After breaking up with Curt, Ifemelu feels aimless for a while. She visits Aunty Uju on weekends. Uju has met a new man, a divorced Ghanaian doctor, and she seems happy. She tells Ifemelu to do whatever she can to save her relationship with Curt, warning her that she will never find another man like him. Dike seems to see that Ifemelu isn’t doing well, and he brings food to her room and tells her about school. He seems happier in Willow and his smile looks “unguarded” again. Ifemelu likes Kweku, Uju’s new boyfriend, because Kweku likes Dike.
Aunty Uju saw Ifemelu’s relationship with Curt as the epitome of her success in America, and so she advises Ifemelu to do anything she can to win him back. Dike and Ifemelu still share a close connection, and Dike can relate to Ifemelu’s depression because he has experienced it himself. Aunty Uju finally seems to find a healthier, more rewarding romantic relationship.
Ifemelu talks to her parents on the phone and they notice that she sounds different, but she still doesn’t tell them about Curt. Ifemelu’s father gets some leave from his work, and so he and her mother get American visas to visit Ifemelu. Ifemelu has wanted them to visit for a long time, but she is still depressed and the thought exhausts her.
When Ifemelu’s parents re-enter her daily life we see just how much she has changed in America. She is also dealing with depression again at this point (an “American” issue) and so can relate to them even less.
Ifemelu’s parents come for three weeks, but they seem like strangers to her. When they arrive they seem somehow small and provincial, in awe of everything about America. Ifemelu feels guilty because she can’t help sneering at them, even after she had guarded her memories of them so carefully. Before she leaves, Ifemelu’s mother reminds Ifemelu that women are “like flowers,” and so she needs to find a man before her “time passes.”
Another example among the many sad separations in the novel—how disconnected Ifemelu feels from her parents now. She had idealized her home and treasured her memories of her parents, but when they arrive in the flesh they seem disappointing. Ifemelu has grown and changed a lot, but her parents are still the same.
The day her parents leave Ifemelu collapses on her bed and cries, relieved that they are gone and guilty about feeling relieved. She still feels apathetic and depressed for a while, though she is now writing her blog. She resigns from her job on a whim. The chapter ends with a short blog post. Some “studies” say that race is a social invention, and there are no genetic differences between the races, while other studies say that black people are more likely to get certain diseases and white people more likely to get others. Ifemelu asks “is race an invention or not?”
The major crises Ifemelu experiences at this time—breaking up with Curt, feeling disconnected from her parents, and quitting her job—ultimately lead her to a stronger sense of self and independence, as she starts her blog, where she can write with her own voice about the things that interest and relate to her.