A lot of people keep asking me about the first time I traveled to Nigeria and about how I experienced it, so let me tell you the story about my arrival at Lagos Airport.
My first impression of Nigeria, what can I say? I don't think it can be explained in 1 or 2 words. There were so many new things to see, some beautiful and interesting others annoying and frightening.
What I noticed first, as a young woman who was traveling on her own to a country she never visited before, were the men working at the airport. Who actually made me get a bit insecure which I am not used to. Out of nowhere they come up to you and ask if they need to help you get your luggage and despite saying no they will pull your suitcase out of your hand, put it on a trolley and start walking. I initially thought 'help' he's stealing my luggage, but the man started chatting with me and I suddenly became calm and my instinct told me that he expected to be paid for it. Before I even realized it I had already passed the customs and he told me that I had to pay him 30 Euro. I looked at him and laughed, because I had told him that I would not pay him anything and I reminded him of this. Unfortunately, this man had no interest of what I was saying and so a discussion started. In the end I gave him 10 Euro just to leave me alone. I was a bit intimidated and even more frustrated about the brutality of this man.
Fortunately, my frustration was not for long, because once I stood outside my husband already came up to me. For a little more than a year, I had not seen him in real life and so I was happy like a little child on Christmas day, but at the same time I felt a little awkward because I had no idea on how to behave towards him. It had been such a long time, and to meet him in a strange country all by myself was a bit overwhelming.
We had to walk a lot to get to the parking lot. I still know that I was feeling very hot despite the fact that it was already after 21:00 and I only worn a dress. Unfortunately, I couldn't see much of the areas we drove by because it suddenly became very dark and there were no street lanterns.
Once I arrived at the hotel I was nervous and full of adrenaline. After some unpleasant silences had fallen we went downstairs and sat outside the bar at the pool. Oh this was truly amazing! The weather was still hot, there was good music in the background and the man I loved so very much sat next to me and gave me his most charming smile. Suddenly all the nervousness disappeared and we began to chat about everything until the late hours.
The next morning we traveled by Bus to Onitsha where we live and I got to finally see a bit of Nigeria and its beautiful nature. As we were half way the bus stopped at a sort of resting spot where you could eat something or use the bathroom. This little stop was quiet an experience for me, because everyone around me stared at me and some even secretly tried to take a picture of me. Don't get me wrong, no one was rude or anything, it's just that I am not used to getting this kind of attention. For sure it is something I had and still have to get used to, but I guess I am handling it quiet well. I did learn very quick that when I hear someone calling “Onye Ocha” that it is me they are calling. The Igbo language is something I definitely need to learn, but I guess that will come in time.