April 2006: A Quick Update (only post written from Lagos – mid trip)

hey friends, i miss you!

this trip is… well, it’s been crazy. the night before i left i found that my license had been suspended and i just had to say forget it and leave. argh.

ok so there will be many individual blogs coming chronicalling my trip but here are some highlights:

my dad is amazing. i didn’t predict what it would be like to meet him, but it was just… easy. he is incredibly calming, quiet and sweet. i found out where i got my temperament for sure. all i really expected was to see a moving picture. but if i would have named off all the qualities i would want to find in my dad, who i found surpasses all of those. i feel like the luckiest girl in the world. and it’s the strangest thing to see my eyes on someone else’s face.

coming here, everyone wished for me to have a really great time, have fun. but this trip has not exactly been fun. in fact, it’s been one of the hardest, most emotionally draining and humbling things i’ve ever done. it’s good over all, of course. my family here is wonderful (and huge). it’s just not been all rainbows and cartwheels. i’ve cried a lot and my whole foundation has been shaken. it’s tough.

my dad threw a big party (or as he described it, inviting a few people over to meet me) on the second day i was here. they bought a goat and slaughtered it for me. yeah.

the food has been… interesting. i’d been really excited to eat here, but some of it has been straight fear factor nigeria (see slaughtering a goat for my arrival).

traffic is crazy, the city is huge. it’s the second most populated city in the world behind mexico city. my dad thinks he’s not entertaining me enough. he must be used to looking around. there are lizards and goats and chickens everywhere.

last night i asked my dad to let me read the letters my mom wrote to him. i got to see how much in love they were and i got to see how tragic their situation and the beginning of my life really was. i got to see when my mom told my dad she was pregnant, that i was probably going to be a girl and not to be mad, that my mom’s original choice for my name was chantelle marissa, that mom and i were supposed to move to nigeria to be with my dad but it just didn’t work out, and i got to see the last of the letters my mom wrote and i can just about pinpoint the time where her spirit broke because hopes had been dashed too many times. i’ve cried a lot about that.

so this is really tough, but it’s good. i’ve learned as much about myself as i have about my family. i’ve taken a lot of pics and i hope they turn out. i’ve got 6 more days and i’m antsy to get home but i know i’ll be so sad to leave.

take care of yourselves and i’ll see you soon.

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