The Nigerian experience is physical, emotional and sometimes international. No one knows it better than our features on #TheAbroadLife, a series where we detail and explore Nigerian experiences while living abroad.
When it comes to life goals, ask the average Nigerian and they’ll tell you something along these three lines:
l’owo (have money)
L’ola (have wealth)
L’alaafia (have rest of mind)
Take those same Nigerian across the pond and the story stays largely the same. The elements of wealth and money being apparent, while peace of mind consists of everything that could give your mind rest and a little someone I like to call ‘the bone of yah bone.’
For Abroad Life this week, I spoke with a special little lady who doesn’t want to reveal herself just yet. Her time in the UK, pursuing her masters was a move to secure those first two bags and a chance to maybe get a little love in the mix. To her chances at love, the UK said, ‘haha, you thought’. She tells us about love and life in Manchester, and why the Femi you know in Abuja is better than the unattainable Denzel in the UK.
So give it to me straight. Over 10, what are the chances that a girl looking to move from the gold-chains of Femi and Nnamdi to cross over to the red passport side of Demarcus and Denzel, will be successful in the UK?
Hmm. About that…
So it depends. If your individual luck is strong, or the anointing oil on your head is extra fortified, Denzel can show up on the day you land Heathrow oh.
I love these odds!
But realistically, trying to secure the bae in the UK? Let me just put your chances at … see, just give it like a strong 3/10.
Girl, I know these are not the odds you were facing when you were in school. I want to believe…
Be believing there.
Man, now I have to ask, what carried your legs to the UK?
It was for school. I was pursuing my masters in Information Systems and Management.
Oh nice. Definitely a course my mommy would be happy to tell her women’s group her child is studying. Was it difficult getting into school though?
Not at all! All the UK wants is your money actually.
The members of my ‘Japa 2021 IJN’ WhatsApp group are begging to differ right about now
No really. I handled my immigration process myself. All I did was identify the Uni, send my request to admissions. Forward the required documents, show proof of funds and you receive your conditional offer.
Apply for the visa and pay your fees. That was pretty much what I did.
Interesting! So when you got into the UK, and this is a random question — I know. Did you set your sights on any particular groups. Like say, strictly Nigerian men, or were you open to other nationalities?
Hm. I have to say I was open to anyone. I mean, I wouldn’t have minded a Nigerian right? You’ll share all these inside jokes, insult Nigeria together, that kind of thing. But I wasn’t pressed about that. Any nationality was good.
You were open to all nationalities and the odds are still 3/10? Sister, we need to pray
So I imagine you spent most of your time in school. What was the population mix like? Were there a lot of Nigerians, hispanics?…
Oh man, it was very multi-cultural. But you see Nigerians? They were everywhere. We were a lot!
My people, my people
Look! We were so many, the student accommodation I was in was called ‘Nigerian embassy.’ There was a high population of Nigerians on the NDDC scholarship, so that definitely contributed to our numbers.
Oh, we’ve heard about the Nigerian government’s international scholarships, great to know they are still being given out.
Now, I’m being nosy as hell, but what was the dating scene in school?
Funny, I actually don’t know oh. I was barely in school. I had classes just three times a week, so it was very laid back. Most times I was in the city center, shopping. Or eating or maybe getting some work done.
Ehen! That’s why now. I don’t know what Information Systems is about, but they didn’t teach you anything about strategic positioning?
Haha, what is happening?
Sis, that’s why you’re isolating in Abuja and your Denzel is in Manchester chilling somewhere. How would Denzel have found you when you were hiding away from the school campus? Tut tut
That one sef dey oh!
Haha. So let me go away from the men to ask about life in Manchester in general. Wait, you’ve been back in Nigeria how long now?
About two years
Okay. So what do you miss the most about your old stomping ground?
Where to begin? Night life!
Look, clubbing abroad is a whole other ball game. Forget Lagos where everyone is trying to out-bottle the next guy. Here, you just take your pints in peace. Nobody’s stressing you. But if you’re about that life, there were Nigerian clubs you could go and shoki in. It was just a great blend.
*Two-minute break into the abyss and wonder when corona will let us do group shokis again*
Sniff, night life is painful to talk about right now. What else did you like about Manchester?
The city centre – there were so many stores to shop from!
Then restaurants. My favourite was Hawksmoor. The entire deansgate has everything fun – from gay clubs to hotels and fancy restaurants.
And of course everything was convenient. Like you could order food at any time of the day or night. Move about freely with your bus pass or taxi app or even the black cabs. It was just a nice place to be. No two ways about it.
I get it! Now, let’s see how the people of Manchester helped your odds. How would you describe them?
Hmm. I’ll be honest. There was some casual racism.
Disappointed but not surprised
It would be snide comments here and there, nothing too in your face, that you somehow start to second guess that you experienced racism at all. But these weren’t too common. They happened, but it wasn’t an overwhelming experience.
I get that
So there was that population. I never had much to do with the older population and interacted mostly with the millenials. So I have largely positives when remembering my time in Manchester.
Got it. So I have to ask about that 3/10 because it’s paining my soul on your behalf. Who saved that number from being a string 0/10?
That’s how they ask oh. No one asked me out when I was abroad except for this Pakistani guy.
Spill this tea!
So I went indoor skydiving this fine day oh, that’s how…
…Oh no way you’d find any Nigerians doing white people shit like that!
Haha, defs oh! So yeah, he was with his group of friends. He approached me and I was like, this was interesting. It didn’t work out at the end of the day, but it was interesting sha.
The truth is, if you’re looking to be with a Nigerian man, they are in high demand outside the country. To get one, you almost have to start moving with white girls to get noticed.
Wow! Really have to hang with the Karens to get Ikechukwu’s notice. Who would have thought?
Funny thing is, I know of people that became active in church. Started posting on their Snapchat and Instagram stories, attending Nigerian parties. But the truth is, Nigerian men are trying to secure their own bag and red passport. You can’t even blame him if he’s looking for a permanent ticket into the country.
Phew. This sounds like stress, good thing you left. So since you returned to Nigeria, what’s that love life been looking like?
Hmm, I’ve been here two years now as it is now oh, Abuja’s dating pool is full to the brim. Abort mission if you’re planning on coming here after the pandemic. I’ve told you.
Want more Abroad Life? Check in every Friday at 12 PM (WAT) for a new episode. Until then, read every story of the series here.