Recently I was having a conversation with a friend and they complained bitterly about the situation back home in Africa. The consensus according to my friend was that being abroad was the answer to all her problems. According to her, if you are abroad, you are never really broke, there is light, children wear lovely clothes and attend fantastic schools, houses are nice and the money is always there, somehow. As I listened to her rattle on, I wondered how she could judge England based on a 2 week holiday in the home of an established relative. I bet she had not been in some of the bedsits or flats in the city. She even went on to say there were no rats or mosquitoes in the UK. Yes I agree, No Mosquitos but have you seen the gnats or daddy long legs that have my children and I running around the house? For emphasis see pictures below, lol. Our spiders in the UK are legendary so “don’t even go there woman!” I was screaming in my head.
The basic amenities are available in England and they do work, thank God! I do not need to install my own electricity or drill a bore hole, I agree. I am not forever on Malaria medication- true talk! However, the cold and flu reign supreme here. I cannot describe what comes out of my nose after a long ride on the underground. The heating during winter dries up my entire guts such that when I cough there is a string of blood in the phlegm. The solution though is water and more water just like it is in Africa when you are dehydrated. The dry skin issue here is unbelievable, they say moisturise but does it ever work? Most of us revert to African remedies like black soap and Shea butter to solve the problem.
Jobs are indeed available but you have to prove your worth on every level. There are no cousin’s wife’s sister to assist in pushing your resume. There is no Uncle Timothy who last saw you when you were a teenager to give you a wad of notes on his next visit. Salaries are once a month; no one knows what the 13th month wage is. My bosses give a hearty laugh each time I mention the enviable 13th month salary in Nigeria. At least 25% of your salary goes on tax in the UK. You pay for everything you get from TV license to mortgage on a monthly basis, see a break-down here. You will live well but there will be hardly anything to save each month. If you manage to have investments then you could clawback some profits.
Household help? Oh don’t even get me started on this one! Cleaners charge by the hour and they do just what it says on the “tin”, clean! There are no freebies here. Qualified child minders drive better cars than some of us. You know that this is a far cry from home where for £150 a month you can hire at least 2 household staff. A live-in child minder’s starting rate is at about £150 a week and that is just for minding 2 children at most. They will only do chores pertaining to the child only!
There are some seriously fantastic schools which on the occasion can be gotten for free in the UK but you still have to pay for some tuition, uniforms, school trips et al. The money does deplete and it does so fast.
Yes it is beautiful in the developed world but it is not paradise. Do make that move but ensure that it is an informed move. By the way that is a daddy long legs below. Some call it a crane fly.
Happy New Year!
Photos courtesy Alamy Stock photos and Wikipedia.