Sunday, May 23, 2021

Life Lately: Ibadan - A Poem

Ibadan from Bower's Tower

Every new day sets a new record for how long I've gone without being back home in Ibadan. It's harder than I let on. The most random things remind me of that place. I dream about it from time to time and recycle my favorite memories from growing up there. I even made a list of those memories so I can access them quicker.

Therefore, today, I thought I'd share this piece I wrote late in 2018 about growing up in Ibadan.

*****

Ibadan is good memories,
Of growing up with impish siblings and devoted parents,
Of walking around Iwo Road handing out flyers for church programs,
Of the delicious amala and gbegiri you could find on every side street,
Of brown cardboard boxes that arrived from the United States with loads of books,

Ibadan is bad memories,
Of being laughed at for having a big head,
Of running from a mad man at Orita Aperin,
Of heaps of garbage that threatened to drown the city,
Of the corpse that rotted for days at the Sawmill junction,

Ibadan is love,
For the dusty roads I wandered often as a young child,
For Toye, Niyi, and my other old friends who still live there,
For Loyola and Wesley, and the people I went to school with,
For its quick-witted people who pride in their sharp tongues,

Ibadan is home.

*****

What I'm reading: I've recently returned to David Epstein's Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. I first read this book in 2019 and it felt like so many things 'clicked' as a result. I've always felt my strengths derive from being able to integrate knowledge from many different fields, but I've also felt a desire to specialize given the general trend towards narrow specializations. In this book, David Epstein argues one can also succeed by sampling widely, gaining a breadth of experiences, taking detours, experimenting relentlessly, juggling many interests – and generally developing range. I've been re-reading a lot of old books this year, but every time I read one of those old books again I learn something new!

What I'm listening to: Can't Help Falling in Love (the Haley Reinhart version). Busola saw Crazy Rich Asians (the movie) during the week and they played the Kina Grannis version during the wedding scene. It was almost like I'd never heard the song before! I've had it on repeat since the movie ended and I've been playing (& singing along) since!

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