Somehow almost an entire year has passed since I have put pen to paper (so to speak) and here I sit wondering how on earth so much could have gone unscripted. Much has happened, many countries traversed, friends made, friends lost, and one thing is for sure, many illnesses and adventures have been had.
Right now I sit here in my apartment watching the kestrels flying above the treetops and waiting to see if my newly found friend, a wild Egret, will deem to sit on my balcony once again and just stare at me nonplussed for some time. (He is quite the amusing fellow I can tell you; looks at me with his earnest eyes as if wanting food, yet when I put flaked fish out for him, he is too hesitant to take it. However when any other Egret dares to breach his boundary walls, he becomes almost apoplectic and I become certain he will fall off to his sudden death…..Yes I know, a bird can’t fall, but you get the jist).
Whilst it sounds tranquil and somewhat of a nice way to begin the weekend, it is also beyond my choice. It is Stage Two of elections here in Nigeria, this time for the State Governor roles. I will definitely not make any comment on this, nor the Presidential Election, as it is indeed not my place to do so. But what I can remark, is that when these take place, the whole place gets put onto “Lock-down/curfew”. No vehicles are allowed on the road during the voting process and due to any potential safety issues, we are asked not to venture beyond our premises.
Honestly, I do not mind this one jot. I have worked harder in the last 9 months than I think I have worked in my entire career, despite always having had 2-3 jobs running at once and usually keeping up with yet one more Post-Graduate study of something. This year however has been something else. I spent my entire Christmas break writing an assignment, I spend almost every weeknight and at least one weekend day giving private therapy to students (most of whom have severe cognitive/communicative disability), and I spend my Sundays in study mode. Therefore, to have an enforced lack of movement put upon me, a second time, well in all sincerity, I am delighted for the reprieve. Not that it means I can actually get back out there and see Nigeria some more of course. But the trees, the bird song, my African-art apartment; well at least I see a bit of Africa around me.
I have also been festered with illness since my last post. I have enjoyed (ahem) the delights of Typhoid [which went un-diagnosed for a little too long so I was privileged to enjoy it just that bit longer], recently I found I had a parasite or two….and currently I am unable to sit well, thanks to a rather hard kick from a horse; poor girl – we were galloping very fast, as she is a Polo pony, and something hard and sharp flew up and gashed her in the left cannon. This caused her to act out and get me off her as fast as possible, doing so by administering a rather firm and directed kick to me. It has been a long week indeed since I cannot sit and lay down due to the pain and swelling from the upper thigh to the lower back. Oh and added to the fact that when I visited the hospital I was given antibiotics I am highly allergic to, thus the recovery period has once again been prolonged]. It is also not uncommon for myself and other colleagues to have general stomach upsets here, so rather than having a frequent winter cold, I feel this has become the Lagosian replacement.
Anyhow, none of this has told you much about Lagos itself, although really it has. Life here is hectic. Chaotic. Quite hard on my sensitive body to handle. And it never remains constant, or not at least, for me. I look around me and I see many expats who are here, (mostly men), who come in on a repetitive rotation. They are always counting down to the next time they fly out, though they really do have a lot of fun here. Not all of is necessarily of the honorable variety, but the social life here is actually quite vast for an expat and it is expanding all the time. I see couples here also having a great time, doing sports together (Cross Fit is the current craze here), eating in the many many restaurants, and rearing beautiful dogs. Expat children here really have it well. Granted they cannot run out and play in the streets like I was raised, but I daresay few do this back in the UK these days anyhow. What young child wouldn’t be happy with their own en-suite bathroom, compounds that generally have 1-2 swimming pools within them as well at least one play-park, their own yoga teacher, their own tennis teacher, their own piano/violin/saxophone/guitar/drumming teacher, their own cook, nanny and driver, and birthday parties that I could never have dreamt up in all of my imagination.
But what is really my point? Currently I am on “lock-down”. But really, I think I have become locked-in. I keep losing my vigor, my love of Africa, my wonderment of it all. The light in my eyes that Uganda brought me has long since faded. Perhaps I have just become too over-worked and rundown, or perhaps I have just gotten all that there is to gain from being here. I have so so many stories waiting to write about the adventures from the year passed. Though realistically, most of them are before September. I have become part of the furniture here now, I know my way around and have morphed into some sort of “new-arrival go to” for facts on where to go, where to eat, where to shop, what to do. It is nice having this sense of home around me, especially as it took me quite some years to do so back in my beloved Brighton. I posit however that I have begun to stop seeing the wood for the trees….
I have a wonderful network of friends here, have been to some beautiful places, concerts, exhibits, parties. I do feel at home here. I also feel so so so tired. Is this my age creeping up on me? Is it the very badly polluted air quality I am breathing in? Is it just yet another case of me being too much of a ‘yes’ person and taking on too much? Well, to be perfectly honest I think my father hit the nail on the head. He termed me “an army brat” and it seems it is time for a new posting. Perhaps that is true. Perhaps it is not. I do know I must know, very very soon.
(A cleaned vs an untouched filter from my bedroom AC. After 4 months or so, it is much the same once again)
Meanwhile, here are some highlights from the last 12 months and I will aim to write much colourfully about them in due course. Ooops, I guess that means I’ll just add it to my ever-expanding to do list 😉