Just in case

I have challenged myself to blog regularly about things that I am thankful for. We all have something in our lives that we can be thankful for, it’s just a matter of thinking on it. Life can be hard and is very stressful, but as long as you’re on this side of the ground and not below it, I think life is good.

Fine, life is good but there are so many challenges, so many things that disappoint us or go wrong, lots of unanswered prayers that cause us to lose hope or overshadow our thankfulness. We all face them. When you see an entry here that is all about thankfulness, don’t think everything in my life is perfect and I’m completely satisfied (in some instances I should be, but I’m a typical flawed human). In many cases I have to think hard before I come up with more than one reason to be thankful. Don’t think I’m writing to brag about my life, or show off that my life is better than anybody else’s. I just know that by taking time each week to focus on the good, I feel better about all aspects of my life, including the things that aren’t going as expected.

**

Last year, I mentioned that as a result of interacting with more Nigerians, especially family that I had reconnected with on my last trip to Nigeria and also some friends that I have met through blogging, I’ve slightly modified how I speak with them when compared to my non-Nigerian friends. It wasn’t deliberate, but it’s happened nevertheless. I’ve added the following to my repertoire:

I use the word “again” to mean “anymore”
Example: “I went for dinner with that cute guy last Tuesday…or wait, was it the Tuesday before that? I don’t know again” (the old me would have said “anymore” or “I can’t remember” instead of ‘again’).

“Eh ya” and other expressions of emphathy
Honestly the English language is lacking in expressions of empathy. I think the best English expression for empathy would be “Awww”, but it can mean “how cute/sweet/romantic” as well as “oh, what a shame!” (I’m actually a big “aww”-er). I know we’ve all had a situation where a colleague tells you a story about how on their way to work they tripped and ripped their skirt and you say “sorry” and they (especially if they are not Nigerian) say “It’s not your fault!”. If I am telling a fellow Nigerian the same story, you can bet I’m going to pause and give them a chance to say “sorry”, “pele”, “ndo” or “eh ya”, and now if you tell me a tale that merits an “eh ya”, you’ll hear one come from my lips or fingertips. A little empathy goes a long way.

I can’t deny that I like these little changes to my communication, especially because it’s something that’s just happening; I’m not forcing it; I’m just absorbing it from the environment. Even so, I’m resisting adding the word am to my vocabulary, when it’s used in place of “I am” (for example, when I ask someone how they’re doing, and they respond with “Am fine”, or if they want you to know that they are tired, they say “am tired”. Am not ready to go down that road!

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17 thoughts on “Just in case

  1. *looking around the site just to make sure its not a spoof post before she announces – I AM FIRST OO!!!!!!!! GNG, where's my prize?

    ok. enuff of that. While you are happy to take on the local slangs, I'm trying to trim them off my vocab! I use naa (eg. why naa, how naa) and 'ooo' way too much. But nothing beats eh yaa to show empathy. It's warmth sort of wraps round you and gives comforts. The more drawn out it is, the better :-D

  2. oh my gosh GNG, am exactly the same way too! Lol- I'm exactly the same way too. The incorrect use of am just gets me every time, whats up with Nigerians and am?

    Do you find yourself speaking pidgin too? Lol I've started speaking pidgin when engaging in conversation with fellow Nigerians, I quite like it.

  3. hehehehe

    "eyaaaa"

    "am" sorry "you people" do not like it

    dont worry i will not do it "again"

  4. â–ºGinger

    You're first o! Congrats…your prize is my gratefulness for reading my entry.

    lol I'm guilty of "ooo"-ing too. I will type 'na' but I don't know if I could convincingly make it work in conversation.

    â–ºNiki

    hehe…at first it used to get to me but now I actually think it's cute, though I'm very deliberately trying not to say it too!

    Kudos on venturing into spoken pidgin…I'm not quite that confident yet…but maybe when I'm next in Nigeria I'll try it.

    â–ºAnoda Phase

    lol English speakers should really adopt Eh ya sha…I totally agree!

    â–ºBBB

    lol ma worry dear. Am charmed when I hear it, especially from cuties like you ;)

  5. Ha ha! Same here! I'm adding 'I beg' to the list. But 'ooo' gets me every time when I talk to Nigerians. That's the only way you can make your point sometimes.

  6. lol…

    Yes, i know its not exactly english, but am holding tight to my naija speakerazzi. Ee-yah, abeg nau, relax jare, no be small ting o!

  7. I like your new vocab too…i would think they mean i'm tired, not am tired…wareva..lol

  8. abeg abeg, eyah…it worse for me because, my aunts gives me the bad eyes and says are you not a graduate of english…i always tell her its nig eng and we studied it in school.

  9. gosh i so love this post for the following reasons:

    one of the "tiny" reasons why i hardly do my thankful post is because just like you I didn't want to appear like I came to brag. Far from it. Thank you for reminded me about what thankful posts are about- looking at the positive in-spite of the disappointments, sadness, anxiety in my life and being thankful for what I have. It is easier to come on blogville and rant but I have decided not to go down that route. I'll rather give thanks.

    I like your acquired words..lol at "I don't know again", So Nigerian. I especially like Eh ya because I say it a lot!!! LOL. I also say sorry a lot even at work. When I want to ask a question, I say sorry. Why I dunno! Silly I know.

    So tell me what is the correct think to say to Oyinbos instead of sorry when they tell u a "sad" story. Pls I need to know!

  10. HAHA! The English language restricts our expressions though.I feel your pain. I've been thinking about that recently because I've been translating from Igbo to English.

    ~x~

  11. I love this, and I can really relate… Hanging around more of our people, we pick up some language trends. From conversing on the internet we pick up the trends through writing. From interacting in person, we pick up speaking trends. I know I've learned a lot of pidgin from my friends who were born in Naija.

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