My favourite flowers are peonies. They are so beautiful. Whenever I see them in all their radiance and beauty, I am filled with a lot of joy.
We Nigerians are not really ‘flower-people’. Flowers exist here for precise purposes, almost as an afterthought: the artificial red roses ubiquitous on Valentines’ day, those used as decorations in living rooms, those grown in some gardens and those used for bridal bouquets.
About four years ago, I lived and worked in England. On a particular day, I worked with my supervisor to organize a seminar for healthcare professionals. Our boss, a lovely lady called Natalie, met us at the seminar venue with two colourful bouquets of flowers which she gave to each of us as a way of saying thank you for a job well done. ‘Thanks!’ I said. ‘This is the first bunch of real flowers that I have ever received!’ The silence which occurred afterwards made me look up from admiring my flowers. My boss and my supervisor looked horrified.
I had to calm them down and explain to them that Nigerians don’t as a general rule give bouquets of flowers as gifts. We are practical people, and would prefer to receive gifts that we can utilize effectively, like a bottle of perfume, or a bundle of cash tied up with a ribbon. I wanted to mention that I had actually received an artificial rose in the past for Valentines’ day, but I was scared that they would break down in tears and vow not allow me to go back home to my country.
Anyway, I started to pay more attention to flowers after that, and I discovered peonies along the way.
I’m still looking forward to receiving another bouquet of real flowers as a gift. It’s been a while.
Day 3. #nablopomo.