Welcome to Calabar. Just as busy as Lagos, but at the same time a lot calmer. My uncle Chris likened it to the Cape Ton of Nigeria.
So, the flight from here on out were much calmer. No stress, no sprinting and no rushes. Which actually led me to the substantiated conclusion that I don’t know how to adult. When I’m by myself, there is always drama – but when adults are present, bru – what even, is a problem?
After a couple of selfies taken with Uncle Chris to send to my dad, we landed at the Calabar airport. Now, when I’m in a new place, I used to think that I’m quite vigilant, but I actually the complete opposite. I don’t notice anything around me except my stuff. One could say its a minor defense mechanism? I don’t know. I didn’t do psychology at school.
I was so engrossed by getting to my stuff (coz here, your bags are offloaded directly from the plane onto the tarmac next to the plane) that I didn’t see I was walking next to Patoranking. This may have also had to do with the fact that I had no idea who he was as I was still a junior Nigerian at the time. I’d just learned what malt was lol how would I know a Nigerian celeb? Information overload, abeg.
Or maybe, just maybe, it was because I was forward and decided to wear heels. I don’t know who I was trying to impress lol coz the people I could have been trying to impress, were all wearing flats when I met them lmao, so its safe to say I played nobody but myself.
I get my bags, and off we go. Except, Sir King Patoranking is taking his sweet and sour time walking in front of me. It’s a vice, but I’m quite impatient, so I’m like ” excuse me cupcake, but can you move quicker or move please? “.
Your boi turned back to look at me, and then apologized. Its ridiculous the wings that stilettos can give you hey, wow.
By this time, uncle Chris had turned back to see why I was being slow (I assume) and saw Sir King Pato in all his chilled glory. Have you ever seen an African man on his A game? I’m talking about Twitter Guru, the guest-list connect, the social king and in the know of the cool kid slang? That’s my dads younger brother, uncle Chris – so when he saw Patoraking he lost. his. miiiinnnnnnd
At one point I imagined how lit it would be to go to a Beyoncé concert with uncle chris lmao it times bru, lit times.
Uncle Chris did the most and made me take a pic. Me not understanding the commotion, I refused to stand next to the guy until I knew who it was. Uncle Chris was like “oya, come. picture first, we’ll talk later”.
Standard African procedure. punish now talk later. Beat now, explain why later. Picture first, elaborate later. It is what it is.
The picture was taken, and off we went.
Upon arrival at my grand mother’s house, you can only imagine how litty it could have possibly been. I got out the car, walked a little bit (still in stilettos coz I’m a badass or feeling the slight need to up my game coz all the huns around me beeeeen slaying for no reason. I won’t confirm which one it is) but I walked a little, and BOOM, gramma and squad came through heaavvvvyyyy. I’m talking hugs and kisses and more hugs and then singing. TURN UP !
Much like my great grand ma, my grandma doesn’t look like she’s in the grandma age group. My mates on Instagram thought she was my mom. Sometimes when I dont want to explain, I say “yes, yes it is my mom”.
From the get go, food was poppin hey, I ate so much coconut rice I actually passed out while my grandmother was talking to me lmao, its hectic.
Africa’s Biggest Street Party
The next day, we’re up and ready to go to the Calabar Festival. Its like this huuuugge street party with themes and stuff. Think Rio, think of what the islanders do when they celebrate their independence. Its a lot, and a lot of fun. Uncle Chris, being the plug that he is, had left way before us. So myself, Aunt Amara (his dear wife) and my cousins geared up and got ready to live our best lives. Cooler boxes in tow, sun hats, reflector shades, sunblock – bru it was about to pop all the way off.
We get there, and the plug AKA uncle Chris had the coolest spots reserved for us. right. in front. In between performances. In my mind, my cousin Kamsi and I were basically judges too. coz if I threw an orange pip, it would hit a judge. That’s how close we were so therefore, by association, we were judges too. It is what t is. I don’t make the rules.
While watching (and judging) all the performances, I though I saw Andre :/ but it wasn’t him. No guy was attractive to me at that event coz I was like, surely Andrew should be here too ? It was amazing. flipping vibrant, and all the interactive. You had Nigerian celebs hyping the crowd and taking selfies (I cant really name them coz I… don’t know them yet). Huge floats that were used to strengthen allegiance and all sorts of food. Sort of like, the black version of First Thursday’s.
I cant remember what the exact date was, but it was around the 20smething of December and it was about that time. it was time for Christmas portraits.
Now, its obviously the first time with my dads side of the family so I don’t know what we do and how seriously we are supposed to take it. I say this coz cousin Kamsi woke me up to say we’re taking portraits and I was a tad confused. So I got cleaned up, and then came downstairs in a dress and sandals ( coz heat. I’m basically in a steam room all day everyday even when were outside). I thought I killed the game.
But I didn’t.
Grandma was decked out in blingage for daysss, the head thing was wrapped so gracefully and her make up was on fleek. #SlayUsGranma
Aunt Amara is also doing the most, coming through in make up beat by the Gods of MAC, ethnic attire and smelling like a French rose garden. By this point, once more I have underlslayed. Headed to go eat, lol my grandmother came at me with spice good enough for a butchery, “Is that you? go get dressed”. That’s all that needed to be said.
So basically what happens is, I don’t know if it’s a Nigerian thing or a family thing, but every season a post card or calendar is sent out to extended family. That is why these pictures get taken and the slay level must be on an all time high. Because it’s basically a publication that gets distributed across all family and extended family. Think, an internal domestic version of Vogue. So the same way The Anozie family sends one out, we received cards and calendars from the Oforma’s. Its pretty lit, I say.
Going Back to Lagos
A day or two after the festival, I missed my flight because Uncle Chris was showing me the ways of Calabar and also coz I didn’t really know when I was due to leave. I don’t think my dad was impressed. It was about that time for uncle Chris, the plug, the connect, to pull through with magic trick once more. Despite all flights being fully booked, I was blessed with a seat. In business class. #NigeriaSlay (Thank you once more uncle Chris). There is quite vast difference between the business class in SA and Nigeria. But I don’t want to get into that coz I’m not trying to undersell Nigeria. It’s such a beaut – but much like SA , government is treating state money like a stokvel.
My grandma came through before my departure, and ,much like my great granma, she did the same thing. Blessed me with a thiccckkkkkk stack of Nairas.
I’m starting to think that this is a compulsory act. So much to the extent that I get shook when I meet elderly ladies here and they don’t gift me with guap. like?!
The granmas have set the standard bru. Now when I’m old I have to be moneyed otherwise my grand kids and gonna side eye me and have a chat with the ancestors about how I’m under delivering as a grandma.
Getting back to Lagos, my dad and i did some last minute preparation of the departure the next afternoon. In true send off style, my dad summoned one last game of Scrabble. If you think I am competitive, between my mom and my dad I am a kitten. A puppy. An ant, whatever.
I lost the game so bad, my dad packed the score sheet in my suitcase and told me to tell my mom that he’s ” still always a winner ” – or something like that. I was too blinded by my tears to see what it said.
I may have taken this loss to heart lol, coz I summoned a game against my unsuspecting friend, Mischal – and its safe to say, my closing line is also ” always a winner ” or something. No tears blinding me this time though. #BlaseBlase