By Mary Muthoni

My mom asked why I did not go to the gym today and I wondered…
‘Kwani she does not know it is a public holiday today?’
She should know that!
Then I remembered its a public holiday in England, she would not know that!

Crazy!

I met a Kenyan girl last week and it felt like we were old chums… I swear anytime i have heard someone speaking in Kenyan Swahili I teared up… One incidence I stalked some Kenyan tourists at Primark.

But she is real and she is from Karen and I from Lower Karen… We spoke in Swahili like old buddies…

I told her I had missed ugali so much and nyama choma and kachumbari… She advised I carry some over next time I am home. Rosemary if you hear someone coming to the UK tumeni unga ya ugali pris…

Long post short… The transitions you undergo away from home are like no other… You will miss the things you never thought you would… I do not miss the matatus though… You learn to enjoy life a whole different way…you get new hobbies… It is more like starting again, the cheap fruits become expensive (mangoes and passion fruits) and the expensive fruits become cheap (berries, cherries and peaches, imported oranges, I really thought Nakumatt sold them really expensive because they were special, nope just imported), you realise junk food and alcohol are grossly over priced back at home, by the time you do, you have gained like 5 extra kgs (i still do not drink)… You become closer with your family and your real friends back at home… the fake ones gradually fade away… If you want to know who your true friends are, leave home.

Its a whole new world I tell yah! Some things you enjoy from the word go… others you must adapt… forgetting mangoes, sugarcane and mutura to loving blueberries and raspberries… apples… I still don’t like them…

You learn tea is another term for supper, and dinner actually means lunch… that is a couple of puzzled expressions later. You learn that the weather in your country was not that cold, but why did I feel so cold… that is after you get to your destination and your ears freeze and ache from the cold, and you layer your clothes, put on boots, put on gloves and in your head all you can think off ‘I am still cold’ Then someone casually says ‘Its colder in countries such as Germany, Norway and…’

Are you kidding me?

You learn that England is no concrete jungle… they are beautiful countrysides and cold but beautiful beaches…and their history is really well preserved… I am a sucker for culture…

You learn to open your heart and love different people and hate some… slowly it becomes home…