One thing my mother always told me, was not to take anything I have for granted. And while I never listened, I now see the truth in her words as I stand outside a restaurant with my friend trying to commit to memory a menu in a foreign language. This is my daily struggle. From cramming restaurant menus before awkwardly ordering food to copy pasting every message onto google translate. There was even a point in time when I could only communicate with my roommates with google translate. I long for the seamless communication in English and Kiswahili that I was accustomed to.
Another thing I would give anything to experience again is Kenyan weather. I once wanted a white Christmas just like in ‘Home Alone’ and thought I would spend my time building snowmen and making snow angels. Fast forward to now, I still won’t touch snow and I only tolerate a snowy day because of the possibility of a holiday resulting from too much snow. I should also mention it in passing that I spend an unhealthy amount of time stalking my friends back home on SnapChat and wishing I could trade places with them.
I never realized how important hair salons in Kenya were until I had to do my hair myself. Getting hair done here is so expensive that I decided that I would just wing it.The solution to my hair horrors is investing in more scarves and hoodies and wishing for some sort of Kenyatta Market nearby.
Lately, I have been having terrifying dreams about being in a queue for food and every time I get to the counter all the chapati is over. Often I find myself regretting the times I refused to eat ugali. If wishes were horses, the chapati in my dreams would not be taunting me but would be on a plate in front of me. There is nothing I wish for more than the opportunity to gorge myself on ugali and sukumawiki.
Last year was my first Christmas alone in a country that does not celebrate it. This experience made me realize how important family is.Being the only African more miles around, I have become a public spectacle. I miss being in a public space without being stared at because I am just like any other person. I never thought I would ever say this but I long for a walk in the CBD where no one will give me as much as a second glance.
Indeed, when I think of home I have realized that the little things matter the most.
This article was written by Captial Campus Correspondent Garnet Achieng.