Even after almost 15 years in the U.S., I still sometimes get home sick. But when I think about the frustration that will slap me in the face as soon as I land at Murtala Mohammed airport, real quick I’m like, issorait, I’m good where I am. In fact, over-good is worrying me. My ideal world would combine the best elements of naija with the best elements of the U.S., and then France, plus the islands… and this is me daydreaming into wonderland. For this post, let’s focus on the 8 things I love so much about naija that make me want to move back.
1. Suya. Do I need to say more? Going to buy suya late at night is the best and jolliest walk to the junction ever, just absorbing the aroma of grilled spices. I would have asked why the abokis don’t sell suya during the day, you know, think suya wraps, salads, ati be be lo, but someone once told me that “darkness” is part of the suya ingredients, and you can’t even argue with that. Suya made in broad daylight cannot be trusted.
The same goes for all sorts of small chops and street food. In naija, you can just step out of your office at lunch time and buy roasted yams and pepper sauce, or meatpie and puff-puff without having to place an order for a whole tray one week in advance. See, that right there is gold.
2. Lunch-and-learn at work with Jollof rice or ewa agoyin. No more sandwiches from the same dang on sandwich shop every single time. Such wasted opportunity for free food! Just imagine if it were smokey jollof or designer stew! Oh, the enthusiasm with which I will attend that lunch and learn. I will always be first in the front row, sitting pretty in my cute knee length ankara dress. Oh and thanks, Alissa, but you can keep your “that’s a pretty dress comment.” It’s really just a dress like yours, except it has the brightest colored, exaggerated print ever, because we Africans don’t know how to just be regular. For what?
3. Harmattan. I just love it. I know most Nigerians will hate me for saying this because it does get super dry and dusty everywhere, but really, the harmattan is actually my favorite season in Nigeria. There’s a nice cool breeze in the mornings, it’s not too hot or too cold, and there’s this feeling in the air that just makes it seem like an imaginary love song is following you about. The closest weather we have to harmattan in the U.S. is Fall, but it doesn’t come with the dust, so that’s not the real deal.
4. Free/affordable child care, because remember, Aunty Sidi the caterer lives next door, and mama Chidi is jobless anyway. Just don’t take your kids to Uncle Sunday the mechanic in the flat downstairs… uncles in naija cannot be trusted (#isaidwhatisaid). What is that thing they say about “it takes a village…?” Well, I’m convinced that home is where the village is at, because I’m still searching for directions to that village in the US.
5. Detty December. Me too, I want to chop this life. Such torture that I endured on my timeline last December! Everyone was parte atfer parte-ing away, and we over here were left stuck with Mariah Carey’s rendition of all I want for Christmas is you. I love you Mariah, sis, but really, all I want for Christmas is #dettydecember, and constant electricity while I’m there, and accessible water for everyone, and education for kids of the poor, and jobs for our graduates, and what were we talking about again…?
6. Having mama and papa nearby, because it just would be very nice for the family to be together, and because really, I sometimes just want to take a break from #adulting, and call my Mama to tell her I’m on my way to eat some of her famous fresh catfish stew, or freshly cooked moimoi. And I want to tell Papa I’m bringing the kids over
for the weekend and be like “peace out” for a couple hours to play erepa.
7. No office politics and pointless conversations. No I don’t want to talk about the weather for the umpteenth time today, and I certainly don’t want to talk about the Superbowl because I was only there for the chicken wings. I don’t even understand how the football game works, and remind me, who played who again? I really don’t care, and I don’t want to talk about it. I’ll gladly donate to a Kickstarter campaign for an app that will give me a summary of all I need to know for work conversations on Monday morning. Like who played what game, and the weather forecast for the week, and Trump said what dumb thing again?
Honestly, what I want is sweet gist of what owanbe my coworkers attended over the weekend, and the small chops that were present, and their reviews of the latest Nollywood movie they watched. Ugh these things do I miss.
8. Getting my hair done. I roll my eyes in envy every time I see pictures of my friends in Nigeria with new braids every other week. Listen, that would cost me my entire paycheck plus some over here, and it wouldn’t even look half as good. Just imagine the bliss if I was in Naija – they take out your braids for you, wash your hair, and re-braid, all while you are snacking on gala and La Casera. Yet your bill at the end is less than the cost of dinner. I would call it living a woman’s dream, but then again, when I think about the ridiculousness of wage distribution in Naija, I start to boil up.
Don’t take me too seriously oh. This post was mostly for fun. Because my previous posts have been quite heavy, I wanted to serve something light and fluffy. The food points, which is like 90% of the list, I do mean though. Detty December? Honestly, I’d be partied out after the first concert. I’m such an old soul.
So anyway, who wants to create my ideal country? The US-Nigeria-France-Islands blend? Oh and England because their snacks are 💯, plus Ghana because they are so level-headed, and kelewele is everything. We just need to come up with a name for this country… if only Wakanda wasn’t taken.
If you’re outside your home country, what are your favorite things that you miss about home? And if you’re at home, what would you miss the most if you left?
P.S. You might be interested in my upcoming event to be held at Suya Spot. More details here.