Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Chronicles of Sebastian - How being a Celebrity is sometimes not that easy!

Have you ever desired to be famous? To be someone people talk about and listen to, someone that 'has an impact' on the world? I think we all had these 'silly dreams', right? As a kid, I dreamed to become a football star (sorry ladies of this blog, that’s how we boys are sometimes wired). After my first sad attempts I’ve realized I will never make it (lol). Later, having matured a litte, I’ve tried to become a famous journalist/writer, but again these dreams were shattered quickly. I had to accept my fate as an ordinary citizen. 
Well, let’s fast forward a few years… Virtually overnight, I became a celebrity in a place I never really thought of as a child: in Nigeria, or as most Whites unfortunately put it… in 'Africa'. 

What made me a 'celebrity' were neither my poor football skills nor my average looks (although I have to say my 'natural hair' attracted a lot of people, especially children lol), but mostly my skin color. As the only white student in the whole of my university, I got a lot of requests: Many people tried to befriend me and asked for my number, my story, my help, my money and my sisters (lol). Since even total strangers approached me to 'snap' with them, my face is probably on dozens of Nigerian phones. 

In addition to the requests, I also got a lot of lovely offers: people invited me into their homes, cooked for me, offered me their advice ("beware of people from this or that tribe”…), gave me their business cards, introduced me to their extended family (“see my brother”), invited me for burials, traditional weddings, church services etc.. One time at Shoprite, a random woman even offered me one of her (way too young) daughters…


Especially in the beginning, all these offers and requests and the pressure of being stared at almost constantly were just 'too much' for me. I did not know how to respond to the daily requests, I was not sure which friendships I should deepen and how to remember the countless faces and names – Chidera, Chiamaka, Chinedu - all these Chi-names sounded so similar to my German ear…Although I got all the attention many kids and youths dream of, I felt overwhelmed. I just wanted to blend in as 'just another Nigerian', but my background was obviously too different to make that possible. 

So what did I do? All these things drove me into prayer. I prayed for retentive memory so I could remember the names. I prayed for love and strength so I could approach each person with care and my full attention. I prayed that God will help me behave well, since I knew people watched me closely. I prayed against arrogance and for humility, so that I would be genuinely interested in my fellow-students. 

And I prayed for what I now call 'small-small guidance' (I learnt that in Nigerian English you can repeat a lot of adjectives (sharp-sharp, fast-fast etc.). Often we only pray for guidance in big things (“show me my soulmate, O Lord", “give me a job!!” etc.), but I think it is wise to be open for God’s guidance in small, day-to-day activities: to actually ask God which friends I can visit today, to ask for opportunities to bless people, to ask him what I should do with my weekend etc. All too often we just follow our “autopilot” or our intuition, instead of listening to the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit. 

Being in Nigeria reminded me of my need to include God in all areas of life, because I felt helpless and I needed a lot of wisdom on how to handle all the requests (e.g. “Does this person really need my money? Many people warned me against duping…. God help me!”). And how God answered my prayers… I got to know some amazing friends I could really trust. Once a girl I hardly knew came to me and said “Sebastian, I’ve observed you over the months and it is amazing that you only found actually good friends”. God also gave me a peace-of-mind and an inner security that helped me through my day-to-day life; a sense of joy and courage that enabled me to interact freely, knowing that my Daddy is watching over me.

Now that I am back in Germany and my celebrity-time is over, I still try to follow the valuable principles I’ve learnt in Nigeria. As a white guy among millions of other Whites, I get far less attention. Nonetheless, I do need God’s help and “small-small guidance” in a myriad of situations and questions that arise on a daily basis. 

And let me tell you one last thing: don’t desire to be famous too much, abeg. Yes it can be nice at times, but it does not really fulfill you, it does not guarantee you true friendships and it can be quite stressful. Be content with how God made you, be a vessel in His hands and let Him do the rest. :)

aka 'Sabba Sabba' aka 'Sabs' (Keep the names coming guys :-)

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path" - Proverbs 3:5-6

I hope you enjoyed reading! Chronicles of Sebastian comes up every Wednesday. You can read Sebastian's first post HERE to find out more..

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  1. Sebastian, you learnt some great lessons. I like where you mentioned consulting God on little things that we often "autopilot" on. We definately need God's guidance in every area of our lives...including who we chose as friends.

    God bless you! thanks for sharing your story.

  2. Thanks dear HF, you're very right.. I am learning to do that at every stage xx

  3. Aww sabs, i enjoyed this post o. Very very well. I love that you just dont tell ua ur experience but also inject the word of God.
    Ayo, this ur blog is serious o.

  4. I think Christian won me over when he said "Nigeria...or as most Whites unfortunately put it, in 'Africa'"
    The fact that he knew that so often African countries are lumped together as 'Africa' made me so happy. There's hope for our generation!

    Then...just when it couldn't get any better, Christian wrote "all these things drove me into ask God for opportunities to bless people, i prayed against arrogance and for humility...peace of mind and inner security"

    You may not be famous Sabba Sabba...but I'm definitely a fan!

  5. I really like Sebastian and his posts. Really funny.

    The part of it driving him to prayers was touching. I've been there and got the T-shirt to prove it. Fame is nothing! Mere vapour!

  6. Thx everyone, I really appreciate your comments :)

    @naijawife: soo true, makes me cringe everytime when they say things like "he went to Africa..." I think GNG had a good post on this sometimes ago.
    And thanks for being a fan-ooo xD

    @iola: Fame is nothing, indeed, preach it!! You realize that when you're alone in your room at the end of the day - you just can't buy fulfillment, happiness, friends etc. with fame.

    @nike: Thx my dear! I think it's always good when we don't see our lives and experiences as a separate unit, but kind of ... interweave everything. God has to say a lot about our experiences and basically just every area of life. And yes Ayo's blog is serious, seriously good! Thx for hosting and maintaining it!

  7. @Nike, I agree, I love the way Sabs writes!
    @Naijawife, lol@hope for our generation - you are very right!
    @ilola, me too! I look forward to receiving his posts :-D
    @Unclesebbi (haha - another alias), you're a star! Thanks :-) xx

  8. This is actually something I have been doing for a while now, especially since I moved for school last year. The little things are important.

  9. I totally feel you. I'm actually not one of those people who crave fame. Naa. I just want to be able to sleep well at night, go about my business without distraction and totally be "ME" without people pointing or taking pictures. There's nothing timid about me so it's not about that. Nice one Sabs :)

  10. @Nikkisho, I think it's definitely a very wise move
    @Toinlicious, but you cannot really do that, your fame on blogger will announce you! :-) xx

  11. Thanks to Sebastian for sharing. His post was refreshingly real.

    Consulting God on 'small small' areas of my life has paid off in 'big big' ways too. I am so glad for all the lovely lessons He learnt and how the overwhelming realities drove Him to prayer. I loved the prayers He prayed. Prayers that reminded me that God's ultimate objective is for me to be Christ like (humility, compassion, serenity).

    Reminds me again that Christ in us is for every day living, for things that pertain to godliness and also pertain to life. That God's spirit is available to guide us as to who to trust, who to help, who to befriend and that all manners of supernatural intelligence are available in the place of prayer.

    Thank you Ayo for sharing and as for Sebastian, I truly am a fan.

  12. Lovely write, I seriously feel Sebastian is a good writer. Cos I feel it can be difficult writing about the African culture especially If you aren't black. All I see is love, I commend your heart for God Sabs. May God continually shine his grace on you.

  13. He is indeed a great writer and I look forward tor eading his weekly posts! A big AMEN to your prayers.
    Thanks a lot for stopping by my name sake :-) God bless you xx

  14. Sabs is a beautiful writer. I have been blessed by all his post I have read so far.
    I mean it is beautiful how through the help of the Holy Spirit he has been able to learn so many lessons from his experience in Nigeria apart from the academic. He is the second German exchange student I have met. And they both got positively transformed by their stay here. The difference though is the God factor. God bless you Sabs sharing your experiences :-D

  15. Thank you sis! I thank God for the wisdom - even in humour - shared in his posts xx


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