I’m still in a nostalgic and reflective mood. I think about the future I want. I think about going back to Nigeria. I think about my year abroad. I go through the souvenirs I squirrelled away this past year. Leaves from Moscow painstakingly dried in between the pages of my aunt’s big fat encyclopaedia. Match books and match boxes from hotels and restaurant in Moscow and St. Pete’s. Post cards from touristy land marks littered across the Sussex country side.
A pebble from Salisbury cathedral, a stone from one-thousand year old St. Martins in Westmeston, paper book marks from libraries and summer book fairs, my mother’s old frying pan, set of lead crystal goblets purchased at a farmers market in Ditchling. Coasters from quaint English pubs with names like The Bull, The White Horse and The Lone Hare & Rabbit. Pine cones. Old pictures to fill the gaps in my family album. Lots of new pictures. I feel very rich indeed.
I go through the memories and the experiences and I feel even richer.
How I walked the wind-blown South Downs and enjoyed the freedom of living without bars on the windows and doors. Cooking with new vegetables whose names I never heard of before – like kolhrabi, salsify and who knew there is such a thing as blue potatoes? I ate a lot of lamb, and salmon and scones filled with strawberry jam and cream. I ate a lot of cheesecake, and black bread, and KFC chicken. I ate lots and lots of blueberries, and I drank lots and lots of ale and Cherry Coke. And I gained 10 kilograms!
I went to Stonehenge for the summer solstice and danced all night on the sacred stone till the sun came up with my epiphany. I met some really cool people there. I visited broken down castles and forts in Sussex and heard echoes of lives past. I sang Christmas carols with the natives (I mean locals) at the village pub, volunteered to help the homeless. I enjoyed going out and blending in instead of sticking out like a sore thumb on a white man.
In Moscow I plugged into my matrix and visited my mother’s grave so many times she asked me to stay with the living for a while. But I went and visited Peter the Greats palace on the Ural seas, hung out for a bit in his back yard and had lunch with the ghosts that prowl Petergof instead. My horoscope says I should live in the city of my birth for good health, long life and vitality. I will think about it.
I’ve also completed the first draft of the historical family saga I am writing. I visited lots of libraries, read lots of books about 19th century Igbo land. I even read an original 1829 account of an expedition to the Niger. I copied strange old school English names off tomb stones in ancient church cemeteries to populate my story with authenticity.