I once posted on my Facebook wall “there are only two states in Nigeria – Lagos, and the others”. Okay, I just may have exaggerated a little there but you can tell how much I love Lagos or rather the part of Lagos I usually visit. When an opportunity came up this August to visit Lagos again, I was over the moon. Though it was still a work-related trip, it felt so good to travel and get away from the 9-5 rut for a while. The highlight of all my Lagos trips has always been crossing the Third Mainland Bridge, haha. I’m pretty sure this sounds mundane to the hundreds of Lagosians who use that bridge everyday. But hey, my highlight is what it is – mine.
Now we’re talking of visits, guess who had her grannies over for a weekend in June? Me, obviously! Funny enough, I was sure I was going to make a blog post out of their visit even before they came (because, blogger). At first, it was only Papa that was to come, but trust me to find a way to convince Mama to tag along too. And in normal grandparents’ fashion, they came with a truckload of native goodies that you would think we were preparing for a festival. We had smoked chicken (note: not fried, not grilled), ugba, ube, ukwa, palm oil, abacha and my personal favourite, fufu.
There’s a little background story to the reason they came to Port Harcourt but I wouldn’t bore you with the details. To cut the long story short, Papa and Mama had to travel hundreds of miles just to ensure that I was okay. Such sacrifice on their part reinforced my belief that family always takes priority, whatever the situation.
The memories from that weekend are stuck in my head- the food, the gist, the laughter and warmth. And yes, how can I forget Papa’s story-telling? He made the words come alive with the songs, dramatic gestures and proverbs. There was one story about how God sent mosquitoes to earth to sing in the fisherman’s ear so he wouldn’t oversleep and forget the fish he was drying. Okay, I’m digressing.
I also seized the opportunity to take my Igbo-speaking skills to a whole new level. Though my grand dad speaks fluent English, he’d always say kwuo ya na’igbo (say it in Igbo) whenever I attempted to respond to him in English. Thankfully I didn’t bite off my tongue and Mama was ever ready to shower praises even when I made feeble attempts. And oh, the bickering between these two were very interesting to watch. One second they’d be at loggerheads, and the next they’d be laughing together at something silly my siblings and I did. They have been married for over 40 years, and you would think that they were too old to annoy each other. But I think that’s part of the fun in growing old together.
So, you want to know the one thing I took away from the time we spent together? Just so you know, it’s a little weird and kinda embarrassing to share but I’ll share it anyway.
#1: Growing old is not that bad after all
I used to have this teeny-weeny fear that life would become more boring as I grew older. You see, in your twenties you’re having the time of your life – there’s energy, there’s discovery, there’s adventure. Forty seems a long way off, and scary too. However through my grandparents’ eyes, I saw that I had nothing to be afraid of. Life is in phases and each phase is fraught with its own discovery, challenges and pleasures. I also look forward to being a grandma some day. God knows I’d be the coooolest grandma ever.
P.S. 1 And no, that’s not my grandma in the picture, in case you’re wondering.
P.S. 2 I’d wanted to do a glossary of all the Igbo terms I used in this post, but I can’t even explain some of them in English. Like what is fufu?