Gelato a La Lagos

“OMG IS THAT ANTHONY BOURDAIN?!” R exclaimed as we drove by the Radisson Blu hotel, located in the Victoria Island area of Lagos.

“OMG I THINK IT IS!” I replied, excited to have experienced my first celebrity sighting.

The stylish, tall, lean, and unimpressed man that we *think* was Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef, was standing outside the hotel, waiting on a car to pick him up.

We, the peons that we are, were driving just to the other side of the hotel, but still on the hotel grounds, to a little piece of heaven, a gelato shop named Hans & Rene.

“Should we go back up the hill and try to, uhhh, I don’t know, like, talk to him?” I asked R as I peered out the floor to ceiling glass pane wall of the gelato shop.

“Nooooooooo,” he replied. What else would I expect him to say?

I somewhat quickly became disinterested in the possibility of meeting a crabby celebrity chef when I remembered where I was. I turned to browse the cupcake area of the gelato shop. The delicious little treat that I hoped would be there, the pumpkin pistachio cupcake, was not there.  “It’s probably seasonal,” R said, trying to console me as I took a deep sigh.

I recovered from my cupcake heartbreak when a tall, young Nigerian gelato shop worker offered to give me a taste of two flavors mixed together. To be honest, when he offered the gelato sample to me, I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what he’d said, I just nodded and tried to seem pleasant. I figured that nodding and smiling was safe to do in a gelato shop. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen in a gelato shop?

Like I have mentioned several times in this blog, between my old people hearing abilities and the Nigerian cultural tendency towards what I affectionately call “low talking”, a lot of times, I have no idea what people are saying to me. Believe it or not, I am very good at picking up on accents and understanding folks, even people with very strong lisps. But the trick to understanding an accent is actually being able to HEAR the people talking. For me, in Lagos, that doesn’t happen often.

The shop worker accepted my nod and smile and proceeded to scoop a tiny bit of salted caramel with a tiny bit of pistachio gelato onto a little, pink, plastic spoon. You know the kind, apparently, little pink spoons are synonymous with gelato / ice cream no matter where you are in the world. I wonder what the guy who invented ice cream spoons does with all the millions of dollars he made by inventing tiny, pink, plastic spoons.

I tasted the seemingly odd flavor combination and to my surprise, it was AMAZING. I immediately asked the shop worker to give R a taste of the concoction. R’s eyes seem to glimmer a brighter blue when he tasted it. I was sold.

I asked for a little bit of both flavors, but I received two full scoops of both. Ah, oh, well, close enough, I suppose.


R opted for a more fruity blend of gelato. I think his flavors were mango and blackberry.


I am quite fond of H&R and now I have a great little memory to go with my tales of this place: a relatively sure sighting of celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain at the nearby hotel. Somehow, having seen, but not actually met, the fussy chef made my gelato taste better. Plus, the interior of this little place is just so cute and happy!


Several children came into the shop after we sat down to eat. Each child seemed to dance in front of the display cases a little more vigorously than the last. Perhaps those children got to meet Mr. Bourdain and he had recommended this place to them.

We left H&R with bellies full of gelato (R’s belly more full than mine since he generously helped me eat some of my gelato as well as polishing off his own two scoops) and a box full of cupcakes.

Wherever you are in the world, tell me where your favorite place to grab a sweet treat! Leave a comment below.

Until tomorrow, my friends…


Too Tired Today

Today was very exciting, but ts very late and all the excitement gave me a headache!
I will fill in the blanks tomorrow. 

Until then, my friends 

Wahoo is a Fish

“Uhhh, what kind of fish is this, P?” I texted R’s friend and co-worker.

“It’s WAHOOOOOO” he replied enthusiastically.

My brow furrowed. What the hell is a Wahoo fish and how the hell did I end up agreeing to take some?

P had gone deep sea fishing off the coast of Nigeria and he caught a large Wahoo fish. I agreed to take some of the fish off his hands in exchange for a baked good. I gave his family a dozen apple cinnamon cupcakes; he gave us a generous freezer bag full of Wahoo fish.

Now, in full disclosure, I don’t know anything about fish, or fishing. I know that fish live in water and that my favorite fish to eat is catfish. I also like salmon. Beyond those two facts, I don’t know anything about fish.

I have, however, honed my cooking skills a bit more while being in Lagos. I typically cook twice a day, five times a week. So, I make a LOT of different stuff and I use a LOT of onions. Lagos is definitely not the fruit and vegetable capital of the world; it is very difficult to find a large variety of fruits and vegetables and when you do find a bit of variety, the food can be astronomically expensive. One day, I will write about debating over whether or not to buy a $5 head of broccoli. Spoiler alert: I did NOT buy the $5 head of broccoli.

The Wahoo fish, however, was free and after it sat in the freezer, frozen, for weeks, I decided to pull it out and make a quick meal with a sauce. All of the tv chefs make things better with sauces, so I gave it a try.

The sauce for the fish dish pictured above had the following ingredients:

  • 1 can cherry tomatoes in juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon marscapone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 small diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups wilted spinach

Basically, I melted the butter, sauteed the onions and garlic until translucent, and slowly added all of the other ingredients and let it simmer. Season to taste. I served over jasmine rice.

I cooked the Wahoo fish in the same pan before making the sauce. I just seasoned it with salt and pepper and cooked it on medium until it was done. Then, I put the fish into the sauce. Served it all over rice.

Now, you’d think after months of cooking twice a day and years of watching tv shows about cooking and other years actually cooking (although no where near as often as I cook here) for myself, I would have more confidence about my cooking abilities. Well, I have good confidence, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how tasty this sauce and fish turned out.

Wahoo fish is very, umm, robust. It’s almost meaty. It doesn’t not go quietly into the night. It is a firm, white fish, so the flavor is mild, but the texture is no body’s fool. It is not light and delicate. It’s like if Mr T was a fish. Yeah, it’s texture is like if Mr. T was a fish.

It was very good!

Try out my recipe and tell me what you think. What would you add or take away? Let me know in the comments.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

…Where Everybody Knows Your Name

“Madame, are you, uhhhh, from Ethiopia?” the server at Pizza Riah asked.

To a Black American person, the question was simultaneously hilarious, sweet, and confusing.

How nice of him to try to guess where I am from, and to guess that I am from another African country, I thought to myself.

“No, I am from the States,” I replied.

He smiled a confused grin.

“The what?” he asked.

“The United States, you know, have you heard of Texas?”

“OOOOOH YESSSS! TEXASSSSSSS!” he excitedly exclaimed. I didn’t have the heart to finish the sentence by correcting myself. I am not actually from Texas, but most Nigerians I have met have never heard of Louisiana. EVERYBODY AND THEIR MOMMA around the planet has heard of Texas. Most days, I decide that it’s close enough. Plus, Texas is closer to where I am actually from than Ethiopia.

“You look like us,” he reminded me, pointing to my skin and then his own. “But you sound like another place.”

I smiled.

Ever since that day, I love going to Pizza Riah even more. In Lagos, it’s kind of my version of the bar where the show “Cheers” took place. Was “Cheers” also the name of the bar AND the show? I am too lazy to Google it, but hopefully if you’re reading this, you’re not too old or too young to know what I am talking about. I barely know what I am talking about myself, but “Cheers” was a show about a bar where lots of friends met up and talked. Seems like the friends went there every day, which now, as an adult, I question, but as a kid watching the show, I just remember thinking, “Wow, those nice people sure do look happy and they have such big hair.” You know, it was the 1980s, I think. Again, I’m too lazy to Google.

Anyway, the theme song to the show “Cheers” had a line that went:  “Something, something, something, some times you want to go where every body knows your name….” so forth. I don’t remember the whole song. But, I do remember that everyone in the “Cheers” show did know each other’s names and it felt friendly and familiar.

Pizza Riah is the only place in Lagos that I have found that feels like that to me. Not only does that guy who thought I was Ethiopian know my face, so do all of the other servers. During my last visit, their faces lit up when they saw me and I noticed that they were downright almost nice to me. Nigerians are not known for their overt friendliness like Americans are, but these guys gave me smiles and I think an extra slice of tomato, too. I know for sure that I received at least two extra ice cubes. It was divine.

R took me to Pizza Riah my very first weekend here. I have now gone back a few times; this past time, I went alone. I love to go out and eat alone. I love the weird stares and pitiful looks I get. I like to look at those people who look at me with concern and give them big, toothy grins. Do you know why? I know a secret about those people. Chances are, they’re having a meal with some jackass who is not interested in what they’re saying or someone who is preoccupied with their phones. Me, I might not have a warm body sitting across from me, but I am not sharing my food or suffering the company of some jackass. So, I smile big and I mean it.

If you’re ever in Lagos and need some pizza and wings and some (potentially) friendly service, I highly recommend Pizza Riah.

I know I’ll be back there soon.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

Lagos School Children

“Good evening, ma’dame!” a short haired little boy said as he walked quickly by me. I was shopping on an otherwise quiet aisle of the ShopRite.

Moments ago, I’d turned around to see two little male rascals round the corner of the aisle, running full speed. I instinctively gave them my teacher stare, the one that used to be the talk of the second grade hallways, as I could, and often would, correct a naughty child just with a glare.

The little boys in the ShopRite immediately stopped running when my eyes met theirs. As they began to walk, albeit quickly, towards me, I continued to glare at them, not even realizing what I was doing.

The other scooted by me, and in the same fashion as the first he said confidently, picking up his little head and showing me all of his little teeth, “Good evening, ma’dame!”

My heart warmed a little and I smiled a genuine, heartfelt smile at both of them.

“Good evening, little gentlemen,” I responded.


In a previous life, which feels like ages ago, but also one which affected me more deeply than any other experience I’ve had so far, I was a school teacher.

Teaching small children is not for the faint of heart. It’s also not just coloring, and stickers, and glitter, and paint, and the like, despite popular (and hilariously incorrect) opinion.

Teaching small children was probably the best opportunity I’ve had in my whole life. Teaching school prepared me for pretty much the rest of my life: working in corporate America, dealing with change, dealing with heart breaking difficulties, learning how to explain crazy things in simple ways, learning how to guard my tongue with amazing efficiency.

I can still go from sailor to saint in one sentence, all thanks to my time as a school teacher.

I don’t exactly miss teaching, though. Teaching was also the most painful job I’ve ever had. I wanted to save all the children; I wanted to punch a LOT of the parents square in the face. Perhaps I should erase that last line in case this is one day read by a principal who is considering hiring me, in the off chance that I return to the classroom one day. Nah, as the kids say: YOLO (you only live once), I’ll take my chance. Besides, notice I said I wanted to punch PARENTS, not children.

The children were mostly a delight, especially as I look back on the experience now, six years later, and literally half a world away. This time, six years ago, I was probably taking away some poor kid’s Popsicle for being naughty. No regrets, I’m sure that kid deserved it. Needed it!

Even though my tenure as a school teacher seems like a life time ago, I still recall my experiences fondly. And when I’m out in Lagos, I love to see the school kids walking around. The Nigerian children go to what seems to be different schools that have different, colorful sets of uniforms.

I don’t know how the color palettes work. I don’t know if these colors are for one school or if those colors are for a grade of child. If I had to guess, I’d guess that the colors represent some school.

Their uniforms are so colorful and fun that it’s just so delightful and heartwarming to see them walk down the street.


The uniforms worn at the schools where I taught were mostly beige/ khaki bottoms and a shirt that was red, blue, green, or white. BORING.

Lagos knows how to dress their school children! COLORS GALORE! I think it’s so delightful.


I took these photos from the car while out today. Forgive the quality of the photos; I took them from a moving car. But you can still get the idea.

My favorite is the photo at the beginning of this post. The two boys, dressed in their colorful clothes, walk down the busy street in Lagos, with the older one tenderly resting his arm around the smaller one’s shoulder. Even in the hectic, noisy, and hot chaos of Lagos, if you look closely enough, you’ll see little moments of sweet peace, just like this.

Until tomorrow, my friends…STAY COLORFUL and embrace your youth

My Favorite Thing about Lagos

Hey! You! Yeah, you, reading this. I’m talking to you. Stop laughing right now. Stop looking at the screen all funny like the title is not what it appears to be. You read that right. There is something that I enjoy about Lagos. Well, enjoy is a strong word. I should say, there’s something about Lagos that never ceases to amaze me. It’s the traffic.

Take a look:

Traffic in Lagos is like it’s own thing. It’s a part of life here that is so batshit crazy that I often just gaze out of the window with full confidence that something batshit crazy is about to happen.

I do not say that to be dismissive of Lagos. I know that being dismissive of other places, people, and cultures is a very American thing to do. We are often accused (sometimes rightfully so) of being very judgmental of other cultures.

I say that some things I see are batshit crazy relative to my experience in the States, where there are lots of laws about how traffic works and almost every large city has its very own driving culture, that vary from coast to coast.

But I think that the overall laws governing all things related to motor vehicles keeps interesting things from happening in traffic in the States. However, our lenient gun laws make traffic-related rage and shootings more common than I’d care to admit.

Here, in Lagos, I haven’t heard of anyone getting shot, but lots of other oddities are common.

  1. There are roundabouts. A roundabout is a terrifying thing to me. Perhaps they’re common in some US cities? In Houston, where I live, I can only think of one, and I think they only made it to protect a statue of Sam Houston, the founder of Houston, that sits in the middle of the damn thing.
  2. There are a lot of dump and construction trucks and a lot of them are  leaking fluids. I don’t know what the fluids are, but every driver I’ve ever ridden with *always* quickly moves from behind the dump trucks.
  3. There are sometimes art pieces in the roundabouts! You can see two in the video above: the silver, geometric circles and the metal cube standing on its side. The metal cube was installed just a few days ago.
  4. People drive pretty balls out and road rage is not as common as you’d think. There’s lots of weaving, cutting people off, changing lanes, etc.
  5. People ride motorcycles with almost complete abandon! No helmets, no tennis shoes, no shirts, no motorcycle jackets, no hands, no holding on. I suppose the traffic makes it impossible for the motorcycles to go so fast as to really mess up a rider if there was an accident, but it still seems so dangerous. A couple of days ago, I saw a motorcyclist with a passenger who was holding a huge box in between them. Just cruising along down the Epe Expressway holding onto a box. No big deal.

Dealing with the traffic has probably been my biggest accomplishment with adjusting to living here. The terrible traffic is both frustrating, but also entertaining, and I don’t have to actually drive in it. I sit in the back of the car while my poor driver navigates the horrors of Lagos traffic.

The traffic here also makes me so thankful when I go back home. During my last stint at home, I drove sometimes an hour across town, just because I could and just because I knew that traffic in Lagos was more horrible than in Houston. In that way, being in Lagos has really helped adjust my attitude for the better.

Where are you reading this? What’s the traffic like where you are?

Until tomorrow, my friends…

Sick in Lagos!

“I think you’re sick,” I told R.

“I think YOU are sick,” he retorted.

Truth is, guess what, we are BOTH sick today.

What crummy luck for an entire house of people (even though there are only two of us) to be sick at the same time? And to catch colds in a place that is perpetually hot! We are basically sitting on the Equator, how could we get colds?

Oh well…

Today’s post is short because I am off to bed soon. I am having trouble keeping snot off the keyboard, so I will retire to bed and NyQuil soon.

But in an effort to write SOMETHING, I went back through old photos, from November 2016, and found this photo of the most amazing tea I have ever drank. I had it in Bergen, Norway and I’ve been looking for something like it ever since. I can’t find it, but while I sit here sick, drinking some OTHER kind of lame tea, I remembered how nice it was to visit Bergen…and how Lagos made that little trip possible.

R went there for work and I went there to get the hell out of Lagos for a little while. We were only there for a few days, but I can’t wait to go back.

Until tomorrow, friends…when hopefully I feel better.

A Difference a Year Makes

Today’s post is a little different. Instead of writing about my current life, I want to take a post to write about my former one.

As a child, I had the privilege and opportunity to grow up around “old folks.” I have always been a bit of an old person on the inside. I have never felt as young and carefree and reckless as other young people around me. I also grew up around my older brother, grandmother, and an aunt who was older than my mom.

I had a wonderful childhood, hanging around with my own old soul and the old souls around me. I also learned a lot and heard lots of “old folks” sayings like:

  1. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”
  2. “Time heals all wounds”
  3. “There’s always somebody out there that has it worse than you”
  4. “If the Lord say the same”

And so forth, you get the idea.

I chose those four “old folks” sayings to write about today because as I sit here, clicking through photos from a year or more ago, those stand out to me.

  1. Where there’s a will, there’s a way

I am currently just trying to figure out what to do with my life, given all of the changes I have made to it. My job, pets, location, car, marital status, health status, hair thickness, body fat percentage (and even my eyebrows) have all changed in less than a year. Even though I don’t like to admit it, it’s been rough. But as the old folks say, where there’s a will, there’s a way. I don’t have much will left in me, but there’s still some fight in there some where, and fighting me will find a way.

2. Time heals all wounds

All the wounds that I think change has given me will eventually heal over. Right now, they sometimes feel like gaping, gushing wounds, with instead of blood pouring out of me, I am watching my sanity slip past my fingers. I am holding on to the wound, but it seems like nothing is helping. But, I have faith that time is the ultimate change agent. Given time, anything, everything, anybody, and everybody changes. Time is a healer even when we resist the healing.

3. There’s always somebody out there that has it worse than you

This one is SO OBVIOUS living in Lagos. In a way, it is fortunate to have spent my most tumultuous time in life (so far) in Lagos. All I have to do is go outside or even look out the window to be reminded of my good fortune. I have always been a grateful and thankful person (growing up with “old people” blessed me with that trait), but it is even more apparent when living in a place like Lagos.

4. If the Lord says the same

I used to chuckle inside when I heard this one. Old people would say it when they said they’d do something or be somewhere. For example, “I’ll see you next Sunday, if the Lord says the same.” This saying is a way to acknowledge the very, very, very little control you have over your life. This saying acknowledges all the freak accidents, the sudden heart attacks, the uncertainties, the hidden health issues, the surprise heartbreaks, and the unexpected sadness. All of those things that can, and eventually will, stop you and break you. Sometimes you may be stopped forever, other times, you may have the fortune to stop and be able to start again. Sometimes you have some control; other times you don’t. As I have gotten older, or should I say, as I have been blessed to live this long, I have grown to have a new appreciation for this saying. Some of the things I thought I’d have by now, they did not come to fruition. Some of them will never come. And regardless if you’re religious or not, believe in this God or that God, well, sometimes, the Lord just does NOT say the same. The universe does not say the same. The forces of life disagree with your expectations and you have to make adjustments.

I won’t end on some unrealistically happy note because I am a pragmatic person. I know that all stories don’t really work out for the better. I know that all stories don’t have happy endings. But regardless of how my story progresses from now, and no matter where the story HAPPENS (in Lagos or elsewhere in the world), I am thankful to even have a year ago to look back on. Lots of folks can’t say that.

To the girl taking the selfie a year ago, enjoy the calm before the storm. To the girl writing this right now, learn from the storm. And to the girl reading this a year from now, and I hope you are, if the Lord says the same, remember: keep using your will to find your way.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

Eating Out at Casper & Gambini’s

“I can’t wait to eat this food,” I enthusiastically announced.

“I’m hungry, too,” R added, uncharacteristically as interested in food as I am all the time. “I didn’t eat much dinner.”

I did eat dinner the previous night, but I was still so excited to be at Casper & Gambini’s today. Saturday is usually the only day that I get to go out and enjoy a sit down meal somewhere other than my own damn kitchen. I relish going out to eat on Saturdays. It is one of the things I miss most about home. My waistline thanks Lagos for the amount of home cooking that I do, but no other part of me is interested in my own cooking most of the time.

The first thing to come out was my raspberry iced tea. It was served in a swanky little glass with a shaker attached to top.


Next, were the hamburger sliders. Three different flavors, but we both agreed that the first, plain flavor was the best. Oh snap! I just remembered that I didn’t get a photo of the sliders before we munched them down. Oh, well, here’s a photo of the placemat. I hope you can imagine a plate on top of it and then a slider on that plate. Close your eyes and try really hard to imagine. It’ll be there.


Next came our entrees. I decided to live a little and order the salmon. The cooking options were “medium” and “well done” which I found hilarious for two reasons. 1) What about rare and medium well? Why aren’t those options? 2) Everything I have ever eaten in Lagos was prepared well done, with this salmon being no exception, no matter how I order it. Just bring me some food, geeze.

R ordered the lasagna. It was a hearty portion and he seemed to really enjoy it.


Lastly, I ordered the “small bite” cheesecake parfait. I think it’s funny that this is considered a “small bite.” Where did they learn to figure out portion sizes? AMERICA? Ha! It was delicious.


All in all, it was a great outing at a great new restaurant. This place is now one of my favorites in Lagos.

Also, the facade of the building is gorgeous and reminds me of a proper American restaurant. Lagos has lots of businesses, but a lot of them are set far back off the street or they’re behind guarded, iron gates. Lots of times, you may pull up to a place in your car and have no idea what it looks like until you’re let into the gates. Other businesses are behind other buildings are down alleyways. Lots of the “nicer” restaurants are located inside hotels, which is also strange for me. In the States, it is less popular for a restaurant to be located inside a hotel, unless the hotel is in Las Vegas, I suppose.

So, when we drove up to this place, with the parking right in front of the door, no iron gate, just get out and walk up, I was delighted. And oh, how I love modern signage and architecture.

What’s your favorite place in Lagos to eat?

Until tomorrow, my friends…

A Trip to Cafe Neo

“Have you been here before?” the barista asked, in a low voice.

“WHAT?” I responded, typical of my reactions when doing things in Lagos and talking to Nigerians. I usually need the thing to be repeated at least twice before I can hear what is being said. Is my hearing this bad in the States, also? I silently thought to myself.

“Have you been here before?” he asked again, barely loud enough for me to make out what he said this time.

“No, I haven’t,” I replied.

“WHY NOT?” he asked loudly and rather boisterously this time, anticipating my need for him to speak WAY LOUDER.

I chuckled heartily when I realized he was teasing me. He was making a cheeky joke. A Nigerian making a cheeky joke! He must have an American or English friend who taught him to be cheeky. Ah, that little joke alone was enough for me to feel thankful that I left the house today.

I have been rather down lately. Lagos is not suiting me this time. Not to say that it suited me well in my “first round of duty” last  year, but this time, well, I am just having a hard time. I am more miserable than if I had a paper cut on each finger. Meaning, sure, I will live and survive, but I’d much rather not have a paper cut on each finger, if you get what I’m saying.

Because I’ve been down, I’ve been staying in a lot. For some reason, last year, I made it a point to go out somewhere almost every single day.  I did this for two reasons: 1) I felt obligated to give my driver something to do. My previous driver was a charismatic fellow and it seemed a shame not to take him on an adventure every day. My current driver is much more relaxed and quiet. 2) I felt compelled to go out every day. When I first came here, the traffic and noise and general malaise caused by Lagos had not worn me down. Now, I am a little nub. Before, I was a brand new pencil. Lagos, and change, and homesickness, and feeling generally lost in life has worn me way down. I feel as though I barely exist. But what’s the good thing about feeling like a worn down pencil? There’s usually a lot of eraser left; I still have a chance to do things in a new way, make a new path, and there’s still a little of me left.

Today, I was determined to go out somewhere. I literally had not left the house at all in almost three days. I decided to go to Cafe Neo.

After ordering a chai latte from the cheeky Nigerian barista, I looked around at the VERY SMALL seating area, hoping to find some place somewhat secluded. No such luck. Suck it up and sit down next to someone I thought to myself.

I looked out the window longingly at my driver and the car. I should just take this to go, I thought. NO! I will sit down right next to someone and got damn it I will enjoy it.

I sat down next to a girl who had very kind energy. Part of the reason that I don’t enjoy other people that much is most people have an exhausting kind of energy. People need attention. People need acknowledgement. Some people have an unkind energy about them. Some people project hate and dismay and jealousy and foolishness, just by waking up in the morning. I can feel it. I know that might sound crazy or like I ate some mushrooms, but I know it’s a real thing. My ability to feel energy has served me well over the years and has kept me out of trouble…and mostly away from terrible assholes. Well, that and my general dislike for being around other people. It’s quite difficult to get into trouble when you’re alone.

The girl next to me was reading the newspaper. The table I sat at had the sports section. I pretended to care for a moment, picking up the paper and looking at the multi-national faces of all the soccer players. Ugh, I’m too tired to pretend to care about this stupid soccer crap I thought to myself, putting the paper down, but respectfully not resting my cup on top of it.


A fat-bottomed girl then came and sat on the other side of me. I collected myself as she came to sit next to me. I knew eventually someone would come sit next to me, but I was not prepared for it to happen within five minutes of me sitting down.

The fat-bottomed girl was wearing the tightest pair of leggings I’ve ever seen. They were like leg-length tourniquets; I have no idea how she was breathing or moving, but she seemed to do both just fine.

Eventually, another girl, also in leggings, but in a more reasonable size, came to join her. They embraced each other for a long time, the kind of embrace that I see women, especially Black women, do to each other often. It’s the kind of soulful, kind, heart-wrenching kind of hug, the kind of long hug that can gently touch wounds that you thought were long lost. The kind of hug that makes you feel welcome and appreciated and understood. I turned my head and covertly watched them hug each other for a long time. My own heart ached a little bit; I wished I had a friend here to hug me like that. But my heart also rejoiced for those two women because they DO have a friend here to hug them like that. I felt a bittersweet mix of homesickness and gratitude; I know that I have friends at home who will hug me like that, who will greet me like that. I remembered that I am here for a short time; my friends at home have not and will not forget me. I wondered if they think of me often.

The two leggings girls chatted and giggled and listening to them (what I could make out of what they were saying anyway) warmed my heart and made me glad that I decided to venture outside today. I was surrounded by good energy; the silent, but kind, girl on my left and the energetic, legging twins on my right.

I sat there until I finished my entire latte and for a few moments, I was just existing in Lagos, with a chai latte. My yearnings from home left me for a little while. My worries about my career seemed to be distant. Who I think I should be and who I actually am were one person. It did not last long, but it was nice to just be in Lagos, in that coffee shop, sandwiched between those three women, for a little while today.


Until tomorrow, my friends…


Africa Makes Ya Strong (and Creative)

“Where are the dry Swiffer pads?” I asked R, a few weeks ago.

“I didn’t find any in the stuff we packed.”


OMG, no, say it ain’t so! I forgot to pack dry Swiffer pads and now I’m stuck in a place where most people don’t know what a Swiffer is!

For all you unfortunate folks out there who doesn’t know what a Swiffer is…it’s a magical, lightweight, better than a broom device. Instead of sweeping, it swiffers! It picks up trash and dusts your floors at the SAME TIME.

To not have the dry pads for your Swiffer is like not having vanilla for your cupcakes—it’s a damn shame and a hot mess.

But, never one to back down from a challenge, I decided to get a little creative. I decided to rig up a make-shift dry Swiffer pad. I felt that I would be damned before I just give up and go quietly into the night…with dust still covering my floors.

One day last week, I bought a strange back washer type thing. It is like a loofah on one side and a terry cloth on the other side. I decided that this thing would be my make-shift Swiffer dry pad.

And hot damn, notify the press, my idea (mostly) worked. Look at those results:


I am completely unashamed to show the results because my ego is currently being bolstered by my creativity.


This is what my makeshift device looks like from the other side. I took the little holders and stuffed them into the Swiffer gripping cavities. Then, I used it very gingerly to swiffer the floors and the thing didn’t come out. Man, I feel so accomplished and smart today!

What do you think of my invention? Am I clever? Or has being in Lagos turned me a little stir crazy? Do I have your pity yet? I SHOULD.

Until tomorrow, friends…

A Sweet (Potato) Day in Lagos

“Ahh!” I gasped, turning to my driver. “ARE THOSE SWEET POTATOES?!” I yelled aloud in the store. He seemed to politely ignore my truly American, loud, and excited outbursts yet again.

I gazed upon the misshapen glory of the elongated tuber and wanted to hold it close to my chest, like I had just given birth to it after years of trying, a hard labor, and having my arse exposed in a cold hospital gown. THAT is how happy I was to find a sweet potato in Lagos.

An American, long, ugly, orange-fleshed sweet potato, here, right here, in West Africa. Indeed, the heavens had not forgotten me when I landed near the equator.

“I do not know if it is what you want,” my driver finally said. He took one, marched over to the completely apathetic vegetable weigh boy (that’s a real job here), asked him if it was indeed a sweet potato. The young man lazily shrugged his shoulders.

I coyly said, “It’s ok, we will take th—” but before I could get the words out, my driver was scraping the skin from the potato, right in front of the vegetable weigh boy. I was horrified, even though no one in Lagos seemed to give a damn. I stood aside as the little flecks of potato skin fell onto the floor. The vegetable weigh boy was so disinterested; he barely even rolled his eyes at us.

The removed skin revealed the answer to the question in my heart: YES, those were sweet potatoes.

Now, what does one do with some beloved sweet potatoes? Boil them, sprinkle on salt and cinnamon, and eat them? HELL NALL YOU LOSERS! You make sweet potato souffle.

Since I was unfamiliar with how to make it, I used the recipe linked below and added 1/4 teaspoon of orange extract. It left the end product a little tangy, so if you’re into that flavor, add a little orange extract. If you’re new to cooking or you’re taking this to the Queen’s house, leave out the extract and try it without, just to be on the safe side.

Recipe can be found here:

After you get your filling all done, then you make a sweet and crunchy topping to go on top. I did not have coconut or the means to get some (the driver had already left for the day), so I did not use it. Guess where those pecans came from? An African exporter who exports things from the States to Lagos…well, he KIND OF exports your stuff. Some of my stuff never made it here and I had to retrieve it when I went home last time but that’s another story and blog post. However, those nuts did arrive and look, they’re famous now! They’re on the internet!

The souffle looked great and was ready to go into the oven. It’s baked at 350F but we are outside of the USA so I baked these at 175C (which is the equivalent in the metric system that is used literally everywhere else on the planet except America).


After baking, it looked like this. I patiently waited for R to come home to try some. He said it was “Pretty tasty” which is the equivalent of him either saying “This is acceptable” or “This is edible” or “I would eat this again.” I count that as a win.


Do you have a sweet potato recipe that you’d like to share with me and my readers? Leave a link in the comment section below.


Until tomorrow, my friends…

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