Monday, October 26, 2015

13 years

October 26th, 2002, I arrived in JFK, New York. Inappropriately dressed for the weather. We missed our flight from LaGuardia to Atlanta because we were stopped for a random search of our luggage at check-in. That was the first day I was nicely asked if I spoke English. At that point, I just wanted the whole traveling ordeal to be over.

We had taken a direct flight from Lagos to new York, on what would turn out to be the last direct flight by Nigerian airways. By the time we got to LaGuardia, I was exhausted, hungry and in physical pain. We finally made it to Atlanta, where all the houses looked liked stuff you world expect to see in story books. They didn't look real, I was curious and unimpressed.

Time to eat and nothing tasted right. The fruits, meat everything was off. I remember being disgusted by chicken nuggets and ketchup. The bananas and oranges were off, the only similarities was the look. The taste of chicken was nauseating. My dad laughed at all my food complaints and said you will get used to it.

It took me two years to come to terms with living in America. My life in Nigeria was pretty good and I was homesick a lot. Everything was different, including working part-time and going to school. Will and Grace saved me and stopped me from going into depression. I missed Nigeria with an ache that got worse with each passing year. Home was Benin-city, Nigeria.

Until one day, I don't know when it happened, I stopped missing Naija. The ache went away and like a thief that crept up in the night, home became Atlanta.

13 years to the day I came to America, I'm sitting in an airport, waiting to board a flight home and I couldn't be happier.


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