IMG_3770The heaviness on my person since I returned from Washington DC on Monday, I have realized, has to do with more than just my delirious nostalgia for the taste of a certain thrill and an unexplainable positive strangeness that dominated that trip to the East. It could easily have been because of the food, because it was the one thing that almost equally matched the large number of workshop sessions that followed each other one after the other, sometimes without much of a breathing space. We got out of one conference workshop session and we hopped right into another. It was mostly worth it, but it will take the whole of my holiday to truly catch up with the details of all that we were taught. The food however was a different matter. They were diverse as they were elaborate, and I left that hotel on Sunday feeling that I’d committed an unforgivable sin of indulgence – as my mum would have called it. In any case, it was scarcely two hours after then before I entered another cycle of feeding, this time in the neighbouring state of Maryland, and the foods (most of it) were Nigerian for a change.

Fried eggs, bread, pringles, mangoes, (green) tea, orange juice…

and then later in the evening: pounded yam, rice, beans (note: not baked beans or anything American, but Naija style cooking), snails, cow leg and other beef parts in pepper sauce, vegetable soup, Hennessey cognac, and finally some red Malbec Argentinian wine…

I should probably confess that I have never ever eaten this much food in one day. On the one hand, it could be some form of indulgence which I immediately justified from previous frustrations with pizza and long queues at pastries food stands. On the other hand, it just was a very convenient acquiescence to the warmth of my Nigerian hosts who were more than happy to have me around. I felt loved.

It is in returning to my base now that the value of those warm connections are making their presence felt on my wandering self. But again, more than just the thrill, I have been very humbled by the responsibilities the Fulbright tag, and slightly worried that I may have been irreparably changed by the week-long indulgence in a way that I might not yet recognize. Oh well, give me another week or two in this now gradually emptying University campus and I will regain my required pungency. Until then, let us drink to life, and to hope for the parts of the world where there is none. And to peace and understanding – no matter how elusive it gets. Yea, it’s still me speaking. I told you that I’ve changed. Where did the old cynical travula go? I too have no idea.

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