Hey beautiful people,

Happy New Year!!

It somehow almost feels like it’s too late to say happy new year as we’re pretty much half way through this month already however, I would like to wish us all a prosperous year ahead. If you follow me on social media @mouldedinsideout on both facebook and instagram you would have made an observation that I went back home to Nigeria for Christmas. I was also there for the New Year.

I arrived in Lagos on Christmas Eve and so I was still jet lagged on Christmas day, In a way I felt homesick as it was my first time celebrating Christmas away from my own family. This time around I would be celebrating with extended family. It ended up being great as all family is still family. Spending time with my aunt and cousins on that very first day gave me a rather tranquil welcome.

There was loads of food and I had so much by evening I honestly could not breathe from the amount of food I’d eaten. To get a feel of what Nigeria was like on a Christmas night, I insisted on going out that night. We went to ‘Cold Stone Creamery’, an ice-cream confectionary. Even before leaving Dublin, this place had been hyped and also known as Nigeria’s best ice-cream so I was super excited to finally see it. When we got to the Cold Stone in Yaba, the place was jam-packed but the ice-cream was well worth the wait, I can’t even remember the particular flavour I got but it was so good. We chilled for a while and went home right after. This is how I spent my Christmas Day in Nigeria.

Going back home to Nigeria with my entire family in 2016 was an experience that inspired Moulded-Inside-Out. Coming back alone three years later, I felt a need to make it count and discover what Nigeria had to offer. In my first week I learnt 5 life lessons and these helped me through the duration of my trip.

  • A to-do list: As soon as I saw the status of traffic in Lagos and how far my location was from everywhere, I knew I had to create a to-do-list in order to achieve everything I wanted to do in the short space of time I had. I wrote down a list of places I needed to visit, the people I needed to meet and the experiences I wished for. It wasn’t easy but I’m glad I achieved most of what was on my list. The things I was unable to achieve were and  due mostly to traffic, not having a personal driver, safety and my location. Quick Tip *if you want to enjoy your trip to Nigeria, make sure you sort out your means of transportation whether taxi, uber or a personal driver because it is going to be your biggest limitation!
*In the picture down below, I had actually just finished writing my to-do list
  • Being Present in the moment: I got to experience the beauty of being present in the moment. To be honest it was non-negotiable! Lagos is a bustling city filled with a lot of ‘hasty people’. The moment I stepped out of the house, I had to be alert and sharp. But I love that aspect of living in Nigeria because it helped me to live in my present experience.
  • Stay Hydrated : I lost my appetite and almost got dehydrated in my first few days (my aunt would say I was dehydrated my entire trip because I struggled to drink water). I guess it was the drastic change in weather and lifestyle that got to me. But as the days went by I tried to force myself to eat and drink at least a bottle of water per day.
  • Curtsy: Being polite seemed absurd to everyone I met. Whenever I said thank you to anyone who offered a service I was stared at. One time, I said thank you to the motorcyclist and my cousin looked at me, rolled his eyes and said ‘Itunu, you paid him, so why are you saying thank you??’. I could not get my head around that whole idea and philosophy but I continued to say thank you for every service offered because it was the right thing to do.

  •  Empathy and not sympathy:  After the first few days, I made a conscious decision to stop sympathising and feeling sorry for everyone living in Nigeria. Seeing young  children being stripped of their innocence as they street hawked buying and selling, being expected to hustle just as adults to survive made me angry. I could not help but feeling sorry for the general population because of the lack of security, the hardship people lived on a daily basis and the general lifestyle. I saw civilisation but corruption was overpowering. It was becoming subconsciously draining, and so I had to make a  conscious effort to empathise with the people as opposed to sympathising with them. I needed to focus on the positive aspects because without a doubt there is so much beauty to be discovered in Nigeria, even the culture alone was something to be reckoned with. Making this conscious decision allowed me to enjoy my trip, I mean it was hard but i had to remind myself that three weeks was way too short to change a whole nation! It just goes to show how much power we have over our own minds.  I will share about my trip to Nigeria in a series because it’s the best way to capture the different aspects of the trip. In my next post i will be sharing about becoming a tourist in my own country. Stay tuned
I actually can’t remember what was being said that made me laugh this much lol
The best crew to roll with!

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See you soon,

Florence

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