I packed my bags and moved back to Nigeria (temporarily)
2023, the year that I couldn’t have predicted…..
I don’t even know where to start from. At the end of last year, my mom planted a seed in my head. She said to me, why don’t you take a year off and move to Nigeria, to which I responded “I can’t just do that, my life is in Canada”. Well here I am, writing from Lagos taking time off BUT it’s not a year, it’s more like 6 months. I am as shocked as you are and completely outside my comfort zone. I am simultaneously overwhelmed and underwhelmed. I can’t believe I live here now lol, I mean it’s only been 1 day but so far so good.
You might be wondering how I got here. Same sis, same. It all started at the beginning of the year. I was in DESPERATE need of a change. I was burning out but “pushing through” because I was running a busy department that required my 110% attention because we had insane deadlines and milestones. I felt like I was working around the clock, then April hit and I went on a solo vacation to Mexico and it all became very clear to me that if I didn’t make a change then there might be an issue. Then just before my 31st birthday in May, I had a panic attack and cried for 4 hours. I subsequently went on burnout leave, quit my job became a full-time entrepreneur and the last piece of the puzzle was to move back to Nigeria. I decided to move back for a myriad of reasons.
It financially made sense - one of the bigger reasons for moving home is that Toronto is bloody expensive for someone who is starting out in entrepreneurship. The business is doing well BUT wow inflation is a THING!!! I am very aware of the exorbitant cost of living in Lagos as well which is why I moved into my parent’s house. Lowkey still processing how I feel about it; it's been 15 years since I’ve lived at home full-time time so the switch is going to be deep. For instance, my dad is literally peering over my shoulder watching me write LOL. I asked for a solitary moment and he said and I quote “Now that you are here there’s nothing like a solitary moment oh, be ready for me to disturb your peace” Haha you CAN’T make this stuff up. Please for those of my friends in Lagos that have been doing this for years, I may need some tips. Nevertheless, with rising costs of living, living at home can save me rent, groceries, laundry, and the occasional treat. Plus with the exchange rate, my dollar goes a little further in Lagos than it would in Toronto.
Being close to family - I’ve been so far away from my family for so many years. With my nephew and nieces starting to grow up, I got sick of being the aunty on Facetime at the birthday parties or waiting for updates on WhatsApp. Family is also a great source of healing for someone who has been doing this “ADULT” thing by herself for so long. I see how my siblings drop off the kids at grandma’s, meet for brunch, birthdays, game nights etc., and FINALLY I don’t have to be left out, I can just be here in real-time in the same time zone for longer than 2-3 weeks at Christmas. Building a stronger relationship with my siblings and their spouses is something I’ve always wanted. Also with all that is going on in the world, with literal wars erupting, it has a way of putting things into perspective.
Mentally it was NEEDED - after a year of many transitions, I just needed a break from “taking care of myself” and the mental load of always having to be on point. Don’t get me wrong I have amazing friends and a strong community in Toronto to share the load of adulting but there’s something about being at home that takes the mental load off. It’s not my house/ apartment so the responsibility doesn’t sit on my head alone. I also don’t have to always “focus” on myself. I think with living abroad, especially in a very individualist society, it’s easy to get self-centered. Although it’s important to introspect and have solitary moments it’s not an everyday thing. Lastly, there’s an element of it’s not my “real life” I’m only here for 6 months. The pressure of making grand life decisions is a little less, at least that’s what I’m telling myself. I can just be open-minded to see where Lagos takes me.
I believe God was leading me here - God told me at the beginning of the year he wanted me to rest. I didn’t understand fully what that meant and I still don’t know but I’m trying to be obedient. This idea of "Behold, I am doing a new thing, can you not perceive it” keeps coming to mind. It's very much giving Abraham(ish). The messaging has been let go, come into the new, or you have to step back to spring forward into what I’m calling you to. I think it's centered around changing my mindset and ways of thinking. I really don’t know. I find myself seeking God daily, building intimacy with him daily. Maybe it’s just that; to go deeper in him without my usual comfort in Toronto. Who knows, I sure as heck don’t. When I know more, I will share.
Those were the main reasons; and although they are ALL valid, it doesn’t mean that I’m not scared shitless. This is so new for me and so outside my comfort zone. For one, there is no Amazon Prime 😂, like I can’t order something today and get it tomorrow?? I actually have to plan ahead wow. For two, being in my parent’s house as a 31-year-old who has not lived with them for her whole adult life is going to be an adjustment. Also, it’s hot and LOUD, plus traffic, bad wifi, mosquitos, and Nigerians ahaha (I love Nigerians, but sometimes y’all can be a lot). On the flip side, I can get my hair done every 2 weeks and it won’t break the bank, my money goes further, and I can live in a really nice house where the fire alarm doesn’t go off because someone 2 floors down is cooking ramen. I can go to the BEACH, like the real beach all year round. I can play with my little nieces and nephew, I can get in touch with old secondary school friends, I can meet new friends. I can buy NICE clothes (Canadian shopping is whack….I said it and you guys already know this) and go to Nigerian weddings. On the other flip side, I’m going to miss my friends in Toronto, I’m going to miss my church community, it also figures that I met someone before I had to pack my bags and leave for another country. I’m going to miss my favorite sushi restaurant and the Toronto entrepreneurship scene, the ease of moving around and trying new things. On the other other flip side, I’m not going to miss winter and darkness by 4 pm, or the loneliness that meets you because everyone is “doing their own thing” and just trying to survive day by day. I’m not going to miss the creepy subway that has a million delays and people yelling at you for no reason. All I’m trying to say is that each city has it’s pros and cons. I don’t know that I’m fully ready to dive into Lagos living or fully ready to let go of Toronto living but this is where I find myself, yet again in the middle of transitioning from one season to another. As always pray for me and expect lots and lots of content about what I’m calling my 6-month sabbatical home.
Side note, I might share a blog about the renovations, I’m making to my room since i’ll be here for a bit of time.
Till next time;
Your girl is lagos living!