I know I haven’t posted in a long time, and I apologise. I’ve had a very rough week, and I’ve been close to tears for a while. Okay, so the last five days in summary.
My friend Commi arrived. We picked her up around three thirty, and headed back to the house. Once we got there, Commi dropped her suitcase,and my aunt arrived.
Sugabelly: “Aunty, this is my friend Commi; Commi, this is my Aunty ***.”
Aunty: “Oh, Commi, nice to meet you! Both of you come outside and rake the leaves at the back!”
So we raked and raked and raked. In the biting cold and freezing wind, we raked.
Aunty: “Is this all you can rake??? No one is leaving here until you fill up two bags of leaves!! Do you hear me??? Two bags EACH!!!”
So we raked…………………
Commi and I woke up at an appropriate time for Christmas holiday. Everyone had left the house, so we went upstairs to go and eat. That’s when we saw it, scribbled across a piece of paper with a brown marker, and laid conspicuously on the kitchen counter where we couldn’t miss it.
Sugabelly, sweep the kitchen and the entry way, then sweep the garage also. After that, you and Commi go outside and make two bags of leaves each.
Riiiiiiiiight. What a great start to Christmas break. Interesting though, since all this yard work only seems to go on when her children are out of the house. We dutifully carried out the assigned tasks, and retired to the basement where we now live.
We woke up at a similar time, and went upstairs. Sure enough, we found a similar note which instructed us to do more housework, and of course, the mandatory four bags of leaves. Then we retired to our ice cold basement to sleep on the inflatable mattress. By now, we had christened ourselves The Basement Girls, and are now en train de recording our experiences living in my aunty’s basement as a series for YouTube (expect big things in 2008 people). My aunt got back and went to watch TV, so we went back down to the basement. Next thing, my aunt comes to the top of the stairs of our basement and asks what we’re doing. We respond truthfully that we’re watching TV on our laptops. She says ‘okay’ and shuts the door to the basement. After a while, I thought I could hear her shouting, so I crept up the stairs to eavesdrop. Turns out she was yelling to my Grandma about how she was cooking and we were watching TV and didn’t come to help her.
1. When we came in from performing her interminable list of tasks, we met her in the parlour watching TV.
2. We live in a BASEMENT. The kitchen is at least a floor above us, and not even directly above. There was no way we could have known that she was cooking or planned to cook unless we had seen her cooking or bringing out foodstuffs, which we didn’t (being that we were underground).
3. Why would two eighteen year-old girls (if we had, as she alleged, seen her) leave her to cook the food that we were going to eat???
So we came up from the basement anyway, and helped her cook and do everything and stuff. I thought the drama was over.
The list of chores was written in marker on a notice board this time. We went through the same old routine that our lives had sadly fallen into. After our chores, and the leaf-raking, we went down to our basement and continued filming Basement Girls. Some time in the night, tummies growling, I decided to go upstairs and get some food for us. Got to the kitchen, and got out the cold pasta and sauce left over from yesterday. All of a sudden, my aunt looms ominously in the kitchen.
Aunty: What are you doing?
Sugabelly: Getting food for Commi and me.
Aunty: If you didn’t help me cook then don’t touch anything.
Sugabelly: Aunty, did you cook again today? (Sugabelly is genuinely confused because she helped her aunty cook the night before, so she is wondering if her aunty cooked again today without her knowledge.)
Aunty: What does that mean? I’m telling you that if you did not help me to cook, don’t touch that food.
Sugabelly: Aunty, but I helped you cook. We both helped you cook yesterday.
Aunty: CLEAR THE FOOD AWAY!!!
Sugabelly is stunned, but rather die than beg for food, so she packs away all the food for herself and only puts Commi’s food into the microwave.
Aunty: Sugabelly, what are you doing???
Sugabelly: Aunty, I’m warming food for Commi. Don’t worry, I’m not eating. I’m not hungry anymore. I’ve put all the food back into the fridge.
Needless to say, I’m really angry. I hate being around people who make you feel as though your every breath inconveniences them. Her children don’t help her cook, but they still eat. Yes, they’re boys, but they’re on their way to college, and what better time for them to learn how to cook than now? This is America not Nigeria o! It’s not as if she kept a house girl that she will send to them to cook for them. The boys laze about while Commi and I rake leaves each day. I just don’t think it’s fair. I’m not opposed to housework, but I think that when there is a group of similarly aged young people in the house, then everyone should share the work equally. Don’t mind me, but that’s just my take on the whole thing.
Yesterday she came and started yelling at me to get my phone and some stuff off her $2000 pool table. Then she said if I wasn’t careful, I would leave her house.
Fine, I know you might be a little scared for your pool table, but you don’t need to tell me how much it costs. I think that is beyond vulgar, and I have too much self respect to stay with this woman again. She doesn’t have one friend, and everyone she knows she’s chased away with her behaviour/attitude. You could stay here for a year and noone would come looking for her. It’s made me realise that Nigerians in America have a whole lot of unique problems that they face, especially those that isolate themselves from other Nigerians.
I’ve decided I’m never staying here again. I don’t really have anywhere else to go, but I don’t really care. Even if I have to spend my holidays at school or shunting around America with different friends, it’s a thousand times more preferable to being around my aunt. It’s freezing inside this basement, and my hands and feet are so, so cold, they hurt. The inflatable mattress has a hole in it, so every time I try to sleep, I fall deep into the middle and have to literally climb out to go to the bathroom.