December 21st, 2009
Travel day was finally upon us, and it was the same as it always is every year. A mad rush to leave the house in good time to catch our morning flight (so mad a rush that I wasn’t able to weigh myself before we left. Meaning I have no idea if I gained or lost weight last week, especially as I couldn’t make it to gym). We got to the airport in good enough time to check in, but then began yet another lengthy wait. Our 10 am flight, soon became noon, and then 2pm! By 4pm, we still hadn’t departed.
Even though I had made a healthy whole-wheat bread and sardine sandwich, I soon got frustrated having to pacify my restless children, who were bored out of their minds, as we sat in the departure lounge. Even my ordinarily well behaved daughter started throwing tantrums. By 2pm, I was all out of healthy snacks, so I had resorted to drinking an ice-cold bottle of Fanta. Even though I regretted every drop, it was the best thing I had ever tasted, and did the job of calming me down nicely!
By the time we landed in Owerri, it was well past 5, and by the time we got our luggage and made it to the arrival lounge, it was past 6pm. I wonder why traveling in this country still has to be a whole day’s affair! It made me wonder if we would not have been better off going by road, along with JJ’s official drivers who had driven down 2 of our family cars yesterday. I doubt if they would have still been on the road by 6pm! And we weren’t even at our final destination yet!
Clement, the driver was already waiting for us, so we had filed into the 2 cars; JJ, myself and the kids in 1, and our domestic help in the other, and had made the what-should-have-been-47 minute-trip-but-became-almost-2-hours to Nkwerre. By the time we drove into JJ’s family house, it was almost 8pm.
As we got out of the car, I looked up at the massive building, and smiled as I remembered the first time I had come to see JJ here. We had been dating about a year, and he had invited me to his Father’s 50th birthday party. I had been so intimidated by the house, that I had acted like a stepchild during the entire length of my stay there. Built in the 80s, when his father was at the peak of his wealth, it was an architectural masterpiece that, I was told, had been built using some ancient Scottish castles as inspiration. Even though by the time I visited in 1990, it had already started showing signs of decay, it was still the most magnificent thing I had ever seen.
But as the years progressed, and as Papa JJ’s pocket dwindled, the house gradually lost it’s magnificence, and was almost like a mere shell. But when JJ and his older brother, Chinedu, started seeing some money in their respective businesses, they had proceeded to renovate and update the mansion, transforming into a more modern masterpiece. They transformed the place from this hollow, dilapidated, wilted old-money abode into something grand and opulent. That had been 6 years ago, and the house still looks as magnificent as if they renovated it just yesterday!
But as grand as the house is, it still has that barely-lived-in smell you would expect from a place that is empty nearly half the year. JJ’s uncle, who was initially paid to house warm, took to his feet after a few short days, claiming to have seen some ghosts. So, that’s why it’s empty most times. And even though JJ’s parents have already been here a week (as they do every year), it still smells like an old sock!
“Oh my goodness! Ihunna, where is the rest of you?!!” my Mother-in-law exclaimed, as she embraced me, and the very grumpy kids. “You look so good!”
Soon, we were surrounded, both by relatives and village people, all clamouring to welcome us, and almost unanimously agreeing that I looked amazing!
I couldn’t help but smile internally. This one that they wanted to die, on top my wearing my comfortable travel track downs and a sweatshirt, what would they do by the time I whip out all the fantastic garments my tailor has made for me.
From the corner of my eye, I sighted my sister-in-law, Ezioma, and broke away from everyone, to say hello to her. She is always a sight for sore eyes when I’m here, and the only way I will be able to hang on to my sanity.
“Chai! You’ve lost even more weight oh!” she exclaimed, as we hugged.
I looked at her, and realized it was quite the contrary for her.
“Didn’t you follow the meal plan I sent?” I asked “And have you called Dr. Nkechi?”
“Ihu, leave that story! Will I start fasting and dieting when I’m here in the village already?! Biko, next year abeg!”
As we walked hand-in-hand up the stairs, I peered into the kitchen and almost fainted when I saw the amount of foodstuff on the floor; potatoes I would clean, tomatoes I would pound, garri I would turn, plantains I would fry…
This Christmas better be good!
Catch up on Ihunna’s story here:
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 1: Grubbido
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 2: Fragile
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 3: Defiant
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 4: Progress
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 5: The Gym
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 6: Killjoy
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 7: Pain
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 8: Frenemies
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 9: Exhilarated
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 10: Popcorn
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 11: Free-fall
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 12: Sunday Morning
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 13: Mission Reactivated
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 14: New Things
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 15: Bad Business
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 16: Luxury Items
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 17: The Solution
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 18: Magic Formula
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 19: Date Night
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 20: Quinoa
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 21: Perfect Fit
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 22: Keeping In Touch
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 23: Delete
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 24: Philosophical
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 25: Keep it Moving
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 26: My Co-Wife
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 27: Old Jeans & Old Friends
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 28: Prawn Stir Fry
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 29: Facebook Tagging
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 30: Detox Part 2
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 31: Abs & Crunches
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 32: Making Notes
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 33: Christmas Party
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 34: Ashiedu
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 35: Willpower
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 36: Packing…and TV
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 37: Last Minute
- Confessions of a Fat Girl 38: Body Image