If my memory serves me right, the last time I visited Nigeria was when I was maybe seven years old? So you can imagine my memories of Nigeria were limited and fuzzy almost. I wasn't sure if family member and friends would remember that well or whether I would remember them well. Would I remember places I've visited before? Have things changed from what I can remember? What I can honestly say about this holiday is that it was life changing and that was no exaggeration.

The reason for us going to Nigeria was to celebrate my grandmas eightieth birthday. All the family came together from London, Nigeria and America to celebrate. I really cherish moments like this because I don't get to see all my family together often, only when someone is celebrating a age we deem significant such as 18, 21 or 50.  So you can imagine my excitement when my cousins started sending my snaps of them together and uploading instagram stories of them gathered together in the airport ready to fly out.

The flight was long, let me tell you that. Switching in Istanbul wasn't ideal but it created memories here and there I suppose. The moment we landed, I instantly regretted wearing jeans first of all, secondly I regretted wearing makeup because it melted off before I had even left the airport. With Nigeria, the moment you step out of the airport you are thrown into what is Nigeria, there's a constant buzz there, never a dull moment.

Pulling into my grandma's compound for the first time in years caused memories to come rushing back to me and I couldn't contain the smile on my face anymore. Wrapping my arms around her and seeing a smile grace her face brought so much warmth to my heart. It was pretty much a smothering affair from then on.

During the build up to Nigeria I made a list of all the places I had to visit before coming back home and for the first time ever during a holiday I was able to cross off everywhere: Nike Art Gallery, Lekki Conservation Centre and Lekki Market. The art gallery was more amazing than I already imagined, we weren't able to get a tour guide but luckily we had Mr Abiodun to tell us facts here and there and I also had family members who had visited before and could remember facts about the art. I can honestly say I've never known much about Nigeria's history so it was so interesting to learn about.

Lekki Conservation Centre was an experience, walking on the canopy was the best thing I've ever done. I love heights, so the whole thing, once you've made it across the first part, was a breeze to me, Sade however....most of her time on the canopy was spent complaining that she couldn't breathe. Lekki Market was also an amazing experience, watching haggling happen before your very eyes and seeing the beautiful things created in your country is one for the books. I was able to walk away with a few straw bags, bracelets and pictures.

We spent our new year on an island beach house and I'd be lying if I said this wasn't my best ever start to a new year. The place that my uncle rented was beyond beautiful and because of this I got to spend the day, dancing, eating, dipping my toes into crystal blue water and dancing the day away with my cousins. To get there and back we took boats and dirt bikes, both experiences were just as fun. I spent the day snapping away, I just couldn't put my phone and camera down, I wanted to capture every single moment and memory.

Life in Nigeria is interesting because you get to see both sides of living and very clearly. On the one side you can really enjoy life but its impossible to not witness people working really hard to make a living day in and day out. When travelling by car in Nigeria especially in areas where there is traffic do not be surprised if you find kids knocking on your window begging you for nairas or trying to sell you things such as mentos, gala (a type of Nigerian sausage roll) and other things. Having their faces pressed against the glass, eyes peering into yours as they knock and beg was something that broke my heart as it happened too often.

During our time there we also visited an orphanage and dropped off some food items to help and you can imagine I was crying during most of my visit there. When the children, aged maybe 5 if I remember right, started to pray for us, I couldn't hold the tears back. We also visited a shelter for women who had been abused and it was amazing finding out about some of the work people are doing in Nigeria.

Nigeria is definitely a beautiful country and I am proud to be from there. It's a country where culture flows out from every corner and people are proud to be Nigerian. People may not have it all but they are the happiest, its so amazing to witness. My trip left me with a renewed love for my family and Nigeria, the memories and moments spent there will forever mean the most to me. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face the whole time I was there even if I tried.

Small things like going to an open mic night and getting a feel of our creative side over there was really nice, usually I don't go to things like that but my cousin dragged us along and although it was cramped and I had a screwed up face most of the time as I was being knocked and budged every three seconds it was nice. The food was another thing I enjoyed a lot, my gosh I don't think the people working at Hans & Rene can forget my face with the amount of times I went there just to have some agbalumo ice cream, honestly if I could eat only that for the rest of my life I would be more than content.

I honestly for once in my life truly felt like I was living my best life in Nigeria and I can't wait to go back again. I'm so grateful I was able to experience such happiness in my life, it was beyond anything I ever imagined. 

until the next holiday,
with love yossy x

What's your opinion?

  1. Haha I can relate to regretting wearing jeans and makeup on a flight only to step out into heat and humidity. Happens every time I go to Philippines.

    Anyway, I really loved reading this post! It's nice that you enjoyed your time there and I hope it's not too long until you go back again. I hope your Grandma had a great birthday too!


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