Whenever my friends or family visit from Nigeria it is always a shopping expedition. 2-3 weeks before they come, some even send me a shopping list. There is the expectation that I know where all the bargains are happening. I suppose, I have always met their expectations so why not? Prior to their arrival, I clear my garage for all the shopping bags. My neighbours are informed as they might have to accept some deliveries for me when I am away at work. My kids are shoved into one room because “the aunties from Nigeria” are coming. Mind you they are usually excited because the Nigerian aunties are usually generous and of course, they have no option but to shop for my kids as well.
Summer 2015 was different. My beloved friend Ifunnanya and her hubby were coming in and I was prepping for their arrival as I would normally do. She however informed me that for the first week they would rather rent an apartment in the heart of East London. I wondered why but did not pry further until after they arrived on Friday. Saturday morning had me there with my kids and shopping bags ready for action and then she breaks this to me gently.
“Hubby and I treat every holiday as a learning experience for the kids, shopping comes much later”. I go “abegi shut up and stop forming, they are doing sales in Debenhams, let’s go get stuff ojare!” Then I realised she was serious as she brought out a schedule.
Who knew that there were so many educational places for kids and adults to visit in London and most were free of charge. The list was endless, from the Quirky Museum to the National Art Gallery (the biggest in the world), to the Somerset Museum or the Tate Modern or even the National History Museum. Her kids were better for it because as I accompanied them on these journeys, it was interesting to see them identify paintings by Monet, Claude and Rembrandt! Her kids had over the years grown their knowledge base on 18th century art and history simply from going on holidays. My own kids were on the other hand perfecting the art of identifying outlet malls and villages during holidays thanks to their mum. The school obviously takes them on these trips but it can never be enough.
Now the funniest part of this experience was that we did not see any “familiar” faces in the museums or art galleries but as soon as we came off at Oxford Circus aka shopping central, we bumped into all our “relatives”.
Anyway the moral of this story is that my children will be spending the next holiday touring all the educational sites of London. The town is packed with so much history and that kind of knowledge will set them apart. I hope I have some believers in the house!!!!!
Thank you for reading.