Memories from Home III – I miss home-cooked meals.

16 March, 2023

Memories from Home is a series where we explore the life of African immigrants living in the diaspora. Memories from Home III is about Chijioke Chris Chuwa, a Nigerian currently living in Newcastle, United Kingdom. The aspiring product manager talks to us about his memories of living back home in Nigeria.

When did you relocate?

I relocated in January. January 2021. I currently live in Newcastle.

I love it here. It’s quite it’s cold, though. But I built a kind of community since I moved. The last time I was in Nigeria was in 2021.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Jos. I was born and raised in Jos. It’s quite far from the East where I’m from. It was cold, but was a really fun place to live and in Jos, everybody knows everybody. It’s a very small city. I believe in Jos, there are like three degrees of separation between everybody.

And it gives you that warm sense of camaraderie when you’re working there. When you live there and everybody knows everybody, it just makes life easier. My dad is a civil servant and used to work in Abuja, so we used to travel there quite a lot. I was familiar with Abuja, so I also served there for NYSC before moving to the UK.

What’s your favourite memory from Nigeria?

My favourite memory from Nigeria is definitely the times hanging out with friends or going out to parties, going out to weddings. I think that was, like, peak for me.

What do you miss the most from home?

What do I miss the most about home? I miss proper Suya and Shawarma. I know everybody says you can make shawarma here and stuff, but it doesn’t have the added je ne sais quoi.

That added small taste of suffering that is inside Shawarma, Nigerian Shawarma that makes it just slap. So we don’t have that here. And I kind of miss that. I miss, like, really good home-cooked meals. Not all these ones that taste colonized.

One thing I don’t miss about being home is the stress. Once you come here, your prayer requests literally drop from like, hundred to, like, five. Because the normal thing you’re praying for is already here in abundance. Things are simplified. There’s a process to doing everything.

You don’t need to stress yourself.

What does an average day at Newcastle look like for you?

It varies. Where I work is about an hour away from my house. So I have to get up like 2 hours before work. I take two to three buses to work. That’s just because of the distance. It’s not as hectic; the bus runs on a timetable. You can always time how you’re going to get where you’re going because it’s rare for them to be late.

When I get to work, first of all, I get some water. I just take a short pause for like five minutes. I’m currently working in the healthcare department, but that is changing soon. After work, and the commute home, I just try to unwind.

I watch a movie, have a snack or something, and then just sleep. That’s my basic day in Newcastle. It’s quite boring, to be honest.

How do you connect with home and how often?

I call at least every week. At least once. That’s like, at least the bare minimum.

If I’ve had a busy week, call at least once every week. Check-up via text, but that can be quite difficult.

If I’m rating my home in Nigeria, they could be doing better. And the current economy is not really favourable here.

I’ll rate it 7.5. If I’m rating my Newcastle home, it’s okay, we’re doing good, but we’re still pushing our hustle.

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