I was excited. My heart beating fast. I had decided to leave the comfort of my lovely leafy St Johns Wood home and venture out into the jungle that was London. I had decided to leave the home where I could leave my powerbike parked outside with the key in the ignition and return two days later to find it still there gazing innocently at me. I wanted to leave the security of home though and enter the world of wild house parties, clubbing till 6 am all weekends and the notion of living in a property with people which would be almost like being on the set of Friends.

However rather than meeting Joey, Ross, Chandler, Rachel and Monica of my daydreams, I obviously being Phoebe, I was to find out later on that I would meet individuals who had been sent by the dark forces. I would meet individuals who would give Frank and Rosemary West a run for their money. The next two months of my life were going to be uprooted by my decision,  I would find myself facing snarling dogs, chatting to neo nazis, being plagued by crazed lettings agents who were trying to make whatever commission they could to pay for their transport home on that day and having to climb out through a window because the dumb sixteen year old negotiator showing me around the property misplaced the keys. 

My search began on the 04th September 2006. These are my daily entries for the house hunt which I am still undergoing. I only hope I come out of this debacle mentally unscarred.

04th September 2006

My grandmother and I stared at each other. You could have cut the tension in the air with a knife. “I will move out then.” I said through clenched teeth. We were once more clashing over my lifestyle choices, she wanted me to get rid of my two motorcycles, stop going out late at night and many other demands. It was not only the clash of two completely different personalities but also the clash of two generations. She did not look too happy with my decision but shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly as if to say “Well you are an idiot but you will soon learn that for yourself.”

However my heart rate had accelerated as I imgained the possibilities I had just opened up for myself. Moving out of home would mean parties, parties and more parties. I would never have to sneak a boyfriend into my room again and I could design my bedroom in a gothic theme as I had always wanted.

In that short space of a few minutes, I seemed to have forgotten the despair and desperation I had felt two friends exude as I had followed them around as they had viewed properties to live in. I had conveniently forgotten how I had agreed to follow my friend to view a flat in South London in an area filled with hooded young men and broken bottles on the floor and how my poor friend had fled on her kitten heels back to her car when we had gotten to the steps of the building the flat was located in. We never got to see the flat as she was mortified.

Ngozi

November 5, 2006

I have been in boarding school since the age of 7. My parents thought it was beneficial for a young girl my age to to live away from home in the United Kingdom afterall that was what the children of the wealthy Nigerian families did. Boarding school would help me grow into a young woman and help me gain some very much needed independence.

My childhood was idyllic. It was happy, peaceful and no expense was spared. Mummy, daddy, my sister, Boma, and I lived in the South of Nigeria near the beautiful city that was Calabar. It was a tiny town called Kiri. Even though wealth was never evenly dispersed between the people, some living in abject poverty whilst others lived in astonishing affluence, it did not bother us, we were a wealthy family because we deserved to be.

My father was a cold man, he provided for us like any other father but he kept his distance and left my mother to shower us with love and bring us up. My mother was always the long suffering patient wife continuously showing my father love regardless of his numerous infidelities and mistresses.

I guess times were hard in those days due to the corrupt regime and constantly devaluing currency, my father eventually got involved in a few illegal deals. He must have incensed some very powerful people in very influential positions  because he began to receive death threats by telephone and other horrible means. I remember sitting at dinner with my parents and sister when a package arrived for my father. It was delivered at the gate and was brought in by one of the guards. It was delivered directly to my father who sat at the head of the table. It was a medium sized parcel wrapped in brown paper with string tied around it to hold it in place. My father looked delighted. He turned to my mother. “This is the brocade I ordered to make my new clothing.” My mother smiled looking weary. My father was always ordering new fabrics so his tailor could make his favourite traditional outfits. He shoved his plate to the side and began to unwrap the package like a child who was getting a gift. Halfway through, his fingers stilled and his face paled. “What is it?” My mother asked looking alarmed. She jumped to her feet before my father could stop her and got a better look at the package, then she began to scream. She turned to Boma and I who were just about to jump to our feet to get a better look and with eyes flashing ordered “Go to your rooms. Now!” We understand that look and fled up the stairs right to the top with our hearts beating.

However we stopped when we got to the top and sat there craning our necks trying to listen to what was going on . We heard the help running in at the sound of my mother’s screams. They too began to scream. “What have you brought upon this household?” My mother screamed at my father. “What have you done?” My usually aggressive father did not reply choosing to remain silent as the chaos went on around him. Then we heard the words that made us freeze. “Look! They are sending us human body parts. They are surely going to kill us.” Boma and I looked at each other in fright then both ran into her bedroom at the sound of those words. Dinner was over for the night. Even though I had my own large room, we both curled up on her bed. I would like to say we slept that night but we barely did as we were terrified.

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