Shocking Revelations: Landing In America III
Shocking Revelations: Landing in America III
I failed one of the entrance exams
which meant I had to take the class
associated with it.
My program offered specialization in
wireless, networking or security/software.
My specialization was wireless yet it
was the wireless prerequisite exam
I failed -thanks to UNILAG.
I enrolled for 3 courses – 2 wireless
courses and 1 business course.
My class was about 65% Indians,
30% Chinese, and 5% the rest of the
world – that included me.
For the first time in my life, I was a
In one of my wireless classes, we had
to do a group project and my lecturer
asked us to form groups of 4.
Since I didn’t know anybody in my class,
I asked the girl sitting behind me if
her group needed an additional person
– WRONG MOVE – she said they did
and I could join her group.
On the first day we met up, my 3 other
group members who were Indians
continued speaking Hindi during the
meeting while I was there.
When I asked them to stop and speak
English because I didn’t understand
what they were saying and thought it
was rude, they assured me they weren’t
saying anything serious and continued.
After a while, I picked up my bag and
The following day, my teammates
asked me why I walked out of the group
meeting and I was surprised they were
I told them I couldn’t participate in the
conversation since it wasn’t in English
and saw no need to keep sitting there
while they talked over my head.
Throughout the semester, they would go on
to speak mostly Hindi during group meetings.
I only became friends with one of them, S,
and the whole objective of participating in
group projects which was to learn to
learn teamwork was defeated.
I went on to learn to use the software myself
and do the project on my own (it wasn’t an
intense project) while we submitted a
There’s a large power distance in Africa
as well as Asia and that’s why respect
is a big deal in these countries.
I remember when our professors told us
we could call them by name and their
first names rolled off my tongue easily
like I had been calling older people by
name all my life.
Although I am Yoruba and I love my tribe,
I have never been a fan of the respect
brouhaha so blending into American
culture was very easy for me.
I remember when one of my teammates
sent a report about our project to the
professor and in the email addressed
him as “Respected Sir”.
I had a very long and good laugh.
Anyway, I learned my lesson and except
the one-time, our professor assigned
us to groups, I always formed my
own group preferable with people
of different nationalities - Once bitten –
The only money I took with me was
my remaining savings from my first job,
the proceeds from the sale of my car
back to my parents, and the cash my
relatives and family friends gave me.
This was enough to pay for about 75%
of my tuition, 2-3 months rent with a
little left to live on meaning there was
no room for luxury.
I wasn’t getting an allowance from my
parents and didn’t have a steady income
Until I started earning an income, my
heartbeat with fear every single time
I opened my mailbox as I was always
afraid to receive bills I couldn’t afford
Utilities were split among all the apartments
in the complex based on apartment size
and thankfully mine was never over $20.
I always did my laundry at R’s apartment
because I couldn’t afford to pay for laundry
in the apartment.
I cooked my meals with the foodstuff I
brought from Nigeria and only ate out once t
hat first semester after my final exam and
could you believe it that it was Mcdonald
I went to yet, I still felt so guilty about
In the last 2 weeks of my first semester,
I ate only garri and beans and even when
it seemed like the beans were quarter to
spoiling, I ate it like that.
I would always tell myself things wouldn’t
always be that way and thankfully they
I tried getting a job on campus but was
unable to and it was illegal to work
I met a Ghanian girl, J, who was in her
2nd year in my program and we clicked!
When I complained about not getting
a job, she said all the jobs had been
taken by the Indians who resumed about
a month to the first day of class –
meanwhile sister firecracker resumed
2 days to start of lectures.
She said the only remaining jobs were
waitressing jobs and bus drivers.
I had been seriously humbled and I
desperately needed money but I didn’t
have it in me to wait on tables or drive
I remember when I spoke to my brother
about driving the school bus and he said:
“Toyeen how can you be driving bus?” –
that immediately put an end to the thought
of being a bus driver and I believed I would
find another job on campus.
Remember the word I said I got from God,
let me share with you the two occasions
when I reminded God about it and he
came through for me.
I had paid 75% of the tuition and the deadline
to pay the balance was approaching.
Failure to pay meant not being registered
for classes and consequently falling out of
My dad rarely gives one money without
you literally arguing and defending you
need for the money except for the
mandatory school fees and books.
Since I had turned down his offer of
paying my tuition at the expense of
my sister’s education, I couldn’t ask
him for money.
Besides both parents were also paying
for my sister’s tuition.
Anyway, as the deadline for payment of
my fees drew near, I was getting anxious
and would just pray and remind God
of his word.
One day, my mum called me and said I
sounded funny and asked what was
wrong. I told her the balance of my
tuition was due.
She asked for the amount and I said
anything she could afford was fine.
She called me the next day and
said she spoke to my dad and when
he asked how much I needed, she
told him he could help with however
much he could afford.
I had a GTB dollar visa card at the time
which I used to pay all expenses in the
US and receive money from home.
My mum calls me and tells me my dad
just gave her the money without any
questions – that had never happened
And when I saw the amount that was
sent, it was just enough to pay my
Of course, that grew my faith.
The second incident happened when
my aunty in NY connected me with
one of her relatives who also lived
He came to pick me on a public holiday,
gave me food which I ate (because I
never say no to free food), we talked
and watched Yoruba films together.
He dropped me off at school and after
I got down from his car he gave me
an envelope containing money.
I was so happy thinking I had received
I almost fainted when I opened the
envelope and counted $500 – that
was more than enough to pay my rent
which was due in a few days.
Sadly, I never got to see him again or
reciprocate that kind gesture as he died
a few months after I met him.
I am very debt-averse and do not
like do be tied down to any service
provider or employer thus I ended up
paying for a prepaid service from
T-mobile which cost me $50/month
for unlimited talk, text, and data.
The service was really bad on campus
and at my apartment which meant
I was paying so much yet getting little
I had to live as frugally as possible since
I did not have a steady income and this
led me to switch to a $10 dollar for a
100-minute plan – my thinking was I
had unlimited wifi at home and on
campus thus I didn’t need data, and
I could call people with google voice,
therefore, I didn’t need to pay to make
I only needed the $10 to ensure my
phone was active.
I received a call a few days after paying
for the $10 plan and after the call,
I saw that my minutes had reduced.
I called the customer care line to complain
about the reduction in minutes when
I did not make any calls.
They told me they’ll look into it.
The following day, someone else called
me and my minutes had reduced after
I complained to customer care again
about not using my phone yet having
my minutes reduced.
The rep asked if I had made any calls
on the phone and I said no.
He asked if I had received calls on
the phone and I said yes.
He then said the minutes were deducted
when I made a call or received a call!
I just started shouting “you pay to
receive calls, you pay to receive calls!
How can you pay to receive calls?”
My brothers and sisters that is how
I found yet another shocking revelation
– you paid to receive calls in America,
the land of the free!!!
To be continued...