Sunday, April 21, 2024

Hosting Swedes

Till date, I have had very minimal in-person interactions with non-Africans, SA on the other hand is familiar with many. Let me digress and tell you an almost funny joke; we were discussing an event he was supposed to attend and the likely flight itineraries, and he mentioned it would have to be a night flight. I argued that it was better he left in the morning. Next thing this bobo said (with a smug look) was “Babe, no be Pan-African flight, na intercontinental!” I just stared at him like “…oh yeah?” Very rude fellow. Let’s get back to today’s post.

On the first public holiday in October, we had a Swedish couple (Astrid & Marcus) visit us. Astrid is a colleague of SA, and Marcus is her husband. They arrived in Nigeria a few months earlier and were soon returning to their home country, hence the visit. Here is one of the ways SA and I differ; it is very unlikely that I have colleagues over at my house except I am having a party, but SA? Left to him we would have guests over, or people to visit, every weekend. We have both learnt to adjust and bend over for each other from time to time.

When he asked me if he could extend an invite to them, my first question to him was “kini mo ma se f’oyinbo?” – what would I cook for these white folks? I wouldn’t want them coughing on pepper or eating something they’d be uncomfortable with – just to be polite. It just felt like a stressful arrangement. Anyways, I said ‘yes’. I figured they’d be cool with crunchy fried plantain, omelets, fruits, juice, and cookies.

Our living room walls are decorated with picture frames of SA and I, I love them so much, but on this visit, I was particularly grateful for them. They set the mood and kicked off the conversation. Astrid and Marcus loved the pictures and went over each one for about quarter of an hour, asking questions on their feet, while SA did the honors proudly – its not easy to be married to a fine gal!

I was in the kitchen getting water and fruits when I heard Marcus ask SA ‘Can you show us around?’ In my mind I was like ‘wait up, whaaaat?!’ If this was Hollywood it would be normal, but here? It felt awkward. I was glad I wasn’t in SA’s shoes as I heard him say ‘…and this is the visitor’s toilet’ looooool! I knew the kitchen was up next and though I had some unclean dishes in the sink, I was rotfl hard at SA in my mind that I couldn’t be bothered. I mean it’s a regular 2-bedroom apartment not an antique storey building with portraits of 10 generations of ancestors decorating the hallway. Anyways, my guy finished the so-called tour – inside and outside, and they seemed to be having fun. I still hadn’t stopped laughing, and him and I still laughed hard later that night before we retired to sleep.

Being newly married can be overwhelming, but please while you focus on setting up your bedroom & kitchen, don’t ignore the living room. It is always helpful when there are several things to hit off a conversation or engage your guests with. It shouldn’t just be “welcome ma/sir, food is ready.” The Nigerian stress doesn’t naturally make us think about these little things, but please keep it in mind. An album, short video clips of your special events, a simple board game, some flowers (yes flowers), a pet. To take it a notch higher if you are the liberal sort, you can show them around; like your children’s nursery, if you are into such decorative things; your vegetable garden if you keep one, etc. However, do this with caution, Nigeria is not Europe, be careful of who you show around your home.

SA shared his version of how we met (a very warped version I must say – imagine him saying the first time he called me on the phone I was swooning in admiration! Emiiii Folafash!) I told them that was anything, but the truth and we had a good laugh.

Now unto food. I asked how adventurous they are with Nigerian cuisine, as I have been worried about what to make for dinner. They mentioned the things they’d tried which sounded more like fried rice repeatedly. They hadn’t had jollof and were open to trying that; so, we settled for Jollof and plantain.  Hmm… Jollof wey no get pepper, torh make we see as e go be.

We served them the meal, and next thing I knew they burst into their native language. At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of that but when I saw them take one spoon and then two and then another, I felt at ease. We settled to eat with them, and Marcus mentioned that the first spoonful had felt super peppery, but subsequent ones felt just fine. They asked questions about what was in the food, how the rice was colored and creamy, what type of fish we topped it with and all that, and we responded cheerfully. They also shared how they met and got married and I realized how contrasting cultures can be. One thing sank deep for me; in a globalized world, there is absolutely no way we can rely on individual culture for sanity in relationships. There has to be something bigger, a higher standard to live by – and there is.

After the visit, we drove them home safely and returned. SA mentioned how Astrid had rubbed on an ointment on her legs and kept breaking out in sweats before the meal. I felt for her; mosquitoes and heat aren’t for everyone, lol! We also joked about Marcus’ pronunciation of Jollof as ‘yollof’. Sadly, we totally forgot to take pictures, so I don’t have pictures of them to share with you – sorry. I can imagine they had a couple of things they found weird, and unusual here as well, and that’s normal. We had fun, and despite my initial anxiety I totally enjoyed having them around.

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I write about family, faith, work and Life. My pieces focus on how I am learning to bloom in all these and I welcome you to bloom with me.


  1. Hey Folake,

    This is amazing.

    I enjoyed reading and smiled all the way through.

    Looking forward to reading more of such amazing write ups.


  2. Interesting and Amusing Post?
    Fascinating choice of words

    Mind if I ask, was the picture displayed the exact plate of rice served?
    If it is,It seems you would be hosting me next and I don’t mind the pepper and some sauced shrimps will perfect it,
    I will alert you of my pending arrival,It will be me alone by the way but i can have serving for two.

    Looking forward to next post✌?

  3. Awwwwwwnn????. So wonderful. It’s really cool to do unusual spontaneous stuff sometimes,the additional spice and entertainment we need sometimes. I love beautiful interior decor so much too, can’t wait to apply your tips?. Now on to the jollof, I’m hungry?

  4. Awesome! I enjoyed it and smiled most of the times while reading?

    And honestly, it’s really amazing how you express yourself in writing.

    Most times it feels like I can literally hear you saying these things?

    Weldone Mama!!!


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I write about family, faith, work and Life. My pieces focus on how I am learning to bloom in all these and I welcome you to bloom with me.

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