Ayo and Cyril are our second couple on the Nigerian Inter-Ethnic Love Stories series! I've known Ayo since secondary school days in Queens College Yaba, Lagos and we also attended the same University (where she met Cyril - Yay for Uni love!). She's Yoruba from the Western part of Nigeria, but married outside her ethnic group! She loves having a new surname, but I'm just not sure how she doesn't like bitterleaf soup!
Did you ever consider getting married to someone outside your ethnic group:
- It was never an option for me, even in high school, I just thought other ethnic groups were weird but God has a way of doing things. He liberated me from the Yoruba demons. Lol!
How/ Where did you meet and how long have you been married:
- We met at the University of Ibadan and we have been married for a year and 5 months.
Did you face any challenges from your parents/family member's regarding your relationship?
- Thank God, my parents are liberal and they always prayed we pick the right spouse (which most parents do). So when I said it was him I wanted, it wasn’t much of a big deal.
Did your wedding involve both cultures, and did anything surprise you during the events:
- Yes it involved both cultures, there were no surprises because almost everything was discussed before hand. Besides the cultures are pretty similar!
Do you speak each others' language and if no do you want to or/ feel inclined to learn:
- My husband speaks Yoruba fluently (and he brags) better than me. I feel inclined to learn but really everything depends on what I want to do. ‘You can take a horse to the river but you can’t force it to drink’.
Have you got any special pet names for your spouse which originates from your culture:
- Just the regular 'Olowoori mi'. Others are in English.
How did you decide on naming your first child?
Well my husband has an English name, so we just went along with an English first name, and our baby has both an Edo name and Yoruba name, though we agreed on a Yoruba middle name since she already has an Edo surname.
Best part of being in an Inter-Ethnic Marriage:
- A new surname that initially sounds weird, new food (sorry I am a foodie) and a different approach to things generally.
What aspect of your spouses's culture have you come to appreciate:
- The food! I would have said Edo men take care of their wives, but I think it's husband specific not based on any state/tribe.
So you love the food from your husband's culture - What's your best/worst? Which of these can you cook:
- I love Ogbono! my mother in law does that superbly. My husband too. My worst so far is Ebe (Bitter leaf) soup
How can one make Inter-Ethnic Marriages work:
- Show interest in their ethnic group so that you can understand some things and in that way little things will not get to you. Also don’t assume that when they speak in their dialect, it’s about you (even if its about you!). I personally believe any one that can't speak to me in the language I understand is afraid to speak to me. So I am not bothered at all.
What's your general advise to people who think they cannot get married outside of their ethnic group:
- First, I will thank my parents for not making any ethnic group a compulsory pick, I think you should marry who you love and also as a woman, marry who loves you more. Not by text messages or word of mouth, but by actions. No one is perfect, but there are still guys out there, who take time to appreciate or show love to their woman.
Thanks again Ayo and Cyril for sharing with us! Hope you enjoyed this interview people. One thing that we should probably take away is the fact that even though she initially considered other ethnic groups weird, at the end of the day, she had an open mind!
If you'll like to share your Inter-Ethnic stories, or know anyone who will like to (the good and the bad, whether arising out of just dating or relationships), or if there are any particular questions you'll like me to ask in subsequent interviews, please get in touch here.
I share my own personal stories in the EastMeetsWest bit of the blog - which I really should update. So much to do, so little time!