I find that there are a lot of similarities between these two cultures; the Asians and Nigerians. It amazes me that worlds so far apart can have similar traits:
- We have similar vegetation: I would wake up some mornings, open the curtains, happy that it is a new day, and ready to see my extended family any time. But I only have to get into the car to find that the driver on the other lane is Asian, then I remember that we have the same kind of vegetation, which deceives one, but we are worlds apart, because as a Nigerian woman I stand out like a sore thumb.
- Their educational system carry weight. Unlike in Europe and America, where play is a key technique in teaching children so they won’t dislike school, in Asia the reverse is the case. The Asians, especially the Chinese, dem no dey joke or play around in their schools. You can send your child to school in pure white and they would come back sparkling bright as ever.
- You do not need to go far to get Nigerian food, although the names may vary but you will find them. They definitely do not eat it the way we do. For example you would always find Okro, which is called Okra here and is used to fry egg. Can you believe it? How can I be eating fried egg that is drawing like rubber? They have spinach but they do not use is for Efo riro like my Yoruba people. Instead they use it to prepare one of their Chinese soup. Once you take that soup, be rest assured that you would be visiting the toilet frequently. They have Semovita, which is their version of Ogi. It is taken with lots of sugar. I have tried eating it, and I couldn’t get my head past the thought that I am supposed to be swallowing this Semovita with hot Rivers State Native soup, with all the orishirishi to accompany every dollop.
- Their food is very spicy like our own: hmmm is that not how me and my darling went to one Thai restaurant and as we placed our order, the waiter asked if we wanted, hot, spicy, spicy hot or spicy, spicy, spicy hot. We said to ourselves that there isn’t any people that can eat spicy food like the Niger deltans and the Yoruba people of Nigeria where we come from and so we chose spicy, spicy, spicy hot. The soup had green pepper floating around and we loved the look, the smell, and were ready to pounce on the food. Omo let me just say it was an experience we wouldn’t forget in a hurry. Our mouths were practically on fire, we finished all the bottles of water they had in the restaurant that day.
Free advice: Never go into an Asian restaurant, anywhere in the world and ask for extra spicy, just stick with mild.
- Some of the names in this part of the world mean entirely different things in our part of the world. Names I have heard that have made me laugh and wonder how it is pronounced: I have met a man whose name is Toto, can you remember what that means in Naija? Let me say any more.
One sunny day as I settled down to my nap, my darling called to tell me that he had just been introduced to a man named Two. How can one be called Two, I mean the number Two. Amazing. You hear names like Moon, Star, Light, He, Hui, Hokko, Mui, Cylinder, Dragon, Pussy etc, unbelievable. Sometimes I am too shy to pronounce the names so I just greet them without saying their names. How can names like Toto and Pussy come out of this my holy mouth? Sacrilege.
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