3 days – 3 years


As you begin to realize that every different type of music, everybody’s individual music, has its own rhythm, life, language and heritage, you realize how life changes, and you learn how to be more open and adaptive to what is around us.

-Yo-Yo Ma

I am 3 days from the end of my 3 year tour in Lagos, Nigeria.  It has been as amazing as I have expected it to be and as good as any other place I have had the pleasure of living and working.  The people are magic and the country is unfound gold.  Yes, there were ups and downs.. good people with bad….like every where.  Unlike everywhere, there were electrical outages, random housing alarms, floods, bacterial and parasitical infections, needing to leave 10 hours ahead of a flight to ensure you get to the airport in time to fly out, and of course chaotic traffic issues.

However, if you open your eyes, heart and mind to what is around you, you can find the smiles and the warmth that exist beyond the frustration, image or object that is directly in front of you.  When you can do that, you will find that as different as everything is around you, at the core of it all, it is still very much the same of who and what you are.. just people in a random part of the world trying to make a living and a life.   You will find that you have become a part of a life that at times had seemed incomprehensible and that life has now become a part of you.

When I arrived in Nigeria, I was considered a tough manager who was too hard on the people I was managing.  My expectations were too high and I did not cut anyone any slack.  A year into my position, I held an awards dinner for my staff because not only did they meet my bar but they surpassed my expectations for achieving a cohesive and high-functioning team.  Before I could even present my award to my team, they stopped me and actually gave me a speech at how much I positively affected their lives and their work.  The team lead started out by saying, “My oga (big boss), when you arrived it was like a hurricane…” another team member shouted out, “MORE LIKE A TSUNAMI!!!” This brought chuckles but also earned me the affectionate nickname “Tsunami Sam”

On Friday they gave me a shirt and told me that on Monday, my very last day of work here, we would all wear this shirt.  I am proud of my team and proud of myself for breaking down walls, changing hearts (mine as well).. and leaving Nigeria on a super positive note.  I will miss Nigeria with a passion.  I basically say this at the end of every tour.. and I basically mean what I say.  Nigeria I will miss you!!

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One of the girls even drew a pencil sketch of me.. amazing…

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I will end with some photos of my last few walks.  I will miss … not miss … some of the hazards of walking on the sidewalks.. not really sidewalks of Lagos.  I hope you have enjoyed my visions of Nigeria as much as I have enjoyed sharing some of my experiences here.

And off I go!!

Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.   – Steven Wright

I don’t know what my path is yet. I’m just walking on it.   – Olivia Newton-John

Life of Value


Beach Day – short and sweet.  This is the first time I have travelled to the beach and did not actually take pictures of the beach.  For some reason I was much more interested in the journey then the actual time spent there.  I hope you find it as interesting as I did!!

Fait alone will lead you to – – –

The Netherlands


Much of the Netherlands lies leagues below sea level.  On one level I knew this but traveling there and actually seeing several different cities and the leaning of the buildings as they struggled to stand straight and tall in the sand, it really dawned on me that I was literally walking under the sea.  Not really but it was an impressive thought that everything i walked on had once been under water.  I understood after visiting several cities that the Dutch really were born of the sea.  I stayed in Wassanaar near a windmil, visited the Hague, Edam-Volendam, Leiden, Delft, Haarlem,  and a few other surrounding cities.  It was amazing and so different from my visit to Amsterdam.  I was super happy to have been able to get back there and explore areas that I had not been to before.  I hope you enjoy.

 

Taking it to the Streets – Vienna


“Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they’re having a piss.”
― Banksy, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

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The Daily Post’s Collage challenge got me to thinking about my recent trip to Vienna and the beautiful collages I found while walking the waterways. Once again I am taking it to the streets.. one of my favorite blog themes.  Yahoo.. street art!!!

After visiting Krakow, Poland and Budapest, Hungary, I was sort of meh with Vienna, Austria.. UNTIL.. my friend convinced me to walk down towards the water and where we just happened to run into a little street fair and a ton of amazing street art.  Sometimes the road more travelled ends up being the best road to be on.  Of course there were many more examples, but these were really my favorite.  Threw a couple of musicians in just for fun.  I hope you enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Other blogs on street art and more –

Unique Walls, Street Art Istanbul, Tatts like street art, Peruvian Style Street Art, addiction, just for funStreet ArtWide WallsatgofionakebildacttwositeDavidSouthhampton4otomokjmusingsmostly monochromenotesbynatalieBaltimore Opens Its Walls To Street Art ; Wynwood Walls ; 76 Unbelievable Street And Wall Art Illusions, insellos; 

And yet more..

 

Even more exquisite


After a over a year in Nigeria, I was finally invited to a colleagues wedding.  I have heard the hype about the color, the fun, the dancing, the noise, the chaos and I have to say… it totally lived up to every rumor.  It was an amazing, loud, chaotic, and colorful event.

It has so far, been the highlight of my time in Nigeria. Let’s start with a few facts I mostly discovered at the time of the event.

First off, it’s not mandatory, but apparently it is very common for the bride’s family and friends to wear the same color of fabric as the bride and the same goes for the groom. They do this to identify who belongs to who.  In my office, we were offered an opportunity to buy the bride’s colors as she was our colleague.  So about 25 of us from the office dressed in the brides colors.   Despite the fabric color, the designs were all so beautiful and completely and uniquely different from each other and made to fit our own style and body..

Raining money.  This is not something that only happens in Nigeria for sure.  The money dance crosses cultures.  However, in Nigeria it seems that money rained down at many random points during the wedding ceremony.  The DJ bid out his services, children brought forth money, the couple danced down a row of guests and ended with family members tossing money at them while they danced and money just seemed to be collected throughout the event.  People usually rained down small amounts each time but it was a fun way to show your love!!

A few changes of the bride’s clothes

Pretty much anyone can wander into or out of one wedding directly into another.  I know this because I accidentally did it.  There were at least two weddings going on in the same area.  No one blinked an eye when I walked in, walked halfway through the hall, realized I was in the wrong place and walked back out.  It’s no wonder due to the constant commotion and chaos going on in every directions, dancing, drinking, eating, and talking.  Walking in and out of buildings and different rooms.  Changes of clothes and random musicians passing through.  Then there is the paparazzi – don’t ever tell me you don’t have any photos after attending a Nigerian wedding.  There are even professional photographers hanging out in the parking lot that will later sell you a photo of yourself…and yes I bought one.

Head gear and professional make up.  Not only are Nigerians dressed to a T, they have their heads professional wrapped and their make up professionally applied.  It can take hours just to put everyone’s make-up and headgear on.  It is not taken lightly.

Food and music and chaos.  All of it, ever kind of it and don’t forget the dancing.  I was so honored to be invited to this event and it is one of the things that I have been able to experience in Nigeria that I will NEVER forget.  I hope that I am able to attend one more wedding before I leave.  It was such an exhilarating experience and made me feel very close to the people I work with.

Lastly, I survived…I was even asked what part of Nigeria I was from.  More than one time.  Who would have thought..

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A woman who has not been twice married cannot know what a perfect marriage is. – Nigeria

Special posts that seem to align:

Some life, Banquet, Hey you, that night, Someday,  Invitation, socks and gloves, la petite, the affair,