Monday, September 13, 2010

Whip My Hair

I am impressed and envy this chick (and not particularly because of the song), Willow Smith, especially since my father did not allow any artistic talent in our home.  My father had this communist style when it came to raising his children.  The bottom line was that he gave birth to us and so dictated everything that we did ... I mean everything; i.e. we had schedules growing up and we had to follow it closely (annoyingly there was more reading time than recess); we all had to come first place in class and so on.
I mean when Echeazu's kids came second place in school, people cried for us, because they knew we would be in trouble when we got home.  We didn't play in school during recess because Daddy was Chiarman of the school board and our uniforms had to be as clean as it was when we left for school.  Many a times, I got into trouble for my smart comments, I wondered why soap was invented if as kids we had to keep our uniforms so clean.  Beats me now still
Anyways, we were not allowed to play football (soccer), we played tennis instead, since it was more modern. Actually, I think it was because it was one of the alternative sports featured in some of the western channels from our satellite dish. 
Who raises their kids to be snobs?  Oh and how dare we speak incorrect english, or vernacular, or pigin english (street English) or Igbo (our native tongue) we had to only speak English so that everyone knew that his money was well spent in our private school education.
We were smart kids though lol, we did everything behind his back.  Oh I remember we used to wear double clothing to school (in the 104 -degree-weather of Nigeria) just so that we could take off our school uniforms after school and play ball, that way our uniforms would still be clean and momcy and popcy wouldn't find out.  As if that wasn't enough, we used to play barefoot, so that our socks will not be dirty and for fear that our sandals may break and we had to explain how it happened.  Looking back now, we were so stupid.... I mean playing barefoot to avoid punishment? now I will have to face the long evil punishment from arthritis during my old age.  Maybe it is a nice trade for a memorable childhood...well I'll find out.
Anyways, my father only wanted to see us reading, education was very important and highly emphasized in our house.  Could you believe we had the biggest colored TV in the neighborhood, because of this we were the envy of all the kids.  But little did the neighborhood kids know that we were never allowed to turn it on.  It came on everyday at 9 pm (which was our bed time and also news time) and it was off by dawn when we woke up.  When we were left at home by ourselves, the first thing Daddy did when he walked into the house is to feel the temperature of the TV.  We were in trouble if it were warm.  Phew! I hated trouble so I never messed with the stupid thing, it wasn't worth the trouble.  I rather wait till Sunday, when mommy will let all of the neighborhood children into the house to watch "Tales by Moonlight."  Mummy was so kool she would let one of us turn the TV to make it appear to our friends like we do it on a routine basis.  'Tales by Moonlight' came on when popsy was at one of his weekend meetings.
When Daddy returned you had two options, you were either napping or reading a book, and if you were reading a book, you better be at a page that you have mastered well, because if he questions you on that page and you slightly stutter, your evening was ruined.
The only thing we appreciated Daddy's strictness for was the bible and church.  So at the age of 2, was catechism for everyone, now that means you repeated catechism for several years until you mastered your faith, and also since no one is going to allow a 4 yr old to receive communion.  At the age of 4, upon return from church, we all went down on both knees and you are to go into Daddy and Mummy's room in private and explain the preachings at church.  Daddy went to the early service so he knew what the message was from church.  As long as you were able to tell him, you were free from all punishments.
Boy! I remembered when I turned 4 and forgot that I was now initiated into this Sunday ritual, and acted like my normal self, running around the church with the other children, even spending my collection money on sweets.  Oh boy, I came home that day and ran past everyone like, u know a regular 4 year old until Daddy called me back and asked how old are you? and I remembered wishing that the ground will open and swallow me, how could I have forgotten that I turned 4 the day prior.  I blamed the cake.  I started by saying For God so loved the world .... but my father knew right away that I had no clue.  After that Sunday, and oh ... well since that very day, I was always attentive to the word of God.  Though, I no longer have that fear that Daddy has heard the message, I just now have the desire to hear the word of God. :)
Now we look back and laugh, did he really think he could stop us from having fun...I think we drove him crazy, we love to draw and perform, we all played soccer till college, we danced all through and still love to dance, we love music oh.. and we appreciate all kinds of instruments and we also love praising God.
All kinds of music (and not this one in particular) and dance equals freedom for me and my siblings because we did it when my father was not around.  Just like Willow Smith said in her interview that 'Whip my Hair' means "to be free."  I wished my parents allowed us the freedom she has, I don't think we would have recorded a song, but maybe we would have learnt a thing or two about instruments.
Thank God my husband is nothing like my father in these aspect.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Time in Nigeria

So I love medical mission trips, but this was not a medical mission, this was an international rotation.  I chose my country, since it was exactly where my inspirations begun and my country is the only reason I haven't given up.  I left my country at a tender age of 14 years old and decided that I wanted to see what I was up against.  I spent one month in Obstetrics at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital in Nnewi and what an amazing time.  I stayed with one of my best friends (aka my mother-in-law) we can talk about anything.  Jude's younger brother, Bede drove me to work almost every day (40 minutes), he also is a great person to chat with.  Very out going, funny and intelligent. Then I met even more great people at work everyday.  My call buddy, Udegbunam (I had 3 out of 8 calls with him); silly Masquerade, who knows how to make me laugh; Zeb is quite a character and is prepared to wiggle his way out of anything; then there is Dr. Okor who is always ready to fire with questions, hardworking and hillarious- he made me laugh everyday; then there is Dr. Ezebialu, very easy to talk to and very nice; then there is Ugboaja, their Chief resident, he is interesting and he was a good body guard, lol, I got to do a lot more while he was around, because he had so much confidence in me, we learned a ton of surgical skills from each other; then there is Ugboke who is hillarious though I don't always understand what he is saying ... then the House Officers, Ogechi and Nneka, who let me shower at their houses, very smart, and so on.  I can't mention everyone's name but I had a great experience.  Met the great profeessors and the consultants.  
I learned a lot about the differences in culture, it was something to get used to.  The men had so much power over their wives and it was understood and acceptable to the women.  The women were beaten while giving birth, it was understood that it motivated them to push harder.  Keep in mind that they were unblocked and the docs were men.  The midwives would scold them but not beat them, well at least I didn't see anyone.  The sad thing is patient look for docs that hit, the harder you hit, the more patient's you'll get.  They are convinced that it magically causes quicker delivery and less episiotomies.  This was one example of them Nigeria involving in terms of the value of women. Despite this anoying part, Nigeria is doing a great job, they've done great with the few things they have, very intelligent and get the jobs done.  I love my country but I still wish I could convince them to change a lot of things.  The above picture is me performing a c-section on a woman with twin gestation. ....I cannot tell you everything, I would have blogged more but there was no internet.  I will be giving a presentation on this in a few weeks....with my feministic self I could not wait to come home to my prince, who knows how to value his wife.  I missed him everyday, he knows how to brighten my day and yes my audience I am more in love with him than I was the day we got married.  He still makes my heart skip a beat; this year thought us something that we are frustrated with living apart and we want residency to end soon so that we don't have to spend thousands just to see each other.  Reunited with my boo.

The girls!

I will slowly introduce my friends into my blog.... today is ... ok so my friends and I started a tradition in medical school of taking a trip together at least once a year.  When we lived in the same city, we would spend long nights at a nice Tapas.  We always get kicked out because we would stay till it was past closing :) We are so different but so alike in many ways.
Tori is the oldest among us, mixed with Italian and Nigeria (her full name is Nigerian- Toriseju); we were roommates at some point.  Our rommate experience almost prevented us from understanding each other but through the grace of God we are great friends today.  She is an amazing person, she is usually the most organized out of us all and so plans all of our trip.  She is very creative and usually comes up with all the cool ideas.  During the time I have known her, I have watched her grow in her faith in God, and she has also married her Life partner, Nathaniel Whyte.  One thing about Tori, when she loves she goes all the way, she is very caring about her friends and family...don't mess with us 'cause she will get ya! don't say I didn't warn u.  She is an Obstetrician.
Andrea- Andrea is also mixed with african american and caucasian, she has one of those long curly mixed hair and I love it.  She is always jovial, it is actually funny to see her angry.  But she holds her own, she is nice and sweet but don't mess with her.  She also likes to speak up for those that can't speak up for themselves.  In other words, she enjoys advocating.  She is a christian, with a beautiful heart. I love her laugh, it is infections.  She is a pediatrician.
Kimberly- my beautiful friend, we go all the way back to Tolbert, our first dorm as freshmen at the University of Florida.  She is like my sister from another mother and father.  She is a hardworker and knows the exact things to say whenever I am down or I just need to talk.  I miss her a lot.  She loves her family and she opens her heart to anyone. She is a surgeon.
Here they are!
We like to travel and just relax and mostly hang out.  For the past two years, we've met in New York since it is hard to coordinate all of the specialties :) This year, I almost missed it, because my flight got delayed.  I spent a night at my bro's in ATL, was so discouraged that I wanted to leave but my friends encouraged me to come and I'm glad I did.  I made it in enough time to spend at least 24 hours in NY, and I needed every bit of that time with them.  I have many friends but there is something about the four of us spending time with each other.  It is not even about NY, it is about the four of us together.  I can talk forever about them but I will stop here. I love them all dearly and enjoy sharing time with them.  We like to continue this tradition and eventually involve our spouses and children.

Be Careful what you pray for

You know my husband is my number one inspiration and while he was gone on a 6 month deployment,  I had nothing to write.  Well his deployment was supposed to end in July but ended a few weeks earlier for my husband :().  He had a necrotic appendix and had to have an emergency appendectomy.  So after a few days in Nova Scotia he was sent back to me for my TLC.  It was a very big scare but it ended up being a blessing in disguise because I was able to spend a few weeks with him prior to my deployment (International month) to Nigeria.  I wouldn't have had all that time with him and we were pretty bomed by it and prayed for even a few days together.  Yah be careful what you pray for.  I should have specified to God how I wanted to spend time with my husband and at what expense.  God is good though because Jude is in perfect health and we got to spend some quality time.
So what did I do while he was gone...quite a bit and I may forget some.... my hubby is amazing he manages to be great even while deployed.  He sent me roses on valentine's day (which I almost turned down thinking it was from a secret admirer) and my birthday in April, I also got a dozen roses delivered to my doorsteps, I got to attend one of my great friend's wedding, Kristin.  I got to spend my wedding anniversary with my hubby in Rome, Italy (my big trip surprise), I also got to spend time with my girlfriends in New York (I will tell you all about that in a later blog).