Sunday, March 16, 2008

The 116th good thing about Lagos: Getting away to experience spring in other places

Before I left Lagos a week ago, it had gotten very hot and humid as the Harmattan haze had started to lift and the sun was shining full strength. It didn't feel too much like March. There had been a big increase in armed robberies in the past weeks -- each weekend we heard several new reports of criminal activity. And (though luckily I missed it) on the way to church last Sunday some members saw a victim of a stoning (evidence -- dead body surrounded by rocks) along the road. So it was great that business paid for Brent's travel to London and Houston and I was able to use airline miles to go along.

We arrived in London on Monday morning just an hour before one of the biggest storms of the year blew in, with hurricane-force winds. It didn't stop a friend and I from visiting a great museum exhibit that day. The weather during the week was chilly and blustery, but I still enjoyed lots of great art and a fun day with old friends: Cindy, who now lives in London, and Lena, who lives in Abu Dhabi, but was also in London that week. Lena and I went to see the stage version of "The Lord of the Rings" which had some amazing special effects. Even though the weather was not great, I enjoyed walking through the parks and seeing all the spring flowers. We had a great view of the city from our hotel room -- with the "London Eye" -- the big Ferris wheel, and Big Ben and a tower from the Houses of Parliament in this photo.

We arrived in Houston to the most beautiful spring weather. The azaleas in our yard are in full bloom, as well as our Bradford pear trees.















I had a refreshing bike ride on the trail along the bayou where the air smelled like spring.











Then, courtesy of the company, we joined other Nigerians who had traveled to Houston on a visit to the Houston rodeo, one of my favorite Houston-in-March traditions. We donned our rodeo wear, drove down refreshingly clean streets, and, along with the rodeo favorites, a concert by Brad Paisley, and free food in the club box, we enjoyed seeing another sign of spring -- new little chicks freshly hatched and dazed at their first sight of the world.
Sometimes, the best good thing about Lagos is getting away! Wherever you are, I wish you a Happy Spring and a happy Easter week!

4 comments:

Lindsay, Steve and Spencer: said...

I love your pictures :o)! That little chick is SOOOOO cute-- as is dad in his cowboy hat!!! I'm so glad you guys can take a break and get some fresh air for a bit. Happy Spring!

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I am LDS and have a large family (5 kids). I work for Shell and as such they are always on the look out for people to go to Nigeria. I have always dismissed this as BAD idea (mostly becouse we have young kids, 1,3,5,8,12). However, I never REALLY looked into it or asked someone who actually lived there, which is when I stumbled on your blog, purley by accident. What would your opinion be, is living in Nigeria with a young family to hard/dangerouse to be worth the monetery/career benifts that can come along with it? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Cheers
Daniel

Carolee said...

Hi, Daniel. In response to your question: There are trade-offs with expatriate life in a place like Lagos. You have to think about the kind of people you are and your family style. Are you, wife and kids adventurous? Do you get comfort from being around familiar things or do you enjoy learning about other cultures? Do you enjoy travel with your children, or is it just tiring? There are a number of families with young children in Lagos -- though I don't know any with 5 children. Education and travel costs and everything are substantially increased for the company with a larger family, so they may not be willing to take that expense on. But the American International school has a nice environment and most the kids seem to really enjoy it. It seems to be not as rigorous a curriculum in the high school (just next year extending to 11th grade and then to 12th the following year), but for some students that might be a plus. There are lots of opportunities in the school for travel that your older child could benefit from. I think for younger teens that getting together with friends in their home might be enough to satisfy their social needs, but for older teens I think it would be difficult that there's not a lot for them to do in the community. Your wife might enjoy having househelp to do a lot of the cleaning and things. It's definitely a different life-style, and for some people it would be very difficult, and for others it would be a shared adventure for the family. I wouldn't rule it out, but I would evaluate carefully before you pursue it to consider if it would be right for your family. You can email me directly if you'd like: w dot carolee at gmail dot com.

Rachel said...

I loved the pictures of you and Brent on Erin's blog. I'm so glad you got away and were able to see family. It's amazing how different the pictures are, from a Lagos post, and one with you somewhere else like London or with family. :) Love you, stay safe.