One day last week it drizzled rain all day. Which is unusual, even rare here. Even in the rainy season, it will downpour fat droplets for a few hours, then stop and dry up. So all day rain, especially in a light-ish form is odd. And so much like home. Sometimes I really miss home. As I come up on 4 months and Hannah and I are planning our “lasts” together life goes on and I become more aware of the differences in day to day life between here and home.
1) FOOD – sushi, dim sum, pho (oh for the love of pho! What I wouldn’t give right now for a bowl of steaming noodles!), pad thai and the list goes on. Obviously I am not starving, but I really miss convenient Asian eats! Even fresh fish inland where we are is tricky. There’s hope though! Hannah and I discovered an Asian grocer and they carry these snacks that I miss so much!
2) Hockey – I suppose those of you at home aren’t really getting it now anyways (what happened Torts?) and I thought maybe I loved it cause I worked for the team and I kind of had to but I really miss just hanging out and watching a game, talking about last night’s highlights with customers or even comparing stats of different players and teams.
Go Pens or Wild! *They’ve both since been eliminated since I started this post…
3) Organized traffic. When the light is red, you have to stop unless there’s no policeman in which case everyone just goes when they please. Earlier this week I saw a guy who was crossing the road stop and start directing some gridlock kabisa (completely;totally) in a roundabout.
4) A night social life – it’s generally unsafe for us to be out during the night without a taxi and that gets pricey and we don’t have a tonne of friends needing evening entertainment. This kind of extends into missing my car… here going anywhere requires some planning of how long it’ll take to walk or how much a cab costs or whether we could successfully navigate the choatic routes of matatus. We did discover the movie theatre a couple of weeks ago and wondered why we hadn’t come before (we saw Captain America 2 which was really good, probably helped that he’s pretty cute in all his blond hair, blue eyed glory).
5) Mountains – ‘nuf said
I didn’t put my family and friends down because I feel like that is kind of a given that I miss them. When you’re here there’s no way of not missing home and the comforts and life you had there. It is an inevitable part of being away but if you dwell too long on those feelings it can completely taint your experience here.
That being said, I’m reminded constantly how I’m blessed to be here and experience everything that I am. Nairobi is this mix of Kenya and the West and big city but eclectic neighbourhoods with big busy slums and then beautiful manicured parks. Where else can I spend a Saturday hanging out with orphaned baby elephants? Just so you don’t think that I am not lovin’ life, here is my list of top 5 things I love (again in no particular order) about Kenya/Nairobi.
1) Kiswahili – Is it weird to love a language? It’s more that I love when I can have even the simplest of exchanges completely in Swahili. Makes me feel like I really live here and I’m not some safari-hat donning, zip off cargo pants wearing, Jambo saying tourist. I also love secretly learning a phrase and then whipping it out when my Kenyan friends least expect it! Once I said tuna moto unasikia joto (we are hot can you feel the heat), which is meant as a sports chant, to the girls at school who then asked where did I learn that and I told them a guy friend and they responded with ask him where he is hot from? That resulted in copious girly giggles. All this during a devotion of course.
2) The weather – I mean who doesn’t love equatorial sun at a high elevation making for cool sunny days? I tan without sweating and I wear flip flops. Every. Single. Day.
3) The people – I know this is the cliche missionary thing to say, but Kenyans are awesome. They have a great sense of hospitality and some hilarious senses of humor (that’s redundant isn’t it?). They love teasing and when you laugh along with them and are open to learning about their culture. One fun adjustment: they comment on each others weight a lot! I was told last week after someone said I looked skinnier that it was no good and I need to come over to get fat again. Thanks.
4) My job at the AIM office. I love getting emails from and meeting new short termers and seeing the excitment they feel about being here. Loving logistics and planning for their arrival. Loving the community at AIM between all the staff and missionaries. Even loving the PJ’s awful dorky jokes that I report to his wife, Emily who thinks they’re funnier when someone else tells them. Awful dorky jokes are the story of my life.
5) Fruit picked when ripe (not preripe on its way to Superstore) – c’mon fresh pineapple, avocado, passion fruit and mangoes? My life is like a tropical cocktail.
The French have a saying called le mal d’Afrique or the sickness of Africa and in some ways, it completely is. It’s like a virus that spreads through your veins and before you know it, you’re completely taken over by this place. Even in my four short months, I can feel it. The more time I’m here, the more I give of myself here, I know when I go home I will always be thinking of this place and when I can come back.