I Chopped Off My Hair!!!!

okey ladies and gentlemen.......the hair is all gone. all of it. gone. bye-bye. can't even braid the hair, can't wear weaves. all. gone.

Anyone who knows me even a lick will know that the thought of not having hair on my head is almost as scary as............armageddon to me. yes. that bad. I see other ladies with very short hair and sometimes it looks good on them, but in that way that i know that i would never ever ever chop mine off. Also i think i've always convinced myself that it's about personality. Since I was little I always wanted long curly hair just cuz it seemed that it was what matched my personality. I mean, all giggling, wide-smiled, beautiful, young, ladies must have long curly hair, no? :o)

I went to Bobby's Sig to cut it off, and although those fellas can cut hair, sometimes, imagination and creativity is quite the problem. if you tell them EXACTLY what to cut, or show a pic, you're good. But if you go in and tell them something vague, like I want a short hair style with layered flips in the back.......you're screwed. Plus, i've just noticed that they're not too big on flips around here. Oh they'll cut layers, but it'll always be in a bob unless you tell them specifically to "tongue" it the other way.

But anyway, Saturday was the D day. I went in and i must confess I was so scared. I mean who was I without my hair??? Everybody knows, rest assured, Lola's hair will look fabulous with a fabulous cut (my dear, weaves are my specialty, TRUST me) but now, I can just imagine the shock people will have when this big chick with no hair walks in. Immediately they'd think I was some loud-mouthed, ghetto, chick in her mid-30s. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G i don't want to be. Then I tried to look on the bright side. Maybe it'd be cute and impish, like Audrey Hepburn, or Jada Pinkett, or Nia Long circa Fresh Prince........................but then again, those two latter ladies look way more fabulous with their long hair. Breathe In, Breathe Out.......you just gotta do what you gotta do. So off it went.

RANTI (the cute boy hairdresser): okay, u can put on your glasses now
ME: uhm, uhm......really?
RANTI: yes, put it on, it fits your face
ME: uhm.........u mean you're done?
RANTI: yes, put the glasses on Lola
ME: uhm....ok (hands trembling)
RANTI: u like it right?
ME: yeah..............sure! (like i would like being tortured in a Chinese dungeon) smile...

The hair style's been growing on me though. Maaaaaaan, as women, we don't realize how much we hide behind our hair.....i never ever ever thought it was that deep for us until i chopped it all off. you now start wondering whether people will treat you the same. That person that was attracted to you yesterday would he still be today? Would people judge me quickly (and wrongly) because of my short, almost non-existent hair? and then I start to think why should someone like me or not like me simply cuz of hair? especially someone who saw me last week and now today cuz of my hair, he's like "oops, big mistake".............it's quite funny but unexpectedly empowering as well. Especially since they've been playing that India.Arie song on TV all day...........

My name is Lola and I am not my hair!

8 months ke?!?

So my friend says to me yesterday "shebi u've been here for 8 months now..." and immediately i yell out NO!! but then I think about it for sec............yeeeeeaaah, i HAVE been here for 8 months. Man, 8 long months in Lagos. Four months less a year, wow. God is good you know and time does fly. I feel like it was just a few months ago not two-thirds of a year. I remember leaving Boston that cold, cold morning in December. It was just myself and my older brother I think. I opened up the door and my neighbour had left me a card and some cookies hung on the doorknob. I smiled cuz I knew I was going to miss the random cookies :o) Hugged my bro, jumped in the cab and off I go!!! I really couldn't understand it either I was just going through the motions. What would the next months bring? How would Lagos be? How would I cope with everything, everyone? and the most recurring question of all, am I turning slightly mad? is this all "spiritual" (like nigerians would say!)?

The road to coming here was quite an experience in itself. The decision itself i think started quite a while ago. While I was in second year, I remember walking and just deciding casually that when I finish school, I was going to comeback. And that was that. So after working a year in Boston and not really feeling like i was on a GREAT career path (alright but just not GREAT), I started to think of my options and my promise to myself came back to me. Then the logistics of it all. So I just started to plan. Prepared a mental checklist of what could make this feasible and started on this journey. I think the most difficult part was really convincing myself I was going to do it because once I was sold then selling others was not only easier but less important. My mother severally tried to dissuade me in her own gentle manner. I think perhaps she was concerned that it WAS spiritual. Hehe....Many people encouraged me in a very faint manner, like a facade of encouragement. Like:

THEM (outloud): wow, what a big step, you're really brave.
THEM (inside): this chick is CRAAAAAAAAAAAZY. ah well, better her than me!
THEM (outloud): great. good luck man
THEM (inside): cuz you sho' gonna need it!

Ah.........those were the days. For those who'd like to know still, got my job through a career service: careers in africa. The largest multinationals participate in this job jair where they come to the UK to recruit african professionals back to african countries. Anybody looking to return should sure try it out. It's very rigorous though, they generally have a 30% employment rate which I consider good enough anyway. It's like an intense job hunt weekend. Some people get interviews scheduled but mostly you have to go there, hustle for interviews, hustle for connections, and work your magic. Usually it's HR Directors, MDs, and senior staff that attend, so really the buck starts or stops with them. Great experience.

Anywho............8 months. wow. Here are some interesting facts off the top of my head I've learned here:
  1. anything can fit on an okada(motorcycle for my non-nigerians). cow, sheep, ladder, planks, an entire family, and today i saw a person carrying a full-sized wheelbarrow with things in it.
  2. just a small drizzle of rain can cause an otherwise free road to become jammed. almost by magic. even the smell of rain can cause a 2 hr traffic jam.
  3. some hausa in the north share their children to prevent evil stepmother syndrome. So if a man has 3 wives, he might give 2 of wife number 3's kids to wife number 1. get it? just learned that 20min ago!
  4. nigerians call any hot substance tea. no matter if it's bournvita, milo, ovaltine, horlicks, theraflu, whatever. as long as it's hot and drinkable, it's called tea.
  5. Posting - leading someone on. e.g: "didn't biodun say the party wasn't jumping? why is he still there" answer: biodun was posting you.
  6. Scenti - learned about this in abuja but it's proved a very popular word in social circles. Term for whenever you're eating something soooo good that you say something utterly stupid and unnecessary. e.g: while eating a fantastic bowl of ukwobi (bowl of spiced meat for my NN) u ask "today's monday abi?" That's scenti.
  7. Most of you know this but reiteration doesn't hurt. If a Nigerian says they are almost there, they are at XYZ. Truth is they're still gisting somewhere. This equation NEVER changes. there's no maybe, sometimes, perhaps this time...........no. They are gisting. so chill.
  8. Chilling - leaving. eg. "i'm chilling" means i'm leaving soon.
  9. Doutch - money. eg. that dude's got doutch.
  10. Do not do La Casa if you're not with a male or if one person out of your group is looking.........woh woh ish(not quite right for my NN).

Woooooooo!!! i'm sure i'll add more on as i remember. But looking at it all. I give all thanks to God the Almighty who keeps me every single day, every single minute. One of my favorite rap lines is by Mos Def goes thus: God is sufficient in disposal of affairs. My people, let's never forget that!

Mr. Who?/I Wore My Sweater!!

Wow, been a long time here. Been so busy with work.....product launch, major promo going on, major project, etc. All at the same time. This friday I said whew, I must take the time to write! Ok, so what's been happening? let's start with the product launch. It was an absolute blast. A lot of work went into it, but it's one of those moments I absolutely wouldn't want to be anywhere else than here in Nigeria. At the end of the program, the band was still there, the music was fabolous, and we all just spontaneously started to dance. And i don't mean some timid dancing oh, like real real boogie down. We had a fashion show from each decade (60s, 70s, 80s, 90s) and the corresponding music so songs like "Rock the Boat", "Sexy Thing" by Hot Chocolate, some really classic stuff, "Septemeber" by Earth, Wind, and Fire. It was really lovely anyway. I've include some pics of the event. Some of you will notice NAFDAC Director Dora Akinyuli. Many of the guest there were biggies but I kept blundering the entire night. Some big guy would come in and i'd be like "scuse me sir, what's your name so we can seat you..." dude would now give me an incredulous look like uhm, where did u get this chick from?!?!?! "I'm so and so" they would then say very matter of factedly. It given got so bad that one of the workers at the event even came up to me specially:

HE: excuse me ma, u don't know oheiwerei?
ME: uhm, no
HE: (shocked and not understanding), that man, u don't know him?
ME: (getting agitated) no.......
HE: ah......

He then quietly goes to sit down. I'm sure he must have gone home and told the story like "can you imagine this girl asked oheiwerei his name?!?!?! LOL. It's not my fault now........how am i supposed to know the "captain of industry" in nigeria? MD/CEO of Nigerian Breweries who apparently is soo powerful he was one of the main proponents of the third term agenda. Me I no know o!!!

Hmm.........what else has been going on?
yeah.....I put on my first sweater today!!! I mean, ladies and gentlement, I was actually cold. in Nigeria! wonders shall never end. That has always been one of my little chuckles in Nigeria whenever I see people wearing sweaters, i just smile instantly. Seriously, the weather here (lagos) rarely goes below 29 degrees C....which should be around 85 degrees F, it's like how cold can it get really...........but maaan, yesterday I had to sleep with my socks on and i've been wearing a sweater all day and I still feel cold. It's kinda strange. Next thing you know when I visit stateside next I'll be like one of those Naija JJCs wearing this huge, thick, cream turtleneck sweater, complaining about how cold it is in obodo oyinbo (the white man's land for my non-yoruba comrades).