This is the first in a 2 part blog post on the last 3 months of my life. Needless to say, it is a personal post. Hope you enjoy…
There are times in your life when you feel like either something is missing or you want more. This feeling of discontent is what spurred my decision to spend the last 3 months in Nigeria. For those of you that follow my activities on Facebook and Twitter you would have gathered that indeed I have been living the Lagos (fondly known as Lasgidi) life.
Since going on holiday to Lagos last summer I have had this itch, this feeling that I might want to live in Nigeria. After much thought, I was able to merge the personal and the business. I had noticed that many UK based individuals travel to Nigeria for their special events. So I thought why not go to Nigeria to get to know the environment and learn how events are handled over there.
I felt the best course of action was to work with established planners in order to learn. And thankfully I was fortunate enough to work with the best of the best; namely Zapphaire Events and Eventful. I was a happy girl indeed. I am so grateful to the inspirational women that I fondly call FB and YZ.
The experience was indeed an amazing one. Early on I rashly and prematurely concluded that in fact I didn’t want to be permanently based in Nigeria but just wanted to spend time there a few times in a year planning and coordinating events for UK based clients having events in Nigeria. But somewhere along the way something changed, and now…well lets just say I feel differently.
My 3 months were invaluable and I don’t regret my decision for a second. There’s no way I could have learned all I did online or by talking to someone. In my final week I had what I can only describe as a God ordained epiphany. What seemed like a random ‘bumping into a friend’ turned into an eye opener that really solidified my future plans and ideas for SK (more on that in part 2).
Personally, it was also an amazing time; bonding with family members, making tons of new friends, being munched on by mosquitos, contracting malaria, getting used to non constant electricity, keke maruwa experiences, danfo experiences, roadside food, bukas, beach days and boat rides and so much more.
Then the character development…when you arrive from abroad, everyone thinks you’ll be an “aje buh” (aje butter) meaning pampered I guess. And I’m proud to say that on most fronts I proved them and myself wrong. I discovered that I am adaptable. When it was necessary I used maruwa (tuk tuk cab) to get home. And when in VI, I blended in. I knew my british accent or “phonetics” would get me nowhere in certain settings, especially when trying to get a cab. My Ability to speak and understand Yoruba was a godsend. I didn’t fret over the crazy heat or the unreliable Internet. I just accepted that it was what it was. I learned the art of giving for no reason other than to give, and it will forever stay with me.
I could go on and on about the last 3 months but I won’t because I wouldn’t be able to stop. Whilst in Nigeria I entertained my family endlessly on FaceTime and Skype with my stories.
So I’ll share my experience with you in pictures. Be warned, strong hints of vanity ahead. Enjoy and please do share your thoughts on sabbaticals and life changing experiences.