Friday, June 27, 2008

Geeky Love: Is it books that you will eat?!

When I first graduated from college, at the end of the 8-5 work drill, I often dashed to Barnes & Noble. Once inside the bookstore giant, my sister and I were like women in the heat of a clandestine affair: we'd part ways inside the store, find a book, grab a couch and enter our secret worlds until the 11p.m. closing time.

It was my mother who initiated this nerdy nose-in-book habit in all of us. Of course as 4-year-olds we were more interested in the pictures than the words of the Sesame Street storybooks she had subscribed to. We received at least 3 books a month, and thus began the obsession. By the time I was six, even though I could barely read, I couldn’t fall asleep at night unless I had a book tucked beside me.

One time, my mother caught my sister washing dishes and reading a novel at the same time. The book was too good to put down so my sis placed it behind the tap and continued washing. I thought it was genius—but my mother didn’t think so. She gave my poor sis a good whopping.
“Is it books that you will eat?” my mom used to say, or “Do you want your husband to send you back home because you can’t cook?!” Now, the second question used to baffle me. I couldn’t comprehend having a husband that would stress me, talk less send me packing because of something as trivial as *gasp* food. Nah, that would mess up the fairytale romance that held forte in my teenage mind. Even now, in my more skeptical twenties, I still don’t understand that question.

To my consolation, boarding house in Nigeria turned out to be one big book club! There were no computers, phones and certainly no boys to flirt with. So you gossiped, slept or read. Romance books were the craze. You knew how an M&B book would end, yet you’d keep reading one after the other, while you tell critics that such reading enriches your vocabulary. You however wrap the paperback with notebook paper, lest you reveal the not-so-innocent images on the cover.

Fast forward to the millennium. I discovered blogs on a slow day at work and started reading during my down time. At home, I shopped for books online. At an average of $15 per title, books will cut into your wallet. And don’t be fooled by those $1.39 used books on My frugal self couldn’t resist them, and I bubbled with excitement as I added title after title to my online cart. Next thing I’d have spent 50 unbudgeted dollars!

Where are most of my books? In faraway America, because of a 50kg transatlantic baggage limit. I guess you can argue that my books aren’t really beloved since I didn’t pay the price to have them shipped. No, blame it on the airlines! We all know how unrealistic those limits are (well, a Nigerian woman knows) and we must not give in to such monopolistic manipulation!

Anyway, just when I thought my N9, 975 government. stipend had killed book buying, a true friend recently SPONSORED a shopping spree at the NuMetro Media store! I happily acquired 7 books that blissful evening. Aaah, where would we be without both our real and printed friends?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

So you wanna drive in the City II

My people, so do you remember how intimidated I was on the roads when I first came back? Well no more. I’ve been baptized and transformed into a Nigerian driver. But I’m not proud of it. Before I used to look down on those impatient drivers who formed the extra lane and drove on the dirt lane to avoid traffic. Now I’ve become one of them! Yes, I know, shame on me.

But my true christening came last week Wednesday, on yet another CD day. I was stopped in traffic, trying to make a call to a fellow corper to tell her that teachers were on strike so she shouldn’t bother showing up for the weekly class we teach at a secondary school, but the networks were down.

Just at that moment, I spot 3 traffic policemen standing on a sidewalk ahead of me. The light turns green and I quickly drop the phone into my cup holder.

But it's too late. I’ve been spotted. Officer Eager struts out in front of me and with a triumphant look and authoritative finger, motions for me to pull over. I begin to slow down but then suddenly I spark. Go look for another young chick to prey on. I step on my accelerator and swerve to the right to avoid the officer. (Remember the James Bond move I learned here?). Officer Eager moves back in surprise. As I cruise past the trio, I muster up my fiercest scowl and with a dismissive wave of my hand, say “ahn, ahn, what is it now?!”

Na lie O! I was scared and half-expecting them to chase me down on their fancy cop bikes. See me begging the red light in front of me to change so I could step on my accelerator. But alas, my mean look must have worked because they just stared after me with amusement :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

After NYSC, what next?

So, I've been thinking about the next move. What next do I do with myself? Two-three months away from completing NYSC and several different options come to mind. Indulge me while I daydream. Shall I......get a job or start a business in Abuja, Lagos or wherever in this beloved country or...move to Berumda and lazy about in the sun,... no maybe teach English in Eastern Europe then ... join a missionary ship and evangelize the continents...or get married and become a full time mama in a small midwestern town in America? Oh yes, we must not forget grad school. A girlfriend is doing hers in Sweden for the adventure and their non-existent tuition. Exotic.

Get the degrees, land a job, bag a spouse, make babies and get the mortgage. Can't I just be a gorgeous princess? Then one day a dashing young man sweeps me off my feet and we travel the world for the rest of our lives? Only in my 20s and I'm already killing the fairytales. Why do we dream less as we grow older?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

2008 Batch B you're up!

The NYSC website is back up. Finally! So you can check out the timetable for the 2008 Batch B corpers. Registration for foreign-trained graduates runs from May 15 - August 10. Orientation
camp starts September 23rd. Word on the street is that the 2007 Batch B corpers (my set)will
be passing out either first or second week in August. Woohoo!

So if you're considering putting in for Batch B 2008, you've still got some time to pack your bags and come on over to the other side!

In the meantime, back in March, the NYSC teamed up with Afribank and the National
eGovernment Strategies
to faciliate online registration for youth corpers. Read more about it here. It's a very noble venture but at this moment is nothing more than ephizzy, as the registration website is missing in action (if you find it please send me the link). I have no idea why none of the press articles published the website address. I was hoping the online registration would enable Nigerians abroad to pre-register before stepping foot onshore. Let's hope they'll get that up and running for the 2009 set.

Just in case the official NYSC website disappears again, here is the 2008 Batch B timetable I copied from the site:

Registration of Foreign-trained graduates...15th May 2008 – 10th Aug 2008
Collection of Call-ups by Foreign trained graduates...18th - 22nd Sept 2008
Delivery of Call-up letters to Institutions...15th - 17th Sept 2008 2008
Batch B Orientation Course Starts on the..23rd Sept - 14th Oct 2008

Friday, June 6, 2008


Oooooh, I just heard that petrol tankers want to strike! Kai, and my fuel is very low, plus my folks are away for the weekend. So I’m gonna have to brave those queues by myself again. And I had planned to just chill this weekend, not spend it queuing up with disgruntled men.

Anyway, before I disappear for the weekend, a quick shout out to all you bloggers, especially the Americanas, and Briticos with ya high speed Internet--

I use Google reader to read most of your blogs because my internet connection is slow (by my own standards) and I can’t go from page to page loading your beautiful blog layouts. So far, I’ve subscribed to 42 blogs on my reader and it’s great—just like checking email.

BUT... I don’t always have new mail because y’all don’t update!

You will be blog hopping and surfing, saying UPDATE, UPDATE, on people’s blog, and leave ya own blogs untouched for ages.

Naijablog and ashes and dust, are the only frequent flyers on my list. The rest of… you know yourselves. You don’t know it, but we’re all watching you.

Judging by how many posts I’ve done in my almost one year of blogging, you know I’m a kettle calling the pot black.

But me, I repent. Thanks for your patience ;)