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Does your town like you?

Global nomads know it instinctively: there are places in the world where we feel more at home than other places. I’ve spent a lot of ink describing that how we experience living somewhere new is to a large degree influenced by how well we prepare, what we expect and need at that point in our life and how much we really want to be where we are. But there may be another element at play: the ‘personality’ of the...

Why cultures shock

Claire (not her real name) had been in Lagos for about 5months. She was invited to a dinner outside the apartment complex for the first time with newfound expat friends and got back sometime after 23:00. They rolled up to the gate and waited. Nothing happened: the guards didn’t open. She got out of the car and knocked on the window to the gatehouse. She could see the two guards inside, fast asleep. She was incensed. How...

The way we see things

“The way we see things is the way WE see things; it may not be the way things are.” This quote is from H B Gelatt from his blog Positive Uncertainty: a philosophy of decision-making in uncertain times. For people who live in a country other than their birth or passport country, we are faced with interpreting what we see all the time. What we ‘see’ of the local people is their behaviour, their customs, communication...

Book Launch

On Saturday 12 May, I launched my latest book, Culture Smart! Nigeria. The event took place at the Lifehouse in Lagos, a centre of culture, reflection and support for all forms of artistic expression. The official part of the afternoon took place in the lovely garden, under a tree, as every important business should be traditionally conducted Africa. Nigeria is not a tourist destination and yet many foreigners come here for...

How to enjoy an art exhibit

Michele and I went to see the Lagos Photo Exhibition last week. I had unfortunately missed the grand opening a week earlier, so we were the only two visitors: the room was silent, the air-conditioners out and only natural light filtered through the few windows in the room. But these conditions were perfect for a private viewing of the many photographs on display. We wandered, observing at our leisure, chatting about each...
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