A few weeks ago when I sat down to identify the five or six things that would make 2012 the perfect year, one of the things that eventually came to the fore was carrying over zero holidays in to next year. That by itself shouldn’t have been significant, but between hoarding my holidays for what I thought would be quarterly jaunts westward and my eventual withdrawal into my time honoured silo, I ended up needing a flurry of trips late in the year to claw back what was a huge holiday backlog. Even that was not enough, I ended up losing four days having carried over the maximum seven days into the new year.
A trip to Nigeria beckons this time, something which created quite a few coffee room talking points with my team mates at work given the latest news out of Nigeria. Regardless of my lost son affectations, she still has her attractions – perhaps even more so now than before. There is the small matter of the niece with whom the extent of my communication has been her baby babble as she has tried to distract her mother during numerous telephone conversations. [I haven’t quite forgiven her for stubbornly insisting on arriving two days late, missing the opportunity to share my birthday with me, for which I fully intend to find some way to surreptitiously give her ear a little pinch in retaliation]. As well, there is the other sister’s wedding, and then fourteen days later one between two of my old friends in a different part of the country; both weddings nicely book-ending my stay. Around those key drivers are a myriad of other births, marriages, promotions and the odd death and breakup to share – quotidian joys (and sorrows) which my decision to remain stuck in my corner of the world has kept me insulated from. Thanks to a couple of supermoms off Twitter [@aloted and @Mz_SoupaWoman], I shall be dragging a few boxes of age-appropriate gifts in my wake. That should help promote some uncle-niece bonding, as well as deflect some of the vitriol that might be lobbed in my direction when it transpires I have pinched a few ears!
Overall, I suspect it will be an intriguing trip, perhaps even something to be looked forward though in some respects. Besides the obligatory suya based dinner on the first night back, the only other culinary delight on my mind is a big steaming calabash of ekpang nkukwo. I sincerely hope that my old haunt on the corner of Grace Bill and Park that served that as its speciality still exists. I sense there will be a few awkward moments too. In getting the baby sister married off, the final buffer the kid brother and I have had between us and el Madre’s cross hairs is being eased out of the equation. Once the dust from the dancing feet and swaying hips has settled down, and everyone has recovered from the exertions of planning and executing a wedding, I fully expect to be the recipient of a full on heart to heart chat, part of the reason why I intend to spend a lot of the time on the road, and why I accepted to attend the other wedding across the country. There is also the distinct possibility that Mlle. F will be putting in an appearance – if my sources have it right, she might be attending with the arms of a certain young man draped protectively around her shoulders. That is most assuredly not a sight for my sore eyes, but closure of any sort cannot be a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination.
I would like to think I have the capability to write some Noo Saro-Wiwa-esque Nigeria travelogue, or perhaps more appropriately mindlessly ape Teju Cole‘s now extinct blog of a similar genre but something tells me between the food, the activity, and the spectre of work looming in the back of my mind I will have my hands full. I suppose the least that I can do is at least try. After all, as they say, imitation is the greatest form of flattery.