Wake up in the morning at 6.30am, do my devotion, a bit of exercise (especially if I indulged the day before), quick shower (try to keep it under 20 minutes) and I’m off to my job as an assistant producer working on the award winning drama series Story Story for the BBC World Service Trust, Abuja.
Get off work at 6pm (or later depending on the schedule for the day) and then either go to the gym for a late night swim (it’s priceless, you should try it), attend service at Winners Chapel, get a drink with my girls, or go home to my loving family.
Entertainment for the weekends (remembering that Thursday is the new Friday) includes seeing a movie with my girls, taking my nephew to Silverbird or Wonderland (and watching my money go up in flames), one iBlend activity or the other, GAP on Sundays, anything (knowing again that Abuja is never bereft of events)!
The regular complaints in Abuja would include light, heat (sometimes I feel like the Sun in Abuja is there to punish us for our many iniquities), cost of transportation (with the prices of cabs swinging like a ‘wild’ pendulum), erm….what else?
Your friends are never more than a phone call, taxi, or BBM away, and yes, there are loads of somewhat unconventional places to go and eat (remembering that I love food)! Ever been to a place called ‘under the mango tree’ near Ceddi Plaza? A friend took me there sometime last year and honestly, my life hasn’t remained the same since then! I remember going there with another friend around lunch time during the just concluded Ramadan. Now even though we didn’t meet the place bustling with activity – which should have told us the obvious – we sashayed to the serving are (with the confidence of blooming lilies) and asked if they were open or if there was food (I don’t remember which) and then laughed at our silliness all the way back to the car when we were reminded that they were fasting!
That’s my Abuja for you – Abuja with the street solar lamps that function almost as good as candles, with the daredevil convoys (I cannot count how many near death experiences I’ve had thanks to them), with the pretence of fixing up one Area Council to the detriment of all the others.
Abuja with the eateries on every corner, shops/stores with the exorbitant rents (and we wonder why stuff is pricey), with the lounges springing up one week and closing the next, with the one million plus entrepreneurs trying to get their own piece of the national cake. On cakes, where’s the famous cake our government wanted to use to get us into the Guinness Book of Records since they obviously cannot get us in there for any other reason. But I digress.
Abuja, where the most common and I daresay over-flogged phrase is “upwardly mobile”, where the three ‘essential’ fashion accessories are a blackberry, car keys, and bragging abilities; where (whether we like it or not) it matters who you know.
Abuja, with the beautiful parks and countless recreation centres, where all you need to become somebody is your dreams, a plan and the determination to keep at it till you get an answer (ask the City Crawler), where everyone is a ‘consultant’; where the social circles are so small and interwoven you’ll always see a face you know at any event you attend.
Abuja to me is like a market with all sorts of commodities; you get what you ask and pay for (not literally); whether it be friends, business partners, relationships, networks, platforms, experience, skill, or a good education. Abuja to me is the perfect definition of the missive behind the Rihanna/Neyo collaboration, ‘I hate that I love you so’.
Guess what? I miss Abuja. I miss my family, friends, and the life I knew. The smiles, air kisses and catching up with acquaintances you bump into. I miss knowing what to expect at every time, summary is I miss the predictable chaos that is Abuja.
It’s hard settling in, meeting new people, and doing the whole making friends process all over again. It’s not going to be easy determining who’s sleazy and who’s for real, who’s a brain and who should moonlight for Ed, Edd, and Eddy! Those, and a lot of other things, bother me sometimes.
These days I’m drawing strength from what a friend once told me, “though you’re a fairy (and the Fairy Godsister), you’re also a princess, and there are minimum standards of conduct, even for grief”. So while I miss Abuja a lot, I will do what I came here to do; get a good education, make the Fairy Godfather, my family, and you proud, and have a lot of fun while I am at it!
This is me, getting in the groove…..
- My Trip to Abuja – Lessons and Discoveries (naijaspleen.wordpress.com)
- Keri Hilson arrives in Abuja! (belloibrahim.wordpress.com)