Sarah Oguntomilade/MiC.

I am not my ancestors’ wildest dreams, 

I am a product of conquest. 

As a child, I loved reading romance novels 

that were probably too mature for my young brain to consume 

but my favorite romantic cliché was enemies to lovers. 

Enemies to lovers — a popular trope in romantic fiction 

where two characters who have a long history of conflict with each other 

clash into love in a way 

that my twelve-year-old mind found to be absolutely captivating: 

The dimwitted jock and the brainy girl who spent all her time in the library 

Two feuding coworkers

The rich girl and the humble boy who rode the bus every day 

The Romeo and the Juliet

This fascination was not limited to novels or to my childhood,

from “Pride and Prejudice” to the movie “Clueless,” 

I was hooked on the premise of two seemingly opposite beings colliding. 

The first western power to land on the coast of Nigeria was the Portuguese. 

At the start of the slave trade, 

the Portuguese arrived at the shores of West Africa unable to communicate. 

They spoke their language slowly and after a while, 

Nigerian marketers and townspeople began to pick it up. 

Then, when the British arrived,

my people began to speak an English mixed with Portuguese

Hence the word “pidgin” was coined from the Portuguese word “pequeno,” meaning small.

Nigerian Pidgin English became a language of resistance and anti-colonialism 

that 3.5 million Nigerians speak daily 

including my household. 

Enemies to lovers.

Years later, I arrived at the Maputo International Airport 

reading in big red letters, “Bem Vindo A Moçambique” (Welcome to Mozambique). 

My father, an immigrant to the United States, 

was now working for the United States’s Center for Disease Control 

in a country plagued by the same colonial disease of his own homeland. 

There, in Mozambique,

it was at a college fair where I met a recruiter from the University of Michigan. 

Enemies to lovers. 

The United States has always been affectionately labeled a melting pot, 

yet we tend to forget what is burned at the bottom. 

The residue scraped off the bottom of the pot consists of 

lost language

lost culture

families broken apart

sleepless nights

and racial prejudice.

Now the tale of the first generation, the third culture kid, is not a new one — 

countless poems and songs have been written about this exact experience 

yet no two are the same. 

A beautiful story that still leaves a sour taste in your mouth. 

Enemies to lovers. 

Captivating yet horrifying. 

I think that all of this might be why the subject of History has always been my favorite. 

From Mansa Musa to Ketanji Brown Jackson, 

history is nothing if not a compilation of my favorite genre: 

enemies to lovers. 

I am not my ancestors’ wildest dreams, 

I am a product of conquest. 

I write poems and I write songs in a language that was forced upon my people. 

I am a university student in a land which my brothers and sisters were forced upon. 

I am an unexpected consequence of the Portuguese empire who is now studying the Portuguese empire. 

A history full of enemies to lovers. 

MiC Columnist Sarah Oguntomilade can be reached at