Saturday, 18 April 2015

Charlie and Lola (Death and Dreams)

Most times it is difficult to be sure your  kids understand abstract terms.
Charlie is obsessed with death now. He asks questions like how many ways can we die. do some people get to go past 100, what happens to all the blood in our body? sometimes I try to explain and sometimes. . I just take advantage.

He came from school with his water bottle still full, so I ask why didnt you drink water all day today and he went
"is it really important to drink water, we just pee it all out, so what's the point?'
so i say
'we don't pee it all out, our body uses it for many things."
I was going to go the whole 'hydration ' route but he made a face like he couldn't really be bothered  and so I finished with
'our bodies need water for blood and you know if you don't have blood you die!!!

Empty water bottle this past week.

Lola woke up and said
"in my dream I was jumping on a trampoline"

I guess she understands what dreams are. wasn't so sure.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Note to future self 2.

Dear future me
Please  don't ever be the kind of parent to lay your problems at the feet of your kids.

It's  not supposed to work that way.

Hopefully you have never forgotten or regretted my first note to you -

'Note to future self 1'.

Don't ever EVER get pregnant again.

P.S. s
Just in case you had another baby
Is it Frank's?
Better not be. He's an asshole to me when I'm pregnant because apparently I'm a witch.

Dear Future Child,
Is your name Ulari?
I love that name and i'm sure I love you too.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Ain't nothing special about yo mama.

It was 'mothering sunday' yesterday and my time lines were assaulted with all the praise poetry to the best mothers  in the world.
We all love our mothers: their's is the 'purest' form of love. They are beautiful, (even when they really aren't,) selfless, the biblical virtuous woman who always puts her family first. She will not eat until her kids have eaten, she will magically lift a car to save your life, your very own fairy godmother  albeit a tad less glamorous.
Something nags at me all day and I ignore it because hey, it's the weekend and why think when you can just lounge, and then  I come across a Facebook post from a friend.
His, is a song writer's ode to his mother, who I must assume must have been a saint. The best mothers are of course the dead ones. (I hear they make the best mothers in law too.)
While his thoughts of his mother are of course valid, I cant help thinking of all the words I know this same 'friend' describes other women. The all too familiar 'hoes' and the 'bitches who ain't loyal'. it is the first time he has shown a tender side but I am not suprised.
The dichotomy that is woman to the Nigerian man is baffling: MY mother and MY sister and MY daughter are clean and unsullied . Because they are mine.
All others are pigs.
Okay,okay, maybe not pigs. they are at least entertaining beings that sate you temporarily, an underhanded trap in itself that leaves you yearning for more. And only your sperm can release them from hoedom, transforming them into mothers and giving them a chance at sainthood.
Well, colour me saved.
To all my fellow saints -let's raise better sons.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Thursday, 4 December 2014

'But he is Sinterklass' helper, mama.'

Tomorrow is the 5th of December  and Sinterklass (Dutch santa) will -to be frank I don't even know what Sinterklass does or what this day is. But it's the dutch Christmas.
When Frank first asked if I could live in the Netherlands, I googled plantain in Netherlands and racism in netherlands  (can't remember which first but
I refuse to live in  a country without plantains ) and was promptly introduced to Zwarte Piete.



I've tried to ignore it knowing it can't be ignored forever.
My daughter came home with a picture to colour a few days ago, I threw it away without telling her.
Maybe because it was black and white and wasn't coloured in, it was easy to be pushed aside but today Zwarte Piete came home with my son in full colour and I just feel tired.

His name is BLACK Pete for fuck's sake. Is there a White Pete?

I was raised practically, by two African parents who didn't believe know any fairy tales. I'm not big on princesses  and white men coming down chimneys (I'd probably  stab him and ask questions later)
Last year we did the whole 'Santa came' for my then 4 year old, but I just decided- no more stupid stories.

Dear  Dutch people please don't make me have to explain racism and black images to my 5 year old son.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Perfect Jollof rice tips AKA The Jollof rice your ancestors died for.

Jollof rice is kind of a big deal.

The internet made that very clear with the Jamie oliver debacle(?)
This article on #jollofgate explains it all too clearly.

I've never been that big a fan of Jollof but I think it's  because so many people get it wrong, it's a very hit or miss dish  to make. 
But one day a neighbour helped another neighbour make Jollof rice and I was blown away. 

So I asked her how she achieved the wonderful Jollof and  she says she really fries the tomatoes till they almost brown and only uses old oil that has previously been used to fry chicken or beef sometimes even plantain. I always threw out old oil thinking it was better to always use fresh (makes sense?)

Now the problem with my Jollof used to be colour. Any one can cook rice in broth but I never used to get the colour right so I almost always make my signature fried rice

So for me the only rule about Jollof rice is - Colour.

Jollof rice has to be a rich orange colour.

Jollof and Asun- because Asun goes with  everything.
 For example right now I'm making two batches of rice in the oven ( one  for the  adults  with a lot of habanero)
The other for my kids while technically Jollof is pale in colour because i  put in coconut milk.

So while there have been  debates as to what you  can  and cannot put in  Jollof rice , i.e ginger, garlic, nutmeg, bay leaf, thyme, curry, (all of which I use) I only ask that the Jollof be a nice rich  hue. So that I am glad Nigella' Jollof is worthy of the name 

Another well  appreciated tip for making perfect Jollof every single time is from African bites. She fries the tomatoes and onions on the  stove  top and then after mixing with  rice and  broth cooks the  Jollof rice in  an oven. 
This I absolutely love because the rice cooks and  dries evenly so that I don't have the mushy not quite dried rice. I recommend putting it in a foil pan like she does.
 Her food and pictures are amazing African food are amazing.
Now as a Nigerian  we know that the highest level of Jollof is what we call Party Jollof.
 Party Jollof is Jollof rice cooked with firewood and so has a smoky tang.

I will just leave this here.
This meme had me laughing for about two months.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

"Is this your back that is bent?"

My family and I moved to the Netherlands  about 4 months and I think we love it.

The Dutch like it nice and easy and that kind of suits me.
Shops and offices sometimes are not open till 10 am. This still feels strange. waiting for businesses to open when in Nigeria, half of the day's work would be done be 12.

Everyone speaks English and don't mind helping (except the butcher I go to on krusikade)

Yesterday, I was trying to take the kids to school but there was ice on my car. A man walking his dog noticed I didn't have the right tools to take care of my situation, he walked back home, got a plastic thingy  (have to find out the name) and cleared my windows of the ice.

About 2 months ago a woman pulled her car over to give me a hand when my car stalled in the middle of the road.( I was struggling with a manual car and was mortified to be holding up traffic)

I feel like I would like to live here for a long time. It is beautiful. And clean.

I have just never liked sticking out, and as Africans in a sea of blondes...

Dear Africa please get your act together.