Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Americanah

americanah

 

“Ouch! Ouch, Chimanda! Stop!”

(Oh wait.)

Don’t stop.

 

It’s me who can’t stop. I read everything Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes. I only started reading her by accident, when I was facilitating the Kuwait Book Club I never intended to belong to, and found myself reading so many books by authors I had never heard of. We were reading Half Of a Yellow Sun  and all of a sudden, I WAS Nigerian. She can do that. She uses the senses, she uses the thoughts in our head. We are really not so alien, us and the Nigerians I start to think. I have Nigerian friends, from the church. We all get along. We have a good time together.

“Not so fast!” Chimamanda tells me in Americanah, her newest book, which I put off buying until I could find it in paperback. “You are very different! You think differently! And growing up in a country where there are black and white, race becomes an issue that it is not when you are black, and everyone is black, and you are growing up in Nigeria.”

Hmmm. OK. That makes sense. I mean, I thought I was Nigerian because in Half of a Yellow Sun, I was Igbo, living in an academic community in Nigeria, and hmmmm. You’re right, Chimamanda, there were no white people around. Just us Nigerians.

Chimamanda, with her sharp, all-seeing eyes, her sharp ears and her sharp tongue make me cringe as she comes to the USA and comes up against assumptions many have about Africa. Do you even know where, exactly, Nigeria is? Do you know where Ghana is? Most Americans can find Egypt on a map of Africa, and MAYBE South Africa, but the rest is  . . . mostly guesswork. Because we send clothing and food aid to African countries, we have the idea that all Africans are poor, but that is not so, and is insulting to the middle-class and upper class Africans who travel elsewhere for leisure – and education.

I don’t know how much of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book is autobiographical and how much is fiction. I know that her observations are acute, she nails expat friendships, she spotlights our blind spots and hypocricies, and she holds you in her grip because she is no less harsh with herself – if, indeed, her Ifemelu, the main character in Americanah, is reflecting Chimamanda’s own experience. The experiences, coming here, the overwhelming differences in manners and customs, even volume of voice and width of hand expression, are so immediate, so compelling, so well described that they have to have been experiences she herself had, and had the eyes to see. She must have taken notes, because she totally nails the expat experience.

Book ads and book reviews focus on Americanah as a book about being black in America, and it truly is that – as seen from the eyes of a non-American black, as she often reminds us.

She is hard on herself, returning to Nigeria, and quick to note that much of the change is in herself and her changed perspective. While I love the romantic storyline, I was disappointed by the fantasy ending, given how self-disciplined Adichie is at keeping it real in every other facet of the novel. On the other hand, I am still trying to think of an ending that would work for me, and I can’t. While her ending wraps it all up neatly, it’s the one part of the book where her sharpness dulls.

One of the things I liked best about the book was going behind the scenes, being Nigerian, going to school, having coffee, working, going to parties with other Nigerians, chatting with my girlfriends. We’ve done things with nationals of different countries before, but you know as soon as you walk in that your presence changes things. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie takes me with her and no one knows I am there, observing, learning, figuring out how things are done when it’s “just us” Nigerians.

Here’s why I am a Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie addict. She keeps it real. She has eyes that see, and ears that hear, and a gift for capturing what she sees and hears and a gift for writing it down. She has insight, into herself, into others, into character and motivations. She is sophisticated and unpretentious, she admires and she mocks, but when she mocks, it is as likely to be self-mockery as mockery of another person, class, ethnicity or nation. Reading Adichie, I understand our similarities – and our differences. I believe she would be a prickly friend to have, but I would chose her as a friend.

Awards

● Winner of the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
● One of The New York Times’s Ten Best Books of the Year
● Winner of the The Chicago Tribune 2013 Heartland Prize for Fiction
● An NPR “Great Reads” Book, a Washington Post Notable Book, a Seattle
Times Best Book, an Entertainment Weekly Top Fiction Book, a Newsday Top 10 Book, and a Goodreads Best of the Year pick.

 

 

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April 17, 2014 Posted by | Africa, Beauty, Books, Character, Civility, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Fiction, Interconnected, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Nigeria, Political Issues, Social Issues, Women's Issues | , , | 4 Comments

My Diplomat Has Arrived

My diplomat has arrived? Oh, he has money for me?

Re: CONTACT HIM NOW JAMES BENNETT. phone 9722209812

YOUR DIPLOMAT HAS NOW ARRIVED AT DALLAS/FORT WORTH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TEXAS). CONTACT HIM NOW JAMES BENNETT. phone 9722209812 (dipl-jamesbennett@freemail.hu)

We hereby inform you that the Scotland Yard Police, Interpol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, (FBI) United States of America, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of Nigeria and all the African Crime fighter leaders have come together to stop scam/internet fraud in Nigeria and all round Africa. We have recovered over US$2.6 Billion Dollars from the people we have behind bars.

Our duty is to make sure we stop internet scam and money laundering. As for today we have put a lot of fraudsters in jail. We go all over Africa to pick this thieves/internet rats. We have over 8,273 of them in our jails round Africa and we are still looking for more. We are aware that a lot of foreigners out there have been deceived and lost their hard earn money to these fraudsters after promising them percentages in their letters/e-mails for their impending help to move funds out Africa including fake lottery winning notification and at the end of the day, they will collect thousands of dollars from you without a successful end.

It was agreed that to retain the good image of our country and the rest of African countries, all the victims who lost his/her hard earn money to these faceless thieves will be compensated with just US$5,200,000.00 (5.2 Million Dollars). This we assume will help you to start a new life. Please, you have to accept the money like that because the people (victims) in our pay list are too much. We are paying back from the money we recovered from these fraudsters.

YOUR DIPLOMAT HAS NOW ARRIVED AT DALLAS/FORT WORTH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TEXAS. CONTACT HIM NOW phone 9722209812. (dipl-jamesbennett@freemail.hu)

I want you to know that you have 24 hours to call the diplomat in person of Diplomat James Bennett, let us know if you are still interested to get your consignment delivery to you today as he have been waiting to hear from you to help him complete this delivery to you. Right now the diplomatic have arrival into United State with your consignment box, call him for your consignment clearance and delivery.

You are to call the Diplomat with the phone number 9722209812, Diplomat James Bennett and send him email at (dipl-jamesbennett@freemail.hu). Call him and send him an email.

March 7, 2014 Posted by | Crime, Lies, Nigeria, Scams | | 4 Comments

More Money For MEEEEEEEEEE!

Ooooh, a consignment of money to MEEEEEEEEEEEE!

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(Reminder: this is a SCAM)

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Financial Issues, Humor, Nigeria, Scams | Leave a comment

Alfred Tan $23,200,000.00

All he wants me to do is to stand in as next of kin Mr. Haffez Al Sadique, totally illegal even if it were true, and collect my easy money. No thank you!

tan@mail.com

Dear ,

I have very important issues i want to discuss with you, because i know it’s will profit both of us and our families together.

On June 6, 2001, a foreign Oil consultant/contractor with Petronas Oil Corporation of Malaysia, Mr. Haffez Al Sadique, made a numbered time (Fixed) Deposit for twelve calendar months, valued at (Twenty Three Million Two Hundred thousand Dollars) in my Bank branch in CAMBODIA. Upon maturity, I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but got no reply. After a month, we sent a reminder and finally we discovered from his contract employers, the Crude Oil Export Corporation that Mr. Haffez Al Sadique, died from an automobile accident. On further investigation, I found out that he died without making a WILL, and all attempts to trace his next of kin was fruitless.

I therefore made further investigation and discovered that Mr. Haffez Al Sadique, did not declare any kin or relations in all his official documents, including his Bank Deposit paperwork. This sum of ($23,200,000.00) is still sitting in my Bank and the interest is being rolled over with the principal sum at the end of each year. No one will ever come forward to claim it.

Consequently, my proposal is that I will like you as a foreigner to stand in as the next of kin to Mr. Haffez Al Sadique, so that the fund will not get into the hands of some corrupt government officials.The money will be paid into your account for us to share in the ratio of 50% for me and 40% for you.10% for any expenses that may be incurred during the process of executing this transaction Please send me an mail with further information about yourself before we proceed further. Awaiting your urgent reply

(1). Full names:
(2). contact address
(3). Phone:
(4). Cell phone:
(5). Age:
(6). Occupation.

Yours Sincerely,
Alfred Tan.

February 18, 2014 Posted by | Financial Issues, Nigeria, Scams | 4 Comments

LOL Nigerian Scam

(Reminder, I print these as a warning to others. If you want to mess with these scammers, you do so at your own risk 🙂 )

From: jn48@gmail.com

Attn: Beneficiary,
Re:Your ATM Card US$10.5M is Ready

You Are Hereby Notified That Your Inheritance/Contract Payment Of 10.5m Dollars United States Has Been Approved To Be Made To You Through our ATM Visa Debit Card Unit. You Are Advised To Re-Confirm To Us The Below Information Or Call Me Immediately For More Details: +22961027320

FULL NAME:
DELIVERY ADDRESS:
PHONE NUMBER:
COUNTRY:
OCCUPATION:
SEX:
AGE:
Regards,

Dr Fred Ibe,
Director,ATM Payment
+22961027320

February 13, 2014 Posted by | Africa, Financial Issues, Lies, Nigeria, Scams | 3 Comments

Jennie Wants My Help, Sent Photo

I am willing to bet that some poor woman shared this photo somewhere, and the Nigerian scammer lifted it to include with this e-mail. If you want a hilarious read, check out I Do Not Come to You By Chance, by Nigerian author Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani.

Screen shot 2014-02-07 at 7.50.25 AM

msmzd456f456f46546@msn.com

Hello Dear,

With due respect and humanity, I am writing this mail with tears and sorrow to seek for your assistance regards to my present conditions since the death of my parents. My name is Miss Gwen Jennie, 21 years old Female, from Monrovia Liberia in West Africa presently seeking asylum in Dakar Senegal as a refugee.

I am now writing to seek for your assistance from Dakar Senegal where I managed to escaped to a nearby country through the help of United Nation authority and now seeking asylum in Dakar Senegal as a refugee,

I lost my parents and want you to stand as my foreign trustee to Receive this money from the bank Five Million United State Dollars deposited with a reputable bank in Madrid Spain while am the rightful next of kin to the deposited fund in Madrid Spain.

I tried to get this money out from the bank in Madrid Spain, but the bank management refused because of my age and present status as refugee, Now the bank management asked to look for a reliable partner abroad who can stand on my behalf and retrieve the fund and I shall send you the fund deposited documents and other information’s as soon as i hear positive news from you,

Please help me i am ready to give you anything from this total money Please if you can help me try to reply me urgently as i will explain more to you and we can discuss fully and God will always bless you for your help which I know you shall never regret.

Reach me faster on my Alternate email for security reason

Email gwenjennie0@yahoo.com

Hoping to hear from you soon
From
Jennie,

February 7, 2014 Posted by | Crime, Lies, Nigeria, Scams | Leave a comment

IRS Refund Scam

Please, if you want a chance at scamming me, use a dictionary and get you spelling right!

IRS Online refundes@irs.gov

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February 6, 2014 Posted by | Crime, Cultural, Nigeria, Scams | | Leave a comment

Ms. Rebecca L. Morgan Wants to Make Sure I Get My 10.5M

What do you want to bet that those fees are whoppers? 🙂

From: MS REBECCA L.MORGAN service@un.com

From: Ms.Rebecca L.Morgan

Att:Dear Friend .

This is to inform you that I came to Nigeria yesterday from USA,after series of complains from the FBI and other Security agencies from Asia, Europe,Oceania, Antarctica,South America and the United States of America respectively,against the Federal Government of Nigeria and the British Government for the rate of scam activities going on in these two nations.

I have met with President GoodLuck of Nigeria who claimed that he has been trying his best to make sure you receive your fund into your account through their reserve account in USA.

Right now,as directed by our secretary general Mr. Ban Ki-Moon,We are working in collaborations with the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and have decided to waive away all your clearance fees/Charges and authorize the Government of Nigeria to effect the payment of your compensation of an amount of $10.5M approved by both the British/United States government and the UN into your account without any delay.The only fee you are required to pay in other to confirm your fund in your account is COURT NOTARIZATION FEE to the UN.

Sincerely,you are a lucky person because I have just discovered that some top Nigerian’s/African’s and British Government Officials are interested in your fund and they are working in collaboration with One Mr.Ben S.Bernanke,FAKE FBI and others from USA to frustrate you and thereafter divert your fund into their personal account.
I have a very limited time to stay in Nigeria here so I would like you to urgently respond to this message with your full name, full address,direct phone number so that I can advise you on how best to confirm your fund in your account within the next 72 hours.

Sincerely yours,

Ms.Rebecca L.Morgan
United Nations Under-Secretary
General for Internal Oversight.

January 30, 2014 Posted by | Crime, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Lies, Nigeria, Scams | | 4 Comments