For almost the past year, I’ve lived with 12 people, 19 during holidays. Yes, you read that right TWELVE. How did this debauchery happen you ask? Well, as many of you know, I am originally from Nigeria. I was born there and when I was four years old my mom and I left to come live with my dad in California. Now if you have immigrant parents you know the drill -if one of you manages to make it to America you have an unspoken obligation to file for your immediate family to come join you. This process is neither easy nor quick.
Because I was born an American citizen, by right of my dad’s American citizenship, when my parents divorced my mom was allowed to remain in the states and a few years later herself filed for and was granted citizenship. Once this happened she was then allowed to file for her parents and siblings -two brothers and a sister. I always knew that one day my moms family would join us but as the years moved on it became something like an urban legend. One year turned in to two, two turned in to five, five turned in to ten. So the day my mom sat me down and informed me that her family had been granted visa’s to come to America I almost shit myself. By this time the family had grown -exponentially. Both my uncles and aunt had married and reproduced. Not only did their visa’s cover them but it also now covered their growing families and they all had exactly six months to enter the country or all my mom’s hard work would be revoked. Basically our current living situation of four people, my mom, stepdad, grandmother (who’d gotten her visa much sooner than everyone else and had herself already been granted citizenship a few years back) and myself was about to be torn up. We rearranged our four bedroom house to an unrecognizable state and prayed. Everyone would be sharing a room, except for me cause I don’t play those sharing games (only child syndrome is real!).
And then December 2013 hit and one by one the families arrived. One family in December, one family is January and then one in June. At the height of all of our family being here the noise levels are uncontainable. There are seven children running around ranging from age 2 to 12. For some odd reason foreign voice levels are ten times louder than American levels. On any given day I can be found yelling at a kid or giving a side-eye to an aunt who stole a can of Pepsi I bought for myself and attempted to hide in the pantry. For the most part our household has been calm given the circumstances. We’ve managed to remain peaceful and all truly do care about one another. I’ve actually become so accustom to the noise and always having people around that when everyone has left the house and I’m the only one there it feels strange.
But all of that is about to change because…. I’m moving out.