06 April 2013

Comfort (not the ship)

I have to admit something. Something that I have tried to hide and suppress for quite some time now. But it is time to get it out in the open. To admit. To take action against it. 

I have been lonely here in Kenya. Quite a bit actually. And that is because making friends here is tough. Tougher than anticipated; tougher than I was prepared for. 

I have heard it said multiple times here - Nairobi is a place for families, for couples, for people wanting to settle down and have a normal life. And with a normal life comes routine. And with routine comes habits. And with each of those, the people who appear in your life become consistent. And with consistency, one gets comfort. 

And it's hard to get out of one's comfort zone. And it's hard to get into others. 

Hence, that is where I am. Not yet settled, not yet in a routine, not yet in a comfort zone. 
(although, I ask myself, do I really want all that, but that is a thought for another time and day)

And so, I get lonely. I have acquaintances, yes. I have a pretty cool (but very hardworking, i.e. never here) housemate, yes. And I even have people from past experiences who I consider myself close to here. 

But the loneliness reappears. Often. 

I realised just now though. In all the times I have moved abroad, it has always been extremely easy. 

In the UK - I met my boyfriend-at-the-time 2 weeks after I arrived. With him, came an entire group of awesome friends. That I hung out with regularly while we were all still living in London.

In Haiti (round 1) - I was with a large NGO that had many expats, all who were up for going out. All one really had to do was find out where the party or event was and show up. 

In Haiti (round 2) - I lived the entire year with the best housemate, friend, socialiser one could ask for. With that built in, who could ask for more? Even though there was more - Haiti is one of the most inclusive places I have ever experienced - perhaps because it is so small. Everyone was always welcome. 
I have a friend in Nakuru. With whom I can only speak Kiswahili.

Nairobi is giving me new challenges though. I have to make an effort this time. I have to be patient this time. And I have to allow myself to be ok with the loneliness that will come. Because it will not last. 

Thank God for that. 

I may not yet be yearning for the 'settling down' that many come to Nairobi for. But I take comfort in knowing that I am finally getting the true experience to moving to the unknown. Both the positives and the negatives. 

It is all a part of life. 

01 April 2013

2 months on

It has been almost 2 months since my arrival here in Nairobi. 

I think I am almost at the stage where I am stopping to compare everything with Haiti. 

At first, of course, it was an easy thing to do - both developing countries, both have struggles and challenges, both have a large expat community. 

Gorgeous Kenya - the Great Rift Valley
But culturally, the similarities stop. Kenyans are not Haitians. Yes, both are politically informed and politically motivated. But they are each their own.

Heck, every individual is each their own. 

I left Haiti in early December 2012. It was time to go. I was sad of course; I knew I would miss it (I still miss aspects of it), but I also knew that it was time for something new - a new experience, a new scene. 

So, Kenya it turned out to be. 

And every day, I know this is the right place for me at this moment. It's kinda awesome to have that feeling. 

Now, 2 months in - the majority of which we have been restricted to Nairobi due to the ongoing elections, and I am starting to feel more comfortable in my role, more comfortable in my house, more comfortable with friends. 

It is still a work in progress - what I like to call growing pains - but Nairobi is becoming home. And its not a bad home, to be sure.