No, not of a book, movie or song although that would be fun, but of the year itself. Yes it’s too early to do that since we still have about nine days to go, but it is amazing to see how close we are already to its end. By this time last year, I was here, same spot, same posture, probably complaining of snow or making a general observation of a particularly fascinating endeavour. The only difference is that then I was a teacher of many young students of Yoruba, but now I’m mostly a student myself. (Speaking of reviews, I’d appreciate you taking a moment to tell me what your favourite posts on this blog has been. There’s a poll on the right side of the blog. Please choose as many options as appeal to you).
I miss teaching in the Yoruba class. It was one of those moments when everything stands still and a continuous flow of knowledge and fun merges into one beautiful experience that lasts for about one and a half hours, two times a week. It’s incomparable, not just because of the things learnt and taught but for the pleasure of being there, and being the vessel for such cultural exchange. I met a few students this semester who said that they registered for the class either because they attended my talk last year or had heard from other students, and wanted to experience the class for themselves. I am thinking of returning to teach that class next semester. What do you think?
I’ve posted less on this blog per month since August, deliberately, and I think that has worked well. I realized at the end of the first blog year that it was better to write whenever I could rather than make posts everyday as I used to when I had all the time on my hands. It was inevitable that graduate school will attempt to suck me dry of all my waking moments. But then, here we are, still talking, and still sharing little moments of laughter. My semester has been made even better to bear by the presence of lovely colleagues who bring me chocolates and other nice stuff (you know yourselves), and those with whom I share nice stimulating conversation somewhere amidst the bustle of the day. There is also the doting host parents who have treated me no different than their own son with free access to their home, their food and their wine. What else could one ask for?
This year I travelled around (some parts of) Nigeria, and that was fun. I hope to complete my tour of that country in a not too distant future. I also got to see a few more of the midwestern United States. A few people have suggested that I should travel with a more critical eye next time (instead of my usually fawning admiration of spaces, I guess). In my defense, I have gone around less with the intention of understanding the people in the places I go and more with the intention of understanding and describing the places in which they live. But now that I know the difference, maybe I should take one more step closer. (You might like this article about the BBC reporter who attempted to understand and describe Americans in a new book). Maybe it is the desire to take pictures and write about places that moves me the most.
When the year ends next week, what I’ll be most grateful for is the general beautiful pleasure of warm human company. There’s still no alternative to that yet.