Shocking Revelations: Landing In America III

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 
walked out. 
The following day, my teammates 
asked me why I walked out of the group 
meeting and I was surprised they were 
still asking. 
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 
group report. 
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 – 
forever shy.
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 
coming in. 
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 
to pay. 
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 
wasting money. 
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 
student status. 
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 
tuition balance. 
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 
in Maryland. 
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 
about $100. 
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 
the call. 
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! 
You say? 
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...

Firecracker Toyeen