In the early stages of dating, you tend to stay up late texting or talking to the desired person on the phone and maybe even scrolling through his photos on Facebook or Instagram, wondering what your children would look like. When on dates, the two of you generally go out to eat, fill the time together with engaging activities, and put on the best version of yourselves. Expectedly, when you begin to take the relationship more seriously, the real you comes out. and all those personal subjects that a person tends to shy away from in the beginning.
Luckily, in my relationship, we got the hard conversations out of the way. Our pasts, our values, our careers, our families… We laid it all out on the table. This isn’t to say that our lives are perfectly aligned, because they most definitely are not. We have our fair share of differences, though none are enough to make either of us run. However, one difference stood out more than the rest and likely tempted both of us to run at some point:
He’s a Full Ebira Boy, i mean brought up in Nigeria type though he can be a pain in the Ass sometimes but a pain i will love to endure lols… And I An American/Nigerian Girl born and brought up in New York, Living in Brooklyn. Ihima Nigeria to be precise
Growing up in the United States and having to join so many Ebira Peoples Facebook group just to familiarise my self with world in Nigeria i came across Ebiraland Media. This is where I met my boyfriend, this sites CEO. While my observations at school helped me to understand some cultural differences, it wasn’t until I became serious with my boyfriend that the culture shock hit. Here are a few things that I’ve learned over the past few years:
1. You mean a lot to him if he brings you home.
Though, in our circumstances, I had already talk to his mother through phone calls and through Video Calls, when i got back to Nigeria it still took months for my guy to invite me to his house. By bringing a girl into his house, a guy is communicating to his family that he is serious about her. He doesn’t want to jump the gun on this. In Ebira culture, if he brings you home, you’re well on your way to becoming family….
2. Always accept food, even if you aren’t hungry.
Luckily, my guy told me this before I ate with his family in Okene. It’s considered rude if you don’t accept the food that is offered to you. I don’t know how to put this, but food is very important with everything i have learned you don’t want to see the other side of the family.
3. Try all the food, even if you already know you don’t like it.
Have you ever seen that movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Well, it’s like that part where she tells her family that her boyfriend doesn’t eat meat, and her mother responds, “That’s okay, I make lamb.” Whatever foods you don’t like, you’ll likely end up eating if you truly like the guy you’re dating. In my experience, I despise Gorigo Soup but his family love it, he in the other hand is like me he don’t like it.
4. Religious faith is incredibly important.
For me, this was an easy transition. We were raised in the same faith, but our families were at very different levels of practice. In an Ebira family, religious life is a top priority. Great offense is taken if you express any disinterest in Islam or its beliefs. Once, when we were cleaning my boyfriends room, my boyfriend’s brother offered me a painting of Sheikh Ibrahim Inyass (to be sincere my boyfriend hates it because he is Al-Sunnah and his Families are Tijaniya). Because I didn’t want him to give up his painting, I said that I didn’t need it. His Grandfather overheard the conversation and he interjected, “Why? You don’t like Inyass?” I am now the proud owner of a lovely painting of Ibrahim Inyass. Again you don’t wanna see the other side of the family i learned that from my Mother though.
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This was only the beginning of my Ebira education. When I expressed my desire to relocate from Lagos, his family didn’t hesitate to offer me a bed in their house. With much consideration, I accepted their offer and moved in. It was then that I began to learn a tremendous deal more about Ebira culture.
5. Expect to stay up late.
In many Ebira families, dinner time is anywhere from 7:00pm-8:00pm. Coming from New York, that is about 2 hours later than my regular eating schedule. If you are like me, and you are accustomed to waiting 2 or more hours after eating to go to sleep, then you will likely be heading to bed a lot later than you’re used to. You do, of course, have the option of sleeping early and not eating with the family… But you know what I said about accepting food. If you often choose not to eat with the family, they will wonder if you either dislike their food or don’t want to spend time with them.
6. Expect to be up early for prayer.
If you already have an early morning schedule for prayer, this won’t affect you much. However, if you value sleeping in as long as possible before your day begins and pray, that sleep may be interrupted. Chances are, someone in the house will be up before 4:30am daily, and you will definitely hear it. because you will be wake for prayer don’t forget the Faith part of this article
7. Know some basic Ebira Language.
While many Ebiras in the United States and other parts of Nigeria and abroad have knowledge of English, Ebira is more often spoken in the home. You may not be called on to use Ebira often, but it is ideal to at least understand what the rest of the family is speaking about… Especially if it’s important. Additionally, there are likely some non-immediate family members that have little knowledge of English who will prefer to converse with you in Ebira Language. You also want to be in on the jokes, trust me.
8. You’re never done cleaning.
Cleaning the kitchen or the living room once in awhile may be a nice way to help around the house, but don’t be offended if it goes unnoticed. Often, these areas can become cluttered within a matter of minutes, depending on how many people occupy the house. Additionally, someone (generally the mother) will likely unintentionally overlook your attempt to clean and do her own cleaning soon after you’ve finished. In my experience, my guy’s mother is experienced in cleaning. Therefore, what I may think of as clean may not be up to par with her standards.
9. Always show your face at the events and buy Anko LOLS.
Be it a birthday, wedding or just a typical burial ceremony, your house is likely to host an event. Whoever hosts the event takes much pride in the event, so it’s important to be present for at least a portion of it. Typically, event can last anywhere from three to four hours… So, if you have a lot of work to do, I recommend joining the congregation about an hour and a half in. Leaving early is always a bit more awkward than showing up late. and make sure you put on your Anko….
13. These people are your family.
If you are lucky enough to experience living with a Ebira family for any period of time, you will learn that the nurturing nature of your environment is a blessing. Their home is your home, and they want you to feel as comfortable as possible… but not too comfortable. Because they will treat you like family, you will also be expected to do your part around the house. Living with Ebiras is a wonderful learning experience and an opportunity to know some truly incredible and caring people.
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While this list may give a brief outsider’s perspective on an Ebira family, the qualities of the guy are what really draw you in. My guy is, no doubt, the best man I could hope to love. This is, in part, due to the way he was raised and the traditions he practices. Here are some things that my wonderful Ebira has taught me:
14. It is important that your values align.
Just as in any relationship, your core values should be very similar. He will be adamant about his own values, and his core values will not be compromised for any reason.
17. His family is a top priority.
So, you were supposed to meet your guy at the gym? Well, his mother just called and told him to pick his sister up from school, and he’s going to be late… Needless to say, sometimes, you’ll have to be adaptable. Last-minute favors are common. This can be frustrating, but you can’t blame him for making his family a top priority, as yours is likely high on your list of priorities, too. This also means that, if he really likes you, he will want you to be a part of family events and make a genuine effort to spend time with his family.
18. He is as sexy as you’d imagine your Ebira boyfriend to be.
Well, at least my boyfriend is as sexy as I’d hoped. There is something about his passion, both for me and his interests, that make him incredibly attractive. This may have nothing to do with being Ebira, but I thought I’d share.
20. His love is incomparable.
This part is obviously subjective. However, I’ve observed that those I know who were raised in Ebira families have a unique strength, passion, and willpower in relationships. Together, through our own experiences and in observing our parents and friends, we have learned that all of these qualities are vital to a loving and enduring relationship. Additionally, my guy has a quality that makes me feel undeniably lucky. He is the master of the little things. Therefore, whether I think I deserve it in the moment or not, I always feel loved and valued. I’m no princess, but he makes it clear that I’m his Inya.
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