Exactly one month ago I left home. At the end of each month I (I think college students in general) tend to reflect on the past month and say something like “Woah, that went fast. It’s October already?” When September came to a close and it was time to celebrate 50 years of Nigerian independence from Britain on October 1, I did not have the familiar shocked exclamation at how fast the month went. On the contrary, it feels like I’ve been here for maybe three months.
The pace of life here has been super slow here compared to the U.S. I don’t have papers to write, hundreds of pages to read or big parties to go to on the weekends. At night I pass the time talking to my host family, reading the Wole Soyinka book I’m currently enthralled in, or reviewing new Yoruba vocabulary words. Most of the time we do not have electricity at night, more impetus to relax. Plus, students don’t go out much at night here. As far as I know, no bar or club exists on campus. The closest thing is a restaurant called Spices that serves beer and Suya, a Nigerian delicacy I will explain in a later post. I go to bed between 9 and 11 pm every night. It’s wonderful! It feels liberating to have no serious obligations or stress hanging over my head for the first time in years.
Even though we have seen a lot and as first time visitors in Nigeria, we have experienced new things, time still feels like its gone slow. It seems I measure time by the measurable achievements I’ve made over a given time. In Madison, one month feels like a week because we are constantly checking things off a checklist, meeting deadlines and making plans. In Nigeria one month feels like three months that constant pressure to accomplish things is not there. Except for the driving culture (cars speed everywhere and honk constantly), urgency is a foreign concept. Nigerians are not disappointed if plans don’t turn out because it’s expected. Transitioning from the fast-pace life I lived in Madison to the easy going, slow life here is a much welcome change. I think it will change when University classes start in November but until then I will bask in the slowness of life.