This is Binaebi ‘Taking it Easy’

It’s been four months since I last wrote in this blog, which is a travesty. I promised I would post images from my sketch diary of my trip to Nigeria, which I will do, but after I give you a quick run-down about what has happened in the last four months.

  1. I got a job. It’s full-time. Pretty sweet.
  2. I finally founded my micro-publishing company.
  3. I re-released my first fiction book with the new micro-publishing branding.
  4. I wrote my second book/novel, which I had put on hold for seven years so I could get my undergraduate and graduate degrees.
  5. I hired an editor, printed, and published said book. I write fiction under a different name to keep things easy for me to distinguish.
  6. I had my first book launch party, and it was pretty successful.
  7. I received my first positive Amazon.com review. Cue spontaneous dance party!
  8. I went to the alumni day this past weekend in Bloomington and re-energized myself for work. I’ll admit I was getting a bit low about the validation test after validation test as a usability analyst.
  9. They are transitioning me to take over this particular subset of test moderation, which means changes are a-comin’ because I have big plans.
  10. I made two websites for Ava Misseldine of Sugar Inc, a local gourmet tea and cupcake salon. You can check them out here and here.

I’m not sure I had announced this, but after graduation, I told myself I was going to “take it easy.” Yeah right. Those of you who know me knew this was going to happen, I’m sure.

Anyway, onto the photos of my sketch diary from Nigeria!

So sad. So true.

When we showed up at Ukpe, 26 years of relatives descended upon us. Our arrival is something they will talk about until… well, they’ll probably talk about us forever.

I have never slept so little in my life. We were eight hours, I think, off of our normal schedules. And the local villages were so excited that we were there, they were dancing, singing, and playing their drums at all hours. All. Hours.

My primary concern was to not get sick while on this trip, because I was scheduled to begin my first day of work the Monday after we returned. I had no time for disease of any kind, and I didn’t try very hard to fit the time shift from traveling to Nigeria. With the ridiculous amount of bug bites I received with no relief because I kept sweating the anti-itch ointments off, I was in a benadryl-induced haze for about 75% of my time in Ukpe.

My relatives, my younger siblings told me, gave me the nickname “Sleeping Beauty.”

Nigerians are self-governing. They don’t take bullshit from anyone, and tend to live by Hammurabi’s Law. You know, an eye for an eye? Normally that would have worried me a little. But knowing that if anyone had attempted to harm me, my family would swarm like a pack of hungry sharks made sleeping much easier for me.

There really are no words for the torment I felt. Those bugs thought I was a delicacy. They hardly touched the rest of my family. And why would they, when I was there for the tasting??

And then there’s my motion sickness, back with a vengeance. You see, I made it the entire trip without getting physically ill. Until the last leg of the trip. Where I lost what little I had in my stomach because I can’t handle a manual transmission without drugs that put me to sleep. I felt really pathetic. And I was fairly terrified, because after I vomited (into a towel, thank god, so I didn’t ruin my cousin’s car), I shoved my mother out of the way. I fell out of the car because my legs felt like jelly. I sobbed air and tears were streaming down my face while my hands seized. I couldn’t get my fingers to straighten out and I couldn’t breathe… and then I felt hands patting water onto the back of my neck, my face, forcing me to drink water. That’s when I caught my breath to whisper, “My hands, my hands!” My mother couldn’t understand me, but the strangers by the side of the road began pouring cold water on my hands. For whatever reason, that helped me gain control.

I don’t care what Americans think of Nigerians. When complete strangers stop what they are doing to help a woman who has puked all over herself and seems to be seizing, they have my gratitude.

Every time I saw this child, I smiled. I couldn’t help it. When he walked, he walked like a man. He couldn’t have been more than three years old, at most. But he strutted around quietly, seriously, observing the world around him for it was his domain.

He was king of the Ukpe babies.

You can see the entire set at Flickr.

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