ktravula – a travelogue!

art. language. travel

New Year Resolutions

I felt I should speak about new year resolutions since everyone is doing the same. I don’t have any. I outgrew the whole process a long time ago. This doesn’t mean that I don’t make plans. It only means that I don’t wait until the end of a year/month to begin them. My resolutions come onto me like a whim and stay until I decide to change them again, and life goes on. Recently, I have been thinking of riding my car less and riding my bicycle more. This is one resolution that will be beautiful (not to mention cost effective) if we were not in one of the coldest time of the year. Still, as soon as it warms up, as it often does around here without warning, one might see me cycling with the wind around the campus. End of resolution. Oh, one more: (maybe) blog more, in spite of what school work looks like.

Now what do I expect of 2011? Even that, I’m not totally sure, but I assume that whatever it may be would include plenty traveling, new discoveries, more time with girlfriend, and friends, new pictures (and maybe a new camera), and a more productive time in school. It is funny when I ask myself whether I’m having a more productive time as an independent writer/blogger or as a graduate student; or whether my ability to develop myself by writing is made better by the peer review of the classroom walls than by the comments in a blogpost. Times just change so rapidly that it may well be that the education via this means of global interaction might come to become more challenging (if not more valuable, or more relevant), than the one we get from classroom. In any case, a combination of the two can only be even better. More importantly, I intend to have more fun, laugh more, and love more.

Clarissa gives voice to my thoughts when she advises that resolutions be made to delight the author. As far as resolutions go, I can do with none, or very few. But that won’t stop me from dipping into my bag of curiosities once in a while to look for new things to try. The other question left would be: would I go to Nigeria again this year? I hope so, but I most likely won’t, except I get something/someone to pay for my trips, and give me something really fun to do while I’m there. Summer in Edwardsville is really hot, and I don’t need a tan. Moreover, I’d really love to go and complete my tour of the country – and maybe visit Jos for a third time, and the Eastern and Southern parts for the very first time. But what do I know? Let’s see how the year turns out.

Happy new year to you all.

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As Time Goes By

The year is over, almost. In a few more hours separating us and that faraway place, we’ll change calendars and wish each other a happy new year within drinks and glee. Why January 1 is such a special day is beyond me. I don’t worry myself about it now anymore than I worry about the Chinese year of the Tiger or the Moslem Hijiras with its lunar calendar. In another faraway place, it is a time for reflection, sometimes in the premises of a church, with singing and praying for grace for the new year. In some other part of the world, it would just be another day. For me, it shall be for cheers of whatever kind possible in a foreign land.

What did I learn this year? Much, along the many roads that I trod and the peoples I met: that people are different, that people are the same, that the earth is large, that the earth is small, that there is pleasure in travel, and food, and adventure, in writing, that the problems of Nigeria will not end tomorrow, or that America is not the heaven where everything gets solved, that life is an adventure and that plenty can be learned in every little experience.

On Christmas Eve 2010, I heard with sadness of another major terrorist attack on Jos, a city in the Nigerian middlebelt. In a continuation of a cycle of madness that has gripped the otherwise beautiful homeland of the ancient Nok culture, some politicians and other undesirable elements have chosen religion as a means to further their evil machinations to seize political power in 2011. Scores of lost lives later, the country has returned to a path of precariousness held only by a small thread of hope. For the many residents of that town and the many other unsuspecting ones in Nigeria today, 2011 is already too far away to wait for a country where safety is guaranteed for lives and property.

And so, the year ends. What did we learn? That humans will never learn anything but will return to their folly and squirm in the mire of their own barbarity? That there’s hope? Maybe neither. Maybe just the certainty that no matter what happens, and no matter where we go, we will meet with both the beauty and the barbarity of humanity. The challenge might be to delight in the minutes, and let the hours take care of themselves. Or maybe do what we can to help in whatever way we can, wherever we can. Maybe, just maybe, evil might get defeated? Maybe.

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