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#1. There is nothing sinister about the fact that there was power outage, and a serious fire outbreak in house #529 of Cougar Village, on the same day of your arrival in house #431. Cast the superstitious devil out of your dirty mind, all your friends’.

#2. Stop worrying about the absence of bones in the American fried chickens. See, you’re no more in Nigeria, and there’s nothing wrong in eating a boneless fried chicken. Seek calcium from some other sources. By some miracle of cooking, Americans have long devised their way to prepare their fried chicken without its bones. Their dogs must eat something, after all.

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#3. There must be a special reason why this post, and this one, are the most read on this blog. Your Nigerian readers must be fascinated by the fact that their biggest assumptions could as well be wrong. But why did they not read much of this one? Could it be that they care much less about foreign food, considering that they have become insular in their culinary preferences?

#4. Do your winter shopping for hats, gloves, boots, mufflers, shawls and overcoats latest by the middle of September. You don’t want to have your toes fall off when it gets as cold as the inside of a Fan Ice freezer. Prepare a good part of your savings for buying hot Starbucks coffee. Don’t forget to buy some ogogoro as well. Nothing is too small to fight against the midwestern cold when it comes. Don’t leave anything to chance.

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#5. You are a teacher here, and not a student like everybody else. Hold yourself high. Be disciplined. Put all your enthusiasm to work, and you just might pull this off nicely. All you have is this one year to make a good first impression. It’s just like the NYSC. You survived that one, right? And in that particular case, it was in a mixed secondary boarding school without internet, cafeteria, school bus, to-borrow bookstores, warm bath, pretty lake and an attractive stipend, situated in the middle of nowhere, and where students spoke a combination of Hausa, Berom and crooked pidgin slang.

#6. Buy a bicycle, preferably not at Wal-mart. Buy a basketball. Like many people say, don’t waste your talent. See if you can make a college career in basketball, if only for the fun feeling you get from the company of other players. Put your height to advantage, but don’t beat them too much. They might get jealous.

#7. Stop expecting your roommate to know who Halle Berry is when you tell him about the movie “Monster’s Ball”. He is an undergraduate of Pharmacy, not Theatre. And he’s from Illinois, not California. After all, not all Nigerians know who Fathia Balogun or Lola Idije are.

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#8. Deal with time zones already. When you were in Providence, you were five hours away from home. Now at Edwardsville, it is a six hours gap, and you may not call home thinking you still exist in the same longitude.

#9. Get used to seeing women drive the buses that take you to and from campus everyday. You are no longer in Nigeria.

#10. Enjoy yourself. Visit that lake more often. Go to town more often. Take long walks. Ride around town. Ride to St. Louis. Get lost, wander around, and find your way back when it’s dark, with sweat marks on your brow and a very exhilarating feeling in your belly. Visit Boston again, this time not just the airport. Visit New York, Broadway. Take pictures at the National Mall when you’re in Washington DC in December. And at the Lincoln Memorial. Fall in love. Tease. Rock the silent woods in your own little way, and let it fill you with its bubbling life. You are in the United States of America.

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