When I left for London, I left Nairobi in a huge ‘good riddance’ exhale. Before I left, I must say I was not at my best. I had given myself about 2 years of self discovery and what you learn when you open yourself to self discovery is the ugly part of life, and yourself. You also learn the beautiful. But mostly, you are astonished by the ugly.
I had left work, joined a band, taken up exercise, started to paint, sell my work and meet all sorts of people outside my regular circle. Until today I am uncertain as to whether I regret that decision. When I look at where I am today I am glad I did what I did because had I not, I would not be here. Neither would I be me. But when I think back at the time, while in the time, I think I never want to go back as I cannot understand even my own strength not to give up. On everything. Even life. Certainly out of the concrete a flower can grow.
And to the plus four-four I went. And I loved it. I was determined to love it. I loved the cabro streets. I loved yellow and red leaves in fall. I loved the street restaurants. I loved men in big bushy beards and overhang trench coats. I loved tea with a dash of milk. I loved sweaty Carribean night clubs. I loved the ease of shopping. I loved the dustless CBD. I loved the brick walls. The hippy subcultures. I loved the sight of dogs being walked in the morning. I loved being part of the morning rush hour in the tube-knowing that I too was on a mission, to get somewhere, to work, contributing to society… there was hardly anything I didn’t love.
However, I wished so baldy that my mom was there to see the red and yellow leaves. That Kathy was there to see the bushy beards and overhung trench coats. That Shiko was there to get broke with me shopping in Zara and Next and New Look and H&M. Primark too (lol).
I had an amazing group of friends: Karina, Jimena, Kacey, Julie, sweet Veronica, Katia and Latasha the New Yorker. My very own version of my Kenyan clique- Greenwich chicks, Jimena named us-but you know, sometimes you miss your own people. I was never really homesick, but sometimes you miss the inside jokes, the predictable reactions and familiar love. When it came time to decide whether I was staying or going, whereas before it was never an option to leave London my beloved, I suddenly became okay with the idea of being back home.
And so I started to mentally prepare myself for the horrific traffic, the scorching sun and the clutching close of my handbag in the city. Things I found synonymous to my home town. I bought my ticket and kissed my second love, healer of my soul London good bye.
And now that I am back and settled in, I am at peace. Nairobi is still the same. Politicians are still rumbling, our poor stray dogs are still straying, night clubs are still overly familiar, city dust is still unsettled as if we are never tranquil down below and the heat, the heat is still sometimes uncomfortable. I’m okay with that. I no longer sit with a blanket in the backyard with my dogs soaking up the sun as I had missed it so while in winter-wonderland-London but, I am okay with that too. I don’t have to speak slower now so that people can understand me, my slang fits in perfectly with the local diction, food tastes better than ever and everywhere I go I know someone-fine, that can get annoying really quickly but for the most part it’s comforting if I am being entirely honest.
Bitch I’m Back.