torsdag 28. august 2008

Signing up for after school activities

This week it was time to sign the children up for after school activities. I arrived at the school early because I needed to get an ID card. And that was lucky, because know I know what it is to get in line and wait here. At the school the line formed before 1:30 for a sign up event that started 2:25. The line was not too long when I joined, but it quickly grew very long. And that was when the rather nasty show started - mums behaving real bad!
One mother had placed her nanny in the line, and when time to enter the gym for signing up came closer, she exchanged place with her nanny. I did not have a problem with that. But when she invited several of her friends in at the front of the line - I did find that unethical, but kept quit.
As the tension increased, people skipped forward in the line, they joined anyone vagely familiar to get ahead of those who waited as you are supposed to do in a line. But the worst part was not this, it happened inside the gym.

The mums rushed towards the tables where coaches were waiting, to sign their kids on to the different activities. At the Karate table were I headed it was not bad at all, and I signed Sofie up for karate. Then I took a deep breath and headed for the swimming table, waited together with some other polite mothers for the sign up sheet to be ready for signing up. I suceeded for one day. But I had the experience of being handed the sheet from the lady in front of me, ready to sign on, a lady next to me snapped it out of my hands and wrote down several names while she was screaming her success across the room for a friend to be updated, and have the friend sign her kids on that activity. Then I got the paper back and could sign on Sofie's name.

My conclusion is, that the kids with the meanest, bad behaviored mums can go to 5 after school activities, while other kids can go to zero. I am lucky that I arrived so early so Sofie could join after school activities, but for next term I am considering hiring a big, strong bodyguard to sign her up for activities and fend of the bad behavioring mums.

I must add, that most of them behaved like me, waited, formed lined and acted as expected. But for the rest - I wish I had brought my videocamera, then I should have "You-tubed" them. I sincerely hope they don't train their kids to behave anything like it.

I talked to some nice ladies from India - and they said that last years sign ups had been even worse.

søndag 24. august 2008

Nigeria - the green country

Everywhere we look small or big plants are making their way. We were out walking in our neighborhood yesterday. Banana Island, Ikoyi. Along the sidewalk, and some places on the sidewalk plants were growing. Some of them I recognise from my mothers living room as plants bought in the flowershop and carefully watered and fertilised. Wonder what she would say if she just walked into them on a little walk around the neighbourhood.

One breed of the weeds along the sidewalk was exceptionally powerful. Taller than my spouse, and found several places. Does anyone know what plant this is? Please let us know.

Una just landet?

We arrived in Lagos Wednesday 13. of August in the evening. As arranged, we were picked up at the airport and escorted to our flat. A home made Pizza and two freshly baked bread (whole wheat) the kinds Scandinavians like, were waiting for us. The steward had been in the flat and prepared everything for us. It was just what we needed after a long travel.

The traffic down here is probably worth writing a book about, but I guess for those who have not experienced it - they would not believe it. I would never dare drive a car here by myself. People walking in the streets alongside the cars to sell you water, stamps, or pens, Okadas driving around the cars like angry little flies, cars driving in opposite directions to take short cuts, drivers honking their horn so you could wonder if they got paid per honk. I am pretty sure that if I had to drive myself I would have ended up abondoning the car and started to walk instead. We are lucky and are assigned a steady driver who takes Sofie to school and pick her up.

Of some strange reason, nobody ever describes me as a patient person. But I do believe that living here for a year will strengthen that side of me, eventually. It took 4 working days to get my ID card fixed, Two times they took my passport photos but they disappeared somewhere between the reception area in the building and the security offices 20 meters away. So then, when I pressed them a little they ended up searching the whole area and finally found the photos.

We brought only our youngest daughter Sofie with us to Lagos, and she seems to settle in nicely at the American International School of Lagos. She has already made two friends and gotten to know a couple of other kids. Her schedule has become more rigid than in Norway, but she is adapting to getting up 06:00 in the morning, leaving the flat at 06:45 being picked up at school at 14:10. So far, the most challenging issue with the school has been getting the right sized school materials (3 ring binders, not 2 rings etc)

Otherwise I have found myself getting fascinating by the local lingo. They have so many cool expressions.

The first expression confused me even more than the "How y'all doing?" that we met in Texas. I was asked by the passport photographer "Una just landet? "I had absolutely no idea what the man was asking about, so I politely asked if he could repeat the question "did you just arrive in Lagos" he then asked. Since then I have heard the phrase several times.

Otherwise they have a nice expression for walking. "Pick leg for road" or "Put leg for road".

And Sofie's swim teacher was introduced as "He know book, he went to University but he like swimming" . I later found out that "Know book" is a positive description for someone who are clever, or well educated.

In the corridor where my office is hidden away, Betty is working. She is not taller than our 8 year old, but broader. Happy, smiling and funny. She brings coffee and water to the different offices and remember exactly how we want our coffee done. But she thinks I am crazy starting work as early as seven o clock. I heard her telling one of the security guys "Maam come to work so early laik her head no correct" . And after noticing this fun phrase I heard one of the stewards ask the other "Why you dress laik you head no correct?" all he had done was - buttoned his shirt wrong.

tirsdag 19. august 2008

Cultural shock no 1

So now we have experienced our first cultural shock moving from Norway to Nigeria.
We went to the Silverbird gallery to watch a movie sunday afternoon, Sofie and I. The driver took us to the movie theatre and we went inside to purchase the tickets. Inside, on the ground floor was a young man playing music, but the volume was far to loud! It was like fighting the soundwave moving into the building. Sofie tried to protect her ears with her hands, but it was to much for her, so she started to cry. I noticed that people were "evacuating" themselves into lifts and restaurants to get away from the noice, so we did the same thing. Looked for a cafe' whith glass walls/windows and went in after buying the tickets.

When time approached movie start, we went inside hte right theatre, and luckily, the theatre worked fine isolating us from the noice outside, and playing the sound from the movie just at the right level.