April 2006, Germany: Second Stop – Frankfurt

“ok so this is just silly. i’m on a plane to germany! and although the upgrade is nice (i checked in late so they had given my original seat away and bumped me up to business class), i really do miss having a window seat on this flight. i love window seats – the clouds, seeing that the sun is always shining somewhere. i’m really happy about my ipod right now though – it’s nice to have lots to choose from and especially a variety of stuff i’m not so familliar with lately – i.e. not coldplay x&y”

sidebar – my cd player has been finicky for months and will only play x&y. my ipod was a necessary splurge although i kicked myself over and over for blowing that much cash before the trip.

“this upgrade was super interesting because of the way i felt at first. like i didn’t belong and didn’t know the rules, expecting people to treat me like i didn’t belong but then slowly gaining confidence and losing self-censorship. it’s nice to be at the point where i recognize my brain starting to to go places that have no basis in reality, places where i would make myself feel bad and unworthy. i’m not past the point of having those thoughts, but i’m in a hopeful place where i can recognize that they aren’t true and it’s getting better. yay jt for your mixtape! tadao. just what i wanted. i wonder if i’m going to be up the latest of all these people on the plane. everyone’s passing out and i feel like the only one up. where are they from? gross, mouth breather’s breath next to me is super kickin, almost like poopies. ish. please don’t let me barf… “my mom gave me the funniest look when she was saying goodbye. she had her arms around me and was standing closer than we ever normally stand. and she’s like, ‘tell dotun… hello… and you be safe…” and blah blah blah. but in that moment i realized that my dad is probably the only man in her life who she really cared about and really cared about her. the only one she ever married. she had a child with him. i could see in her eyes that he was really special.”

upon arrival in germany:

“arrived in germany. stepping off the plane was a trip – knowing it would be different but not knowing what to expect. wandering around without much confidence but with a lot of wonder and curiousity…

“a guy who was napping next to me just got up and totally left his luggage unattended. i would never see that at home. i love this idea of a european international airport. you never know who’s from where. i expect no americans but then hear the familliar speech pattern. i gotta not hate, but i sort of don’t want to be identified american in a way. oh well though, i am who i am, right? the most beautiful woman just walked past. i wonder if she’s going to lagos. there’s a whole lot of bikes in this airport. i wonder why. or maybe i wonder why not. german airport – cool, but still an airport (i hate airports). i love the gates – little lounges. tables and chairs. people laying down. internet connection evidently.

“ok, time to address this: seeing so many nigerians is freaking me out. but it’s freaking me out because i feel like they’re going to hate me or judge me. but that comes back to me judging myself. i apologize over and over again for not being black enough. not being nigerian enough. being too light. talking too white. being uncomfortable. but that’s only a silly cycle. my life is my life. i am who i am. i am responsible for my choices, not my circumstance. i’ve heard nothing but the fact that everyone will be wonderful and welcoming to me. so why should i be afraid to look them in the eye and see that? so afraid they’ll learn my secret. oooh, the pretty lady IS going to lagos! anyways, my secret is that i was raised by a white family with some bad stereotypes so life is a complicated mess to sort out. and i feel guilty for being who i am but who else was i supposed to be, as a person reacting to/making choices about my circumstance. what i have to do is to remember to stop apologizing for myself. and move on. and make choices based on what i know about me.
“holy shit. next stop nigeria. today i meet my dad. the idea is just so crazy. these are the last few hours of my life that i can say i’ve never met my dad. that i don’t know who he is… or how he is…

“oh dear, i’m getting so hesitant and tired. what on earth am i doing here? what if everyone hates me? what if i don’t get along with them? i’m coming into a culture that belongs to me, but which has always seemed different and scary and negative i guess. africa doesn’t have much positive exposure in the US. cultural standards in the US looking down on cultural standards there. and the smell, i have to say it out loud, the smell! deoderant is not a cultural norm and my nose is going to have to get used to it. it’s not an innately bad thing, but it has a bad value back home. it may be difficult to adjust.”

it wasn’t.

“at least i won’t be paranoid about smelling bad. where the heck am i going and what am i doing? and seriously, are all these asian people going to nigeria, or are they just crashing at the gate. i can’t wait to see what the population is like. it’s so crazy to go see something that is mine, having never seen it before at this age. what will i see? i wonder how many black americans are in this airport? or in nigeria?”

straight on panic.

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