We all know about IJGBs. So much so that it’s almost unnecessary to spell it out – I Just Got Back. Within the past ten years, there has been a steady influx of returnees heading back to Nigeria, with the hopes of getting a piece of the pie – cash, that is. Apart from those moving back home, there are others who come for holidays, weddings, etc. December to January is IJGB season, and it is evidenced by the exponential increase of foreign accents around – those acquired abroad and the others from watching DSTV. There is still the matter of how long you can claim I-Just-Got-Backness. One year? 2 years?
I was an IJGB myself five years ago. Mehn, it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. I distinctly remember trying to decide whether or not to come back for NYSC. It’s hard to imagine that it was half a decade ago! Anyways, I came, I aje-buttered my way through NYSC, decided to stay… for work o, not to find husband (although yes, I did meet Cakes during my NYSC year and got married the following year). Being back in Nigeria after 14 years away was interesting. I was at different turns excited, frustrated, homesick for my family in Atlanta, happy to be near my grandparents in the East, curious about what Port Harcourt and Lagos had to offer, etc. When I moved back to Naija, I wasn’t sure how long I would stay. I told people I was back permanently temporarily, meaning that there was always the possibility of leaving. My then-boyfriend was aware of it, and the over-arching plan was that when we were ready to start a family, we would relocate.
Well, by the beginning of 2015 we were ready to actively start trying to conceive. Uncle Cakes was of the opinion that as soon as my pregnancy test was positive, FIAM, I would be on a plane back to Hamrika. I on the other hand, fully intended to push the relocation as late as possible after getting pregnant. There was this hesitation on my part. I naively gave an ultimatum, that I wouldn’t leave Nigeria until I was at least 6 months pregnant. All of a sudden, when the possibility of leaving Nigeria was very real, I wasn’t sure I was ready to go anymore. Yes, I missed being close to my siblings and would cry every time I went on vacay and had to leave them. Yes, I yearned for the ease of life down south in Atlanta. Yes, I knew I had always planned to go back. But I just didn’t feel ready. Every time Cakes brought up the topic, it would end in an argument because I was too hesitant about moving. Why? Partly because I feared the uncertainty of having to leave and join the job market. I was also worried about my blog – I started blogging in Nigeria and it’s a HUGE part of my life. If I left Nigeria, would people stop reading? What about all the events I used to go to – what on earth would I do when I went back? And of course, SMALL CHOPS!
By the end of 2015, we were still not pregnant and I gave in to the relocation. We set a date, informed our families and worked towards it. I was still in denial and didn’t start packing my bags until a week before my flight. I had had 3 whole months to prepare o, but it was the final week that jolted me to reality. See me running around like a headless chicken in the maddening heat and looming fuel scarcity (I got out just in time sha). We packed up our things, said goodbye to family and friends, ate waaaaaaaay too much small chops and that was it. From IJGB to IJWB – I Just Went Back.
It’s been a month since I’ve been here in Atlanta. There’s been the Good (being close to my siblings and extended family again), Bad (Buhari abeg na, I just want to change my Naira! Is it fair?!?!?!?), and Ugly (the weight I lost in the first half of 2015 has come back plus more). There’s still uncertainty, but with it comes the promise of opportunity, new beginnings and endless possibilities.
But please, somebody send me small chops.