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.


WTF!

Sidestep.


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.

FACT
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.

Monday, 17 November 2014

The randomness of it all.

I've always been a bit..cold.. disconnected...bitchy.

When I had my son and he was placed in my arms, I waited for the rush of love that was  supposed to flood me and there was nothing. I remember even thinking he wasn't even cute (he really wasn't)
I'm just one of those people who needs time to 'warm up'.

Enabe was one of those people who used words like bitchy to my online face (after we became friends)
I don't know how or why we became Facebook friends or rather,  real friends via Facebook. I'd known him while I was at university and we certainly weren't friends (although he reminded me later he typed my project for me)

Years later I'm  married and living in Brasil. We become Facebook friends and chat sporadically. It's light and friendly,respectful and  sometimes spar-ry  we talk about Dave Chappelle, and TV and why do Africans become African when they move abroad. He answered this question later when he moved to Russia.

I moved back to Nigeria
New mother and busy.
No time to chat

Then we talk about Mandela and why I don't like him, about the oxymoron that is being atheist and Nigerian. He tells me his age and I can tell he is sensitive  about it. I realize he is my friend.

My family moves again and a better internet connection means we don't have to type to talk.


Some days ago Enabe sends me a message 'call me na...na wa for you o'.

It's strange. We only talk on Skype if we both happen to be on same time.
I call him and he wants me to watch an Oliver the Coque video, explain some Igbo words.
It's a long call, every time it's about to end, we find something new to talk about, he asks when I can send him something I am writing  and then asks me to visit his friend pearl's blog. We talk about Kendrick Lamar and Ebola and going to Nigeria. He hates that the two TV shows with strong black women have white men issues.

He says I should continue with my old blog and then I 'bounce' him because I have to go pick up my kids, he says yeah he has to go play basketball.
It certainly was not a special conversation
Except it is, because Enabe is dead.

Enabe is dead
Enabe is dead.
Enabe is dead
DEAD.

Does not compute.

I have been waiting for it to be real. I bathe the kids and think 'Enabe is dead' then laugh.
Shit cannot be  real.



Enabe slumped playing basketball  (two days after we spoke)

Today I am glad for all the times we text-ed instead of talking. I can go back and read his words and laugh. (And finally I am crying)



and the lord said to me... he said
'when you find a beautiful, witty girl with a formidable sense of individuality, love for football, video games and an affinity or all things Linux(especially Ubuntu, redhat, SLED and backtrack linux), you never let her go, feel me?
'cos if you do, i will find you, and i will kill you.'

and i'm like, yess lord..yess lord (sic)


in the time it took Floyd Mayweather to make $32 million (36 minutes) I made some pretty sick noodles. 

'i will die someday and it will matter absolutely nothing what anybody says about me after my death.whether they sing my praises(fairly or unfairly) or they cuss me out (justly or unjustly)  -(private conversation)



He was a good man, brash and opinionated and funny and true. He was passionate about football, music,video games and  I am sure many more things we never spoke of. I also thought him a feminist.

I can't believe  we will never get to smoke a joint together (we probably never would but it was nice to talk about it)


I cannot imagine  what his family and people who really knew him must feel to be blindsided by this news.

Shit just cannot be real.



Female and Nigerian

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