March–Looking back on Nigeria & Nepal

MarchMarch was a busy month, and even though I can scarcely believe it’s over, I am thankful to have spent these past few weeks with the likes of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Jon Krakauer.

In fact, I literally spent a portion of my month with Mr. Kakauer, because I met him at a conference in Washington–and of course, had him sign my copy of Into Thin Air. Don’t believe me? See for yourself! krakauer.jpg

I had planned on reading much more this month, and I was on track to do so. I finished Into Thin Air on March 11th, and fully expected Cuckoo’s Calling to be included in March’s books. But alas, life intervened and my high literary ambitions were foiled by the opportunities and responsibilities of reality–which, though a little disappointing, kind of aligns with the stories of Americanah and Into Thin Air.

In Ngozi Adichie’s beautiful masterpiece Americanah, the heroine Ifemulu immigrates from Nigeria to the United States in pursuit of a better education. Though she experiences a wide range of successes, she also encounters her fair share of hardships. These hardships, along with a long lost love, lead her to move back to Nigeria to recover parts of her identity and to further explore her potential.

I’ve already raved about this magnificent book, and even though I could very easily continue to do so, I’ll try to refrain for fear of being repetitive. What I will say is, I recently have begun evaluating my career, my potential, and my impact on the world (My boyfriend has chalked it up to my quarter-life crisis, since I’m now a month a half away from being 25). While I haven’t made any definite decisions as of yet, I felt really inspired and comforted by Ifemulu’s introspection and her trajectory, her ability to seek what she desires despite obstacles, and despite what is expected of her.

My interest in continuing to explore my professional options–even the ones that don’t seem immediately logical–were further exacerbated by Krakauer’s telling of the 1996 Everest expedition. Krakauer’s rationale for undertaking such a perilous feat is equal parts journalist assignment and fulfillment of boyhood fantasy. Although he never underestimates the difficulties that will await him on Everest, it goes without saying that the tragedies that took place were unexpected.

Nothing that I have achieved is as physically taxing or dangerous as climbing Mt. Everest, so it certainly feels like a stretch to apply Krakauer’s experiences and observations to hurdles I’ve climbed (pun intended) in my own life. Nevertheless, I felt heartened by his genuine reflections on the mistakes, the achievements, and the difficulties that transpired during this expedition, and therefore I felt more able to reflect on my own past–snow-covered and life-threatening, or not.

As mentioned above, certain developments in my life hindered some of my reading progress this week–details of which I will certainly divulge once they become a little clearer. All I can say is, my own meandering, unexpected journey was made more pleasant by the company of these two novels.

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