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9 Years

On the 29th of August 2004 I left Nigeria for the UK, which was to be my new home. I was 9 years old and felt sad because I was leaving my friends and family behind, but was excited to start a new life in England.

My first impression of England on arrival was that it was very… clean. Coming from Lagos, with its litter covered streets, London was a whole new world. Getting used to constant electricity too took a while; I’d grown up with NEPA cutting electricity all the time, but we had a generator so it wasn’t too bad.

School here was also strange to me. You see back in Nigeria, I’d finished primary school and would have been in my first year of secondary school if I hadn’t relocated. So getting told that I’d have to be in Year 5 here wasn’t very fun. To make things worse nine year old Tai found adjusting to the British system a bit difficult. I went from being loud and confident to very shy and introverted. I didn’t have many friends in my first year, and I used to ask my teacher if I could stay in with her during break and lunch times, because I didn’t want to face the loneliness of the playground. Sad times indeed. However feeling sorry for my younger self isn’t the point of this post. Nine years later, I’m 18 and about to relocate to start university, so I’m writing this to look back on the last couple of years.

Well I can no longer call myself shy and I have theatre to thank for that, as getting into acting in Year 8 helped me slowly gain back my confidence. I think I’m over friendly now to make up for those days I spent without many friends. This is probably why I can never stand seeing people by themselves in social situations, and always go introduce myself to them if I can. Everyone needs a friend, right?

So I lived in Nigeria for nine years and now I’ve lived in England for nine years. I know my grandma worries that I’m losing my roots as she thinks I’m becoming “westernized,” but I don’t think that’s true at all. Sure I can’t speak Yoruba very well, (never could when I lived in Nigeria anyway), I watch more British TV than Nollywood, get annoyed at the “even though you were born first your sister is still your elder” comments and cringe at how loud my parents are on the phone in public, but that doesn’t make me less Nigerian or more British. That just makes me Tai. I’ve embraced England over the years but no I haven’t turned my back on Nigeria.  I miss it so much. My dual citizenship means I’m proud to be part of both cultures as they represent different parts of me.

Anyways, nine years. I’ve grown a lot, lost most of my naivety, went through SATS in year 6 then again in year 9, GCSEs, A Levels, accomplished a lot with God’s help, made some great and not so great friends, but deep down, this girl remains:

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I’m still standing, so here’s to the next chapter of my life, BUZZING.

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And Then There Were Two…

At the moment it’s only me and my sister at home, as my parents and brothers are loving life in Budapest and I am totally jel. It’s been quite cosy so far though; we’ve watched a few films and it’s been great having some peace and quiet in the house for once.

So what have I been up to this week?

– Mother/daughter bonding on Monday, which involved visits to five different banks to sort out our accounts, my mum’s first ever pub meal and some shopping.

– Bah Luhrmann day on Tuesday with mother and the twin, which resulted in a lot of tears as Moulin Rouge and Romeo & Juliet aren’t the most cheerful films.

– Bought our Leavers’ Ball dresses in London on Wednesday and they were great bargains! The shopkeepers gave us discounts as they were trying to impress our mum, which was creepy yet hilarious at the same time. My dress is teal/greenish in colour, and that’s all I’m saying about it for now…

– Saw The World’s End at the cinema with my friend, Leo, in the evening and it was hilarious. I was a bit disappointed by the ending though, as I felt it was a bit rushed in parts, but overall it was brilliant.

– I have been helping my singing teacher with singing workshops/singing day camp over the past three days, and it’s been a lot of fun. My sister and I were the oldest there and it was great getting to teach and help out the little ones. Singing camp continues next week with an older group of students, so looking forward to that.

Now I shall leave you with a piece we performed in the concert earlier. This song is from The Witches of Eastwick and it’s called I Wish I May. Excuse the mistakes, this was during rehearsals 🙂 I sang it in three part harmony with my sister and singing teacher. (I’m the one in the sliver dress, wearing a flower garland headband) Enjoy!

 

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That Time I Was A Dragon

Remember when I said I was going to be in a show about dragons?

BEFORE:

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GETTING MAKEUP DONE:

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THE FINISHED RESULT:

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So yeah, I was a dragon for two nights. Considering how I only went to seven rehearsals before the actual performances, and we didn’t get a proper dress or tech rehearsal, overall I was very pleased. Getting the dragon makeup off though, wasn’t very fun.

Oh and I have an identical twin sister. Did I forget to mention that?

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Does Sunday School Brainwash Children?

I know quite a few atheists and some of them strongly believe that introducing children to Christianity from a young age is a way of “brainwashing” them, as they don’t believe that being born into a certain religion is a valid enough reason for someone to have the beliefs they do when they’re older. Is this true? Well here’s my side of the argument.

One thing I get a lot from people when I tell them I’m a Sunday school teacher is shock as they believe that I’m too young. Having just recently turned 18, I can say that I’m officially an “adult,” but I’ve been in charge of children in the church since I was about 16, so I think it’s time I gave people an idea of exactly what it is we do in the children’s church.

A Typical Sunday:

I collect the children from their parents at the start of Sunday school at around 11:30 and take them to the children’s section. After settling them down, I say an opening prayer with them and we sing ‘the Welcome Song,’ which is a simple chorus that gives thanks for everyone in the room and says how glad we are that he/she is there. I proceed to ask them about their week, what they’ve done in school and how they’ve “shown love” to someone. They are always very eager to tell what they’ve been up to, and I like asking them because I really am interested. After this, we have a quick recap of what we learnt the week before, and I ask them questions to see how well they’ve remembered last week’s topic. For little kids, they have such good memories and I’m always taken aback by how well they remember things. When the recap is over, I take the children back to join the main church as I believe it’s important for them, as young as they are, to be part of the praise and worship.

After this we go back to the children’s section and I move on to the day’s lesson, which I prepare from home. Our lessons are quite interactive as I show them videos, teach them songs, give them colouring  pages to do, and then quiz them on what we’ve learned at the end. At the moment I’m teaching them how to pray, which is very exciting, so we alternate who says the closing prayer every week and I help them through it.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it,” and that is why I believe Sunday school is an important part of the church, as it introduces children to the Bible and gives them a foundation to build on as they grow up. This is where atheists/non believers would disagree with me, because they think that telling children from a young age about things like heaven and hell would scare them, forcing them to accept Christianity as the only way. But this is quite an exaggeration. My lessons involve teaching Bible stories and morals that can be learnt from these stories. I don’t think that this forces anything on children as I was taught the same when I was their age, so when I grew older I was able to decide for myself whether or not I really believed all this and wanted to carry on being a Christian. I counter argue with the point that many children are raised as vegetarians by their parents and they grow up to make their own decision on whether or not they want to continue being vegetarians, so I believe this is a similar thing.

I genuinely enjoy teaching the kids as I love each and every one of them and they are very dear to me. Being their teacher is not always easy though, as their ages range from 3 to 7, so breaking things down so they all understand can be difficult at times, especially when there’s a lot of them and only one of me! It’s all worth it though as they are all so precious.

So am I brainwashing their little minds? Well that’s up to you to decide.

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Life Is a Gift, Don’t Waste It

Woke up to the tragic news about Cory Monteith’s death yesterday morning and I was speechless. He was so young!  I really didn’t appreciate people on Twitter and Facebook saying that he deserved to die because he was the one who decided to take drugs in the first place. People like that annoy me because they’re the ones who spout tripe like, “One celebrity’s death is nothing compared to the millions who die in Africa and soldiers who die in wars.” No death is more important than another in my opinion, so being sad that a celebrity has passed away doesn’t mean that you feel less sad about the death of soldiers and those in third world countries. People should be allowed to grieve without others attacking them for doing so. That isn’t nice at all.

I was and still am a massive fan of Glee so Cory’s death has made me really sad. It made me realise that celebrities are humans too, with their own problems and demons like the rest of us, and unfortunately Cory was unable to win the fight against his. I’ll keep praying for his friends and family as I can’t begin to imagine what they must be going through right now, especially Lea.

Life is a wonderful thing and we should never take it for granted. I am alive and I am glad.