It’s been a while since I wrote on BellaNaija and it feels so good to be back. A lot has happened in the last couple of years and I cannot wait to share them with you. Let me start by sharing my ‘welcome to Canada’ experience with you and give you the gist of all that has happened since I moved to Canada with my family 2 years ago. After which we’ll talk about my book. Yes! Guys, I wrote a book and I can’t wait to share it with you.
Having been born, schooled and worked in Lagos, leaving my Lagos life – that I was familiar with – into a country I had never visited was a different ball game entirely. In fact, relocating as a fully-grown adult close to the age of 40 shook me, and settling down as a new immigrant mother with 3 young children is a story for another day.
One of the things that happened to me after we moved here was that for the first time ever in my whole existence, I began to doubt myself, my skills and even experiences. I began to question my abilities as a professional. I hadn’t even started looking for a job but all of a sudden, I began to think I was not good enough. Every time those negative thoughts wandered around my mind, I would remind myself of my qualifications and achievements from Nigeria, and I would remind myself that I was a lawyer and TV host in Nigeria. I would also recite my daily affirmations which end with “I am enough.”
Ever since I moved here, I have learnt so much in such a short period of time. One of the things I quickly learnt about this part of the world is the power of networking and referrals. If you network in the right circles and you have the right people blowing your trumpet and referring you for roles, the professional journey that will take someone else 10 years to get to senior manager can take you 3 years or less. Some organisations even offer referral bonuses where if you refer someone for a role and the person is hired, you will get paid.
I remember a few of my family friends advising me before I moved here to avoid Nigerian social circles in Canada. I can honestly say that I have built my own small circle here and most of them are Nigerians. I have met some of the nicest Nigerians ever here in Canada, however, I quickly learnt how to set healthy boundaries. It almost feels as if we all just got into university as “Jambites” and we are all just starting life in Canada together because most of us are new immigrants with different character traits. You will learn that if you do not set healthy boundaries, you could land yourself in a bucket of hot pepper soup.
Another thing I learnt is that your circle of friends or family here plays a huge role in how big your dream will be, and how far you will go. If you are surrounded by people who are constantly speaking negativity, complaining about the weather or they tell you specific jobs are only for people who schooled in Canada, you will automatically adopt that myopic mindset. I schooled in Nigeria all my life and the first job I got here in Canada was with one of the big 4 consulting companies, globally. If I had that myopic mindset that it was impossible to get into the “big 4” with no prior “big 4” experience, I probably would never have put my best foot forward when the opportunity came. I also have friends here who schooled in Nigeria just like me and are either business owners, working in fortune 500 companies or are in school to get Canadian certifications. Over here, your dreams are valid and anything is possible.
All in all, moving to Canada has given me a bird’s eye view of relocation as an adult and it also opened my mind to a whole lot of opportunities. Even though our first few months were not the easiest as it took a lot of adjusting and settling down to do, through it all I remain thankful for the opportunity to be welcomed as a permanent resident into Canada. To all the adult and children immigrants who just moved to a new country outside of your comfort zone, know that even though things may not be as you want them to be presently, eventually, you will settle down and everything will balance out. Through it all, take care of your mental health, be intentional about the information you consume, make happiness a priority and remember that this time next year, you will be all settled and your present story will be part of your history. Don’t give up, don’t quit, keep it moving!
Now, back to my book. In the next couple of months, starting from October, I will be sharing 10 chapters from my book, The Cost Of Our Lives, with you. Each chapter will go up weekly.
The Cost Of Our Lives highlights the story of how Ibidun was taken from Ajegunle to London by her mother’s friend. This novella details Ibidun’s London adventure of friendship, betrayal, freedom, and how she was able to return to Nigeria to begin a career as a celebrity fashion stylist. The story is beautifully written as it captures Ibidun’s childhood experiences and beams the light on her strength, resilience, and success against all odds.
The Cost Of Our Lives is indeed a must-read for all as it drives awareness on 3 very important societal issues: child sexual abuse, cyber bullying and child trafficking. It tells a heartwarming tale of the girl next door. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this!