No, I didn’t want to leave my sweetheart… but I had to. It was a painful decision to make. I had experienced a miracle and now it was time for me to do my part.
I always wanted a Masters’ degree and after the required exams to study in the US, I was asked to send my result to three schools of my choice. A few weeks, later, I got a message from one school to pay a fee of seventy five dollars for my application to be processed. Believe it or not, $75 was an impossible amount for my family to come up with at that time. If we couldn’t even pay the processing fee, how would we pay the tuition and handle the other financial needs?
I prayed a simple prayer in the bathroom when I got back from the cyber cafe… God I want to do my Masters and the only way it will happen is if you make a way because we can’t afford it…. I also put in a few lines about what I would like to study. Some weeks to months later, my sister found out about a scholarship opportunity. I got the forms, took the test and was one of the hundred awardees that year. The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) handled all the application processing and logistics and they covered every single expense – air fares, lodging, feeding, warm clothing, computing devices, communication costs and so on. We were totally pampered by the Nigerian Government.
So off I went to Europe. Kingsley, along with my family and a few friends, saw me off to the airport. Many big hugs later, I joined two other scholars and we boarded the plane. I had a picture of Kingsley and myself nicely framed. I wasn’t going to forget his face for any reason whatsoever. It had a permanent position on my bedside table. I also went along with all the love notes he had written to me. I think that is a fine art that is getting lost in this era of much easier communication.
I took time to write down my dream for 2007 – from graduating with distinction, to returning to Nigeria, getting a job, getting married to Kingsley, and so on. I pasted it on the wall in my room. A friend of mine came into my room and had a good laugh when she saw it. Then she asked the rest of our Nigerian colleagues to pray for me so Kingsley wouldn’t break my heart. They all knew where my heart was.
Staying in touch was hard. At first I had to go out in the cold to make calls, then later we had skype in Europe but it wasn’t really working back home… then I started getting tired of having to recount my experiences over the phone. I wished he could be there to share those moments with me. So I prayed again. This time I said, ‘Dear Lord, I really want to live with my husband after we get married. I don’t want to have to do a long distance marriage. I don’t want us to be apart… Please make a way’.
February 2007 came and I returned to Nigeria. My fellow scholars and I were super excited. People wondered about that. I don’t know why the others were excited but I was going to see Kingsley after so long and remember my dream? All those wonderful things were to happen in Nigeria in 2007. So, yes! I was excited.
To be continued…