LAGOS RAMBLINGS

Lagos, Algarve

Sadly not the train I saw. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This post was supposed to be written at MM2. I had this mental picture of sitting in an airport, typing away, a complete oasis of peace amidst the swirling blur of travelling humanity…however, my battery refused to allow me to be great, so I’m back at home, typing this in the sweltering Abuja heat and not feeling like much of an oasis.

I love airports…as soon as I get into one, I want to travel to some exotic country far away…I am a wanderer at heart, and airports remind me of that desire to explore new regions and experience new things. I remember telling my family years ago that I would not own a home…I decided that I would spend my years travelling with my knapsack on my back and come home periodically with souvenirs of the many places I would have visited. While I have come to the realization that living like a tortoise with my home on my back might not be the best way to go, I still enjoy the hunger that airports spark in me, and indulge them with short trips to Lagos and plans for travelling the world a country at a time.

Anyway…back to the point…whatever it was meant to be…

I took a Dana flight to and from Lagos and I must say it was a wonderful experience. Customer relations were excellent, hostesses were polite, pleasant and professional and my checking in and flight arrangements were done smoothly. My flight back to Abuja was excellent; the plane almost seemed to kiss the ground, so smooth was the landing. I’d like to think that perhaps Dana Air has started again with a renewed focus on excellence in all aspects of their work. It seems that so often, we notice the bad that organizations and corporations do, I’d like to also acknowledge the good and hope that they keep it this way and even improve their services. I was definitely impressed.

I enjoyed my trip to Lagos…I get to see a different side of it every time I travel. This trip, I enjoyed looking at the old and new buildings side by side…Lagos is full of history. I looked at buildings put up in the 1800s and couldn’t help wondering about them. Who built them, how many generations had passed, how the current occupants felt about living in history… I would imagine that houses so old would have an atmosphere full of memories…you would walk into them and feel the joys and hopes and tears of generation after generation…I am glad that in Lagos and also Calabar, we are not so overwhelmingly obsessed with the new that we are recklessly chucking out the old. I know that many valuable architectural and cultural aspects of our past have been and are still in the process of being lost, so it made me very happy to see old homes…some carefully maintained. It told me that perhaps there are some that still care.

I also enjoyed watching the train. Yes the cars were rickety, yes the tracks are overgrown with grass but still, it was lovely to hear the alarm bells ring, see the barriers come down and then watch the train thunder past. Although trains don’t evoke in me the same desire to travel that airports do (those things look rickety abeg), it was still nice to watch these people in the trains and wonder who they were and where they were going.

Hmmm..what else?

I enjoyed shutting down, and I truly did. Barely answered my phone or responded to messages, just disconnected from life, took a step outside the hustle and bustle and caught a moment to breathe. It was a wonderful mini-break; somewhere in the middle of the holiday, I found myself letting go of a “worry list” that I didn’t even know I had been building, and replacing it with a “grateful list”. I knew I was well rested when I woke up this morning and found myself planning work stuff and calling people to get things organized before I show up at work tomorrow. I must remember to take out me-time. I know I can’t hop on a plane (or even a train) whenever I wish, but perhaps I could focus on enjoying my weekends more, making them less full of things to do and people to see and focusing on doing the things I want to do…as I want to do them. Life has been too busy lately.

Ok, rambling over…there’s a bowl of ogbono soup with my name on it and I’m off to find it.

Thank you for stopping by

God bless

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WHILE WE’RE STILL HERE

WHILE WE’RE STILL HERE

This piece might feel a bit disjointed, forgive me, I am still feeling my way through what I would like to write.

This is not a piece about how well or how little I knew Goldie; there will be many about that. It will not be a piece about her work or her craft. It won’t be about how life is short and why we must make it count. We know all that stuff, we’ve said it before.

I’m still a bit shocked by the news of Goldie’s death; you don’t think that someone who was so alive one minute could be just as dead in the next, but it’s true, she’s gone and I have found myself sieving through my mental archives for my thoughts and words on her; remembering what has been said of her.

There are many people who will wake up this morning wishing they could unsay what they have said about her in the comment sections of the various blogs and sites we visit, the casual viciousness that we are all becoming comfortable with. I think about how all we needed was a red carpet line up somewhere, and the comments would start rolling in, it almost felt like people were trying to outdo each other in how inventive they could be in their cruelty.

When we were in school, there was always one child who would pick on everyone else for the amusement of the rest of the class, and while we were afraid that one day it would be us, we laughed nonetheless at the victim for that day. Social media and the internet have turned us all into that kid, picking on anyone that happens to stray across our sights, and Goldie was a steady target.

My friend Ij celebrated her birthday yesterday, and she asked everyone to say something nice about her. Her words were simple, “Don’t wait till I’m dead to start saying how wonderful I am, I want to know now” and as the comments rolled in, she sat back to appreciate what she called her “alive eulogy”. Many of us would perhaps think that she was being a bit vain, but she was right, we withhold praise like too much of it will spoil the person we lavish it on, we ignore the opportunity to tell the people around us how much of an impact they have made in our lives and we are becoming steadily more comfortable with mocking and denigrating anyone who makes the mistake of putting themselves in our line of vision.

If Goldie’s death will remind me of anything, let it remind me to speak kindly, to make the effort to say something good about everyone I encounter, even if I have to dig deep to find those words. Let her death remind me that while it is easier to be cruel than to be kind, it is infinitely more rewarding to bless someone with the words out of my mouth, to lift instead of to pull down. And then let me take it a step further, let those around me never doubt that they are important to me, let them never doubt my appreciation and my gratitude for them and for all that they do in my life. Let nothing be left unsaid that can be said.

Goldie Susan Harvey lived her life like it was truly golden. She cried, she laughed and she lived and she gave us all the opportunity to experience her life as she lived it. May her soul rest in peace.