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  • Writer's pictureIbiyemi Balogun

The first Lagos blog; what I’ve learned in the first 20 days of moving to Lagos(temporarily)

Hey y’all it's me again, your friendly neighborhood life transition queen! I wanted to give an update on my journey so far, partly because I’ve been getting the same well-meaning “How’s it going? Have you settled in?” questions from a few people. First of all, the response from my last blog post about moving to Nigeria received an overwhelming response and I'm still unsure how to process it LOL.

So how has it been? Well, that is a loaded question… would you feel leaving the city you’ve known for the last 15 years into a new city in your 30s? Regardless of how temporary this move is, the impact of the move is still intense. * laughs in gets a second therapist*

Don’t get me wrong, the Lagos sun has done wonders to my overall mental health BUT the transition is still hard and uncomfortable and there is still so much to process and somehow less time to process it. So this is my attempt to process, give an update, and just generally document my journey because I’m sure in a few months I will feel differently.

So without further ado, here is my list, of things I’ve been observing, learning, and processing through since moving to Lagos. It is not an exhaustive list but it’s going to suffice

  1. Living in Lagos makes you more spontaneous - when you live in a system that does not always work in the most efficient way, you learn to adapt to the day. You have to sort of “go with the flow” or else you will be frustrated. For someone like myself who is a planner, I’ve been struggling a bit with not even remotely accomplishing my daily to-do lists. Everything is NOT straightforward and you WILL have to find alternatives. The other day it took me roughly 6 hours to complete 1 errand. LIIIIKE, I woke up and had 1 thing to do that day and by 10 pm that night it was finally completed 😂. I think I know why God sent me here now lol….he is trying to teach me patience and lessons in NOT overscheduling or overplanning my life. Funny enough I was calm and laughed it off whereas a few weeks ago, I would have been anxious and overwhelmed all day.

  2. Everyone has a “guy or a babe for that” aka everyone has a PLUG - this is related to my first point about finding alternatives. Because things are not straightforward, you end up connecting with people that are the “plugs”. Exhibit A, I wanted to get an extra portable internet pod because the internet in my house does not always internet lol plus my business is virtual, so I need the internet to be better…Anyway I picked up the device, and their machine was not working so I took the babe’s Whatsapp and when it was back up she just texted me. The other day, I wanted to get more data…..somehow ran through 45 gigs of data in 2 weeks 🙃, so I just texted her, and lo and behold their online system was down so she just did it manually for me….best believe this is now my “internet babe”. I now have a hair babe, an internet babe, a makeup babe, a tailor babe and i’ve only been around a few weeks.

  3. Moving back in with your parents as a 31-year-old and being around your siblings and nieces and nephew has been healing AND overwhelming. Moving from an individualistic culture in North America to a collective one in Nigeria has its ups and downs. I think there are a lot of unspoken expectations about showing up for the family that I knew about but didn’t realize would be day 1 expectations. I do however love the rallying around and the presence of not just emotional support but physical support. it’s so crazy to be in the day-to-day life of my family members after being by myself for so many years. It still shocks me that I can ask for help, even if it's in the small things. The other day I wanted to get my hair done….my normal process would have been to go to Google, scour a few Instagram pages, read reviews, reach out, price it out and determine if I could afford it, and basically take a chance. This time, I did that entire process, got a ridiculous quote, and was venting to my sister and she was like just go to so and so and they can do it for cheaper. My sister’s recommendation was like 65% cheaper, closer to my neighborhood AND the hair was done SO well.

  4. Speaking of hair, EVERYTHING is tailored for black people LOL, we are the default. I mean I go home every year and I know this, I also grew up in Lagos but I never really deeped how it's ALL for us. I went to the grocery store and I was standing in the hair care aisle and there was no little corner for “black hair care” its ALL brands tailored for black hair. Like rows and rows and rows of products, locally and internationally made. I can walk into any salon and they will know “what to do with my hair type”. Skin care, makeup shades, fashion that takes into account my proportions etc. It’s all for me. I pulled a dress off a mannequin and it didn’t need ANY tailoring because they know that the average Nigerian women’s waist-to-hip ratio is a THING. Again I knew this but because I’m usually only in Lagos for 2 or 3 weeks I don’t typically need to go to the grocery store or source things locally. Now that I do have to, I realize that I have SO many options tailor-made for me.

  5. Living at home has relieved 60-70% of my daily adulting struggles; I don’t have to think about food, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and just daily chores. I realized something the other day actually. It’s not Canada vs. Nigeria for me, it’s Independence vs. dependence. In this season of my life after the year I’ve had it feels good to be a little dependent hahah. Not everyday “girl boss”, independent woman, “I -pay-my-own-bills” ABEG some days, soft life. Some days, it's nice to have other people take care of you. I realized that if I lived in Nigeria as an adult by myself, I would have to deal with the regular adulting things that everyone has to go through but for now, I’m basking in being taken care of. Before when I was in Toronto if something broke in the apartment, I would have to call the building, follow up, ensure it was fixed etc. Now I can just tell my daddy and i’ve done my part LOL. I’m aware that it’s not real life, and I cannot adult responsibilities forever, but for now, I just need a break. The truth is that being an adult is hard in any country, That's why I started this blog because I wanted a place to vent about growing up because it seemed very scammy.

  6. Nigerian men can be aggressive and annoying at times. I feel like I need a whole blog post for this one hahah. No amount of saying I’m seeing someone, I'm dating someone” phases them. It’s like your boundaries are just suggestions. I mean how can a grown-ass man grab my ponytail like 6 times at a party, calling me Rapuzel because he “likes my hair”. I swear you can’t make this sh*t up. I have stories for days and its only been a few weeks. God help me sha……it doesn’t help that the person I actually like is all the way back in Toronto and navigating long distance has been a journey in itself. Again this whole move has been a trust exercise between me and God because wow emotions are HIGH.

  7. Lastly, things are expensive; I’ve spent way more money than I am comfortable admitting. I’m chucking it up to “transition/startup” costs. When you first move, you have to get settled in. I am re-doing my room, new sheets, bought a vanity/desk for my bedroom, re-upholstering my couch, setting up my own internet just getting comfortable. I know it will settle down but December is notoriously expensive soooo i’m not sure my pocket will be happy for the next few weeks.

That is my list so far. I’ve left out the deeply emotional stuff because like I said i’m still processing, I mean my second therapist has to earn her money LOL. Let’s just say God is revealing so much to me about myself, why he has me here, my future, my relationships, my mental health, and everything in between. It’s a journey of growth and as uncomfortable as it can be, I am so grateful for this season not just for a change of scenery but for new perspectives. My anchor passage for this season is Isaiah 43:19 “ Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Ok FINAL FINAL thing, please stop asking me if I’m going to stay longer than 6 months or making jokes that I will just end up staying forever, I have NO clue what the future holds. I am out here on a limb, taking a leap of faith and trying to be obedient. Peter had no idea whether he was going to sink or walk when he stepped out of the boat. It actually causes me so much anxiety thinking about my future and taking on other people’s comments is overwhelming. I’m just trying to settle in and focus on what God is doing so I don’t miss it.

Anyway that’s it. Thanks for reading! On that note, I have to go babysit cute niece for a few hours.

Till next time;


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