“It’s a new dawn, It’s a new day. It’s a new life for me, ooh. And I’m feeling good” – Feeling Good, Nina Simone.
I know; the title sounds a bit bleak. But rest assured, it’s been a lot of emotions and experiences all packed into this particularly intriguing entry.
I find it to be a funny word. I consider it even more amusing that I can now term myself as “a Nigerian in the diaspora”.
Nine months, or 274 days, has been the length of my educational stay here so far. Here being Mauritius, a small, beautiful coastal island off Africa. It is located in the Indian Ocean, about 2,000 kilometres off the southeast coast of the African continent.
The buildup of excitement when one is about to travel is all-consuming. The feeling is significantly magnified when you’re embarking on the journey solo. The last few hours of being home and around family are really unforgettable.
The Ebbs and Flows of traveling
I can affirmatively say that I despise flying (‘Despise’ errs a bit to the side of drama and grandeur). But it is a bother.
Before I continue with my rant on all the things that frustrate me about flying, let us begin at the point where it all really starts. The airport.
The airport is a hectic place. Right from the entrance, there’s a lot of stress attached to scanning and searching. Followed by that is the onslaught of queues, payments and general confusion. For some weird reason, though, I like getting boarding passes. The singular act of validation that comes with its acknowledgement tickles me in a nice way. The point of no return (aka the boarding gate) is a really emotional place. This was the point where I let it fall. Family always gives a mix of feelings and emotions, but despite it all, there’s always that inexpressible attachment. (This is my convoluted way of saying that I cried buckets).
Back to flying. My first flight by myself was the most eventful I’ve ever experienced. Why you may ask?
It was an 80% Nigerian-filled flight. There was the expected heavy prayers when we took off, a random parent scolding their hyper kid, a clash of strong personalities here and there. The crowing moment in the midst of all the chaos was the toilet scene. Apparently, a certain anonymous individual decimated a toilet so bad that the remnants refused to go down the drain. Plus, the stench was pretty unbearable for the passengers around the area. It was all but ‘decomissioned’.
I visited a total of four airports namely: Murtala Mohammed International Airport (Lagos, Nigeria), Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), O.R. Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg, South Africa) and Sir Seewosagur Ramgoolan International Airport (Mauritius). I’ve found that all airports have one thing in common. They are stressful to navigate. Finding the right gates (see what I did there, navigate, the right gates. Haha…), watching out for thieves hidden in plain sight and trying to look decent while at it is a premium skill I tell you. Which leads me to this question. How do people find love at an airport? I mean genuinely, how does one take the time to go through all that stress and start flirting and rizzing up someone?
(Please let me know in the comments. Asking for a friend)
I’ve never really read or heard people go on about the adjustment it takes when you get to a new place and you have to get things done immediately. In my case, the school provided transportation to my accomodation, but there’s this sense of an overwhelming sensory overload. It’s the process of taking in a whole new environment, breathing new air, all while mentally checking all the things you have to sort out.
Culture Shock. I experienced this as soon as I settled down at my previous accomodation. Mauritius, I would say is ultimately African but not the typical African setting one might be acustomed to. It is extremely diverse. There are a lot of influences to take in every day. To provide an illustration, there’s the scale of things here. It’s a small country. The transport system, the general culture is vastly different from life back in Lagos. Compared to the bustling powerhouse that is Lagos, Mauritius is super laid back in almost everything.
I’m sure you can agree that being in a completely differtent setting with a newfound sense of freedom, there’s a tendency to splurge. It’s inevitable. When there’s a lot to see, there’s the drive to spend all willy nilly. Parents should give the leeway for those first couple of months. Financial literacy is a hard thing to learn.
School na scam
No, kids, this is a very blatant lie. School is important. I wouldn’t say that going to uni is a compulsory requirement for success. But it is a really beneficial experience for adult life. Adjusting to Uni has been of the toughest things to learn. It’s a culmination of a variety of factors. There’s the amount of coursework to deal with. No one can adequately warn you about how starkly different high school is from uni in that regard. There’s no set manual for dealing with all the drama school brings. From pressure, to cliques and social standings, each person’s reaction and subsequent action towards these factors are what make it a lively experinece. I’ve begun to master some important skills here. The art of independece, forming connections and taking life in its strides. You know all that good stuff.
Adulting is definitely not easy, but it is fundamental at the end of the day. Whether it be Nigeria, Mauritius or even Canada, the underlying factor is that experiencing life in a grown perspective is must. “You can be the master of your fate. You can be the captqain of your soul. But you have to realize that life is coming from you, not at you. And that takes time”. –Timothee Chalamet.
I’m curious as to how you’re navigating the adult life. Please do share in the comments. More from us soon!
Love and Light.