The streets are not lined with Gold!

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!

as ever










Photos courtesy Alamy Stock photos and Wikipedia.


12 thoughts on “The streets are not lined with Gold!

  1. Brilliant write up! There is also the yearly increase in transport (trains and buses) fare which you have to contend with if you have a long commute to work (which is usually not commensurate to wage increases)

    All in all we thank God for the fact that you don’t have to think about somethings like; is there fuel for the generator? Did i lock the bulgarly-proof gate e.t.c

  2. I shouldn’t say this out loud but….. I don’t pay TV licence fees. And I haven’t done for the last 6-7yrs.

    Just paid for one year & decided it was an absolute frivolity. I’m paying almost £40 for SkyTV per month x 12 months and the licensing authority still thinks they’re entitled to £140 extra of my money to finance the BBC? So the BBC in their imagined poshness, can’t advertise to earn an income like all their mates? Nah, man. I just stopped and to my mind, it’s a scam.

    At least my council tax is fully justifiable because I see them taking out bins and gritting roads and organising local services, so I’m happy to pay for that. And pay my N.I contributions. And pay my income taxes (even if the queen and her other wealthy peers don’t..,, but that’s a whole other discussion).

    But TV licence? They should stop that rough play, biko. Plus, those 6 figure salaries their broadcasters are paid?😒 And before someone judges my Nigerianess in this rebellion, I happen to know oyibo who share the very same sentiments.😄

    Other than this tirade above, I agree with everything else you’ve said. 😃

  3. True talk. I’m tired of having friends and “cousins” contacting me over Christmas to check if I am coming home so that I can bring them Chelsea and Arsenal football kit. No suggestion at all of their paying the £60 pound kit. When I ask they say “it’s chop change for you naaaa”.
    Speaking of insects, you didn’t mention the abundance of bees and wasps to sting you over the summer time.

  4. Yeh! Mz Socially Awkward finally remembered me. Chai I feel so cheated. You know when you first come in to the country they tell you these horror stories of TV men knocking on your door. One day I saw some men outside and I was told it was the TV license people so out of fear I started paying. Too late to stop now. Thank you for reading dearie and have a productive year!

  5. This is one funny article, my dear writer my fear for them crane flies are something else. I laughed my head off. My dear tell them oh. Tell them. This my Abagana people gaz to understand, i keep explaining to them but for where?

  6. This article is well written. The way money goes on expenses sometimes baffles me! But as you’ve stated, there are good parts to it. Just like in life, every decision has a good and bad side to it. Thanks for sharing this for someone out there!

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