The successful outing of my My [State/Country] posts on this blog (after Texas and Saudi Arabia) is giving me many more great ideas. How many states will I be able to “visit” virtually and publicly thank before my time here is over? Who wants me in their area? I definitely would like to show here to you my readers all the relevant ktravula hot spots all around the world, just in case it ever occurs to anyone someday to organize a get-together/reunion party of all my blog readers, fans and commenters. But I can’t. Or so I think. Physically, I’ve now been to Providence RI, Washington DC, Boston MA, St. Louis MI, Edwardsville IL, Cahokia IL, Principia IL, Chicago IL and Olney MD, among a few other small places. But virtually, I’ve been in many more places I probably would never see. Here’s the plan, as time permits, I will go around the world from here. The traveller is coming to a location near you.
School resumes on Monday. I have not yet confirmed whether classes resume too. If so, then I will use this weekend to plan my class schedule for the year. It’s the hardest (I think) part of the work. When the plans are set, it not so hard to follow through in class, even though there usually occurs along the way some things never before planned, like public holidays, snow storms, and other engagements. But I like to have a plan. It helps to keep me focused. The last time I checked, I will now have sixteen students. That’s a higher number than the last nine who, like they told me on the last day of class, must have told their friends to sign up for that foreign language class where you could get an A (if you work really hard for it) and have fun all at the same time. Talking about As, all my last students but one got As. The person that didn’t get an A got a B, deservedly. She wasn’t as punctual as she should have been. And she did really poorly in the mid-term test. As for my own Linguistics class, I have not yet seen my results. Next week, maybe.
How did I spend my Christmas? I went to the house of my Professor A., originally from Nigeria, who was spending Christmas in town for the last time. He had resigned from this university and was moving into government work in the capital (Springfield). The most memorable part of the very beautiful evening was the “lucky dip” where everyone was asked to pick choice presents from a whole lot gathered in the living room. I got a wall clock. Now I can see what time it is while sitting on my bed without first having to pick up my phone or computer. However, there was not much Nigerian food at the table, surprisingly. There was mostly American foods, which I enjoyed. And there was moi-moi. It was a very memorable and enjoyable evening in company of people of different nationalities, behaviour and beliefs. I met his young children and their friends. One of his children’s young cousins in attendance had attended St. Patrick’s school, Bashorun Ibadan before relocating to the States. Our discussions brought back memories of truancy in secondary school days when we snuck out of our school premises to attend Christmas parades in the compound of the Broadcasting House just across the road…
New year’s eve. This one was a story with a k-leg, because Chris from class who had checked with me many times about our earlier plan to spend the eve together at his house partying, playing, reminiscing and flirting around with American girls suddenly had a work schedule! Oopsie. (Sorry Chris. I know you might not believe it, but not all of us from that side of the world play around with firecrackers around festive periods. ) In any case, I believe(d) him and stayed indoors since Ben also had suddenly disappeared earlier in the day to go to his folks at St. Louis. I fell asleep at nine, and woke up barely at a quarter to twelve, so I slept again, hoping my some miracle to wake up before twelve. The next time I opened those eyes, it was 1pm and I had two messages on my cell phone, from Nigeria. Happy New Year, they said. There were no fireworks like it would have been at New York’s Times Square, or back home in Nigeria (yes, we use fireworks too. Note to Chris: They are festive fireworks, not explosive firecrackers). I went back to sleep a few hours later, consoling myself that in some other parts of the world – in California, for example – they were still in 2009 by a few minutes.
I broke my first and major new year resolution on the third day of the year. I ordered a $24 pizza from Papa John’s! And as guilty as I felt after placing the order, I enjoyed it. It was coming after a few gruesome days of needed abstinence. Thankfully I didn’t have to eat it alone. But on the (not altogether so) bright side of this matter, a freak error/mixup of communication between me and woman at the housing office on Monday when I went to make payments for my housing rent has cleared my bank account/card of ALL available funds. The situation, as she apologetically promised afterwards, is now being rectified. Five days later, it has not, and I’m mad! One week, and perhaps more, is a very long time to wait. This means of course that there would be no more Papa Johns, even if I crave it. And as soon as my supplies of food run out, which they will, very soon, I will be very screwed , not literally. So, sigh, wish me luck people, or send relief, or remember me in your prayers. But whatever you decide to do, when you eat your nice meal of turkey, moi-moi, amala, potato salad, stuffing, egusi, pounded yam, broccoli, jollof/fried rice, ogufe, or whatever else you have on your plate on your side of the world tonight, please remember this American child that is now surviving on less than a dollar a day. Don’t look for any paradoxical punch-lines to this. There are none!