. All nice and fun people, adding to all the laughter and camaraderie that was going on). So that’s why we’re here. To celebrate both of them. All that travelling, the family gathering and everything else was geared towards this most important day of their lives; their wedding day. Starting their lives together, forever. Below is something mummy put up on her Facebook page that will be replicated here. No long thing. I Hope You Dance I hope you never lose your sense of wonder, You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger, May you never take one single breath for granted, God forbid love ever leave you empty handed, I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean, Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens, Promise me that you’ll give[…]

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Sand, Sun & (loads of) Fun – Part V

For the next couple of minutes (It felt like hours), the car dipped, swerved and screeched. Every time, we screamed. Every time, I thought this was the end of life as I knew it. Every time, I was wrong. We were all alive to go through the next dip, screech, swerve and scream. This was the desert safari, I came to know later. More like the desert – roller coaster – ride – of – near- freaking – death, if you ask me! Was I being punished for complaining earlier on? About the never – ending sand and no – destination driving? Right now, I’ll take those over this…this…We dip again. Aaaaarrrrrrrgghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! When we come up for air, I notice mummy’s camera cellphone in the air and the accompanying clicking sounds. Huh? ‘You can still take photos?’ Aunt Connie turns around briefly to ask before another heart – stopping dip and the subsequent screams. ‘I put it on the sequence setting.’ Mummy manages out. ‘So it can take multiple photos at a time.’ Another screech and I am so sure the car is going to fall over sideways this time but no, it’s revving up for another daredevil dip. Aaargghhh![…]

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Sand, Sun & (loads of) Fun – Part IV

Breakfast is palm – sized, fluffy pancakes and croissants, finger – sized sausages, boiled eggs, melt -in-your-mouth, really cute inni-mini muffins and fruit yoghurt. Yum. Yum. Yum. Their aroma wakes me up the next morning. I’m almost reluctant to get out of my bed. It’s so sleep – inducing with soft pillows and a duvet. With all white bedding, it’s almost like heaven. Pure, white bliss. But bliss won’t feed me. My stomach groans and I’m out in a flash. Little brother, in the twin bed close to mine, just rolls on his side and continues sleeping. The bed , most definitely, has the same effect on him. A longer one. I would have remained in the bath for ever, playing with the moveable shower hose but hunger called the shots. I have more than enough of everything on my plate and look forward to more breakfast spreads like this. How wrong I was! Subsequent breakfasts took place downstairs in the restaurant and there was a wide variety of fruits and pastries and cereals; their accompaniments – ham, eggs, sausages, bacon, baked beans; drinks – yoghurt, juices, hot chocolate, water, tea; and spread – butter, jam, honey… The breakfast upstairs[…]

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Sand, Sun & (loads of) Fun – Part III

How can anyone want to sleep with a view like this? I can’t help asking silently as I join little brother by the wide windows to stare at the scene spread out in front of us. We are presently in our hotel apartment, having showered and done lunch downstairs. Though it’s only 9 a.m. back in Lagos. This country is three hours ahead. And oh yes, I assumed my elevator operator duties with mummy as my guide to the appropriate letters, numbers and signs buttons. Thus beginning my goal to take a lifetime’s worth of rides before we leave this place. My love for elevators is only second to that of escalators. On our way back up, I overhear mummy say to dad: ‘All I want to do now is sleep. For 13 hours straight.’ Looking out at the scanty street below, I think she does need the sleep. She has bags (under her eyes) that could possibly rival that black one she carries. She must have slept for only an hour or two during the flight while ensuring her children were comfortable. Mummy knows all too well that we’ll both soon tire of this view, so she works on[…]

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