The Journey So Far...2
The Flight from Heathrow London to Atlanta was nine hours long. I was seated close to this really cute Indian couple, the wife was fine and small boned but still managed to appear fleshy and smelt of spices and some flavorful scent that was both ethnic and hot at the same time, the smell was musky and heady, I shifted slightly away from its richness, I didn't want to end up smelling like them.
I settled into my seat, this time bent on watching as much movies as I possibly could.
After the first two movies, I couldn't concentrate anymore. I was awash with a good dose of anxiety. I had bought some much required naija food (crayfish, pepper, etc you know now) and suddenly I was morbidly sure I was going to be stopped and questioned extensively like those Malaysian visitors I watch on 'Border Security' on Reality channel trying to enter into Austrailia.
I imagined how the food will be taken away and I had to apologize to my nephews that I couldn't bring in the sugared groundnut and plantain chips they had begged for.
After a while I decided to stop fretting and enjoy the trip, abi na? na once person dey die!
We landed in Atlanta at 7:25, sun still blazing even though it was evening, I vaguely wondered whether I had mistaken 7:30 am for pm, but i was sure I hadn't, na wa o! obodo oyibo, sun dey shine at 7:30pm!
I looked out of the window, a slowly started to smile, I dey America!! I thought giddily, forgetting all the things that was making me anxious earlier on and simply looking forward to seeing my nephews and having a great time.
We eagerly piled out of the plane and made our way to immigration.
Soon enough, it was my turn, i stepped forward with a smile, looking around for the dogs we've seen on TV shows sniffing out drugs. they were probably on holiday, cos I didn't see any.
I handed my papers to the nice officer who asked whether I was a nurse, i shook my head, wondering if i looked like one and as I was being processed, I was asked to write the address i was staying.
I stared at him dumbly.
I had forgotten to ask my nephew for his address and my phone was dead.
I told him I didn't know the exact address, but he was living in knoxville. Na so bros pack my paper put inside one folder, call one security person to escort me enter! shoo! make una see me see border security o!which kind wahala be dis sef?
By now, all the stories I heard of other people who had difficulties entering resurfaced, I begin 'scalibash' again o!
The next thing I knew, I was sitting in this room, with some other passengers waiting to be called. Ah!
I inhaled deeply, stretched and as casually as possible, brought out my Chimamanda book, aptly titled 'Americanah'.
I opened the pages, tried to read but my mind ran amok, my worst fear had befallen me!
After about forty minutes, I was finally called, by now we were like five in the room.
I got up and followed the officer to the room with 'secondary inspections' written on the door. I sat down and he asked if I had my nephew's number, I explained that my phone was dead and I needed to charge it, na so him help me plug the phone, I con dey pray make the phone come on. after what seemed like forever, it came on and I called my nephew and the phone rang and rang!!
The panic bubbled up again, what if I couldn't reach him? what would happen? Chineke ekwe kwa na ife ojo! God no gree!
Finally I called another one of my nephews in Texas and he immediately picked up. He was excited to know I had landed, I promptly asked for his elder brother's address which he gave me and I wrote into the form.
As I finish the officer stamped my papers and I was cleared to go! Just like that o! na so I waka go carry my luggage from the carousel, they were standing alone, I dragged the back through customs without a hitch and as I walked out of the airport into the dark fragrant night and I saw my nephew.
Finally, I exhaled and started to laugh! my holiday had finally started!