Our lives are full of experiences that shape us into who we are as people. Some life experiences leave more of a mark on us than others, it is for this reason that we asked members of the Quench community to share these wonderful moments with us. This article celebrates our ‘first’ experiences, the ones that have altered life as we know it in the best possible way.
Here’s to the ‘firsts’ of life
My First Wedding – Omo Ifabua
Nigerian weddings are notorious for their fun, fuss and food and I promise you that my first wedding did not fall short by any means. The ceremony took place almost 8 years ago, but I still remember every moment in vivid detail, from the agonising 7-hour flight to Nigeria, to my embarrassing breakdown upon seeing my wedding dress. I think I should clarify that I was only a guest at the wedding and not the bride, although my theatrics could have fooled anyone…
In April 2013, my family and I flew from London to Ilorin, to see my Uncle Lekan get married to his wife Foluke. Considering he’s my mum’s little brother, attending my uncle’s wedding was a very big deal – big enough for me to miss a bit of school before the holidays!
I have to say that the highlight of the wedding was 12-year-old me turning into a bridezilla, freaking out over my dress for the wedding. Traditionally, Nigerian families wear matching fabrics to celebrate important occasions; but sometimes each outfit is in a different style so, you know, everyone isn’t wearing the exact same thing. Therefore, you can imagine the horror in my eyes when my sister and I were presented with identical semi-pleated frocks, especially after I’d told the seamstress this could not happen! In my eyes, the wedding was already ruined, “Why did they do this to me?”, I thought. However, my mum came to the rescue as always, putting an end to my tantrum by getting the seamstress to sew a big blue bow onto my dress – to give me the uniqueness I desired.
Dress drama aside, the wedding was fantastic, and things were even more exciting at the reception – hence the need for a killer dress. Driving to the events’ hall was an experience of its own, especially with a crying goat in the back of the car, but that’s a story for another day. I was shocked to see the wedding reception packed full of guests, since many “unfortunately couldn’t make it” to the church service earlier; but all was well, as there was more than enough Jollof Rice to go round. The big day was not complete until guests took over the dance floor and sprinkled dollar bills on the newlyweds (yes, actual money), whilst dancing along to the live Afrobeat band. Filled with lots of love and laughter, my first wedding remains one of my favourite family celebrations and was an excellent cultural experience.
My First Concert – Katie Waits
June 6th 2015 was a very busy day for 14 year old me. The first part of the day had been fantastic, having visited the Doctor Who Experience, a place that I loved, with my best friend. Later that day, in the warm afternoon sun, my cousin and I queued outside the Millennium Stadium, waiting to see my favourite band: One Direction.
On my wrist, my cousin had secured a red band, declaring that we’d be in the standing pitch. Having never been to a concert before, I was simultaneously bursting with immense excitement and extreme nerves. The animated sounds of other fans talking about and singing One Direction songs was a great comfort to me.
A couple of hours later, we stumbled through the gates, my cousin tugging me along as we tried to navigate our way through the increasing rush of people. Stepping into the stadium, I couldn’t help but gasp in awe. It was far bigger than I had imagined, and the standing pitch was still fairly empty.
“Slow down, girls!” a security guard called to us. Determined to get us as close to the stage as possible, my cousin charged down the steps towards the pitch where we were lucky to find a brilliant spot.
The stadium darkened, phone lights flashed, the collective scream of thousands of fans echoed as McBusted appeared. I was experiencing the ecstatic atmosphere of a concert for the first time. I adored it.
When the beginning of Clouds blared through the stadium, the reaction was twice as powerful. I’d only ever seen One Direction concerts on YouTube and I had somehow underestimated how enthusiastic the audience would be. It was extremely overwhelming realising, as One Direction leapt on stage, that they were real, and I was in the same place as them!
By the time Best Song Ever closed the show, I had heard Liam try (and fail) to pronounce ‘diolch’ and had seen Harry dance around in a flamingo patterned shirt. Louis stood on the stage only metres away and Niall expressed his appreciation for the Welsh audience. Their live renditions of songs, from Stockholm Syndrome to One Thing, filled me with a ridiculous amount of joy and appreciation. After seeing them up close, despite the lack of Zayn, I left feeling dazed and trembling, but happy. I’ll always remember hearing What Makes You Beautiful ringing through the streets of Cardiff afterwards. As my first concert, I couldn’t have been happier and it remains one of my favourite days to remember.