So far, my experience in Nigeria has been interesting, different, exciting, confusing, frustrating, and magical. I know that’s an extremely vague way to describe it, but I can’t really think of the right words. In any case, here are a few reflections of my time thus far:
Going to the market
The smell of blood and sweat was suffocating. The flesh of the daily butchered meat drowned the air, pungent, and I couldn’t focus. It was challenging to see the slaughtered heads of cows and goats and the hanging tripe displayed front and center so everyone that walked by could take a peek. The chickens were alive and tied up by the legs. I could see them twitching and swerving. I wanted to rescue them from being next in line, but there was nothing I could do. I walked through the aisles of the market like a mummy. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I wasn’t prepared for that. I’ve lived a sheltered life. Protected by the convenience of plastic wrap around my food. Hardly ever do I see the signs of live animal in the meat I consume, and just a few minutes at the market in Abuja was eye-opening.
Life with Security
Security is a whole new concept for me. Most of the time, when I lived in Oakland, I slept with the door unlocked. I know what you’re thinking, “She must be crazy,” but the truth is that I never felt threatened by people. I am not afraid of going outside, and I’ve never thought about living in a super-secure environment. In a way, I feel like now that security has been established for me, my freedom is limited. It’s a hard concept to swallow. It’s hard to think that because of my current situation, I can’t explore Nigeria the way I would want to explore it. There are places in Abuja I shouldn’t go because of the security restrictions. There are things I can’t do, because of the security issues involved. It’s a new life, and I am learning how to adapt to it.
Searching for the Perfect Home
Adam and I have lived the past seven years of our lives in tiny apartments. Some have been so small that if Adam and I both stretched our arms across we would be able to touch both sides of the apartment. Our first apartment was 37 square meters (approximately 400 sq. ft.); it was pretty small for both of us, but somehow we managed. Unfortunately, our apartment history didn’t get much better from that point. In fact, our last two places were somewhere around the 27-square meter-range (approximately 300 sq. ft). So, after living a good portion of our adult lives in a shoebox, you can imagine our shock when our real estate agent showed us a five-bedroom, seven-bathroom, four-story house. We stood in the entrance of the biggest house, and we decided there was no way we could live in a place that was that big. Instead, we moved into the smallest apartment we saw, but it’s still four bedrooms and five bathrooms. It feels so strange to have this much space. I feels so weird to be able to be in two different parts of the apartment and not even know the other person is there. This, like everything else, is going to take some getting use to.
Well, that’s all for now. I will write some more about my experience in Abuja soon. Do you have a similar experience? Comment below and tell me all about it!