See this is what being at home 24/7 is doing to me. Lockdown has been pushing me to new levels, of parenting, lifestyle and motivation. My mind is travelling where my feet and bank balance can’t. I blame YouTube for this. I don’t even remember how it happened but I started watching videos of people house hunting in Lagos, Nigeria. The next thing you know, I’m wondering whether we should move to Lagos too. Would it be too different from the UK for the girls to get used to? Would it be the cultural revival for the soul that I didn’t know I needed?
Why move to Nigeria? Some background!
It’s not a totally random choice of locations. My dad’s side of the family is from Nigeria and I was, in fact, born there. Though apart from my name, you’d never know. Oh and my love for suya, moi moi and egusi soup. I’m all about Niaja food but woefully admit to not being able to speak Yoruba or know as much about the history of my birthplace as I should as a grown woman. At 35 years old, I’ve never visited Nigeria, even though my parents have gone back and forth quite a lot over the past 4 decades. So there’s been a massive yearning to visit. But to go and live there? It’s not something I’d thought much about until the last couple of years and only seriously entertained the thought since Brexit and the changing political landscape has meant the UK has started to lose its gleam.
At uni I studied International Business and Spanish. I’d always had a wish to live abroad. I’ll always remember, it was the cause of one of my first ever arguments with my other half. We were waiting for the Eurostar in Belgium and I was discussing my list of goals and he told me I wanted too much! Can you imagine? Well, we managed to find a middle ground and are still together nearly two decades later, but I’ll never forget how surprised he was when I explained I didn’t intend to spend my entire life in London. I think for many people, we get sucked into the false sense that the world revolves around our great city. As much as I loved London, even then I could see that it had huge social and financial disparities and it would stomp and spit you out in a second.
More recently (because let’s face it, uni was a LONG time ago for me) I’ve been thinking about how ingrained it’s become that black people are victims of deep-rooted societal racism and will always struggle for equality. It’s true, for sure. But it’s not a world-wide phenomenon. Yes, in our current area, my eldest was the only black kid in her school year. And yes, in our current part of the UK, she faces ‘harmless’ everyday racism at school with throwaway comments from her peers which for the most part fall off her melanin-rich shea butter skin. But as much as it is the norm for my daughter and countless other black and brown kids in the UK and other Westernised countries, it isn’t the norm in Africa. In Nigeria, my daughters’ skin colour or natural afro hair wouldn’t be their defining factors. Race be what people form their first impressions on. How better to help them embrace their culture and identity than to be surrounded by it?
Why is moving to Nigeria attractive?
Nigeria has a growing working and middle class. There is a real sense of opportunity in the air and many of the diasporas are moving back in order to help strengthen Nigeria with their professional know-how and ambitiousness. I’d love to be able to do the same.
Affordable domestic services
I remember my dad telling stories about his own childhood. About living in a massive home with drivers, cleaners, cooks and nannies. Something only the extremely wealthy can do here in the UK. Yup, my dad’s family were very well off, but from doing my research and chatting to family, it would seem you don’t need to be on a footballer’s salary to afford domestic help.
A warm climate
Being so close to the equator, Nigeria boasts a tropical climate, being hot all year round. Yes, you have a rainy season, but even then, it’s hot. Some would say it gets too hot, but as much as I’d miss Spring and Autumn, I’m happy not to see another winter. Being able to spend time outside all year round is extremely appealling.
I’ve watched enough Nollywood films to know that Lagos isn’t all marble floors mansions. Houses come in all shapes and sizes, but when comparing what we could rent or buy in Nigeria in the same price bracket as in the UK, Nigeria wins. More leisure space, larger rooms, more amenities, swimming pools. You name it. Yes, there are service costs that you need to include that may not be factored in to my initial research but from my searching so far, it looks good. Accommodation in Abuja and Lagos is expensive but it is in London and where we live too so it’s not much of a shock to the system.
Being able to immerse ourselves in Nigerian Culture. Everything from history to food, to literature. From visiting natural beauty attractions to the local markets. It’s all so attractive to me.
I vlogged a little about where my head’s at and about moving to Nigeria. As I say in the video, it’s just a passing thought at the moment, but it certainly stands that there are loads of great reasons why the country would make an epic base for the family. It would help if I went on holiday there first and maybe did a few trips to scope everything out for sure. At the moment, I’m going off of friends of family who have moved, and yes, YouTubers who have made the move from the UK to Nigeria and have shared their experiences of living in Lagos compared to London or other UK cities.
Have you made the move to the African continent? Nigeria in particular? What are your experiences? If you haven’t moved, is it something you’d consider doing in the future? Has the lockdown made you take stock of your life and come up with any interesting ideas for how you’d like to live after lockdown is lifted?