My name is Annette Ejiofor and I am an activist, singer, writer, belieber, and orange juice lover. I am a 19 year old headed to my third year at the University Of Ottawa. I believe in speaking up rather than sitting quietly and letting your moment to voice your opinions pass you by. I write from the heart and so every word stems from the pounding thud within my chest. If you don’t mind fifty thousand tweets per second, follow me on twitter and say hello. @annettesings01 .*****************************************************************************************************
Living In Three Worlds – My personal story
I moved to Canada when I was about 9 or 10 years old. Forgive me for not knowing but I am 19 years old now and well, I just do not know for sure. Moving to Canada was exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. I felt like Britney Spears in ’06 but also like Justin Bieber around the ‘Baby’era. I won’t sugar coat it nor lie; moving from Nigeria to here was a major culture shock for both myself and the people I met. I went through multiple trials and tribulations as I jumbled my African background, my American background (as I was born in New Jersey), and then, my Canadian present. Looking back I think that if, maybe, we had all been more educated on the different cultures around us, and how to handle such cultures, things would have gone better for me. I was not accustomed to the Canadian culture and Canadians that I met were not necessarily accustomed to my Nigerian and American cultural ways. I do not want to paint a horrible picture – although that was my reality previously – I want to just be honest with you. If moving to an area with differing cultures, educate yourself on the culture of the area you are going to. Don’t expect everyone to be the same as you and to simply understand you or where you are coming from. If anything just watch Coming To America a few times.
I digress. Once you get past the initial culture shock and bang heads a few times due to the difference in cultures, things start to look brighter. I eventually got a handle on things and slangs. I started saying ‘eh’a lot; which I am not certain how I feel about. I’m sure some Canadians reading this know what I mean eh?…See what I mean. Anyways. I picked up on how to dress. I put away my head ties, picked up the Canadian accent, and started watching Much Music. I noticed that people began conversing with me much more when I was gabbing about Degrassi High and how sad it was that Drake got shot in it. This is was all great and fun but I felt lost inside. I had finally come to a point in my life where things were going great, but I just was not happy as they were. This was not me.
Now, I’m not saying that watching Much Music and gabbing about October’s Very Own is bad, I’m simply saying that this should not be all that I am. At this time I was around age 17 or 18. I had gone through my life, since age 9, knowing of my culture but not fully understanding it. For example, I knew of Black History Month but never really participated in it. I felt that just being black was enough and left it at that. It was not until I entered University that my eyes began to open a bit wider. I began taking courses that spoke on what my ancestors had been through and what we are still going through presently. I learned about Feminism and what it means to be a woman and how incredible it is to be a woman. I learned about equality and through all this, I gained my voice again. The voice I had dipped into the status quo predicament, the voice I had silenced, the voice I made recite the Canadian anthem and disregard the Nigerian anthem, had finally come back.
Needless to say, I began wearing my head tie. Although, it is very heavy and uncomfortable, so this does not happen often, if ever. But, I am saying that I began to embrace myself and my culture. I began speaking out during Black History Month (and throughout the year) on issues and causes I believed in. I started a blog (honestlyannette.wordpress.com), where I voice my opinions and share my likes and dislikes. I paid attention to Nigerian politics, American politics, and Canadian politics. I paid attention to world politics. I’m currently praying for forgiveness for Boko Haram and for the end of their tirade. I am caring for all countries but mostly the three that have given me my life and experiences.
So what am I saying? Coming from and living in three countries was tough and hard. You will meet people who are ignorant, rude, uncaring, and uncultured. You may even be the exact same but not know it (like me). Living in three countries was hard but you learn to embrace all of them in a balanced manner. You learn that no one culture is greater than the other. Most importantly, you learn that with each culture, you can learn something. You can take what you learned from one culture and apply it to the other. It also helps when meeting someone new as you are more aware and therefore more respectful. What do you need to know about living in three countries? Well my friend, start your research by asking, what is this culture about. Don’t live in a box. There’s no Much Music, or head ties, and/or bacon, in boxes. Just you and your thoughts. It gets rather boring eh?