I knew that a day would come when I could reminisce on school days. Within the two years it lasted, not many people would know that I had more lows than highs. Twice, I withdrew from school and twice I re-enrolled myself back in.
The decision to go back to school was not an easy one. I had built castles in the air about what would be my role and place in Ottawa once I settled in. With years of experience in virtually all spheres of journalism, I even thought I had enough experience and qualification to be a teacher of the profession. But once I settled to the North American system, a few things began to strike me.
If North America invited you, be sure it would sacrifice whatever it has to make you comfortable. But, if you brought yourself, please be prepared to take what it offers you, and in case it offers you nothing, be prepared not to lose your cool. These were two lessons that would take me years to learn.
First, I did not set out to return to college after graduate school. The reasons why I did would emerge in a biography if I live to write one. You will find glimpses of that as this progresses.
I arrived Ottawa in 2010 with my two youngest kids – Abimbola and Dolapo, the oldest – Yemi having graduated was serving her country as mandated. Although it was Bola, my wife who was on official assignment in Canada, it would have been the height of ingratitude not to – tag along. We were hardly married a year in 1995 when she released me for a year-stint at the Journalists in Europe in Paris. Then, with two children to cater for and no income apart from my scholarship, she again let me go for the Masters in London.
Not being the best husband in the world, I have found in my partner a tower of strength, a friend, a companion and most times my other mother. Supporting her career was, in my consideration, a way of showing gratitude for all that sacrifice. So, I wound down my small but thriving media and public affairs consultancy and settled to become a ‘house-husband’.
Two, I consider it bad manners for a father to drop his teenage children into a differently dynamic culture conscious that their mom would be on a 24/7 job schedule. If you brought the kids here, you must do all you can to sustain them morally, physically and financially. My parents did that for me and asked nothing less than I pay it forward.
Staying at home 24/7 is a sentence that African men pride themselves of inflicting on their wives. I recommend that every man of conscience reverses the trend for one year in their lifetime and write about it. I believe it would make marriages last longer. Kudos to all men who have raised their own kids in these circumstances.With time, I became an irritable Dad and an unloving husband. Books bored me, so did tv, radio and the environment. No thanks to Canada’s snow, things got worse.
…to be continued