There is no gain without pain in life. We must sacrifice something for whatever gain we make. Remember the concerted efforts made by the late pop legend, Michael Jackson, just to be able to shop in a mall in disguise. Inasmuch as relocating to the UK is a life-defining move and experience, it entails leaving behind some vital aspects of your life for better economic opportunities and a higher standard of living. These aspects will always be missed. Let’s recount the interesting aspects of the Nigerian life below:
You can easily get Nigerian delicacies in some cities in the UK, but that local flavour is always missing. I feel it needs the hands of the rugged women within the crude environment to get it right. For example, which Amala in the world can replace the famous Amala Skye in Ibadan?
The social life in the UK is either poor or strange to Africans. People in London are stepping it up with events but other cities are still lagging behind. Even when you organise social gatherings and send out invites, most people ignore them and pick shifts instead. This is unlike Lagos where people easily ‘turn up’. Remember what singer Banky W said about social life in Lagos, “Ain’t no party like the Lagos party”
Nigerian women are easily accessible as long as you have the money. You can easily see what Lagos socialite and other celebrities are doing with the dream women of people. Even when you are broke and you are organised as a man, you might still have your way. In contrast, the relationship market is different in the UK. It is a very conservative setting that abhors strangers. Ephemeral factors like skin colour, accent, ethnic background and visa status play key roles in who dates you.
If you believe the hustle in Lagos is real, then you haven’t seen the one in the UK. With the cost of living rising, I have seen people working 24 hours to make extra bucks. I once met a 48-year-old man who confided in me that he had been working 24 hours for 3 straight days. Most immigrants who set unrealistic targets for themselves end up living to work.
Nigerians are culturally friendly, especially if you are someone of high repute. Even when you are a nobody and you dress well, people easily get attracted to you. These people try to socialise with you. The UK will unconsciously teach you the differences of the terms; colleagues, friends and acquaintances. Most people only relate with themselves either on a professional or strictly needs basis.
Sunday mornings are lovely in Nigeria. People wear elegant dresses and head to church. The praise and worship session lightens your mood. It is always a moment of expression of joy. But in the UK, the roads are mostly deserted on Sunday mornings. This is because most people are nursing hangovers from the escapades on Saturday. In fact, you will doubt if the Britons actually introduced Christianity to Nigeria via Henry Townsend in 1842.
It is easier to get people together in Nigeria than in the UK. In Nigeria, most people do 9-5 jobs and the weekends are sacred. Over here in the UK, every day seems the same. When you are free, your friend or neighbour is fully engaged. When you are on a day shift, he might be on a night shift. With Nigerians back home ‘billing’ the ones in the diaspora more than Ikeja Electric, people work throughout the week to send something home.
Nigeria has one of the best atmospheric conditions in the world. The weather is moderate and with technological devices, you can create your own comfort. In the UK, the weather is so cold and unpredictable. Most times, your sense of fashion goes out of the window. You just want to avoid being sickened by the cold, by wearing big jackets. These jackets make you look like Ninja Turtles. The weather remains more unstable than the mood of a woman seeing her period.
When you start having kids in the UK, you will value family support. It is mostly unavailable. Even when your family is here, most of them will be engaged because time is too valuable. In Nigeria, your parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles and other family members will always be available to support you. All you have to do is to grease their palms, no matter how faint the oil is. At all at all na imm bad pass.
Christmas and other festivities:
The Christmas Day vibe in Nigeria is second to none. People cook the best meals and share them in the neighbourhood. Visitors show up at your place for memorable times. In the UK, it is a bank holiday and some workplaces that can’t afford to close, lure people to work with double pay. A greedy Nigerian will take the money and postpone the celebration for the following year. At the end of the year, all your memories might hover around depressing moments at work if care isn’t taken.