Saturday, June 23, 2012

Off to Nigeria we go!

I am a native of Nigeria and I came to the United States in the fall of 2004. I have not been back to my home country....until recently. 

My dad called me in the beginning of the year and asked if I would like to go home (to Nigeria) later in spring. I took a moment to think of all the things I should be doing that spring. Topmost on my mind was my Qualifying exam, finishing off my classes prerequisites as a PhD student, becoming a Teaching Assistant and of course lab work. All these went through my mind in a spilt second and I replied -yes- to my dad. 

Wait! Despite all I had to do academically, I told my dad I would like to go to Nigeria in spring? Yes. 

I realized that the opportunity might not present itself anytime soon if I missed going. And secondly, I am what I now refer to as a professional student, which means at any point in time that I have something to do or somewhere to go, I can always think of a few academic reasons why it's not the right time or next semester might be better. 

Murtala Mohammed Airport in the distance

I realized if I wanted to go to Nigeria, all I had to do was rearrange my academic programmed brain and just go.

And that's exactly what I did.

So, come the month of May, few days after my Buffalo trip, I packed up a months worth of belongings and hauled my bags, my family doing likewise, to the airport to begin a three and a half weeks stay in Nigeria. 

Leaving the airport into the bustling world of Lagos

The trip was amazing and I will go into details in the next few blogs (or not so few ^..^). I went to many various places within Lagos and outside of lagos. There were many more places I wanted to go to but alas, my graduate student stipend won't let me. I do have plans to go back (now that I've experience the Motherland) in time. For now, I hope to relive my trip by reading and re-reading my posts whenever I feel for home. :)

Despite (almost) exhausting my dollars, umm naira, I had a great time in Nigeria and I am very glad I convinced myself to go.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Brother's Graduation

The main reason I went to Buffalo NY in the first place was to attend my younger brother's graduation ceremony. And so, after all the site seeing and picture taking, we got ready and went off to watch my brother walk and to take more pictures.
My Brother walking towards Niagara Falls

Proud parents in traditional attire
Of course, my parents went all out in a very traditional outfit, and needless to say, we got a few stares. And people looking at them while we took pictures. The outfits were very bright and cool. Definitely something different from your every day attire. Turns out we weren't the only ones in traditional attires. Families from Nigeria, Ghana and India were all dressed traditional. It was neat to see such diversity.

The ceremony was a lot of fun, as proud parents and families hooted and whistled as students walked to get their diploma. My brother graduated with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He minored in Economics. I am very proud of him!

There's my brother on the screen with the big smile

After the ceremony, a few of his friends invited us over for a small party planned for him. It was fun, and I got to eat as much Nigerian food as I wanted.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Beginning of Something New: Niagara Falls in Buffalo, New York.

I've always wanted to travel and I got the opportunity to do some traveling this Spring. It all began with my brothers' graduation at the University of Buffalo. I went with my sis in law and we had a blast exploring the quiet, yet vibrant buffalo city.

We went to Niagara Falls, where I saw (a tiny bit of) Canada for the first time.

Rainbow Bridge

It was simply incredible and that was when I knew my dream of traveling had to be fulfilled. I want to see as much of the world I can with my meager graduate student stipend. I want to hear other waterfalls angry roar, booming as each fall collide with the void below. I want to see the lush greenery of different places, and visit the temples in South East Asia. I want to feel the sand wiggle beneath my feet in parts of India and Africa. I want to explore the America I live in, to experience the warm, inviting cultures of Latin America,  and the vast openness of Europe. And so I said to myself, while starring into the deep void crafted by this powerful waterfall, I said, with all conviction, in a very loud voice inside my head, I said: I will travel!