Nothing Prepares You For Living In Lagos, Like Living In Lagos
(This is not a manual for surviving the Lagos life, because — Read topic again).
Lagos ( also known as Eko) is described as the city of excellence, according to the books. It is if we take away the stressful lifestyle that has you switching between the personality of an “Agbero” and a gentleman or woman all in one day. Let me share a bit of my story.
I moved to Lagos in 2017. Prior to that, I was living in Yenagoa, Bayelsa where I had my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and stayed back for a few years to hustle (like the average Nigerian youth). It became really boring after 4years and right there I knew I needed to be somewhere else.
Lagos was that next place. I have always wanted it for the longest time because of everything I have read or watched on TV. It seemed like the happening place with all the fun, the job opportunities, the fine boys, the celebrities, wealth, the fine cars. Everything.
Would you blame me for thinking Lagos was the “life of the party”? I mean I had read and watched everything that possibly could show what it’s like to live in Lagos, Nigeria. So, I was ready (or so I thought…)
I had a plan. I had saved N100,000 from my “meager” salary to rent a small space immediately I arrived or at worst, a week after. C’mon, can it be that difficult to find a place in the big city of Lagos?” Chuckles.
I was working remotely as a community manager a few months before relocating so I just requested to be a full-time staff so I won’t be stranded in Lagos after the relocation. Ola, my friend from NYSC days had me covered with the first few weeks of accommodation already.
See how I got everything figured out? I had researched, read, and read articles about life in Lagos and seen pretty pictures as served on Instagram. Little did I know…
Lagos a dream in the distance- Coldplay ( Eko)
After residing here for 31months, I can boldly tell you that Nothing Ever Prepares You For The Lagos Life. It will shock you.
The traffic gridlocks in Lagos is one you could never have imagined before experiencing it first hand. It seems like one already designed from hell and was handed over to whoever gave the name “Lagos” to this state. This is the only state where a 30mins journey would take 5–6hours because “one” truck fell miles away from your route or a car broke down. And when it rains? Forget it. That means you will sleep there.
This explains why the working class Lagosians kickstart their life from 4:00 am, work till 5:00 pm and get back home at least 9:00 pm (except you live close to your workspace).
You Can “Never” Know All The Routes
This was my “Welcome to Lagos” gift for months. If you are relocating just like me, get ready to miss your way and bus stops more than your fingers can count. The way out would be to ask for directions, you assume, till you ask that “man/lady” your instincts already warned you not to ask and he tells you where you are headed is “just there”. This had led more people on Israelite trips than I can ever count. Asking is still one of the best ways out. Just pay attention to your instincts and get familiar with lara.ng, as well as tech transport services such as Bolt, Uber, GoKada, Plentywaka, etc.
Have I mentioned that the way these bus conductors call names of bus stops can make you chill pass your bus stop? Just listen to them with extra ears.
Lagos is overcrowded. Gosh! With over 18 million inhabitants, the city is growing at an unprecedented rate every minute. There are lots of people always moving at a speed that sometimes, you are left wondering where the hell they seem to be rushing to. Crowded bus stops, restless commuters, busy sellers and buyers, etc. Especially during the festive periods. It is nothing like the well-edited pictures on the internet.
Lagos NightLife (Parties)
This is simple. Lagos nightlife will surpass your expectations. Take my words to the bank. Lagosians love to ball and parrrrty. Forget it. They say they have no money, yet the owners of the popular clubs are cashing out on a steady. **Side eyeing the big boys in Lagos.**
Long Distance Relationships within Same Lagos
There is the part of finding love in Lagos (which is stressful AF) and maintaining that love affair is another. Lagosians naturally practice long-distance relationships (LDR) even without knowing it. Or how best would you describe a relationship with one partner living in Ajah and the other at Magodo. You don’t know how difficult romance can be in Lagos till you decide to self-deliver flowers to your babe at work and traffic keeps you there till she closes from work. Even “Quickies” are quite difficult to execute (like rush in and out of your partner’s office kinda quickie). *insert hot tears*
Cost Of Living in Lagos
This is really nothing like you have pre-imagined because judging by the crowd in the city, you would assume the cost of living is fair. It is not. Remember I stated that I had saved up N100,000 to get a place 2 weeks after I relocated? Trust me, only one of the worst places in Lagos was perfect for my budget. I had to take it. The best places to live in Lagos are not cheap.
Fun can be expensive too. To really enjoy the Lagos Friday nightlife you would need to have an “obese” bank account except you intend to settle for the local spots. Just plan to sit at home and watch movies if you are not ready to go broke because of fun.
The Endless Opportunities and The Struggle Attached
Yes, there is an overflowing river of endless opportunities in Lagos if you are patient enough to find them. Nothing prepares you for the struggle attached though. Lagos is saturated with different businesses all fighting for success in the same space so you have got to stand out. It is this “standing out” that goes beyond your pre-imaginations. You will think, start-up, give up ( or plan to), and you would try till you win. You sure would win if you are patient, determined and relentless.
Nothing prepares you for these people lurking all over the city of Lagos. They are everywhere. Right at the bus stop, in churches, streets, markets, buses, etc. They are not ‘gender’ or fashion specific so you can rarely tell from afar. This explains why listening to your instincts can never be underrated in Lagos else OYO will be your case. The best hack is to try not to appear as a weakling in Lagos because they will come for you and won’t leave till they rip you off your pants.
The Agberos + Insults
The thoughts you have about these people are valid (with extra sauce on top). They are CRAZY. They are always shouting like you ain’t standing just right in front of them. They start their insults as early as the first cockcrow to lights out. You are sure to meet them the first day you step into Lagos. Some would actually act nice and try to help but would seek cash in return at the end. If you need to know how to identify one, AutoJosh has it spelled out here. He’s got the tea.
Not to share only the terrible stories, permit me to add the almighty, all-sufficient street food in Lagos. Do you think the articles you have read online about the street food in Lagos gives the perfect idea of how they would taste? Wait till you have them in your mouth. I leave the rest for you to imagine.
Renting A House In Lagos
Nothing prepares you for renting a house in Lagos, bruhhhhh… Nothing. I cried. I trekked. I visit houses that looked like toilets. I spent cash on agents who just wanted to extort my little cash. I searched for months. It is expensive to live in a comfortable house in Lagos. Do not let the pictures on the internet get you daydreaming about the places. Go and pay a visit first. The struggles are real as it takes nothing less than a month to get a really good place fit for your budget.
The list is endless. I can go on and on with the surprises Lagos brings to every JJC but like the title says “Nothing prepares you for living in Lagos, like actually living in Lagos.”
Which of these can you relate to? Tell me about it.
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