Her Royal Majesty.

Hey Beautiful person,

How are you?

I am glad to announce this post as the last series on my recent trip to England and for 2016. If you missed any please do go back through my previous  posts. As I mentioned in the first series;  I visited the London Bridge,  London Eye,  Big Ben and finally the Buckingham Palace.

The Buckingham palace was pretty big and beautiful in it's own way . I was not able to capture a full image of the entire palace. It was the last place I visited which meant the sun had gone down by the time we arrived. This also had an effect on the lighting, regardless we tried to capture as much as we could .

Queen Victoria was the first monarch to live there. As of now, living in the  the Buckingham Palace is the Queen and Prince Philip but also the London Duke of York (Prince Andrew) and the Earl and Countess of Wessex (Prince Edward and his wife) and their daughter.

The buckingham palace was originally know as the Buckingham house in in 1703 . It was then bought privately for Queen Charlotte and renamed the Queen's House. For more interesting facts click here.

Some say the royals cost a lot on the British economic . This from security to maintenance and many more royal related issue. Some say the royal family add an interesting dynamic to the British culture, which then attractes millions of tourist. If you ask me from what I saw on the day I visited and from the turn up everytime Kate Middleton has a child. The British people love their royal family! There were people everywhere, as you can see it was hard to get a picture without loads of people in it. I was even told some people make it a duty to visit this place at least once a week !

This brings us to the end of today's post; let me know if you how I split my travel posts into series. I will have one or two more post before the end of the year 2016, if not see you in the new year.

See you soon

Florence


Coca-Cola's Eye!

Hey beautiful people.

This is the third series on my recent trip to England. I should have left this one as the last place I will share with you, but I couldn't wait. The London Eye was my favourite of the four places I visited.

The London Eye is a giant Ferris Wheel right on the South Bank of the River Thames.  The name has been changed every time a different company/ brand buys it. It is also known as the Millennium wheel. The most recent and popular name given to it is the Coca- Cola London Eye.

Isn't that just catchy for a name?

Well Coca-Cola is smart cause at 443 feet (135 m) tall and a wheel with a diameter of 394 feet (120 m). The London Eye is not only one of Europe's tallest Ferris wheel. It is also  the most popular paid tourist attraction !

There was so much anyone could do at the site. It was busy.... On site is a ticket office to buy tickets for different activities.  You could go on a ride in one of  the 32 capsules of the London Eye. There was an seaside aquarium.  A 'Shrek' and 'Frozen' themed museum for young children and many more fun things. Since it was a tourist attraction, it seemed as if everything was there to see.

I had so much fun on the site and played around. I stopped by every time I saw anything that caught my eye as you can see in the pictures below...

Like I said earlier people turned up. This picture doesn't even justify the crowd. It was nice to see how interested people were. Especially cause it wasn't just tourist that turned up, you also had British people who turned up!

In my final post, I'll share about my visit to the Buckingham Palace.

Thank you for staying with me through my series so far.

See you soon

Florence.


A tribute to nursery rhymes.

Hey Beautiful person

How are you doing today?

This is the second series on my recent trip to England that now seems like a LONG time ago. As I got off the train in central London; I  made my way towards the River Thames. The location was actually attractive and interesting! It brought back memories of when I was in nursery school.

The memories of being a little five-year-old girl learning nursery rhymes.

The song  ' London Bridge is falling down'   was in replay mode.

At that age, in school our teachers would get us to learn everything by heart, right? ...... well most things even though we didn't know half of what we were learning most of the time. We did anyway!

It was nice to finally visit the London bridge from the famous nursery rhymes. I didn't get to see the bridge open, but I stayed long enough to take the whole environment in. Pictures are never enough, so I do encourage you to visit it for yourself on your next trip to England.

This is the big black sphere sculpture on the bank of River Thames. It seemed so random yet perfect in a simple and beautiful way so YES I thought I'd get a picture!

Are you ready for Christmas?

I'm almost done with presents. I still haven't decided on a  present for myself.

*Remember to capture every moment left in the year 2016.

See you soon

Love, Florence


Big Ben - a must see!

Hi everyone,

It is now official, Christmas is around the corner and the countdown begins. The closer it gets to Christmas reality kicks in as it gets closer to the end of 2016. I have been reflecting on this year, I gained a lot and lost a few too; I thank God for the blessings received. I am still praying for more cause a lot can still happen..... It's quite exciting actually seeing everyone with shopping bags already!

Today's post is about my most recent trip to England. I went to visit a special person and I was in full 'tourist mode'. I dedicated a day to visit the Big Ben, The London Bridge, The Buckingham Palace and The London Eye. You might ask yourself ' how did she visit all those places in a day?'. The public transport system in England is great! The only issue I have is the crowd, I found it overwhelming!

I love Ireland and this trip reconfirmed it.....

As I got to the location where the google map lead us to; I looked around and thought to myself where is the Big Ben? It took me a while to realise I wasn't sure of what to expect in the first place....... I  saw a policeman guarding the gate so I walked up to him and asked, ' what exactly is the Big Ben?' I am glad I didn't get the ' for real look'. He was such a gentleman.

The Big Ben is actually the massive bell in the House of Parliament's iconic clock tower. The clock itself weighs more than 13 tons (13,760 kg). You know what I found interesting?  The Big Ben has rarely stopped even after the bombing of the Commons Chamber at the Second World War. It is one of London's most famous landmarks and must-see attractions. Big Ben is in the Elizabeth Tower at the north end of The Houses of Parliament in Westminster, Central London. If you want to find out more interesting facts about Big Ben here are some - click.

As you know, my travel post will always be in series. This is the first of a few series so do stay tuned while I share the other landmarks I visited. As we are getting to the very end of 2016, hopefully, I'll be able to post more than once a week.

So please like and share them and enjoy my last few post in 2016.

Let's be kind to everyone this season and acknowledge those who don't have as much as we do. Don't take anything for granted!

Can I just say though, it was FREEZING in England; the few days I spent there I  never left the house without two jackets and two scarves!!

See you soon.

Florence.


Beyond my Comfort Zone.

Hey Beautiful people.

How are we doing? Can you believe how fast this year has gone? We thank God for his mercies.

Today's post is the second of the series of my trip to Newcastle. As I mentioned my sister and I had so much fun. People tell us that we don't look alike. But would you believe if I told you that when we were in school teachers couldn't tell us apart! Anyhoos, let's get into today's post.

The second location we visited was the  Tollymore Forest  . From my experience of watching a LOT of American TV and horror movies. Especially as a young child when my grandma lived with us. She told me scary stories of what evil people do in isolated places. These information's  has my mind programmed in a negative  way towards places that seem strange in any way.....or isolated. It makes me feel as if  ANYTHING could happen with no one around to help ; the thought is scary right?  That's what CSI and all these shows do to you.

Long story short, when the lady at the Newcastle centre gave us options of places we could visit and mentioned a forest. I was like 'ehn, forest ke'? (African accent in my head). Being the one who convinced my sister on this trip of course I didn't want her knowing I was a little scared . I faked an excited smile and God love her, she was so supportive throughout the whole trip. I don't know if she was actually scared I'll ask her and get back to you!

OK! So let's get into the Tollymore forest its self.

 

I have never seen anything like it! Honestly. We just kept stopping, we would say to ourselves

' ok! last photo'

.....and then we would walk and we're like

 'ok! last, last one'.

Nope! there were no last pictures and  snapchat can confirm that too. We took so many pictures that we missed our taxi. This was an issue we had to deal with because the people in Newcastle were quite hostile.

I have to say I was a bit shocked. It seemed as if they had never seen Africans. We got stared at so much ; some people even moved away when they saw us. I was quite uncomfortable. If I had gone on this trip on my own, I would have gone back home at how uncomfortable I felt.

 

My sister was grand though, she was n't bothered at all. For me, it wasn't a pleasant feeling which was sad because Newcastle is such a beautiful place to visit. One thing I know for sure is not to go alone!

You know what, I take that back I wouldn't go alone as of now ; but hopefully people's attitude will change and make a more acomordating place to visit.

The Tollymore Forest also had connections to the Game of Thrones. So to all my Game of Thrones fan, Tollymore got you covered. I actually don't watch the show myself, but the worker in the forest was so excited when he was telling us about the connections. He pointed to us some of the locations where a few scenes from the  was shoot, we were directed to use black and red arrows on woods to help guide our way through the forest.

Unfortunately we didn't get to the point where some of the were shoot. That would have taken us an extra hour cause the forest was pretty big. We met people also walking in the forest and they told us to make our way back as soon as it got dark. Since I was already stepping beyond my comfort zone I definitely listened to their advise.

If you a lover of  nature.

If you ever need quite time to yourself

If you' re into poem or song writing and you need a place quite and calm.

If you CAN walk ALONE in any forest

If you fall into any of these category that I mentioned; pick a day and drive or get the bus into Newcastle. The Tollymore Forest is for you! I am telling you, it was AMAZING! I can only imagine how beautiful it will be in the summer. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you.

I must point out that the worker at the Tollymore forest was nice; he made us feel very welcome.

See you soon

Florence x


Sisters take Newcastle!!

Hello Beautiful person.

How are you doing today?

I am excited about today's post. I' ll be sharing  with you about my day trip to Newcastle in Co Down. Newcastle is in the Northern side of Ireland. I will divide my trip into a two series post. This means it's not too long. This will also give me the chance to share separately the different locations.

It is n' t always easy with the type of job I do to get time off. I  have been working back to back for a while now and just as I was almost hitting breaking point. I decided it was time for a break. I would need to start with a WHOLE day to  just relax and chill. All I needed was a place easy enough to reach by car or public transportation.

My friend suggested Newcastle. Following this, I did some personal research and fell in love with Newcastle. There was a  lot of outdoor activities  with an amazing choices for people to choose from. I knew this would also give me the chance to step out of my comfort zone. I was excited to being a tourist in my own country. My choice to visit Newcastle seemed even better when I told colleagues in work. The smiles..... the sighs.....and then the pauses........Florence, you'll enjoy it. Newcastle is such a pretty little town. That was enough confirmation for me!

So with the information I'd gathered online and  by the word of mouth from trusted sources . I convinced my big sister to come with me on this trip. Luckily for me, it wasn't hard at all. Besides, we had a lot of sister time we needed to catch up on. This meant the trip was a two in one !!

It was important that we go to Newcastle as early as possible so we could get the most of the day. I woke up as early as 6:30 am.  My sister arrived at the house at 7:40 am, of course who wasn't ready? ..... Itunu!!! I can be a bit of a messer... We thought to pack  a mini hand luggage box. You should have seen the amount of things we packed, you'd think we were actually spending a night. We even packed extra underwear. Since we weren't sure of the exact activities we would take part in. I'm not all about to taking  chances...

We got the bus into  town, grabbed a quick breakfast roll and went to the Bus Eireann Station. The bus route wasn't hectic. We stopped at  Newry, then got another bus to Newcastle. The journey to Newry was an hour and the journey to Newcastle was an hour 20 minutes which wasn't too bad at all.

The weather was a bit cold and a bit wet but I was prepared and dressed comfortable. So I had no problem.

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Our first stop in Newcastle was the visitor centre. In our tourist mode we walked in and asked questions 'hi, we're  here for the day from Dublin. We' re wondering if you had an advice on how to get to places in Newcastle '  The lady replied with a not so good news. She informed us that Newcastle was an attraction for people who loved outdoor activities . The day's weather was not suitable. As Newcastle also had some beautiful scenes , she gave us options that could suit the weather. I'd been so excited about the Mourne  mountain climbing. Unfortunately as she explained the weather condition and the risk with these activities. It was best to listen. Not discouraged, especially since we had made the effort to come all the way. We decided on a place to visit and I am glad we choose .........

......The Tullymore forest and the Promenade Way by  the Shimna River. The Promenade Way's  view caught our attention almost immediately. The  scene was just so beautiful. It only made sense that this was where our day started. We walked along the wet sandy beach to the bridge over the Shimna River. The first section of the walk makes up the  Newcastle coastline . This goes all the way around to the promontory of Murlough. We got the chance to walk from one end of town to the other along the promenade.

Even though the weather was cold , I absolutely  enjoyed this walk . it was nice and refreshing. I needed the fresh air!!

 

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We didn't forget to have fun!

 

After the long walk. We branched to a small coffee shop in Newcastle town before we continued to the next place . I actually forgot the name of the coffee shop , but you know what? That doesn't even matter cause we got the most amazing coffee and hot chocolate !!

Can I just say now? I love cappuciono!!

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In my next post on my trip to Newcastle. I'll be sharing about the second place we visited. The Tullymore Forest. I'll also be sharing the hostility we experienced from the people in Newcastle! I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed sharing it.

Have a fab one!!

See you soon,

Florence.


Lights, Camera and it's a Wrap !

How are you today beautiful people ?

Thank you for stopping by again .

In conclusion to the series one, two and three .  I  thought it would be nice to share some of the African outfits I got.  My mum's sister has an amazing taste when it comes to choosing materials especially colour combinations . To make it even better, she has good tailors working for her.

She had bought the materials before we arrived, I just choose the styles.

 

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Once again, thank you. I enjoyed putting this post together for you.

I would love to know your favourite outfit !

See you soon,

Florence.

Photographer : Beatrice Adesunmbo Osunuga, Instagram : makeupbysumbo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Keeping up with the Family

 

family

Personally, meeting the family meant a lot.

It was like adding the missing pieces to a jigsaw. I've learned in my little time on earth that not everyone fits into a family. However,  I encourage everyone to cherish their family. I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying  " you don’t know  what you have until you lose it!'

Every family has its own issues, there is no such thing as a perfect family. I have not met all my families. In fact, some family members only found out about us when we visited  Nigeria. I  didn't meet all the family members because it would have caused drama and ruined the holiday. To the ones we met, I appreciate and will never underestimate. It was definitely worth it.

family

Ok, so enough emotional talk, let’s get into the post.

In Ireland on an ordinary non-school day. In my family, everybody would wake up at their own times and do his/her chore in the house. We made a roaster and stuck it onto the fridge now do we stick to this rota? that’s another story # Family secrets.

Normally, on a school day, we are awake as early as 6:00 am. We'd get a shower, breakfast then I'd get the younger sibling ready, you know big sister duties. We leave the house at different times.Upon return after a long day, we spend time with each other we shout, play, fight, watch TV. It’s always one of CSI Miami, Being Mary Jane, Power, Hawaii 05, and Master Chef. After we go to bed and start the next day with pretty much the same routine and a few changes.

Families in Nigeria may not have routines as such. Reasons could be inconsistent electricity, family size, financial disadvantages and or many other factors. For example, if a family weren’t stable, or worse if the parents were illiterate. This could affect a  child’s school attendance as some would miss a lot of schools. There are also young children who had no choice but to sell food or work after school to earn money.

I asked so many questions when I’d see young children with big baskets on their head. I got answers like  - that’s life Itunu; that’s their world; if you don’t hustle in Nigeria and find something to do you’ll suffer. It was almost like this type of life was normal!

I mean, it’s sad really.

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selling

Speaking of lack of constant electricity. Everyone depends on  Generators or  Inverters. Some families use both.  The Inverter is more expensive, but it’s rechargeable. So if a family could afford an inverter, they opt for it.  The  Nigerian Electrical Organization only give so much just to keep businesses running which was clearly what mattered.  I could write an entire blog on how vulnerable people were to lack of light especially on the streets in the night.We are lucky in European countries with the provision of electricity.

During my trip, on the day’s where we had no light, we made an extra effort to have fun. We played games in the dark. We went on long night walks.

I just couldn’t get over how dangerous it was for cars in the night with no street light.

Since there was a big number of us in Nigeria. The typical routine of my Aunt and her family changed to suit the number. When we woke up, someone would heat up the water. The oldest girls were the ones to usually be in the kitchen making breakfast.  By the time everyone got their shower, breakfast was ready. Can I just use this moment to say my Mom's sister was just amazing! She fed us WELL, even too much if you ask me. She spent so many hours in the kitchen every day.

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However, I observed that chores or jobs if you like, was gender-based. For example, the girls would cook while the boys would wash the car. I  guess it’s still culture and society playing its role.

Since we hadn’t been to Nigeria in more than 15 years. We met a LOT of Family, from extended to immediate, you name it. I heard there was, even more, we couldn’t meet. We stayed at Command Ipaja, in Lagos mainland. Relatives came from Abuja, Ibadan which was like five to six hours away by car.  There were days we changed plans just to make sure they’d meet us.  I was like  ‘ ah common!’, cause you know while it’s all beautiful. There were moments where it all seemed draining…

Meeting extended family members helped me understand who I was even more. It’s more than ‘ oh, my name is Florence or Itunu and I’m from Nigeria’. I learned deeper than things about myself.

Guys! I can finally accept my ‘baby hair’ struggles. I would pray and fast for my ‘ baby hair’ game to be strong, but nope, it just couldn't happen. After meeting a few of the women from my mom's side who had thin edges. I can now accept the reality.

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Meeting Family makes Nigeria a safer place for me to visit.

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Overall, I enjoyed my trip to Nigeria. Thank you so much for staying with me through these series. I hope you enjoyed reading my experience as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you.

Do check the vlogs of some of my favorite YouTubers  - La' perfect learner, Shirley B Eniang  . or Meerah's closet

Big thanks to everyone who let me put their pictures up. 

Please leave your comments down below,  you can also look back through my first and second post.

See you soon,

Florence.

Photographer: Faith Anthony, Instagram: faith_anny


Culture is my thing!

How are you today? Thank you for stopping by!

This is the second in a series of posts about my recent trip to Nigeria. Check out my first post where I talk a little bit about the run up to the trip, and what you can expect when you first land . I hope you enjoy this as I much as I enjoy sharing it with you!

Culture is my thing!

For  example the African native clothes/ attire. The Nigerians who live abroad wear the regular top and jean etc. This could change if there was an event or party that requested an  African theme - aso ebi .  Yes, there were odd days one would feel quite African and would decide to dress as so.  But in Nigeria, wearing a native cloth was just as fine as choosing a regular  english outfit. It  created such a colourful scene. I  wish it was normal in Ireland. There was even a day of the week set apart - Friday to dress in their native clothes if wished. I got a lot of style inspiration, which I’ll be sharing soon.

The way Nigerians communicate there is different. The majority of them speak to each other in what they call Broken English. Don’t be fooled by the name: Broken English .This is very much its own language which is  not to be confused with Pidgin English (which is basically English in an African accent). There are over 100 languages in Nigeria. Broken English is one of the ways of overcoming these crazy language gap. Of course, I felt lost in conversations most of the time but don’t worry if you have plans to go there - English is one of the national languages so you’ll be grand.  

Speaking of communication, you’ll see it break down spectacularly if you ever get stuck in the traffic in Lagos. Instead of cars in single file, like you’d see during bad traffic on an Irish road, you have drivers  creating their own lanes at all sorts of angles, screaming at each other...

“Ori eh ope!” (Your head is not correct!)

“Oloshi!” (Idiot!)

“MUMU!!!” (Daft! Fool !)

...and many other things that I won’t repeat! You’ll also regularly see cars driving towards  each other in the same lane, then the drivers stop and curse the lives out of each other, and you’re just like ‘ would you not have stayed in opposite lanes in the first place?’. As you’ve probably guessed, the road system there is a lot less formal, and even though there are road taxes and rules, often you can buy your way out of trouble, and the roads themselves aren’t well maintained. True to Nigerian spirit, we just get on with it - but like any good, passionate person in a traffic jam, we can get angry!

There are a lot of markets in Nigeria, with 20 that are the most busiest  in different States  I went with my mum and her sister to the Balogun / Dosumu market in Lagos Island . It was huge! There were so many people, so many options to choose from, and everything you could imagine was there - hair extensions, clothes, food, make -up and the list goes on. Mind you at the  food stalls or fresh sea food stalls if you don’t like the smell of fish, you might be thrown off  but I didn’t mind.

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During the trip my cousin and I  went to other markets like the Computer Village in Ikeja  and Yaba market popularly known as Tejuosho market . The computer village market was also pretty big, you could get any technical gadgets here - phones, laptop, chargers etc . You'll just need to be sure of of the vendors you choose from. I found the way the vendors operate over there is a bit different to what you’d see in my adopted home in Dublin. Electricity was all powered by generators, I'll talk about this in my next post.You also had many young dropout workers who were looking for any means of living by repairing phones, laptop etc.

During my adventures at the Yaba market  in Lagos, when stall owners tried to sell me something, I’d say ‘ no thank you’. And I got stared at as if I was abnormal. My cousin laughed: ‘yes, they will know you are not from this place!’.  Apparently, the normal thing to do is just walk past and ignore, or even worse- hiss! If you don’t, you risk getting physically dragged left, right and centre by vendors. Luckily, my cousin turned into a bodyguard and kept a close eye on me. This wouldn’t tend to happen in Ireland - well, not unless you’re on Moore Street (a street filled with different ethnic backgrounds, with plenty of Africans!), and even at that, people are mostly trying to lure you in with compliments.That being said, the market was so much fun it was a different type of experience than I was use to, etc.

Once I got the hang of the weather, I decided it was time for something a little more dangerous - at least, that’s how it felt whenever I used public transport! In Ireland motorbikes are not a form of public transport, but in Nigeria an  okada as it's called is a pretty popular way for up to 3 people to get around. Risky? Yes. But they’re the fastest method of transport. God love the first okada man who gave me a lift. I remember holding on to every part of his body for dear life as he speed down the really bumpy onike  road, “ Aunty!” he shouted, “Wetin now! why you dey grab me like that !?” . My cousin laughed as I held on even more tight, by the time I got off you’d swear I had been a part of the Olympic race - and won.  I was like: ‘Fam, I’ m not gonna be killed while on holidays!, I will make it back to Ireland alive!’ (If motorcycles aren’t your thing, you also have the Maruwa or Keke, a tricycle  which can carry 4 people and it's significantly slower)

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And then you have the ‘mo-lue’ or ‘danfo’ - a small bus. My bodyguard cousin  wisely only brought onto the danfo once or twice.  I even laugh everytime I think about it. They have bus conductors who called customers onto the bus. To give you an idea of what they do: Imagine this in Dublin: no bus stops, no indication of where you are, except someone holding onto the handrail screaming:  “CLAREHALL, CLAREHALL , CLAREHALL!”, Just so you’d know where you're going. This was the routine for all the stops along the way. Imagine the bus moving at break-neck speed on bad roads, - I don’t know how they don’t fall; if they did it could be instant death or serious damage.

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We were lucky to make amazing friends through family. I have to say, these group made such a difference to our trip. I wouldn’t have seen any of Lagos’s night life without them. We went to the Ozone cinema. We went on long night walks and got a feel for a different view. This was important because we got to mingle with our age group. I also got to learn  much more about Nigeria. We even got an Uber Taxi, I had no clue it existed in Nigeria.

They showed and told us what the younger version of the country looks like. At night depending on the areas you live. Movement was n't always allowed for security and safety reasons.Like every regular young person in Dublin, Friday and Saturday nights happen at clubs, cafe bars with live bands and what not. In quote 'night life depends on family background, location and is day specific' . Oh ! less I forget to mention the legal age is 18 . I had a negative or should I say downgrading image of the country prior to my trip!  Meeting new friends, going on adventures has  helped me see how beautiful Nigeria is . It helped me to just see the cultural aspect, which was amazing...

Thanks for staying till the end !In my next series I will go into my meeting family.

Tell me your experience of getting on a Okada, How did you feel?

What was your experience of the Market’s you went ?

Please leave your comments down below on any experience you have share.

See you soon,

Florence.

Photographer: Faith Anthony, Instagram : Faith_anny


The feeling of being at home

I recently traveled to Nigeria.

I finally got to see it for myself!

I came away feeling like everything was more real and so many things about me became clear. I’ve been asked so many questions by friends in all the different areas of my life, and this has inspired me to blog and share it. I have decided it’s best to split it into a series because there is way too much to talk about in one post!

Okay, enough of my chit-chat, let’s get into it.

Feeling at home.

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Initially, I was not buying the idea of a family trip back to Nigeria.  I left Nigeria when I was 5 years old.  I was not in contact with family members from both my parents’ side - although my mum’s sister and her children have been a part of my life. I had not been in touch with any of my childhood friends since then. Besides, most five years old don't remember their friends and neither does any grown adult fully remember friends they had when they were 5. Not unless they've stayed in touch over a long period of time? So you can understand my hostile feeling of going back to Nigeria, I just couldn’t picture FUN at all.

We landed in the Muhammed Muritala airport and all I could see was Africans! The first thing that came to my mind was ‘wow everyone here is black’. It was overwhelming. The only other place I remember seeing so many Africans was in the Nigerian Embassy in Dublin ( those of you who’ve been there know what that is like!) The change of weather was quite drastic; it seemed almost as if there was no air to breathe as if the air had ceased. I felt almost suffocated. There was a smell of sand, HOT SAND and I didn’t particularly like it. The passengers from the same flight suddenly changed their facial expressions to ‘no-nonsense face’, as we all made our way through the necessary emigration stations and then towards the baggage claim area.

 

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This part of the trip was one of those I found both amusing and pathetic. I mean, c’mmon, we were waiting for a good 40 minutes before the luggage arrived. I overheard comments like “this is how you know you are in Nigeria”. As if that was not bad enough, a random man tried to steal a passenger’s luggage while he waited for the rest of his luggage, yes I am for real! As I raised alarm to the owner, he pretended as if it was a mistake, I was like, “seriously? Are you kidding me?”

Nevertheless, in the midst of these overwhelming emotions, there was a feeling that I had never felt; it was the feeling of being around my own kind. There was no need to pretend. No need to try and fit in, to try and make sure I was understood, to keep my accent was still in check or in tuned to the majority. This feeling was very much the feeling of being at HOME. It was so beautiful.

Outside the airport, as we struggled to exit with over 10 big suitcases, was my mum’s sister, her husband and one of their children.

My cousin.

My first reaction was a pause because while I had met my mum’s sister and her husband, I had never met my cousin.

So many things were running through my head when I saw her! “Wow! She is so pretty!”, “She isn’t as dark skinned as I expected,”, “Are we going to get along? Do we have the same interests?” You can imagine - we had never had a real discussion up until this point other than the regular " hello, how are you doing today?". We lived in different worlds.

The trip from the airport to the hotel was interesting. In such a short period of time, we quickly saw both the developed and undeveloped side of Lagos city. The streets were still very much alive even at 12:00 am, it was full of people selling, buying, bargaining and chatting. We saw people selling ‘ suya’-  roasted corn - and much other food that I still don’t know the name of. I could not wait to get out and explore the nightlife. It was funny how all of a sudden I could picture ‘FUN’.

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There were many amusing situations during this trip. One was the fact that people were wearing thick clothes, jumpers, jackets you name it, and here was I literally stripping off layers of clothes!

Despite my negative attitude throughout the journey from Ireland; at this stage I was smiling, there really was a special feeling attached to this place. It truly was home!

Before when I would travel, I would feel homesick. In these scenarios I would miss home - i.e. Ireland. However, this time I did not feel homesick, I was at ‘home’. It truly made me feel more appreciative of Nigeria - my own people, my own roots.

Please leave your comments or questions down below. I would also love to hear from your own experience if you went back home recently. In my next post, I will be sharing the culture and my explorations in Nigeria!

See you soon

Florence.

Photographer: Faith Anthony, Instagram: faith_anny