Friday, August 11, 2006

The 4th good thing about Lagos: You're welcome!

"You're welcome" is a phrase that I've heard countless times since I've been here. At first I was confused by it -- when I nodded or said "hello" to someone and they replied with "you're welcome," I just smiled and nodded and was a bit mystified because I hadn't thanked them for anything. It just took me a few times to realize that they were really speaking literally -- they were welcoming me here. So when I greet the receptionist at Brent's office and she says "you're welcome," I now understand that she's bidding me welcome to the office. And the people really seem to be welcoming. The drivers welcome my questions about what I see around me --the people and the city. They are anxious to know my response to their country. I feel their relief that I'm not horrified or scared by what I see, just really interested. In the apartment next door to me is an Australian woman who is in much the same situation as I am -- her husband just got transferred here and she's here assessing to see if she can live here and be happy. But she seems terrified -- very hesitant to go out and do anything. Although her husband really wants the job here, I don't know if she'll adjust to the realities of life in this 3rd world environment. Although I keep inviting her out to explore with me and she continues to make excuses why she can't come -- I won't try to convince her that she'll be fine living here. That's something each person has to decide for themself. As for me, I'm heading out to look at some housing possibilities the company has available. I'll hop into the car and the driver will say: "You're welcome, madam."

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