I was already a grownup and had only entered a plane once (on a trip from Lagos to Abuja) when I got admission to further my education in Jand (The UK). Living over there with those Oyimbo people in their ice cold country for almost 2 years is a book on its own but for the purpose of this series, I am going to capture a few of the differences I noticed between life in Nigeria and in England humorously. All the stories told in these episodes actually happened to me and I am sure by the end,even if you haven’t traveled to the UK before, you might as well famze like you have because you will already know the happenings over there. It’s quite long but I have tried dividing them into 3 very interesting, informative and hilarious series. Enjoy
To READ, first series…..CLICK
16. Call cab: Every Jandian (my word for someone living in Jand) has one life saving number; the cab company’s digits. No matter where you are or the time, call a cab and they will arrive at your doorstep in less than 10 minutes (no extra charge). In Nigeria, woe betide you if you go looking for a cab in the middle of the night. I heard some companies like Easy Taxi exist in Lagos, Nigeria but they have a long way to go to match cab services in Jand. As additional information, cabs in Jand use meters which start from a fixed price depending on the City. For London its £3, Coventry £2.80, Birmingham £3.25. This means as long as you enter a cab even if its to the next house, you will pay the start fare. At least in Nigeria you can price the cab before entering and have a peaceful sleep during the journey. In Jand, your eyes are always on the meter and praying that it doesn’t finish all your money.
17. Cold will injure you: My father is someone I call the “AC man”. In his room, AC is on. In his car, AC is on. In his office, AC is on. If he could walk with an AC, I am sure he would. But then he came to visit me in the UK and the same man that I had never seen bath with hot water or sleep without AC was literally begging for the hotel to turn up the heater or heat up the bath water. Going out, my dad made Osuofia in London’s dressing look fashionable. “Cold wan kill me”, he would always say. Have you ever wondered why flight tickets are cheapest during winter? In Nigeria, one could afford to sleep nude but try that in the UK and you would literally wake up in Heaven.
18. Houses: In Nigeria, most houses had fences as high as the house itself all in the name of security. Most houses in Jand don’t have fences and for the very few that do, they are just perimeter fences which help demarcate houses and are usually made of wood and very short.
19. Heater everywhere: It was when I got to the UK that I realized the importance of power (light). In Nigeria we complain of not having light but the truth be told, light in Nigeria is mostly for comfort (charge appliances, watch TV, enjoy AC, pump water, drink cold water etc). On the other hand, light in the UK is more for survival than comfort. I can’t imagine a day without light in the UK, people will literally die. The cold is sometimes unbearable and heaters are needed to keep temperatures at bearable levels. In the toilet, in cars…everywhere.
20. Fresh looks: Its no secret that most Nigerians crave for electricity so as store food for longer periods of time. So if fridges helps preserve food, cold weather should also help preserve the human skin. It’s in this light that living in Jand exposes you to a fresh skin but living in Nigeria exposes you to the harsh sunny weather which takes a toll on one’s skin.
21. Occasional bathing: Living in Jand means that a month might go by before you sweat. When you don’t perspire, you don’t smell, when you don’t smell coupled with the cold weather, the temptation not to bath is high. Many people in Jand go two or even three days without showering. In Nigeria, having your bath twice a day minimum is the way of life.
22. Girls look older: In Jand, anytime I met a girl I would make sure I asked her for her age so as not to assume and go to jail. In Jand, having anything sexual to do with a girl under 18 could land you in jail and knowing that their girls ALWAYS look older than they actually are. A 13 year old girl could be mistaken for a 20 year old over there. In Nigeria, girls look their age apart from makeup or fixed hair which adds a few years to their looks.
23. ID card to buy alcohol: A teenager or even a 23 year old (in some supermarkets) can’t buy alcohol or cigarettes in the UK without being asked for an ID to identify his/her true age. Only the ones that look older than their age get away with this rule. In Nigeria? A 10 year old can buy a bottle of MOET as long as he has the money.
24. EPL snub: Nigerians are one of the most passionate followers of the English Premier League. Following the process of your favorite teams means subscribing to DSTV’s outrageously pricey Premium Bouquet with N13,980 per month in order to get the full array of Sports Channels. Getting to Jand, I assumed since I was where it is happening, all I had to do was on my TV and the channels will be free to air. Boy was I wrong. Even in the UK, you have to pay a £49.45 (N14,900) to have the full bouquet of Sky Sports Channels that show the live EPL matches. Imagine. So what did Nigerians like me do, we payed for unlimited internet at £15 (N4500) per person and watched all the matches on our tab/laptop with their super fast internet. Talk about sense.
25. Hair care: The most annoying thing about Jand is how expensive barbing actually is. In Nigeria, with N100 (33 pence), you can shave and with N200 (66 pence) you barb your hair. In the UK, if shaving is £3 (N900), how much is then to barb. To cut the long story short, I went on dreads throughout my stay there. For the ladies, according to my girlfriend then, to plait Ghana weaving or braids was between £25 (N7500) and £30 (N9000). Comon braids. Imagine. Girls would carry hair for three months in Jand and with the cold weather, it won’t smell.
26. Cameras at every traffic light: Not only are traffic lights obeyed in UK, there are cameras attached to every traffic light just in case
a Nigerian someone decides to flaunt the rule. In Nigeria? Traffic lights are obeyed only when Lastma or Police are attached to it.
27. Space for disabled and elderly: There is nothing as wonderful as the love and respect the people of UK have for the aged and disabled. Not only would people readily give up their seats in buses for the aged/disabled, but their public transport has spaces reserved for them also. Even the common walk way has provisions that aid their mobility. The disabled have their own parking spaces. That’s love. In Nigeria, *lips sealed*
28. Heavy wallet: I went shopping in Shoprite the other day and was given N3 in coins (50k in 6 places). This was the first time I was seeing Nigerian coins in a long time. In the UK, without coins, you are finished. You can’t enter buses without coins, you can’t buy snacks from those vending machines without coins and many other things. In Jand, the more broke you are, the heavier your wallet..lol.
29. More day, less night: The truth is that the UK has one of the strangest weather conditions in the world. To put this into context, there are times in the UK that 4 pm (evening) is dark (like its 9 pm in Nigeria) while another time, 9 pm (night) is not yet dark (like its 4 pm in Nigeria). Which means some seasons have more daylight hours and less night while others are more night time hours and less day. This phenomenon according to Google has to do with the winter/summer solstice. According to the Telegraph,the UK has a maximum of 16 hours and 50 minutes of sunlight – on the longest day in June (the summer solstice) – which dwindles down to just seven hours and 40 minutes six months later in December (the winter solstice). For more info please check this BBC article and The Telegraph article on the subject.
30. Daylight saving time: I remember getting to church a few minutes to 10 am (service was for 10 am) only to find out that the British Summer Time had kicked in and an hour had been chopped off from the clock. So whereas my watch was saying 10 am, it was actually 9 am. In the UK the clocks go forward 1 hour at 1am on the last Sunday in March, and back 1 hour at 2am on the last Sunday in October. The period when the clocks are 1 hour ahead is called British Summer Time (BST). There’s more daylight in the evenings and less in the mornings (sometimes called Daylight Saving Time). When the clocks go back, the UK is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
To READ, third series…..CLICK