I’m not a fan of travelling. Especially if it’s a very long journey. Apart from the journey itself, I find the packing process mentally exhausting. So when I had the opportunity to travel to the U.K. for my masters, I had mixed feelings. I wasn’t just going to be visiting, I would be living there for more than a year. I mean, I had survived NYSC in Bauchi and Kogi for a year, but this would be different. New environment, new culture, new food, new faces, new weather (my God!), and a new accent. I think what kept calming me and my worries down was God’s omnipresent nature. Pastor Okenwa used to tell us in Kogi then that in life, it isn’t about where you go, but who’s with you wherever you go.
I won’t bore you with too much details. On my first night, I’d see these white men walking so fast with their hands in their pockets and wonder why — Who de chase una na? I answered that question myself few weeks later when the cold and wind almost fell me down. I didn’t need to be told that I needed to dig my hands deep into my pockets and walked like I was being chased.
Before going to the UK, I had been working on an American accent, being a fan of Hiphop and all. But there was something about the British accent that soothed my ears. It sounded melodiously satisfying. So I went on YouTube and started learning the pronunciations. Then I’d pay attention to how the British-Nigerians or British-Africans spoke. Music to my ears. I’d also listen intentionally to British rap and fall more in love. I started picking up the streets accent first; the roadman type. Then I picked up the polished type when I worked in schools.
Coming back to Nigeria, I returned with certificates and my new found love. I still work on the accent till today. Most of my friends laugh at me when I switch, like, guy you’ve left there now, why are you still talking like this? Some think I’m probably showing off, but it’s more than that. It’s love and it’s here to stay.