Up, Up, and Away

Released Balloons

Two years ago, on my little cousin’s 8th birthday, he got the gift he had always wanted: a remote controlled helicopter. He also didn’t get to spend 30 minutes with it.

He had been hinting for weeks prior that he wanted that helicopter. He had tried being subtle, then he just graduated to full on shamelessly begging for it. I kept saying I wouldn’t get it, but I already knew I would. Sure enough, on his birthday, while he was at school, I went & got the helicopter so I could surprise him when he got home. Best. Cousin. Ever? Yup. Continue reading

Changing Times

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Simpler times
When we didn’t have to worry
Not about food, and not about money
Not about now, and certainly not about the future
A time of innocence, where we could find joy in anything
Simpler times, spent putting smiles on loved ones faces
When we could hope & dream with no restraints
When the only validation we wanted was mom or dad saying “good job”
Blissfully ignorant of life and all it’s harsh realities
When all was provided, when we were sheltered..

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Choices

Choice vs Consequence“Every choice has consequences.” We’re taught that from the moment we can barely grasp the meaning of that statement. As you get older, it’s easier to understand in real-life terms; if you study hard, you do well on a test. If you break your mom’s favorite china, you get punished. If you tell on your older siblings/relatives, they don’t want to have you around them. By the time we’re adults or at the very least, adolescents, this formula is firmly wired into our brains. Choice + Action = Reward (or Punishment). You do something good, you get rewarded for it. You do something bad, you get punished. But what happens when that’s not always the case? Continue reading

Papa Ajasco

National Arts Theatre

The picture of the National Arts Theatre in Lagos, Nigeria that inspired this post (thank you Viv)

Every major city has an iconic building/monument that just seems to epitomize all the city stands for; Paris has the Eiffel Tower, New York has The Twin Towers or The Statue of Liberty, London has Big Ben, and as for Lagos, my home… The closest we got was the National Arts Theatre.

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The Scar

When I was younger, a lot younger, I had to get minor surgery on my toe.

I had apparently worn shoes that were too tight, and my nail cut into the skin, and the toe got infected, and long story short, they needed to cut out a chunk of my toe (literally), so it could grow back normally. I got a local anesthesia, a nurse sat on the bed and lay across me so I couldn’t see what the surgeon was doing, and the entire procedure lasted about 15 minutes. So I went home with my foot wrapped up as thick as could be, and I was told to come back in about a week for them to clean it and re-dress it.

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…Then Mark This One Wrong Too

I took loads of math tests in high school. At a minimum of two each term, three terms in a session, six sessions spent in high school, a conservative estimate would be 36 tests, not counting end-of-term exams, random quizzes and the like. One particular test stands out for me, not because of my score (quite frankly, I don’t even remember how I did), but because of what happened after we got our graded tests back.

One of my classmates was going through his when he came across a question he had gotten wrong. Now this would be fine, except… he noticed that another classmate had written the same answer, and the teacher had marked it as correct. So he took both test papers to the teacher at the front of the class to say “Excuse me, you made a mistake. We both wrote the same thing, and you marked it as wrong on mine, but as right on his.” Again, this wasn’t unusual. Teachers made those mistakes from time to time. However, it turned out that the answer they both wrote was indeed the wrong answer.  Continue reading

Feel Alive

After all, “there’s no point in living, if you can’t feel alive.” Isn’t that right Elektra, isn’t that your motto?

– Pierce Brosnan as James Bond
(The World Is Not Enough)

I still remember the day my family got its first VCD player (google that you youngins). We still had our VHS player (again, google that lol), and our CD Player (some three-disc-changing monstrosity with incredible speakers) wasn’t even that old. I think my mom’s brother came back from Alaba market with it, and I remember my first reaction being surprise at how small it was. In my young mind, if a CD player was that big, then a VCD player had to be even bigger. It wasn’t, but at least it also accepted 3 VCD’s at a time, which worked out well for us, since the first film we played on it was The Odyssey. If I remember correctly, the very first VCD’s my family owned were The Lion King, The Odyssey, and… The World Is Not Enough.

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My Hero

Baptism

a few days old, at baptism

One of my earliest memories of you is sitting at that small dining table in that small flat we used to live in. I was in elementary school, and they had just taught us division. I was doing my homework at the table, and you were reading the newspaper or something (this was back when you used to buy the paper every day, before you switched to only buying on Saturdays & Sundays, and now you just read online lol). So there I was, working on my homework, following the long process of division they had taught us at school, and I stopped and asked you the answer to one of my questions, and you answered it immediately. It took me at least 3-5 minutes to solve one, and you called out the answer instantaneously. So I asked you another, you said the answer, I worked it out for myself, and you were right. So I asked you another. And another. And another. And I remember you smiling as you called out each correct answer. So finally I gave up & asked how you knew all the answers so quickly, and you said “when you grow up, you will too.” I remember it so clearly.

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Prof’s Place

Back in my days at uni in Nigeria, I knew this guy we all called Prof (of course that wasn’t his real name), and he owned one of those game centers where you’d go, pay what I think was ₦25 per game, and play soccer on a PlayStation 2 at the time. Now this was so long ago, the soccer game we all preferred playing was PES (Pro Evolution Soccer), not FIFA. And every once in a while (maybe not once in a while), me and my friends would go to his place and spend time that should have been used studying & money we didn’t have and we’d just play for hours on end. You know me, always seeking an escape. Some of the fondest, funnest memories I have of my time at Nsukka came from Prof’s place, and I developed many good, lasting friendships (some of which I still have today) in that small room just after Odim Gate.

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A Few Thoughts, Vol. 3

* I hate hindsight. Hate how it makes you feel. Hate everything it represents. You’re supposed to get wiser as you get older, and hindsight has a way of making you feel foolish in the now, not in the past. Plus, who has ever experienced hindsight & patted themselves on the back like “I knew I handled that as well as I could have”? It typically just leaves you kicking yourself, so no thanks. Continue reading