This Isn’t A Fantasy, And That’s Okay

When Ro and I decided to move to Belize, it was after many years of conversations about living abroad. Both of us had traveled a lot, and I had lived for a while in Nigeria years earlier. We had talked about moving out of New York City, which extended to us wanting to move out of the States entirely. There were a bunch of reasons for this, ranging from wanting a lower cost of living to wanting a better quality of life. The main reason for me, though, has always been to have a different and more expansive experience, one I imagined would be wonderful in many ways.

And it has been. There are things about living here that I absolutely love – being in the mountains of Cayo around lush jungle and nature with the Caribbean Sea only a few hours away, the inexpensive abundance of delicious fruits and vegetables, the slower pace and lack of emphasis on doing all the time, the feeling of community and connections I have with people, and the many flavors of Belizean culture. Every single day, I am glad to be here.

There have also been challenges. While a few of them are specific to Belize – poor quality of public transportation, for example – most of them have to do with the larger process of moving to another country. My experiences in Nigeria prepared me for some of that; I learned a bit about navigating an immigration system and finding ways to communicate with folks in a culture (and sometimes language) different from my own. Still, Nigeria is Nigeria and Belize is Belize, and this has been a completely different experience.

I had some ideas about what I wanted my life to be like when I moved here. I had fantasies about frequent trips to the beach, setting up my own business, living in a fabulous home and spending endless hours making art. Some of those things have happened, though in different ways than I pictured. There have been moments when I thought, This is amazing! I can’t believe I get to live here. There have also been moments when I thought, Really, Belize? What the entire fuck.

Moving to a new country and building a life is a lot of work. I knew that to be true before I came, and all things considered, it hasn’t been much cause for complaint. Compared to trying to build a life in Lagos, this is a cakewalk. While I appreciate the amount of freedom and autonomy I have here (every damn day), I also sometimes struggle with the same longings I had when I lived in New York – wanting to travel, wishing I had more time and money to do the things I love, desiring more fun and excitement in my life. I still have fantasies about laying on the beach for weeks on end and making art full-time.

I’m genuinely happy with my life here, though. Living in Belize allows me to have a different kind of hustle. It’s opened me up in a lot of ways – to new people and experiences, to understanding myself better. And it’s provided opportunities for me to draw from my many years and bring some dreams to life. At the end of the day, it isn’t a fantasy but it’s all good.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “This Isn’t A Fantasy, And That’s Okay

  1. Oh wow you lived in Lagos? how was that for you? I was born in Lagos but raised in Ondo & moved to DC/Maryland after that. I’ve only visited Lagos as I’m not too into the hustle n bustle of it all. Whenever I do go to Nigeria I go straight to my Ondo hehe.

    Great post btw!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting! Yes, I lived in Lagos for a year. It was many things, lol. I was living there with my Nigerian ex-fiancée, and he really brought me into the fold with his family and friends, which was wonderful. I loved the food and music and culture, and the general spirit of the place. It was also really challenging to find my footing in terms of work and building a life there as an American. It was hard to feel autonomous and independent there, and I struggled sometimes with the politics around being a black American woman and dealing with stereotypes. I’m so glad I had the experience of living there, though. Lagos is a special place and I really connected with folks there. I still miss it sometimes. Would love to go back to visit someday. Too bad I didn’t get to visit Ondo while I was there… sounds like you love it. 😊

      Like

      1. I can so relate to the stereotypes you faced down there being a Black American woman because that’s pretty much how it feels in reverse for me/us (Nigerians living in the US) where one person’s characteristics somehow become the representation for the other a hundred sixty-nine million, nine hundred ninety-nine thousand Nigerians. Or the crazy questions/statements that are made with/without malicious intent that are geared towards you because what they heard or have seen on tv. I think a little research goes a long way for both sides.

        But I applaud you for getting out of your comfort zone & exploring other territories, you inspire me to do the same! I want to visit other West African countries esp Senegal, I’m obsessed & the Caribbeans. Basically where other black/brown people are the majority.

        .

        Like

        1. Yes, I hear you about the ignorance many people in the US have about Nigeria and Nigerians. I realized that was the basis of the stereotyping I experienced in Nigeria – just a lack of knowledge and understanding. I had been interested in Nigerian culture for many years, and living there really taught me a lot and challenged many of my own perceptions. Lagos is an intense city! And I’m a New Yorker saying that, lol! So glad I did it, though. I hope you get to travel more, as well. And I totally feel you on traveling to places where black and brown folks are the majority – I wrote a whole post about how much I appreciate living in a black country.

          Like

  2. I have often said that life has better imagination than we do, which makes trusting it, at the very least, very interesting 🙂 Good choice, good decision and something tells me, only a first step in your life abroad.

    Like

Hi there...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s