Unfolding in the land of unknown

This blog is a way to for me to share, my faith, walk with God, life experiences and thoughts that provoke you to think outside the ‘box’. The reason, I really wanted to start a blog, is because I have so many thoughts in my head and I wanted a space to share with the world.

A few month ago, I met up with an old secondary school friend, we were catching up on life and she asked me a very candid question, “what was your experience like when you moved to the UK?”. This question sparked the idea behind this blog post and, from reading, Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie, I could relate to some of the experiences listed in the book.

When I was 6/7 years old, my parents always talked about moving to the UK.

My dad would always threaten, my brother and I if we didn’t learn to speak Yoruba that, we would not travel to the UK. We all knew this was just to scare us.

This sparked my imagination, it was the beginning of new life, various opportunities and of course travelling abroad for the first time.For close to two years, my brother and I looked forward to moving as a family, living happily ever after.

For close to two years, my brother and I looked forward to moving as a family, living happily ever after.

My mum was a nurse and so she started taking nursing exams. Of course, the process takes awhile to eventually manifest.

In 2003, my dad developed cancer. No one told my brother and me exactly what was wrong with my Dad’s health, however, we just knew he was very ill and so we had to pray (my faith here was strong). This gave my parents opportunity to travel to the UK for my Dad’s medical treatment. They spent a few months in the UK and by the time they came back, all was well.

Fast forward to late 2004, cancer came back and this time much stronger. I still had no doubt that we would move to the UK. Early 2005, my parents left for the UK so that my Dad could get some more treatments, alongside, my mum was writing her last set of exams which she passed.

However, May 2015, my Dad passed away. This shattered my hopes and dreams. My imagination could no longer carry me further, I could not see pass the future I as a little girl has envisioned. I started to question God, my faith diminished, I felt hopeless, empty and alone.

See, a week after my Dad died, my Mum got her work permit (God is always working behind the scenes). The circumstance was not palatable, but he still provided a way of escape.

Mum came back home, for the burial but immediately had to travel back to start work in the UK.  This created a large distance in my heart and childhood. I started secondary school that year and was sent to boarding school (another story for another day).

One and a half years in boarding school (an experience of its own), my Mum came back for us !!! There was hope again….. I can finally step foot abroad, right? I began to imagine again my new life, new accent, clean streets, good road, new light, the whole lot.

I was sad because I was going to miss my family, all the friends I had just made at secondary school. I became, unsure if I would be able to make friends in my new environment. At this point, a key stage of my development was suddenly being uprooted to a new country.

Once, I arrived in England in 2008, I can honestly say, I was indifferent to how I felt. My emotions were both happy and sad. It definitely was not what I expected, I was not prepared for the change, the culture shock and the new identity I would embody. I quickly had to get used to the new environment.

I did not start school straightaway but I also moved schools twice. I didn’t make friends so easily, I was never bullied but I wasn’t liked either. I was perceived as rude, snobby and the girl with a different accent.

“I became very shy and then, I began to see myself as someone who was truly different. God became my father, friend and companion.”

I became aware of race, the stereotypes associated with different cultures, all of which I was never exposed to while growing up in Nigeria. It was as if, I had lived in a bubble all 12 years of my life and now I was being exposed to other aspects of life.

I am truly grateful, for the sacrifices my parents made to give my brother and I better opportunities in life. The experiences he took us through as a family, made me appreciate, love and reverence God the more. He is a sovereign God whom can not be questioned, however, we are encouraged in his word and one of my favourite scripture…..

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end- Jer 29:11

I remember asking my mum, years later why she still believed in God after all she had been through, her reply to me was “God used the circumstances around your father’s death to draw many to christ. Our situation touched the lives of many, gave them hope and brought the family and friends closer together.” At that moment, I realised that God will always be glorified in every situation, whether good or bad, his ways are higher than our ways and he will always make all things beautiful in its time.

There will be a continuation of this post, on how I survived in a new land, but for now, I will pause here.

Do share if you have similar experiences and times where you have had to step into the unknown?
What are the things, that helped shaped you as a person while you were growing up?
How did you overcome the obstacles to reaching your dream?

Stay blessed.

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