It is the season of stories. The long awaited post is here. How I met my husband. Get your cup of coffee/tea and settle into your sofa for this one. This is not a quick read. You will laugh, smile and maybe shed a few tears but most of all you would understand the power of belief. Not on my part…lol but my husband.
Here it goes!
July 2016, I returned back to Nigeria from the United Kingdom after my Master’s Degree. Mind you, I had not done my National Youth Service (NYSC) which is compulsory for every Nigerian based in the country and this was because of a comment my dad made earlier in 2014. Sitting around the dining table for breakfast during one of my brief holidays in my final year of my undergraduate degree, he said, “This one that you and your brother are finishing the same year, maybe one of you should go for your Master’s Degree before your NYSC; so your mother will not be lonely” and he laughed it off as a joke but I kept it in my heart.
Interestingly, I had an extra semester in University and whilst I was in school, my mates had gone for their Youth Service and I was “all alone”. In that moment of despair I remembered what my dad had said and I began researching on doing a Master’s degree. Coincidentally, coincidence is when God chooses to be anonymous, a friend came to school and he was preparing to go for his Master’s degree so I used the opportunity to ask him how to go about it and he told me there was an agency doing everything for him and he wasn’t paying them a dime. Oh boy, that sounded like great news as I couldn’t imagine asking my dad for money to pay an agency for processing. I contacted the agency and it was true. I didn’t need to pay a dime because when you get admission and pay your school fees, the University pays the agency. Long story short, I came for my Master’s Degree and before leaving for Nigeria a few of my friends really wanted to stay back to look for jobs. I left two days after. I just wanted to go home. I didn’t like the weather and most of all I didn’t like the rigidity of their lifestyle even though I am a home person.
I arrived back to Nigeria. My eldest brother in Canada also came back after 6 years amassing three degrees [2 B.Sc. and 1 M.Sc] and my immediate older brother was also around getting ready for NYSC as his specialization required him to do an internship in a hospital for a year before getting certified. So, my immediate elder brother and I had to serve the same time. My brother got deployed first to South-South and he went while I had to wait another few weeks for mine. When my deployment came, I got South-South again but a different State and my parents were not too happy especially my mum as she wanted me to serve in Abuja. I went for the three-week Orientation camp and afterwards I got redeployed to Lagos. My mum was even more upset as she wanted me to come back to Abuja so they could see what could be done but I insisted on going to Lagos as I already told her before I even started the NYSC that I did not want Abuja.
A week after the Orientation camp, I got to Lagos and I began the process of redeployment. The process was hectic and to be honest frustrating but I could not complain as I finally got the Lagos I wanted and the opportunity to spend time with my brother that did not watch me grow up as he was always schooling away from home. After the rigorous process, I went for my first Community Development Service (CDS) which held every Friday and as I stood in a bit of confusion on how to even begin registration. Someone came up to my back. As I turned to see who, hoping it would be a familiar face, this person turned with me. This went on about two more times and now I am convinced it is someone I know or at least someone that knows me. Lo and behold, I finally move to the side and it was my now husband and he is laughing and grinning from ear to ear. In my mind I am wondering “is this guy okay?”. Secondly, “do I know you?”. And thirdly, anyone that knows me knows I don’t have time for games. I am uptight like he puts it. After battling with all these thoughts, he looks at me and says, “I am just playing with you”. Hold up sir, playing??? Are we friends or something? Obviously this is going on in my head and I forcefully conjure up a smile so I don’t seem like I cannot take a joke. He walks away.
The next Friday, I arrive early as I now know my way around and what is expected of me. As I stayed on the queue I saw people keeping spaces/slots for their friends so they could register before the time elapses and I did not have a problem with that. I saw my husband casually strolling into the line a few spaces ahead of me and based on the joke of the previous week, I did something I would never have done. I spoke to him and said, “How can you just come into the line like that” and I am also smiling like he was the week before. With a straight face, he turns to me and says, “Do I know you?”. Now you have to understand I had a ‘reputation’ for not mingling with people not out of pride but I mean, I had just returned from the UK with a Master’s Degree. Most of these people were fresh out of University and I was in a different headspace, so imagine how I felt when he said that. I said to myself, “I am never talking to this guy again” and just as I finished talking to myself I see the wide grin I saw the previous week and he says, “I am just joking, someone kept a slot for me”. No! No! A second joke, at this point my mind is made up. I am never talking to him again.
Well….we are married now, watch out for part 2 to know what happened in between and how we got here. I think this story needs a book. Till next time.
Joint Instagram Handle: ayotam94