Saturday, January 30, 2016

Farewell Nigeria: A Love Letter From A Nigyptian Girl

Nigyptian Shereen Wardakan
I was planning to write my farewell note a few days later, but walking out of the airport today - I felt my heart crunch. It’s my last time heading from the airport back to my home in Nigeria. It’s getting too real… I’m leaving in a week and it's just so sad. I'll miss living in Nigeria...a lot...but I figure I’ll get over this as I seek new opportunities and I'm motivated by challenges and experiences.
Before I delve into a wonderful future on the back of an amazing past, here's my farewell note to Naija...
They say the whole world conspires for you to get what you really want… well the world did in my case and I came to Naija in 2014 after my first visit in 2009. It was love at first sight.
Dear Naija, those past two years have been the fullest in my life… You actually brought me back to life! I recall all the warnings and sarcasm I got when I asked to move here but for some reason it felt so right and time has proved to me that the heart never lies. 
They ask me what I love about you and while I find it difficult to make a straightforward list, I have to say it’s the people, the vibe...the energy. It just felt like home… your people are the friendliest I have ever encountered and they love life
I couldn't and wouldn't ask for more!
On a road trip to Eastern Nigeria in 2014
You are real...with all your chaos and craziness, you stand out with a rich culture that I haven't had enough exploring yet.
Everytime I hear your songs in another part of the world, my heart jumps with joy and I boast that it's a Naija song and that I live there ‪#‎oyashakitibobo‬
There's so much bullshit out there about living in Naija… so here's a bit of perspective.
Through these two years, I never paid a bribe to the policemen who stopped me hundreds of times on the roads. I drove myself all through my stay here and never felt threatened even at very late hours. We would joke and they would let me go in peace. Even when I was at fault, they would end up apologizing to me. Here’s what I think: Nigerians are proud; treat them respectfully, and you’ll be respected right back. They're not harmful or violent (Boko Haram is another story entirely) so stop judging a country for a terrorist group up in the North.
People visit/move in here with a million negative perceptions and ideas and you know what happens...they decide to lock themselves up in those ideas and fail to explore, then they go back and tell people they were miserable and blame it on the country. Sorry dudes...your bad!
At one of many Nigerian weddings ;)
Fun facts...
  • Nigerians drink by the bottles so say bye bye to ordering by the glass ‪#‎longliveourCirocandHennesseynights‬
  • They somehow ALL know how to dance...I remember my first days when I would just sit there watching and wouldn't dare hit the dance floor ‪ #‎twerkingainteasyo‬
  • They love giving compliments and would make you feel at your best when you feel like crap.
  • Their men are sweet talkers so don't believe a word o.
  • The music is usually too loud but they miraculously always hear each other...pidgin and loud music and I'm totally lost!
  • Nigerian pool parties do not by any means imply that anyone will jump in the just means the party is BY the pool.
  • Clubs are busier on Fridays vs. Saturdays coz religious or not, many Nigerians would rather be in church on Sunday.
  • Expect to always be asked when returning from a trip..."what did you bring for me" by people you hardly know just ‘cause they knew you were away. 
  • It's pronounced Laaigos (as in air) NOT Laaagos (as in Aah).

Bottom line, I've loved every moment here and I'd happily come back any time (planning holidays already)...
Thank you Naija for bringing warmth to my heart every morning on the 3rd mainland bridge… I'll miss it the most.
Thank you for the laughs and jokes and marriage proposals I had at the airport...they're memories that make my heart smile.
Thank you for bringing a beautiful addition to my life... Cleo and I now have our half Nigerian Nubia.
Thank you for reminding me of who I am… I owe you that.
Thank you for the wonderful friends I've met… they're people I'll keep for life.
Thank you for the fun nights, house parties, pool parties, barbecues, weddings, movie nights and sleepless nights...
Thank you for making me grow with valuable and enriching experiences...
Thank you for making me alive and for inspiring me...
And most importantly... Thank you for letting me fall in love again.
This isn’t goodbye… It’s a thank you, see you soon!
Lots of love from your Nigyptian girl.


  1. This warmed my heart. Seems like you had a blast.
    good luck in the next phase of your life.

  2. This is beautiful! Good to know you had such a wonderful time in Nigeria. I wish you much more as you ride upon the wings of your experience.

  3. Hey there! Beautiful piece. Always wanted to meet you and I have no doubt it will happen eventually. Enjoy SA and good luck in all your adventures!

  4. So, after leaving FB, I found my way to Koye's blog again, and I must say, this. -"Their men are sweet talkers so don't believe a word o."- made me laugh. Good luck to her. :)