six flagsToday Monday will mark the end of a long Labour Day weekend in the United States. Labour Day is celebrated here in the United States on the first Monday in September. It is a holiday for all workers in the country, and all public (and many, if not all private) institutions in the United States go on a holiday. In Nigeria and in Europe, the holiday is celebrated on May 1st. According to Wikipedia, “the day has older significance in Europe as a rural festival which is predominantly more important than that of the Labour Day movement. The holiday has become internationalised and several countries hold multi-day celebrations including parades, shows and other patriotic and labour-oriented events.”

So on Sunday, I went to Church, and it turned out to be quite a pleasant experience, just like I expected from an Episcopal denomination. No anointing oils. No forced offerings or public exorcism of a possessed soul. And after the service there was a fellowship that made any visitor feel absolutely at home. It was a congregation with very warm people who wanted to talk, wanted to know more about the new visitors. There was no snobbery. It looked just like a worship session of believers should be. I met Holly R., an artist/painter who, like many others, offered a sight-seeing tour of St. Louis whenever we wanted it. Afterwards, we went to KOHL’s for some shopping with Rudy Wilson who had invited us (myself and Mafoya, a Beninoise sophomore of Management at SIUE, and a co-occupant of House 431, Cougar Village) to the Sunday service. KOHL’s is a big departmental store where everything seemed to be on sale: 50% off, 20% off, 70% off etc. I mean, why do they mark up these products in the first place and then sell them cheap later on? In case you are wondering what the traveller get at the store? Think thick apparels, game shoes and a few other winter-fighting equipments.

060920091211Then there was another interesting part of my weekend that took place on Saturday. It was a meeting of the International Students Society here on campus. It was a wonder to find out just how large the Indian students population is, here on campus. The meeting was to  plan the events of the coming Annual International Night at SIUE which has become famous all around the town of Edwardsville over the years. The attractions of the International Night include international cuisines, dance and fashion from all around the world, prepared by the international students. Here’s something to look forward to.

To break the ice as soon as the meeting started, the president of the ISS had asked each of us to introduce ourselves by telling who we were, as well as three interesting facts about ourselves out of which one must be a lie. The other members would then guess which is the lie, until everyone has had their turn. I was first, and here were the facts as I gave them then:

Fact #1. I am not the tallest in my family.

Fact#2. My country won the last All-African football tournament.

Fact#3. I can speak/understand up to four languages.

It should have been misleading, or at least confusing, right? But no. The response was unanimous, and as far from Nigeria we’ve always assumed America to be in terms of information especially about sports, everyone picked out #2 as the lie, and I was shocked. How did they know? Well, I agree there were many Indians there, and many other students from different nationalities. But still!

Now today, after following the result of the football match between Nigeria and Tunisia towards their quests to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and learning of Nigeria’s dismal performance through Twitter and Facebook, I am no longer in doubt of the infamy of our football reputation, or its global reach. And yes, I’m not the tallest in my family. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

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