Weruche George and Rae George

Recorded August 11, 2021 Archived August 11, 2021 38:13 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby020963


Rae George (17) interviews her mother, Weruche George (44), about her high school experience in Nigeria, life advice she has for young people, and the hopes she has for her children.

Subject Log / Time Code

RG asks WG what her high school experience was like.
RG asks WG what advice she would give her or someone her age.
RG asks WG what she thought her life was going to be like when she was older.
RG talks about her future and the dreams she has.
WG talks about her children.
WG shares the advice her father told her during a moment of crisis.
WG shares that she hopes that her children will grow up to be good people and good citizens.
WG explains how she chose RG's first name.
RG says she is grateful for all of the opportunities she has had in this country.
WG talks about recreating home in the United States.


  • Weruche George
  • Rae George

Recording Location

Virtual Recording

Partnership Type





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00:02 Hello, my name is Rae George. I'm 17 years old. Today is August 11th, 2021 and I'm from Hamden Connecticut, and I'm cure speaking with my mom.

00:20 My name is boochy George. I'm 44 years old. Today is August 11th. 2021. I am in Hamden, Connecticut. And I'm speaking with Rae George my daughter.

00:39 So, I'm afraid you said, you had a few questions for me. Can you ask me? I've always wondered like what was your high school experience like compared to my questions. So first of all, it was to attend boarding school. I can share with you so many times in the past. It was also it was a way that our parents, you know, thought that we could develop like social skills better social skills. And also at the same time, you know, I get gain a good education and all of that. So it was very typical that most of my friends pretty much all my friends when bored at what borders with you. No, like me, it's cool. It was, it was, it was, it was kind of difficult at first, but someone like me because you know, at the beginning out you wouldn't see your parents like 3 months.

01:37 Supposed to you guys who like for you who attended Hamden high and you know, you would go from home. It was quite different until another thing to add is that in Nigeria, was no real basic age for students to children to attend high school or more, secondary school as we called it. And so sometimes it was fine an eight-year-old and secondary school is only 2 chords for them to just pass the entrance exam and just be there in till in boarding school is interesting. Cuz sometimes you'll find that your neighbor, you know, the person, you share like a room with a much much, much younger than you. And so you play the role of a big sister, you know, even though you guys were in class, you find yourself just guiding her helping her. Do you know, that kind of thing? So, yeah, that's that's just one of the many aspects. It was really great in terms of the cultural assimilation, because we had a lot of stood.

02:37 Who came from the north to the South, the East, the west. And so they had different languages that they spoke until we found out. We all sort of at some point, learn different languages, just because we have friends, who were from those areas. It was, it was quite interesting. Any advice that you would give someone like my age, or let your past self in high school. What do you think? I would be? I would say to not put too much pressure, on yourself thinking that I'll put you feel up to it, but your parents want you to, you know, follow is the only path until we have to do them to do parents thought that they would they should study medicine, study law, or study engineering at the core were very good Riders and and an artist and you know, they found that they have

03:37 Follow that path because it was the expectation in this family to be doctors or lawyers, and, you know, and not put pressure on them to discover what date at individuals, enjoy doing until my advice would be to ensure that you you you take this time to explore and and and find out who you are find out what your interests are. And then and then take one or two classes and not and not feel to see if it's of any interest to you and that that would be for the academic. But also for the social, I would say, take your time. You have all the time in the world to date me people and that kind of thing. So sure that

04:27 You you're making the right choices for you at the time as opposed to being pressured to make decisions to may be associated with certain people, you know, and it you know, just because it's the expectation. I want to see set the people. I need people in relationships with you because you're 17, and I'm sure this is what your, your, your mizza setup is cussing at this time, correct, right. Bye-bye, sweetie. Don't put pressure on yourself to take time. They take your time. You have your whole your whole life to figure that out. So don't don't force yourself into something. That wouldn't come back to backfire later.

05:11 Do you have any, like, friendships or relationships that have lasted throughout your entire, like, high school experience till now, and do you have any advice for how to maintain a relationship? That's a good question? Yes. I do. You know my friends aren't you? All BF? Skinner asked you, I've had this friend since high school, back to the boarding school of situation. I've had, I've had those friends since then and even though we all ended up like parting ways and moving across the world, you know, what you like Europe. And, you know, some of them stayed back in, in Nigeria. We still find ways to keep in touch with his important. These are people who from me, with, with my other friends. I still do, you know, relate with. These are people who remember me from home, to remember, my dad, my dad passed like 2012 until I remember the other day. I was having a conversation with a Marucci and she pointed out

06:11 What contact did or, you know, the way he would react when he comes to the house, and, you know, sees all of us together and that. That meant so much to me at the time when all I have are memories of him. So, yeah, it's important to just stay connected to that even though your your interest in my battery, at some point, but it's good to just stay connected and just just relish those old-time memories. You know what I mean? You don't have to approve of the decisions that you guys making currently, but these are people that know you from home as we speak. So it's important that you you just be kind and stay connected to the ramen.

07:00 I know it's probably been like a while. But do you have any favorite memories from high school? I do, we have something called a music night. I believe it was because we were warned, all-girls school. Do we have no interactions with with boys? But we had a neighboring school called government called where we had. It was a boy school, but what separated up about the fence and it took you really don't like nice cultural night and all that. That was like, the only time these boys were permitted to come to our part of the, you know, until it was fun to have them, you know, with us while we were like having our like music night with my meeting and dancing to like you do famous songs in a traditional songs, you know, some of our cultural songs.

08:00 I wish I can find someone who remembers how to sing it and dancing with me cuz it is called a guamara, a g r. I means the dance of the income of blessing. I believe if you translate from Hebrew to to English, but it was a dance that women to do by the water during a particular Festival until they would dance and see you know, and so we we as young girls instead of found a way to present that onstage, you know, so it was it was great. Those cultural exchanges and dances and it was great because it can we were school that had lots of different tribes and at this City's until this group of people with their wonderful of language that we didn't understand some of us can understand their presentation.

09:00 The Calabar ladies with Jude airs, and if it was, that was sort of a way to immerse ourselves in the actual culture of that, that existed in Nigeria. And so I probably never met someone who's on ibibio after high school, but I recall what the language sounds like a cold. Some of the words that I learned from my friends. That music night or cultural night. What a difference was it it created that atmosphere to let you know to enjoy those cultures in the dancing in the story, the song and the Articles like squeeze and all of that. And so that was that was one of the exciting times for us in school.

09:48 What did what did you really think your life is going to be like when you got older and what were your Visions? What did you think your life is going to be like at your age right now at my age. I thought I was going to be so rude.

10:08 Crews will keep working for the man who works for the UN. I was wanted to work for the union. Will you want since I was like 12 until I would have imagined that I mean, it's not too far from what I hoped. It would be considering the work. I've been doing with them and all the typos. I'm saying that, you know, I didn't picture getting married to who, I ended up getting married to and raising my kids in a totally different country. I didn't picture that. So it's, it's, it's sort of different based on location and based on the fact that I have to assimilate a new, a new culture and then not only did I have to do that. I have to learn to guy kids in this same culture, you know, considering that I was raised as a child in a totally different culture. It was I never saw that happening. So it's it's quite different, but it turned out it turned out just as well as I, I hoped it would

11:08 Yeah, so yeah, I hope so beautiful with us.

11:14 Yeah, we were crest.

11:18 So tell me right now. I'm going to ask you the questions. Tell me about your high school experience. I know some about conversations you talked about the pressure of dating at your age and we kind of had the the problem with in general. What you experience in high school was.

11:43 I feel like my high school experience has been really changing over the years. I don't really think any one year can summarize my entire experience, because of how drastically different they all were. I feel like freshman year wasn't that much different from middle school. They did a good job of kind of missing us in with like the same kind of communities that we were used to previous year. I feel like sophomore year was kind of when it got a little bit hard because they basically like left this out till like fend for ourselves after like a whole system of having everything kind of like later, not laid out for you. But like you, I kind of had like a helping hand with you. I feel like sophomore year.

12:34 It was kind of like your first year of like, full Independence, you know, working your way through the school and deciding really like, what classes you want to take and Junior. I would say is like the most transformative year of my life, of my entire experience. And that was also like the peak of like the coronavirus and how that kind of impacted our whole learning experience. Overall. I just think high school was a good turning point in my life. I'm definitely not the same person that I was walking into the, those big doors and walking out and I'm grateful for like everything is hot. Taught me about myself respond. Now, what do you?

13:26 Am. That would be hope for the future. I know you just got accepted into Fordham, you're tending and you know all about tell me what you if you were what you hope the next 5 to 10 years of your life would be.

13:43 Based on your current choices in hopes. I hope I just have the freedom and security to just Delphine like a bunch of different rounds of like

13:59 Just work in general. I feel like there's a lot of different things that I wanted you and I don't want to tie myself to one specific career so early on before I get to really like experience and you know, just look into other different areas. I'm really into like film and entertainment and content creation and in the next 5 to 10 years. I want to just produce as much as I can and just see where that takes me. And yeah, that's great. Now I want to go back to your childhood. You you came to America when you were almost to actually turn to in America. Do you have any memories at all of Nigeria at all, at all?

14:53 Do you remember anything? I don't really have any like, really solid memories. But if there's one memory that I always picture, it's me in like a room. Just playing like drawing unlike scrap pieces of paper because I always would ask that every family member like if they had papers so I can draw and that was kind of the only memory I want to know maybe in 6 months when you would say, I want to buy a trick. I want you to ride.

15:34 Seminole, have some runoff and Prejudice paper.

15:39 And you would like, Scribble Scribble.

15:43 It was so it was so nice to see you as I had guy. And guy. Was that what? You were both easy babies. And in all honesty. I was just more laid-back than you were in the one you came. I just wonder if it has anything to do with, you know, s kids, maybe because they're in that close proximity with the older sibling became to be to me. I think they tend to be faster and like that, you know what I mean? So, I felt that maybe the cook guy that's willing to call her if it needs coloring books and all of that, that maybe you'd learn that quickly. I want you to State your case. I want to, I thought it was great. So what are your memories of

16:35 I mean, I guess that answers the question. The next question I have for you which has to do with like did you notice a difference in terms of assimilation in a new country? Which can you speak to that? If you've different, do you feel different at all from preschool to, you know, Elementary School later core memories from Nigeria Arabic.

17:03 From all, I can remember. It's just been living in America, but I don't really have any recollection of what life was, like, how did it feel for you? When I would take you guys to the refugee Ministry than back in the day, like, June at Thanksgiving. So any sort of organization that can use a helping hand. I'm always willing to donate. Now. What would, what would you be? What would you hope like with their your relationship with me?

17:48 What would you hope it would be like at, you know, in the next, you know, in the next few years, older, like, for the rest of your life. We can come closer and just talk about, you know, everyday daily stuff that, you know, that everybody talks about. And I just hope that once I start branching off, onto my own kind of lifestyle and living on my own, and

18:21 Beginning my own business Pursuits that we can still keep that same level of closeness and just relativity things that I would have an opposition to any faces that you make up some of the way you're saying it. Like, you don't want to stop branching off and you do when your business is what it would affect communication and friendship or, you know, you know what I mean, like, the relationship more. Like, do you have like, any concerns? I'm just kind of curious that I would suggest to her vehicle. Still. Not really great. It's the school. So, I can you give me some more questions, baby.

19:05 Now's your chance to find out. Is there anybody in your life? Like a post family members that had a strong influence on you growing up? Yes. My dad. My dad was a businessman but he was a very Hands-On dad as well. So he was like this multi-tasker. I wonder if it had something to do with his background. So The Story Goes that when he was born my grandfather.

19:44 You know, travel to East Africa, you know, for in the war or they won't write and to his wife, being my, dad's mom was left with my dad. And I don't, I tried this part of this part of the story. I tried to make sense of The Story Goes that she abandoned him at 9 months and just like this. I woke up one day and just left him a lot of his life experiences stem from the fact that he really wasn't raised by his mom or his dad when he was raised by his grandma and her and his dad sister who's on it. So he may be that was responsible for his dedication to family. I'd like to. I'd like to believe that, you know, he be can't, he was if he was he was very concerned with us as his children. He had five of us and it was so

20:44 Are you would speak to us about, you know, about life and you give us no receipt advice about our future and, and all that. And, and and water was going on. When he realized that, after he passed, those will be those. The words that would Inspire us and keep us, would you remember the times? I had a bear, like, I had a crisis. Remember you said to me, this is not the end of your life considered this, just the end of a chapter of your life. And those words guided me for a walk forever. You know, he would, he would tell me things like, you know, you have nothing to prove to anyone. Just focus on your dreams and keep going to really strong. And for the first of all based on his life story and watching how we transform from this person who wasn't raised by any of his parents to be in this parent, who was so present for my siblings and I

21:44 And even even a lot of our friends. Now remind us of moments where they would, you do come to the house to visit and he would play the role of dad for them as well. And, and then some just seeing that. I, I'd like to think that it informed me and informed my parents and style. That being present for your kids. This is really not only. Did I deal? That's it. There's no question as to, you know, the fact that it is the right thing to do, if that makes any sense. So he was, he was a very hard-working person has low moments, but all-in-all, he was, I saw him as president. And I think, for me, that was valuable. My mom said well, we had a greater influence on me. If it's, that makes me to tell him, I love him. I love him.

22:44 Are we?

22:46 We have is cold to wear parents, would not affectionate. Not that. They weren't nice of time, but they wouldn't use words. Like I love you. They will pass you on the back. That would shake your hand. So give you hugs. It will give you all this wonderful advice, but they would never use the words. I love you into. That was one of my biggest regrets when he died was that I never got a chance to say to him, dad. I love you or hear him. Say I love you, but I found it you. If that makes any sense. I felt the love. It was it was on the Bible that he loved his family. But I mean, I got when I speak to some of my friends, they have a similar experience with

23:29 If there is never told them, they love them. It's not, it's not our language. And I, I just, I just wonder if it has to do with fear that if you give that much confidence of praise to a person, it will go to their heads. I, I know my mom would say, you know, when my friends would say. Oh, yeah, so great kids and beautiful kids to switch the topic and say, oh, yeah, but they should be focused on their education, that should be focused on their school work, you know, it wasn't something that they they did. They don't praise you. That the congratulate you, for good works on but they don't praise you or tell you I love you, but you feel it doesn't make sense. Yeah, that's so tell him that I love him.

24:16 I'm happy being someone who doesn't speak their native language, or on a day-to-day basis, really practice their cultures Traditions. How do you how do you? How, what advice would you give to a first-generation immigrants or like me with similes on preserving their cultures for their future? Generations of Alexa question raised at the great makes me feel terrible that I didn't raise both of you speaking evil on me and Dee lived with, you know, our neighbors Bangladesh for the bangladeshis taught their children from birth to, I feel like I filled you in that in that area night. I'm sorry, but my advice would be to first-generation immigrants. Like me would be do not let the culture. I just confused.

25:16 Food and continue to wear the clothing and teach actual culture, two conditions. That would be my advice you like you're considered a 1.5 generation American 1.5 yet. So that's next to your generation as well. Like I feel like if I were to advise you guys, I would say I was off as much as you can from your parents. We didn't know better because I think I'll Focus was more about assimilation and coming from Nigeria will colonize. And then we gained independence in 1960. It's a, what I did was a lot of the British way of living became our culture. And so in my home with grew up speaking, you're speaking English. Like I eat my butt with my dad and we spoke to me in English, what he would speak to my mom in our native land.

26:16 That's how I learned just by listening and then I would go to school and then sometimes you speak the language of because you don't want a person that I understand what you're saying is if we go to practice to the languages by doing that sand and that's, that's that's how we learned. So I feel that that's, that's something we hope. You know, we can fix. I don't know how we're going to fix it as first-generation immigrants, especially since you're growing your 79, you almost flying The Coop. I don't know when and how you're going to learn, but I just hope that whatever little we can learn from us from me, you know, when I, when I speak to you about, when I cook a greasy, or, I cook a crow or I I speak with, maybe I see some evil word, absorb it as much as you can. Okay, so tell me what, what evil words you do. You know what we are.

27:16 Well, I can't really think of any on the spot but I feel like my level understanding even goes as far as. Like whenever I hear you on the phone. I can understand like a few select words here and there, but I wouldn't say it's to the point where I can generate them off the top of my head. And what, what's your favorite thing to eat is Nigerian okra soup as a child, me. And my brother, we've always called it like Gary because that's like the pounded yam that it comes with. You, eat it with, but I'd send you. My brother would both agree on that that we like cockroach.

28:02 Do you like memory? Yeah, that's that's awesome. Tell me.

28:09 A memory you had of like the like songs like the convention that would have here in Connecticut. You know, where a bunch of, you know, Nigeria's. I don't think it happens as often anymore. But it was definitely a big part of my childhood. I just going to these conventions at like a general family's house or friends house and just having a bunch of like, people my age and like like adults, just like indulging in the culture and singing and dancing. And I feel like that was like the highest extent of me actually practicing my culture and I learned a lot about, you know, who I am. And the type of people that surround me and I'd say it's like a critical part of every Nigerian child growing up. Is that going to be a little conventions and just learning about a culture that

29:09 Is the part of you but not necessarily in front of you. Yeah, those conventions were very helpful. Unfortunately, like last year. We couldn't host one because of covid. And then this year as well. So it became very, yeah, it became less and less than kind of going into next year. Hopefully, you know, everything. You know, works out. And good thing is, you can be as young as 2 years old, or sold as a hundred years olds or 10. So it doesn't matter where you are to be in Los Angeles or wherever it is. You you do end up going but you it would be great that you still attend and keep those connections on 4th those connections. So yeah, I know. I know that that was that was a great experience. I enjoyed it. Myself to see my family and friends and dancing to the music and eating with food and just generally sharing

30:09 Story and meeting new people cuz some people would come from, get them States and America, depending on where is being hosted. I think we used to have them like, Regional areas that would host every year. As it was. It was great. I enjoyed it as well. You have anymore questions for me?

30:34 If you could describe how you envision me and guys future, what would you what would you say? First of all, I would hope that you both.

30:50 End up being good citizens. Good people left out with good people. Okay. Help for people kind people. You know, I preached that all the time. I feel like it always is this, I mean is no other way for you to be at. So I would imagine that my children are out there in the world doing the best. I can. They can to to, to make the world a better place. Now, doesn't matter what carrier choice you pick. Always said that. I mean, at first I was being Nigerian and I'm hoping you would be a doctor and let's not pretend that away. I hope she would be, you would end up doing Psychiatry or become a pediatrician. But what would he has you? You showed, you made me trust your judgment and I believe both of you made me. Trust me. If I believe that, whatever decision, whatever path you choose to forward, you will you'll do good, but I yeah, so I tried to so, I hope

31:50 Addition to pee. You end up out there with children.

31:54 With your own children, you would give me grandchildren if you sleep and you would raise them right as well. You would guide them, you know, and also I do not forget.

32:09 Your culture, American culture is great. But your culture is is is is your identities who you are and if you can just continue to remember, you know, where you're from. That'll be a, that's a good ideal for me. I would love that. You know, hopefully I can said you would, you don't need to run your own businesses or work wherever you, please and just do good work in the world. That's my vision for you guys.

32:42 General questions.

32:45 I thought you wanted to ask me about why I picked your name, Ray.

32:49 Why did you pick Renee? So your dad and I were working with one syllable, three letters. When after we had guy with a side of the cake. Will you tell me the typical that Festival we named in Africa in Nigeria? We name you guys before you're born. Now. It depends on. If you go for a scan to determine if it's a boy or girl, but either way you always have a set of names for either either genda. And so we had a set of names, you know, traditional names as well. We have evil names. We had a creature names and then we have English names. And so but with the English things which we just knew we would call you back. You know that you you know, you would go by your English name. One, syllable, three letters. And so when we had guy, the next choice was thinking considering k,

33:46 Cable, anyway, I like the meaning of Ray. It means it means a lot of toll at old deer along like a deer. And for some reason I hoped you would be as far as you being. So that's the one reason why I picked that. But if it was talk about your traditional name, and the fact to which shows that we named you after your grandmother your paternal grandmother. I like this. I see Kimmy 52, an evil means icon, something of Reckoning, something to be identified with something. You know, what has a, you know, depends on who's translating for the one word and, you know, in English, it just means icon and I thought that was that idiot, but he's like your journey so far. So, you know, it took a lot of thinking and scribbling and trying to see how you know that, you know, the variations, the short form. How would end up being when you you're called when you

34:46 When was mad, when we're happy with you Tennessee, we did all of that has three letters? Yeah anymore.

35:04 So, what would you? What would you like to live in the United States? And why?

35:11 I've always had my eye on California and like specifically the Los Angeles area because of all the opportunities. But not only that, I just like like the Ambiance of it. I like I really like nature and the potluck living by palm trees and just like in a hot area. I feel like that would be really good for me. What was a spending cap in California recently?

35:52 Yeah, is there anything you would like to see in conclusion, like?

35:59 And your thighs, you would like to give you my final thoughts. This whole fact of being brought here at such a young age for my own benefit and I just hope that anybody else that like is within my own culture and among others, know that like, there's always opportunity everywhere and I don't know, just stay like stay hopeful and secret. That's awesome. That's awesome. Both of me my final thoughts which is be that

36:43 The Immigrant experience for me has been transformative in a way that I never saw coming and I'm grateful too that I have the opportunity of reason you guys in this area. It's just been. It's out of school that is negative and positive, but I think more than that, more than you know, what to do it again. I would, I would do it exactly as as, as as it as it is, or was as it happened. I just hope that, you know, at some point, we are able to leave our positive influence on people, just by being involved in all the activities that were involved in by the rules of playing a different now, very slice. I just hope that, you know, you know where I can pack people. I'm not the America.

37:43 Are people who love home? They love where they remember home to be bazan. David's different reasons that you know, they came to a different location, but we loved home. And we we we we would we would love to recreate home here.

38:04 That's it.