Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wrong Blogger Connection

Her blog was one of the first blogs I came across soon after I joined blogspot in 2006. She came to my blog to leave a "Welcome to Blogville!" comment, so I decided to pay her blog a visit. I enjoyed reading her archives so much that I immediately bookmarked the link. She came across as a very down-to-earth, fun-loving and intelligent person, with a great sense of humour. I started visiting her blog regularly, leaving comments and urging her to update.

From her posts, I got to know more about her. We seemed to have a lot of things in common. We were about the same age, she was a Christian like me, we had similar hobbies and interests. I found out that she lived in Lagos, had just finished her service year and was working in one of the new banks. She was single and looking to meet Mr Right. Her many tales of disastrous dates she went on kept her readers hooked. Sometimes though, she wrote inspiring and encouraging posts that everyone could identify with. Her blog became very popular in blogville and I even forwarded her link to some of my friends who were not bloggers to read.

One day I wrote a sad post and she sent me an email after reading it to cheer me up. I was very grateful and soon we started corresponding by email and we became blog-pals. Then one day I got a Facebook friend request from a name I didn't recognise. I ignored it, until the same person sent me a message, and it was my blog pal! Somehow she had tracked me down and discovered my identity. I didn't mind at all, and I was actually flattered that she took the trouble to search for me on Facebook, and that she was willing to reveal her own identity too. I accepted her friend request at once, and we became Facebook pals as well. I went through her albums and I saw that she was really pretty. It turned out we even had a mutual friend who had gone to the same university as she did. We kept in touch regularly, writing on each other's walls and leaving comments on each other's photos and stuff.
Then towards the end of last year, I sent her an email:

"Hey girl, guess what? I'll be coming to Lagos for the Christmas and New Year break! I should be around for three weeks. Do you want to meet up?"

I got a reply a few hours later. She sounded excited and her reply was:

"Wow girl that's great! We must definitely see o. Let me know exactly when you'll be landing. I can't believe I'll soon meet you, gosh it feels like I've known you for ages already. My number is xxxxxxx. Give me a call when you land in my town"

I looked forward to meeting her, as I thought it would be one of the highlights of my trip.

I arrived in Lagos one Wednesday morning and was met by my aunt and uncle I would be staying with. Immediately I could, I got a sim card and bought credit to inform my friends, including blog-pal that I was in town. I had so many people to see, places to go and things to do in the three weeks I would be staying for. My aunt was also planning to celebrate her 50th birthday party on Boxing Day. She wanted it to be a grand affair so I joined her and my cousins with the running around and preparations.

After a few days, I noticed that my aunt and her husband were not on very good terms. They seemed to be either snapping at each other half the time, or ignoring each other completely. I asked my cousin about it, one afternoon, when we were in the car together.
"Kemi, what's going on with your mum and dad?"
She looked at me and I could see she wasn't keen to explain. "Well they are having some problems"
"I noticed. What kind of problems?"
She concentrated on the road ahead of us. "I can't explain right now" she said. "I'll give you the full gist later".
I was curious but I could sense her reluctance and I decided to let it go, hoping that my aunt and uncle would work their problems out.

Meanwhile I had been speaking to my blog-pal regularly and we finally arranged a time and place to hook up. We decided to meet at the Silverbird Galleria. I was so excited to meet her that I got my cousin to drop me there an hour early. While I waited for her to arrive, I browsed the media store, bought some books and a magazine. Then I went to the top floor, bought some popcorn and browsed the mag to while away the time. Soon I got a text from her and I texted back, telling her to meet me at the top.

I recognised her immediately I saw her from her facebook profile. She was even prettier in person. We greeted each other like we were long-lost friends, which in a funny way, we were. Soon we were chatting away about this and that over lunch . We got on so well that no one observing us would guess that we were just meeting each other for the first time. I took some photos with my camera and I promised to put them on Facebook later. After the meal, we saw a movie and afterwards, she had to leave as she had a long journey back home. I wanted to meet her again if it was possible.
As we walked down the stairs, I asked her, "Are you free on Boxing Day?"
"Uhm, let me see, I've got a wedding, one of my colleagues from work. Why?"
"My aunt is celebrating her 50th birthday that day"
"Oh I see, whereabouts is the party happeneing?"
I told her the venue of the hall we were using.
"Oh that's not too far from the reception venue. I'll see if I can leave the reception early to come for the party, but I'll let you know"
"It would be great if you could make it" I said.
Outside the galleria, we hugged each other goodbye and then she got into a cab, while I waited for my cousin to come and pick me up.

On the day of my aunt's party, my cousins and I were so busy helping to set up everything and attending to guests, that I almost forgot my blog-pal sid she might come. I did notice that my aunt and uncle seemed to have put their problems aside, at least for the benefit of the guests. They were smiling and posing for the cameras throughout the party and my uncle didn't leave his wife's side for one minute. They even looked the part, when they were on the dance floor together.
While I was busy serving a particularly fussy woman, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I looked up and I saw my blog-pal smiling at me. I was so glad she could make it.
"Hi girl!" I said. "Please take a seat, I'll join you shortly"
But then she said, "Oh, I'm sorry, I can't stay. I have to go"
I was surprised and I said "Ah ah, you've just come now. Wait for me I'm coming"
She shook her head and took my arm. "I can't stay, I'm in a hurry. I just came to see you"
I asked a steward to attend to the woman I was serving and walked outside the hall with her. She looked uncomfortable as we made our way out of the hall. I was slightly disappointed that she couldn't stay, but I said okay and I saw her off to the exit . She waved at me and promised "I'll call you tomorrow!"
So I hugged her and waved goodbye.
I turned back to go into the hall and as I was taking the stairs at the entrance, I saw my cousin walking towards me as fast as her tight Ankara skirt and high heels would let her. She had a very angry and disgusted look on her face.
"What are you doing with that girl?" she demanded. "Where do you know her from?"
I told her that blog-pal was a good friend and a very nice girl.
My cousin looked as if she was about to slap my face.
"That girl is my dad's girlfriend!" she shouted. "She's the one causing problems in their marriage! How dare you invite her to my mum's party?"
I stared at her in shock. I could not reconcile the words she was saying with the lovely person I had just said goodbye to.
"Wh-what do you mean?" I managed to stammer.
"I said she's my dad's mistress! And you're telling me she's your friend?"
"I'm so sorry, I-I didn't know", I croaked.
"You better hope my mum didn't see both of you together" my cousin hissed and turned her back to me, walking away.
I stood there, still reeling from the information I had just heard. It just didn't make sense. I couldn't believe that the girl I had been reading her blog for months, become virtual friends with, and hung out with a few days ago, was the same person dating my uncle and threatening my aunt's marriage.

I had the feeling that I wouldn't be hearing from her again.

Disclaimer: This story is not completely true. It's a mixture of real events and some of my over-active imagination.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to you! Hope you have a nice day, perhaps with an unexpected gesture from a secret admirer or your partner. I'm having a lovely one with my permanent valentine. Hubby tricked me this morning and at the end of it I discovered a bunch of roses, chocolates and a card, which was really sweet! Unfortunately though, the rest of my day is going to be somewhat dry. I'm at work all day and I have a class to attend this evening so I won't be back home until very late. But we've got some groovy plans for tomorrow and the weekend. I love celebrating valentine's day although I don't think we need one day in the whole year to remind us to love or appreciate each other. We should do that at every opportunity shouldn't we?

Today reminds me of how we used to mark valentine's day in secondary school. Then it was fun to anticipate getting a card and presents from your "secret admirer" or your boyfriend. Well for most girls it was fun especially the pretty and popular girls back in school. Meanwhile for the guys, it was a competition to see who would get the most impressive things for the girls. Guys would save up for months to buy the cutest teddy bear, the biggest box-card, the odd bottle of wine, chocolates and tinned cookies. And if a girl was lucky, her admirer would be a rich guy that could afford to get her picture frames and personalised jewellery. There were often touching love letters to go with the gifts which the lucky recipient and her friends would laugh over and dissect every single word.

Unfortunately for the guys there were no guarantees. I remember one poor chap who tried to impress a girl with a card and chocolates, but she sent it back to him because he was too 'razz' in her opinion. Then there was another guy who had spent all his money on expensive stuff for a girl. He went all out to impress her with dozens of stuff, but we later heard that she slapped him the next day! And who can forget about the guys that would suddenly stop talking to you at the beginning of February and resume the friendship three days after the 14th? Classic moves!

Anyway back to the present, when I went out for my lunch break this afternoon, there were long queues at all the supermarkets, full of guys clutching cards, chocolates and roses. It was all very amusing. And a guy in my office is cracking me up now, saying valentine's day has turned into nothing more than a con by retailers to charge extra for flowers, cards and dinner in restaurants. While I agree with him to some extent, I still think it's up to individuals and couples to make of it what they want to. Funny enough, I read somewhere that couples are more likely to have a big row and break up around this time. That's probably due to dashed hopes and unreasonable expectations.

Well that's about it for my ramblings today. I hope you enjoy the day and the rest of your week.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

February, Lent and Other Gists

Hey everyone! I hope you are having a great week. It's February and not just that, it's the fifth day already! Time is really flying by. This year, February has 29 days so make the most of the extra one! I trust that you had a great time in the last month and are looking forward to the rest of the year. Even if January wasn't so great, well there is the rest of the year to look forward to.

Usually about this time, a lot of New Year resolutions have been forgotten or discarded. If you made any resolutions at the beginning of the year, are you still keeping them? Or have your resolutions been swept under the carpet, in the busyness of day-to-day life? Filed somewhere between "I'll come to that later" and "I don't have time"? Or perhaps you've just simply forgotten about it and gone back to business as usual. It is really hard to make changes in life and procrastinating is one of the main stumbling blocks to progress. Sometimes I've made resolutions with all seriousness and before I know it, I've found myself slipping back to my old ways. It takes time and concerted effort to change or break a familiar pattern or habits. So if you really want to change something, keep at it and if you fail once or twice, don't give up. Pick yourself up and start again.

Speaking of resolutions, the period of Lent is upon us again. It seems to have come earlier this year hasn't it? Anyway, this afternoon my friend and I were talking about what we could give up for 40 days. At first I thought my life is pretty boring - I don't watch much TV, don't drink, don't smoke, don't eat too much chocolate, etc - so what could I give up? Then I thought, well I do spend too much time on Facebook. So that's what I'll be doing, no Facebook for me for the next 40 days. I'm actually looking forward to it. I think I will find that not going on facebook for a while will free up my time to do more productive things! I'll let you all know how it goes.

Update on my last post: I'm back at work! Yeah I decided to take up my previous employer's offer and I started again yesterday. When I walked into the reception yesterday morning, everyone was like, "Hey, welcome back!" "Did you have a good time off?" "How come you're back?" etc etc. It feels funny and yet familiar to be back at my old job, seeing my old colleagues and getting familiar with the things I used to do a few months ago. It's only till August though, so I'm not planning to put down any firm roots. There's no way I would stay in the job permanently, knowing what I now know. I would never be fulfilled in my career being an accountant again so I have to keep up with my writing. Someone said to me "Now you are back and soon it will feel like you never left". I smiled when she said that, but in my mind I knew it will never be the same. I've tasted what it feels to be free of the "dead-end job" trap and I know that I never want to be stuck in it for the rest of my life. Life is too short to be wasting my time in an unfulfilling job! That's what will motivate me to continue pursuing my other career goals because my dreams, goals, passion and skills are not in this profession. I'm doing this because I need some liquidity! I had actually forgotten about the journey to work aspect, so it's been funny getting back into the rush hour commuting malarkey again. That's the one part I definitely won't miss when I leave in the summer.

As Lent begins tomorrow, it's Pancake Day today! I'm making some, and I plan to eat them with bananas and whipped cream, absolutely delicious. Have fun eating yours and enjoy the rest of the week. Stay blessed.
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