It’s exactly 366 days since I returned to Nigeria.
A few days ago, the Nigerian Husband and I laid on a blanket on the bare living room floor relaxing and he goes, “ So when was the last time you blogged?”
That got me thinking and hit me that I had actually let go of my love for writing. That question asked tactfully, birthed this blog post. You guys have this good man to thank.
Three hundred and ninety three days ago, my life changed.
See, before Hurricane Irma, my life in the Virgin Islands was pretty simple and chill: I woke up at about 7:30 a.m. to prepare for work and then leave for town with my landlord (My BVI father), who always went for coffee at a Marina/restaurant in town. We’d leave home mostly, about fifteen or twenty minutes after I woke up.
Thing was/is, getting ready for work has never been a thing I struggle with. Shower, brush my teeth, quickly get dressed in pretty much the first or second outfit I lay my hands on and then I’m out the door.
Breakfast was often a random thing from Bobby’s Supermarket or any grocery store or café on my path. And when I say random, I mean random. Breakfast could be a fruit, could be a jar of olives, plain eggs, juice, water, just tea anything.
During phases when I made up my mind to be disciplined, I would wake up at, say, 5 a.m., pack a bag (In some cases the bag would have been packed the night before) The bag would contain change of clothes, towels, personal items, my pause and whatever else I needed for the day. I’d wake up, make smoothie, have a cup of green tea laced with lots of lemon juice, get my playlist ready and take a walk down the mountain, to the gym where I would work out for about an hour or less, then jog a mile before returning to the gym for a shower and then back to work. I was fit as a fiddle. I mostly left work at around 6 p.m., catch a ride home with my “father,” and once home, he’d make me really nice salad and his special herb tea. The next morning I’d wake up and start all over again. In the weekends, I enjoyed my sleep and when not sleeping, I took walks or occasionally mingled with humans.
I liked my simple life, I loved my job: I never had the same thing to do every day, but somehow, year in year out, things were all the same. I had a very small circle of friends, but I knew a lot of people around town. Not mediocre at all, but that simple life made it easy to become complacent, of which I was in a lot of things. Life passed me by, just a little.
September 6, 2017. Hurricane Irma happened.
We’ve seen the photos, the videos, listened to numerous accounts of the carnage caused by the deadly hurricane. Needless to say, my account is among the thousands out there. I narrowly escaped Hurricane Maria. After my apartment was pounded, office destroyed and a repetitive life of about 12 years blown away, I evacuated the Virgin Islands. I evacuated my home – the United Kingdom territory where I had lived out my teenage years and all of my adult life. I was cold as ice on that September 19th afternoon when I boarded a VI Air Link plane to Puerto Rico where I was to spend the night before taking off to California.
Same day, Hurricane Maria was forecasted to make landfall in Puerto Rico. I had instant diarrhoea when I saw on CNN, Maria had upgraded to a Category 5 hurricane. I didn’t know a soul in Puerto Rico. The thought of going through another category 5 Hurricane and alone in a strange country mortified me. Lord knows, I prayed my heart out, asking God to keep the airports opened until my 9 a.m. flight out. God delivered my prayer wishes: I left before all ports of entries were closed at noon.
I’ve blogged here and there since then, but I will be lying to myself saying I have been much of my writing self since then. With that said though, there was a part of me that, for a lack of better words, died. Perhaps that part of me died while I was still trying to come to terms with the abrupt change in my routine or the sharp and brutal uproot from the place I was comfortable with. Or maybe, that part, died when I tried to settle into a new job, a much bigger city – a very crazy and busier town with much less friendly people. I was still trying to adjust to working in a whole different environment, an environment that was the polar opposite of what I was used to in my small, wooden Main Street building.
I got laid off work exactly a week ago. Truth is, I danced my way home when I got the news. I had been unhappy for a while – only a few people knew. I had cool colleagues, but I also had some very emotionally/mentally unstable ones. That experience further drained me and drove me further away from two things I love – writing and photography. I no longer do that job, I’m transitioning into doing things I love. I want to cook, I want to take photos, I want to genuinely interact with people and blog about all those things. I also want to tell you about my family, my relationship and Lagos, which I’m embarrassed to admit, I’m beginning to like.
Here’s to truly following my heart, exploring Lagos and living life purposefully.