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Thursday, March 16, 2017

#NigeriansinDiaspora- Timi's Story

As I write this, I realize that I have now spent over one third of my life in the US. I have never really had a chance to walk down memory lane at a deep level and so I welcome this opportunity with gratitude. As a child growing up in Nigeria, it was a distant dream that I would ever live outside of Nigeria. I was a huge day dreamer but this one was out of even my "dreaming reach". So when I was told I would be leaving for college after high school, my joy mixed with wonderment knew no bounds.

From the lens I had looked out of all my life, a good education with a certain type of degree meant a good job and settled life. Naturally, I decided that I would give my college experience my all, study till I dropped so I could get a high flying job post graduation, make my parents proud and make lots of money.With the indispensable grace of God, I have now had the opportunity to successfully complete two degrees. However, if asked about the defining moments, they would be partly related to my education but not entirely.

The truth is I was prepared to leave my home country for an education but I didn’t foresee that it would re-shape my lens significantly. I didn’t foresee that it would expose me to new ways of thinking and seeing the world. I didn’t foresee that it would help me to deeply appreciate my roots and at times condemn some of its indoctrination. I didn’t foresee that it would make me question all the things I had ever known. I didn’t foresee that it would create a zest for new horizons and possibilities. I couldn’t predict that with learning would come some serious unlearning and sometimes anger and anguish.

I didn’t foresee that I would experience the pains of what it meant to be a “different” person and the desire to belong. I didn’t foresee it would teach me to accept love from people that looked “different”. I didn’t foresee that I would be in awe and wonder at the history of a nation, its eventual triumph and openness to anyone. I certainly didn’t foresee that God’s love would pursue me all the way here; away from the eyes of the ones who loved me.

The truth is, as I walk down the path life has taken me; I truly could have learned some of the same lessons back home, as awareness of my surroundings happened to be budding right around when I moved. I do however think that these ones hold a certain distinctiveness I will forever hold dear, the opportunity to merge two far apart worlds, a platform to continue to build adjusted lenses to see life out of. I am indeed eternally grateful for the good, bad and the ugly.


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