We’re almost two weeks into June and I won’t let this month to pass without sharing what I was thankful for last month.
- Predictably, I’m going to start by thanking God for journey mercies to and from Nigeria. My mom and I left Canada at the end of April and we arrived safely back here at the end of May. The flights were great (being fat on a plane, not so much), and I thank God that I’m more confident about flying with every flight I take.
Getting to Nigeria is one thing, but security when moving around is a serious issue. We travelled from Akure to Ilorin and it was the most frightening part of the trip for me: the driver took risks while driving that I wouldn’t take even if I was driving my enemy. He refused to ask for directions even when he got lost twice—the first time, it wasn’t a case of we were going east instead of west; we literally drove around in a huge circle. At one point we ended up on a heavily eroded dirt road, the forest was on either side of us and no other cars were behind or in front of us for the whole stretch. I later found out that I wasn’t the only one praying that we would get out of there before darkness fell—the road was totally abandoned and God forbid we should run out of gas. After that experience, you’d think the driver would be contrite but no: the next time we got lost, the guy waited until five of us were yelling at him before he would seek direction!
For the first time ever I took public transport back to Lagos and I fought my mom for a couple of days about this decision. The vehicle we usually charter wasn’t available so this was the only available choice. I’m not really a princess (except if cockroaches are involved) but I have to admit that my mom, grandma and a few other people didn’t see the good side of this Naija girl when I found out that we were taking public transport. I was afraid that we would be in a dilapidated vehicle driven by a careless person because during my travels from Lagos to Akure it’s not uncommon to see overloaded vehicles that have broken down parked at the side of the road with passengers standing around helplessly.
In fact the vehicle that took us from Akure to Lagos did have a mechanical issue that cost us about an hour of our time but aside from that the vehicle was sound and the driver was experienced.
I took more taxis this time around than ever before (never alone: how sad that I don’t think I could take a cab alone in Nigeria at my age!) and I truly marvel that some of these vehicles are still on the road. I’m thankful that no harm came to me or anyone else on the road during this trip—though a cab I was in did hit another cab, no damage was done to either vehicle.
So yes, I’m also thankful for protection during our travel within Nigeria.
- I thank God for protecting my mom’s health: she got sick on several occasions and she had a nasty cold for over half of the trip but she made it through like a champion. We will be better prepared for next time, though I pray that nobody will get sick.
I know that I’m more of a worrier than the average person, especially when my mom’s health is concerned (remember last year’s post on why I went with my mom to Nigeria?) but when someone has medical conditions that they are managing and they go to another country that has medications that you’re not familiar with, it’s important to make sure that any new medication you have to take to combat whatever new issue comes up won’t interfere with your other medication. I’m no doctor or pharmacist but you should have seen me trying to evaluate which cough medication was least likely to interfere with these other medications my mom uses. And of course I hadn’t heard of any of the medications being offered. I just thank God for seeing her through, for giving her the wisdom to know what she needed, and I’m thankful that we didn’t have to go to the hospital.
I’m also very thankful that my dad, sister, brother-in-law, brothers, nephew, and niece were kept safe here while we were away—I don’t take that for granted.
- My sister’s brother-in-law’s wedding happened to fall during the time we were in Nigeria so I’m thankful that we were able to witness that event, and that the engagement and wedding ceremonies went off without any issues. I’m especially thankful for the lovely hotel where my sister’s in-laws put us: between the wifi, constant electricity and the air conditioning I didn’t want to leave (for real).
- Last year’s trip to Nigeria was for my mom but this year’s trip was all about me. I had two things that I wanted to accomplish and I’m thankful that one of those goals—which I will spend a whole blog post on—was accomplished, and I’m really thankful for all the support and love that I received as I worked on the goal.
My other goal was to be a true tourist in my home state but that goal remains elusive; that also needs its own blog post.
- Because I went to Nigeria less than a year ago, I hadn’t accumulated enough vacation time to take a full four weeks of vacation so I took some leave without pay. I’m thankful for provision to cover the cost of the plane tickets and also all those expenses that don’t stop just because you’re not at home (mortgage, insurance, water, electricity, cable, phone, etc.) and for wisdom when it comes to managing my finances so that partial leave without pay was an option. Having recently returned from Nigeria I’m inspired to raise the bar in my financial life, which means being a better steward of my money as well as finding ways to earn more to use intentionally.
- My youngest brother celebrated his birthday in May and I’m thankful for God’s protection over his life. Although he doesn’t live close-by he’s done a far better job than I ever expected of keeping in touch. It’s heartwarming to see him maturing and my interactions with him always give me energy, no matter what we discuss.
- I’ve tried to avoid getting into too much detail on my blog about my work situation, however in May there was a huge breakthrough regarding a major work stressor. It was a case where things got bad before they began to get better but I thank God for seeing all the people involved through it. The past almost three years did damage to morale and the integrity of the organization in my opinion, but things are starting to look hopeful once again and I’m committed to doing my part. That being said I’m having difficulty showing Christ’s love to all my colleagues but I know that will come with time (and much prayer and humbling of myself).
- When I came back from Nigeria, one of the first things I got to do was participate in a friend’s engagement ceremony. While explaining what was happening to the bride’s non-Nigerian friends I felt a deep sense of pride in my culture that I don’t often express. I love that a lot of these cultural things that we do have a reason and a meaning and the process of explaining it made me proud to be Nigerian and Yoruba.
What were you thankful for in May?