Beyond NY Featured Posts Ugo Nwaigwe

Unbelievable & Unforgettable

Hi guys!

I was fortunate enough to have spent my winter break in Nigeria.  For those who don't know where that is, it is located in western Africa.  My parents IMG_8008were born and raised in Nigeria and migrated to the United States in their
late teens to pursue a better education.  To say the absolute least, I had a greattttttt time.  I can't even put into words how amazing my trip was.  This blog will be the first time I actually describe in detail about my wonderful winter break.

My mom had bought her ticket to Nigeria over the summer and she was set to go on Christmas night.  It was a surprise Christmas present for me and everyone else.  I didn't know I was going and neither did my mom.  One night, my mom and I were cuddled up watching Big Bang Theory and she said; "You know what would be nice? It would be nice if you could go to Nigeria with me.  Your grandparents would love to see you."  IMG_7840My eyes got so big!  I had not been to Nigeria since I was 12.  I had not seen my family in Nigeria in 9 years because of how busy my schedule was with basketball.  That night, we were online finding reasonable flight tickets so I could go.  Next thing I knew, I was on a plane to Nigeria on a beautiful December 27th.  The flight took about a whole day.  But I didn't care how miserable the flight was--I was just so excited to be in Africa.

Well obviously, everything is different there.  Like I said, the last time I was there I was 12 so I didn't really understand my surroundings.  However, being 21 I was so observant to everything--the air, IMG_8115the tree, the sky, etc.  I noticed everything and questioned everything.  The entire time I was there it did not rain once.  On top of that, there was not one cloud in sight.  It was beautiful and sunny and 85 degree weather 24/7.  The weather was not the only thing that was beautiful.  The people were just as wonderful as the weather...maybe a little better.  Everyone was always smiling and everyone was so polite.  They obviously knew I was from the states because of how I looked, how I dressed, and of course how I spoke.

I stayed in the village with my maternal family.  I hung around my little cousins, my aunts and uncles, and my grandparents.  It was so much fun! I learned so much and did so much.  My little cousins, their village friends, and schoolmates easily became fond of me.  I brought my basketball to Nigeria with me.  So, when I wasn't schooling them on the court, we were chasing snakes, chickens, and roosters; petting and following sheep, and taking countless of selfies.  IMG_8318They were amazed with the iPhone and its front camera.  When I wasn't being a kid, I was bonding with my grandparents.  I probably annoyed them with all the questions I had asked (doubt it though).  They loved my company and they loved that I was so interested in my culture.

I spent my entire holiday season in a different setting.  Some where that was some what unfamiliar to me and I loved every second of it.  When my days were drawing to an end, I did not want to come back to NY.  I was so removed from my life here that I realized how much of a happier person I was in Nigeria.  I was placed in an environment where it was absolutely carefree; surrounded by people who were only positive, genuine, and supportive.  My trip was unbelievable and unforgettable.  I'm already planning my next visit.  It is definitely a place I want to go as often as I can.  Nigeria is my real home!

Ugo 🙂