Saturday, 10 November 2018

RadiantKing: The Proposal

King and I had been in a relationship for a little over one and half years, most of which was LDR. Although we had been talking about marriage and were sure we would like to be with each other for the rest of our lives, I really wanted us to make it official. I longed for him to make the move as soon as possible. I knew he does things at his own pace and cannot be coerced so there was no need to daydream. If he didn't feel ready, he wouldn't do it. So I was not expecting such surprise on my graduation day - the day he chose to pop the question. Funnily, he had his first term exams on same week and was almost going to miss the ceremony but got there somehow. I'll spare the details.

After my graduation ceremony on December 15, 2017, I hosted my guests at Cosmo World Buffet. We were dining, laughing, taking pictures and having fun. When our time was almost up, we were then taking a final round of pictures but I noticed my King was no where to be found. I wanted him to be in the pictures, so I scoured for him with my eyes but I couldn't reach him. I thought he might have stepped out to the loo so I stayed put hoping he'd come back before the picture sessions were over. Next thing, I saw him with some of my male friends. One was carrying a laptop and set it in front of me. I was still asking Kingston where he had been all the while but he asked me to pay attention to the slide show and music playing. 
He had prepared a slideshow of pictures of us together from when we were in Lagos till then and the inscriptions showed our journey, the separation and how we got back to being close together with Ed Sheran's Perfect playing in the background. The penultimate slide read, "Now that we're back together, it's time to take things a step further". Meanwhile all others had gathered to watch the slide show with me. Some were as unsuspecting as I was initially. While the ones he had discussed with had set their phone cameras to record the event. Fortunately, we had a professional camera person amongst us. He had come to film another colleague who was celebrating at the same venue. King had smartly cornered him to take pictures. The last slide on the slideshow read, "So Chidiogo...will you marry me?"

People around were screaming as they brought out their phones for pictures. At this point I was all tears. I was red. He had knelt down beside me and brought out the ring. I was still crying. He asked again while a voice in the background echoed, "We are waiting for an answer". I then said "yes of course", gave my left hand, hugged him and I was engaged.

Radiant ~ November 2018
Please leave comments. By the way, today is my wedding day. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

RadiantKing: Long Distance Relationship

When I was leaving for UK, Kingston had said he would visit me in the summer when he would write the next stage of his professional exam. He could write that in Ghana but since I was going to the UK, it was enough incentive to register for the exam there. The hope of seeing him again sustained me. We talked every day, via Whatsapp, Imo, Skype and regular phone calls. Once I complained that the cold was killing me. A few days after, I received a fluffy warm nightdress sent by him. Another time he sent me a jumper. On Val's day, he sent me a customized card. He read through my course works, he was my alarm clock. I kept him company on his way back from work through Lagos traffic. Sometimes we just kept ourselves company, saying nothing but listening to our breaths or watching me sleep. 

I had been advised by some well-meaning friends to keep my options open before I left for the UK. They thought I would meet a man that would sweep me off my feet and make me forget about Kingston but I was resolute on my decision about him. He was the one I wanted to marry. He had not proposed yet, though we often made remarks about marriage. A few people also queried my relationship status during my time as a student, but I made it clear I had a boyfriend in Nigeria who I was dedicated to. They respected that. 

June 2017 came and passed but my King did not come. He had begun to apply for a Masters programme in UK and needed to manage finances. So he moved his exams to Ghana. He was in his 6th career year and had started getting bored. He longed for something different, either a higher degree or a change of job so he took his shot. He would have pursued a degree in the US or Canada like most young men in Nigeria prefer, but I was a very good attraction to come to the UK. It made sense to deny ourselves the pleasure of seeing briefly that summer for a more fulfilling opportunity of being together in the same country for a longer period. If it failed, then he would visit afterwards. 

My getting a scholarship must have boosted his faith in getting one too. So like me, he spent time searching for scholarships and bursaries. By God's grace, he got awards that covered about 50% of his tuition. This went a very long way. He now had to make up the rest of the tuition and cater to living expenses. Through his savings and generous support from friends, he was able to make up the balance and voila! my King would join me in the UK. I had another date to look up to. When I missed him, I'd remind myself that I'd see my King again. I had so longed for him to apply to the same school I went to, but he knew what he wanted. He went for a school with a better repute for his course. Besides, there was no guarantee I would remain in Nottingham after my programme. I could get a job anywhere.

So in October 2017, King felt the autumn breeze of the UK welcome him along with a smiling familiar face called Radiant. It had been 1 year of waiting, learning of each other, building friendship and a test of our relationship.

Radiant ~ November 2018
Click here to read the previous episode of the RadiantKing series. Please leave a comment.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

RadiantKing: Leaving For Masters

I always tell King that he was the one that made me apply for a Masters programme. When I saw he wasn't ready for a relationship, I decided to busy myself with something. I wanted to achieve something good for myself. So I buried myself in the Internet, day in, day out, searching for scholarships for a Masters programme abroad. My uncle had said to me once, "You have control over your career, but you don't have control over marriage. So pursue the one you have control over and at the right time, the other will come". He didn't want me waiting about for a man who I had no control over when he would find me.

When I was applying for a Masters programme, I had told my then-boyfriend my plan but he was not in support of me going abroad. He wanted me to stay back and find other opportunities locally. On the contrary, Kingston encouraged me, even reviewed and edited my essays. It seemed he wasn't as much concerned about the implication of a long distance relationship if I succeeded; he was more concerned about me furthering my career.

Looking back, it seems God used King's exam to prepare us for the future. I had to learn to tolerate his absence sometimes as he studied. Around mid-year, he left for the UK to write his exams but before boarding, he sent me a song, Wait for me by Johnny Drille. Quite a romantic gesture. I had not heard it before then. I kept playing the song while I waited for his return. He kept in touch regularly.
 Thankfully he passed. I told him my coming into his life made him pass as he was previously unsuccessful. 

Well, I got a scholarship and it was certain I would be away for one year. I was a little disappointed with the news though. I had thought 2016 was my year of marriage, but with the developing events, I would have to wait another year. Besides, how could I survive one full year of being apart from this fine man I had fallen so in love with. I did not doubt his faithfulness. I only doubted my emotional strength to cope. Yet I was excited about the prospects of getting a foreign education, seeing life from a developed world, exploring the public health space and escaping the depression I had from practising clinical medicine in Nigeria.

Before I left for my Masters programme, King made sure I met his parents and he met mine. We wanted both families to be in support of our relationship. I met his mentor. He met mine. So on the 21st of September 2016, I left Nigeria for the University of Nottingham in England, just about 4 months into my relationship with my King.

Radiant ~ November 2018

Sunday, 28 October 2018

RadiantKing: Finally Making His Intentions Known 2

I couldn't believe what I heard that night. Well, she was right since I wasn't ready "...but now I am", I told her. I tried to convince her but didn't achieve much. Normally, I would join the mid-week service online from the office but the following day, I decided to go to church so I could see her. I had left the office early but by the time I arrived, it was like nothing happened there; no thanks to third mainland bridge traffic. I headed straight to her abode hoping she would be back home but she wasn't. I decided to wait but guess what? Her new guy came to drop her off while I was in my car watching. Chai! See my life. In my mind I was thinking: Where did they go? What has he bought for her? I have to reciprocate whatever gesture that guy has shown. So when she eventually came over, I opened the door for her to get in; I was taking her out.

We got to somewhere serene where I told her to order for anything she wanted while I was arranging words in my head. That night, I spoke all the English I knew trying just to get her to see things from my point of view. All she said, in the end, was that she now understood me better and would spare some thought. Well, I had a foot in the door but not quite there yet. I kept up the chase until weeks later, she told me she had let the other guy go and would give me a chance. I wished I could do backflips at that point. My joy was however shortlived as she rang me the following morning to tell me not to call her again. Nawa o! This battle is not yet won. What next? I resorted to text messages, after all, she only said no calls. When she was travelling, I offered to drive her to the park, before I went to work.

Now, here's the interesting part. I was descending the bridge into Obalende on my way to the office one morning. There was slow moving traffic. Chidiogo's call came in and she went straight to the point: "What is your vision for your life?" When she found out I was driving she said I could tell her later but I declined: "I will answer you now", I said. There were many sides to that question. First, I was impressed; no one had challenged me like that in the past. Second, it made me feel, this girl surely has a good head on her shoulder. My level of respect for her shot to the roof. Also, that question could throw any guy off if he was not prepared. But I was. I had an acronym for my goals: AFCRS meaning Academic, Financial, Career, Relationship (which would later become Marriage) and Spiritual. I later found out she recorded as I took my time to explain each of them and how she would fit in. That moment could have passed for a final interview with a multinational. This, I believe, was the deal breaker.

The relationship between me and the other guy died a natural death without communication. However, as King and I had a basic foundation of friendship, we still communicated with regards to editing the blog, helping my Masters application or other things not related to romance. Gradually, and without actually saying yes to a relationship, it was obvious we had a relationship. He had proven his seriousness. But little did we know we had another test just ahead.

Radiant ~ October 2018

Saturday, 27 October 2018

RadiantKing: Finally Making His Intentions Known

I had moved on with my life since my admirer did not reciprocate the affection. At least, he was no more blocking the way for other men. I started seeing someone - a tall, dark and handsome who had asked for a relationship from Day One. It was kind of strange though. My theory of first being friends before a relationship had not quite worked with Kingston. Here I was with someone I only had known from afar asking for a relationship. Well, I damned the rules and agreed to it. How else will I get to know him? After all, there are so many ways to kill a cat. We spent time talking about our lives while strolling or driving. I asked specific questions as I hadn't been given much time to figure out his personality. One day, I asked if he had fought in public before and he narrated an instance when he did. So I asked him if it were now, knowing all he knew, would he react the same way? He replied that sometimes people need to be taught a lesson to take you seriously. That remark rang as a red flag in my head: "Potential for domestic violence". 

Meanwhile, I got a call one night from Kingston. We chatted normally, then I decided to fill him in on what has been going on with me, after all, we were still friends. I told him I was now dating someone else. He was shocked to the marrow. I didn't understand why he was so surprised. Didn't he say he had exams to write? The next day, he left his office very early to beat the traffic. He sent me a text to come out but I had gone to Bible study and was on my way back with my new boyfriend. He waited while I bade my new boyfriend farewell, got out of his car and went into the house. 

Shortly after, I came out to meet Kingston. He asked that we went somewhere private. He poured out his heart that night. Told me that he was very attracted to me and will not want to lose me. He explained why he had said he needed time to focus on the exam, how he thought I had understood, how he was now willing to commit to a relationship in spite of the exam. He was saying all the things I had longed for him to say a few weeks before, but it was rather late. I told him I would think about it.

I was in a strait betwixt two - to go for the man I loved but who was initially uninterested or the man I am just getting to know who knew what he wanted from Day One. At this point, I knew I needed some elderly & spiritual advice. I asked both not to call me again, so as not to cloud my judgement. I travelled home to discuss with my mentor and my mom. Both had the same verdict - that both men were not serious. So I came back and asked both of them to give me some space as I needed to seek the Lord concerning the matter. 

Radiant ~ October 2018
The second part (King’s narration) of this episode is out. Click here to read. Did you miss the last episode? Click here to read about Him Not Saying Anything
Please leave comments below. Thanks