Well, so many things happened last week but was too lazy to write about it. I am up early...again! What is happening to my system? I wake up like clock work at the exact same time every morning, normally I need an alarm to even make me lift a finger... anyway, stuff happened and here they are:
The birthday party: When I was in Nigeria, I found out an old childhood friend who I have not seen in more than 15 years now, lives here. We got in touch and it has been fun gisting with him occasionally, yes... occasionally. The man has an obsession and its called : WOMAN. In his head, he is convinced that his whole life will be perfect once he finds that "woman", that's how he talks, "if say i get woman, everything for just settle" , "ah! see as my walls dey jump for joy cos woman enter my house today" "the Bible says to find a woman is to find a good thing" "Imagine if I had a woman, I would be so happy", etc, etc. Most of the times, I listen and then by the time he says the word "woman" for the up tenth time, I am ready to explode! He knows I find the whole topic very irritating and I think this just gets him going anyway.
So, it was his birthday party, he asked if I could help him with some dishes, it was my pleasure, I was bored anyway. I had asked him earlier in the week about how many guests he was expecting, he said 15. 15? I have lived in this country for 5 years and if I had to invite 15 people, it will probably have to include people I see in the gym plus the Arab guy that does my hair. 15 people indeed! I thought perhaps it was his church people, he is an ardent church goer, but no, he tells me he has invited the other students on his corridor(He is a student and lives in one of those student buildings). I asked him if he actually knew them, he said no, but he just thought they would be happy to come as per free booze and food. I did not want to spoil his optimism but I had my doubts. In this country? It would never happen! I lived in the same building for five years and the only time I spoke to my neighbours was when I was moving out! 15 people indeed!
Anyway, we made food for 15 people,rice, chicken, salad, different pies, etc. He bought about two cartons of beer and I arrived with two bottles of wine, just in case. An hour later, and we are the only two.... I had already started drinking and we had eaten enough jollof rice. Finally an Egyptian student came down... he had been here for three months and hated it. He was so happy to be with us, in fact, we were all "Africans" that night! Apparently his big memory of Nigeria was when Nigeria won the world cup or something in Egypt(I am sure the guys here will know), he was just a kid then and used to sit at the Nigerian side cos they were colourful and there was music etc. In fact, he had ended up in one of the newspapers, all painted with Naija green white green. He was a very nice guy, not used to hard life, when I shook his hands, I was so ashamed of mine, his hands were so soft...so so soft. Anyway, so he tells us of how miserable he was, first time away from home, (he is 27 heheheeh) how he was having problems fitting in. I told him it was the place, it was new, he'll soon adjust and get over it. He told me a splendid proverb (I am sure we all know different versions of this in different languages), he said "If you are on the way to paradise and the company of people with you is horrible, you will be miserable even if you know paradise is waiting for you. If on the other hand, you are on the way to hell, and the company of people with you is great, you will enjoy the journey even if you know your destination is hell". According to him, the reason why he was so miserable had nothing to do with the place but the people residing in it.
Thankfully, another of his friends arrived, one naija guy and his wife.They both were not drinking cos he was driving and I think she was breast feeding, the Egyptian guy was not drinking and my friend insisted on drinking his beer. I ended up drinking two bottles of wine, convinced them to play naija music "Ohhhh Christianaaaaaa", and got totally wasted. The good part of the party was everybody got enough food to last them that week. At about 1 or so, the party was over, my friend went to the city to find "woman", the couple left with many thanks for the extra food, the Egyptian guy left happy with phone numbers and I stumbled home drunk and full.
The bazaar: I went to the city for breakfast the next day. I was bored, it was Sunday and there was nothing to do. After roaming the streets with no particular destination, I ended up on the street where the Catholic church is situated. This is a protestant country, so the Catholic church is normally for the immigrants/foreigners, whatever. Anyway, so I get there, and they are having a bazaar. I think church and weddings is the only place where you see different generations together. Old people, young couples, kids every where. I had nothing to do, so I took up a perfect observation post by the food stalls....
The Spanish stall: The rice looked good, but after the jollof rice of the day before.... mba
The Albanian stall: Some sort of bread... the man manning the store was old and looked sour...like the bread.
The Croatian stall: The usual assortment of sweet stuff... at first nobody was buying anything from them, this worried me cos I know the Croatians are fierce loyalists...where were their people? Ah! but I did not have to wait for long, they were apparently having their own service about the time I arrived... anyway, after the service, they cleared up that stall like a wave of ants. I tell you! They ignored all the other stalls and just bought everything their own stall had on display. They never disappoint.
The Indian stall: Bought a plate of rice and chicken. I regretted it.
The Korean "mission" stall: The liveliest of them all! They persuaded me into buying packets of noodles and some strange Korean sweets. I also got a plate of free sushi, but with meat instead of fish, does that make it sushi?
I ate at a table with an Italian father and son. He was so loving but firm, the father I mean... anyway, all in all, it was a good day.
Friendship:Through out my adult life, I can almost pin point the exact moment a friendship began. Yeah, I am one of those people, I could tell you with accuracy how many friendships in my adult life started. Take Catherine for example, I remember that day in class more than 5 years a go when she was taking part in a heated debate about immigration. She was the only person of a particular view in class, and the whole class was slicing her up like raw meat at a butchers shop....they seemed to be enjoying it too much so I decided to tip the scale a bit. Together, we managed to totally shred them to bits, much to the amusement of the teacher who seemed to understand what was going on. I met up with her after the class....
"Hey, you know, I did not believe in any of your arguments, I just joined in cos it was unfair....the whole class against you"
"Ha! I did not believe in my arguments either, I just wanted them to look at things from another angle, how can a whole class have only one point of view?
I always knew she was destined for politics...not me...too much of a dreamer to be a realist. I hardly see her these days, she is often caught up championing one cause or another, but she has been there when it mattered, and for that, I am always grateful. Yes, but why am I digressing from the story at hand? I was going to talk about the beginning of a friendship.....
He was waiting for me when I arrived, we often nod to each other, he had introduced himself one day to me, someone had told him we were "in the same profession". Since then, we had not spoken and I had since forgotten his name.
"Hi, I was looking for you, you've not been around"
"Oh, I have been very ill"
"I was wondering.... so how are you?
"I am fine now, thanks"
"Yeah... just the usual"
He is looking intensely at me now....
"So how's life...in general?"
We both laugh...
"I feel this thing...hanging over my head... I have..."
"Yeah, thats probably the word...I have so many unfinished stuff, I just wish I could do everything I want...I don't know"
"You know, don't worry about it too much, you "ll be okay"
"Yeah, so what about you? how's life?"
"Well, this is life"
"What do you mean?"
"This is my life, pathetic huh? I am 35 years old, and this is all I have"
"Wife? girlfriend? hobbies?"
"Nothing. I have nothing. This is all I do...so you see, don't worry, its the same for everybody"
"I am not a "misery loves company" kind of person, I'll just feel bad for myself and then worse for you"
"I did not think you were that kind... Just don't beat yourself up about it...it will be okay, you'll be fine.
I turned to go, I was already feeling better....
"Hey, about hobbies....I could probably hook you up, I am a good hobby finder...what's your name?