Sunday, September 18, 2005

DRAMA-QUEEN CITY

I HATE Charlotte!!!

Many of my friends already know how much I hate Charlotte North Carolina and how much I dread going there. It is like every trip I take to Charlotte, I get more reasons added to the list of why I hate the damned place, but family obligations force me back most, if not all that time. It is a very long story that goes back to the 1966, when the first man from Ekwe (my village) decided to attend college in this town. That was Uncle Obinna, who gets a lot of heat from his age-mates for not having fought in the Biafran War. It is so funny sometimes when he and his brothers, my other uncles get into an argument, the other party always throws in more punch when they say something in igbo like, "e gbala egbe" (have you shot a gun before) or "I gara agha/ I luru ogu" ( did you go to war?). They always say he ran away to college to avoid fighting and this would get him a bit upset and only escalate the ensuing drama, especially because it is usually his junior brothers, Uncle Mark and my dad who use it as ammunition.

The war came, millions killed and many villages in the east destroyed, but as nature would have it, my well situated village, in the middle of nowhere was safe. The only sign of war, as I was told during our regular 'Biafra Briefings' was when villagers would go to collect their children's' soldier pay from Uncle George, who was like a pay-officer, and when my dad, a lieutenant or colonel or something to that effect would bring a military truck with food for the starving folks.
Meanwhile, Uncle Obinna was concoting other plans. He decided to enroll my dad in college, so in 1970, my father came. From that point on my destiny was sealed and Charlotte would become my village away from my village as every person who made the journey to America decided to put up tent here, with the exception of some very smart individuals (my cousins in Texas)
There are almost 100 relatives of mine who live in Charlotte now and boy do they know how to be dramatic. In fact, I think when they talk about Greek drama and Shakespeare without talking about Adaure's Family, they are doing the world a disservice. Right from the day I was born, I was enrolled in drama school with my relatives being the teachers. That's probably how I learnt how to be a drama queen. There are so many stories that if I decided to move to Nigeria and get into Nollywood, I'll beat the record by churning 'high quality' home videos once everyday. There would be titles like Wicked Aunty, Lost Brother, Evil Brother, Nene and the masquerade Part 1, Nene and the Masquerade Part 2-The revenge of the Masquerade, Nene and the Masquerade part 3: Wrong Clothes, Black Python, Green Mamba, Oso Abiola: June 12 Migration, 7 Year Silence, The War of the Red Cap Chiefs, 2 Kings, The Proposal, Forbidden River, Forbidden Mango, Forbidden Love, Landed Property, Not in My House, The Bazaar, the Mourning, The Curse, Night Vigil, Ichuafo (or New Year's Eve), August Break, Village Meeting, The Palmwine Tapper, Women's Dance, Socialite, Electric Pole, Razor Blade, I.M(Ima Mmadu/Connections),The Born Agains, just to name a few. And if we ever had a deal with the Soap Channel it would be called St. Andrews (after the church in the Mission)

We never lack entertainment in my family, be it in Charlotte or Nigeria. From people beefing over one thing or the other, to towing the lines of tradition and not to forget land issues and marriages. Yes this is normal in many igbo families, but we take it to another level, worthy of Oscars and Emmys.

But it's become a hectic chore for me as a young person in the midst of archaic attitudes. Sometimes I just feel like getting into a tirade of obscenities at some of them, but I just have to drink some cold water and keep on trucking. I have now found myself putting in to practice the things I learnt watching some adults, most of which is diplomacy. You can't survive in this family without diplomacy because you'ld become frustrated into getting diabetes or high-blood pressure. Diplomacy, coupled with vigilance, is the very core of survival where I come from, otherwise the '1st Biafran Civil War' would have started in my village before MASSOB (Movement of the Actualization of a sovereign State of Biafra) actualizes this imaginary country they call "the land where the sun sets.'

Having lived in Charlotte for two years surrounded and guarded by these relatives, the city for me has come to mean so much misery and anguish. This place holds so many bad memories and experiences(and they only keep growing) that those two years have been blocked out entirely, it would take a shrink to get it revived. Sometimes it is unexplainable,and people can't understand, how much I loathe this place and why I never ever forever ever want to move to or live in Charlotte in my whole life. Even if they are picking gold on the streets in Uptown, i'ld rather gather moss in the bushes of Orange and Chatham county. Charlotte unfortunately represents every thing bad, horrible and miserable in my life. Every bad decision, starting with that of coming here in the first place, knowing what I might face, was made or has to do with Charlotte. In fact Hurricane Katrina should have hit Charlotte, not New Orleans ( The people i'ld save know themselves, others not on the list can drink water and drown for all I care.) I should have followed my gut instincts and gotten back on a plane to Nigeria, when on my first day I hit my big toe against the door post, and later that same day tumbled from the top of the stairs holding a 2 weeks old baby. Every normal Nigerian would agree with me that those were some vital signs that I missed...not so?

Anyways, that's history, but sometimes certain things just trigger reactionary emotions, reinforcing what I already know as fact, that I just have to vent. I'll be coming to Charlotte for family business for the next two weeks, and then a few other weekends in October for some other runs, (perhaps getting my last few glimpses of the Queen City for now because, and depending on how God tips the scale of destiny, I'ld either be too busy to care or millions of miles away in Africa, back packing from Cape to Cairo with a 'mobile technology notebook' and a Sony xl-1, to be bothered) Unfortunately that would mean losing my sanity momentarily and missing church; now that's when the jobless demons of mischief and up to no damn good creep up, like right now, at 11am, when I should be in church worshipping my God on a beautiful Sunday morning, instead I am typing some arrant raging nonsense and wishing evil on people instead of speaking blessings. That's cool though, the Big Dawg upstairs understand my frustrations and the need to let it all out...It's therapeutic.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gurl you need to chill out and take it easy. We all go through certian things at certain times. It takes a lot of perseverance for us to get though the hard times.
God is with you and is seeing you through all these things. This is the storm before the calm.
This is just a preparation of better things to come. God does not give us more than we can handle. If he is throwing all these curveballs your way, this is because he knows you are one tough cookie, you are a hard chick.
So keep ya head up!


Thanks for the family history though.

Adaure said...

For sure..i'm chillin like a villian..lol.. thanks for the encouragment.. i guess that makes me a tough tollhouse macademia nut cookie... cheers

SS said...

looking forward to your movies, girl! :-D

Nneka's World said...

Ada,
Take it easy you hear, i feel your pain,families are a lot of baggage especially the ones who live abroad and they feel the need to tell you what to do for their own benefit and not yours, so everytime you are there just think of nice silly tots and try as much as possible to blank them out and just know that its only for a few days and you are out of there.
Loving the titles of your movies Lol! Cant stop lauging!

Anonymous said...

Adaure,

Those experiences will make you only stronger. You are a beautiful woman and nothing can ever change that. Stay rooted in the love of Jesus.

N:B I think you should write a couple of screenplays for nollywood. have you thought of going home to shoot a couple of movies? Girl, pray about it....you have the knack for it.


love,
Seun

Anonymous said...

Aside from family issues, how is Charlotte? I know this does not relate to your tirade but i'm thinking of moving to Charlotte and just want to know what you think about the city? And do you know anyone working at Deloitte? Thanks!

Adaure said...

Everybody else LOVES Charlotte. There is a booming community of young professionals, especially of the minority groups. There's also a good number of 'sane' nigerians and they all get together once in a while through events planned by Nigerian Business Forum (www.nbfonline.org) or www.cuzncity.com... or at someone's 'grub-session'.
My friend used to work at deloitte, he's headed to Bank of America. I am sure once you get there you'll find peopls, amek contacts and most of all make the experience of living there your own.

Anonymous said...

Hey Adaure,
Charlotte isn't that bad and at least, you must have had some fun at the party on Saturday!

Nesochi said...

Hey,
I love your blog. I am also a fellow Nigerian and I currently go to UNC. I am also in OASIS. Your family sounds just like my family. I love their drama though even though I don't like to take part. It is good boredom relief. I hope you achieve your dream of being Ms. Africa Intl. It takes a lot of courage and I am sure you'll get it. Lovely pics by the way.

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