So, the old adage clearly states, when in Rome, act as the Romans do. And I have been firmly brought up against this backdrop.
It is not for me to put my values upon you, when I am a visitor in your land.
Yet, does this really ring true in today’s interconnected world? It can be extremely hard sometimes, within the West, to find truly authentic experiences of culture, heritage and tradition. Whilst on the traveling scene, this becomes even more prolific, as countrymen scramble to market what they perceive to be the most likely money-spinner the tourists will jump on board with.
In Africa, (based on my growing experience of the continent that is), it does however remain relatively “real”. That is, if you’re ready to leave the big cities and venture out.
But as it happens, my wandering feet have been anchored for a little while now. And I observe myself becoming more of the “standard” expat remit…..
Hmm…. I can’t say I’m so elated by this.
However. The rooting stature has allowed for other things to come in. One being, (through my enforced extra time at home;big work schedules) that I’m more aware of, and available to, my neighbours.
Consequently, I have started to pop up on their radar.
Though I very much live in an African country, my compound is predominantly Indian. So are a lot of the business operatives around the islands. As such, I have recently become much more involved in the Indian community around me. Whilst I cannot say I feel as connected to the Nigerian sources I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying previously, my current Rome is in fact, India.
I had the great pleasure of joining the celebration of my old next door neighbour’s 50th birthday party a month or two ago. By golly it was by far the most spectacular party I’ve attended. And to accept my friend is 50, when observing his energy, zest for life, continued dance moves, and never-ending laughter….well, if I’m half as young as him when I am that old, I’ll be delighted!
This weekend caused another great invitation to fall into my lap. This time, to join in with the festivities of Holi. An ancient festival of celebrating good conquering evil. Full of colour, that is spread amongst us all. I hadn’t stepped foot into the party for all of five minutes before I experienced my first smattering..and then had the joy of a bucket of water poured all over me, ready for friends to greet me once again with the vibrantly coloured powders.
The food was sublime, the company enjoyable and gracious, and the music very funky.
Okay, so this isn’t exactly an African tale. But it is life in Lagos. Made up of the patchwork of people and the melee of love and friendship that I adore experiencing, by not staying at home in the UK keeping myself behind closed doors.
I’m already readily awaiting the next invite!