Seun Akinlosotu: We are Coming Home For Christmas
4 years ago, a cousin’s wife who knew I was coming to Nigeria for the holidays sent her husband to me, asking that I help her bring a couple of wigs when coming. Her friend was buying the wigs and would bring them to me. I thought it’s just hair, no wahala I’ll throw them in my hand luggage.
On the said day, I had my entire luggage packed and by the door ready when her friend came. This was about 1 hour before I was to leave for the airport. The friend came with a bag containing the weaves, and in addition clothes, lotions, perfumes etc. with names of other people they belonged to. I took one look and said NO, I will not carry those items because I cannot carry them. I have exceeded my 50 pounds on both luggage by a few ounces. The lady proceeded to tell me I didn’t know how to pack, so she rearranged the contents of my box to fit her own load. I stood by in wonder and allowed her do it because some people don’t understand simple logic. Then I weighed my luggage again, and it was about 54 pounds. I opened the luggage, took out her stuff except the wigs and returned her items to her. I was nice enough to give her the name and number of a cargo company I ship things through.
Biko, it’s that time of the year. It’s Christmas season and as usual, a lot of the “iinit, gaddem, and na meen” obodo oyinbo people are coming home (Nigeria) for the holidays. Yes, they are coming and it’s not because of Trump.
See, the month before we travel we start to strategically plan our trip. Planning includes how many luggage we will be traveling with. We start to shop for everyone we want to bring a gift for; our parents, siblings, sibling’s lover or spouse, friends, friend’s spouse and children. Neighbors, uncle’s & aunts; grandparents and in-laws (if we are married or in a serious relationship) as well as their children. Domestic staff at our parent’s house so they don’t rob us blind for not bringing anything in the first place, or perhaps they are just really good staff. Our favorite aunty Nkem who will pack and come and move to our parent’s house temporarily during our stay, and uncle Chudi (Uncle Chudi whose belle you will see first before you see the rest of his body- but he is that one uncle always so excited to see you and will drive you anywhere you want to go).
We can already hear uncle Chudi’s voice from the gate when he arrives – bia, Uzi, Uzi, UZIIII (Uzi the gateman is dragging his feet) open this gate nau nau, ehn, didn’t you see my car in front since. I am here to see my baby gal from Amerika. Shows off his huge teeth in a grin, chaiii nwane is here, God don do better thing. Dem go hear am for this village. UZIII, I say open this gate right now before thunder fire you, is it your family that arrive from Amerika. Uzi opens the gate. (This story ends in another story).
So, we have decided on how much we want to spend on gifts for people, and who gets what. All the shopping is done. We have carefully started packing so we do not exceed the 2 (50 Pounds) luggage we are entitled to. One whole box is for items to give as gifts. Then the phone calls and texts start coming in. Our friends and extended family who know we are likely to be travelling start calling to ask:
Friend/family: So how far now, what’s up this Christmas, are we coming to your house to eat?
We: My house ke? No oo, I won’t be around. I’ll be in Naija.
Friend/family: Are you serious? Ahhh see enjoyment. I wish I could go too. Eeya so when are you going?
We: Gives date
Friend/family: Aii, cool. Just wanted to check up on you sha. Call you later.
One week to the trip.
Friend/Family: Babes, abeg I need a favor ehn. Can you carry one small perfume for me to Naija. It’s for my mum.
We: (sheeeeeet – she pulled the mum card) ohh okay I hope its small o abeg my load is full.
Friend/family: Trust me it is. I’ll send my husband/wife to drop it off the day before you leave.
Day before we leave
Friend’s husband brings the “small perfume” along with 3 other perfumes, a handbag, 2 pairs of shoes, a sealed phone (that I cannot open to verify there are no drugs in it), 2 dresses & a wig. My wife said to drop this off to you. Thank you so much, we really appreciate you.
We: WTHHHHH!! C’mmon now!… Damnn.
So we get to Naija and of course ecstatic to see friends and family.
As we meet with friends and family, we give out what we brought for them. Some are so thankful and can’t wait to launch the new buffs or gadget.
Family/Friend: Ahh thank you o. Is this the shoe you brought for me? But I like the one you are wearing, why didn’t you buy that type for me (Her shoe costs more than yours does o). Abeg give me that shoe, that’s the one I like.
We: ehn ehn.. Okay give me the one I gave you so I can have something to wear while I’m around.
Family/Friend: (quickly pulls the shoes to her chest) No na, I’m not giving it back. I didn’t say I don’t want it now, I just said you can manage and add the one on your feet to it since its only thing you brought for me. How can you come all the way and bring me just one thing? Mbanu, I must sort myself in your luggage.
We: Think of the 15 to 20 or more people we brought something for but hold our peace & apologize. Sorry it won’t happen again.
We: Kene, take this $100 and manage it ehnn. Just buy something small for yourself; I didn’t know your size.
Kene: Looks at the $100 bill, ahhhhh Bros $100 is nothing in this country oo. I will blow the money before I reach the end of the street. You know I’m a big boy here. Please add more.
We: Think of the water bill of $80 waiting on the kitchen counter that we did not pay before leaving so we could have enough cash and goods to give our friends and family.
We: Uncle, here is the Samsung Phone you asked for.
Uncle: Collects the phone and after thorough examinations says “but this is not the model I asked for. I wanted a Samsung Galaxy XYV Version 22.214.171.124 that can see Mars, Jupiter, Pluto, and Venus & can dance azonto. This one you brought can only see Mars.
We: Stare at the IPhone 4 we have been using for 4 years, and offer an apology. It won’t happen again sir.
It’s that time of the year again, and people are going home.
To everyone travelling to Nigeria for the holidays, have a safe trip, have fun, & remember your bills are waiting for you here.
What is your travel back home story? Please share.
Photo Credit: Gaudilab | Dreamstime.com