Things I saw and learned this week

  • Phoebe is an African name, which explains why the man at the bus station last weekend spelled it perfectly on my ticket. Despite this fact, many people in my office call me Randel. I have tried to correct them, but at this point I am just happy they are calling me anything.
  • People wait outside of the UNHCR office for it to open. I saw several Muslim women waiting. I wondered where they are coming from and if they are Somalis. I might have missed the perfect opportunity to conduct some interviews for my own research. 
  • Winter is not cold, but grey. No one seems to be bothered by it as much as we are.
  • The traffic here is worse than any traffic I have seen anywhere. Cab drivers here are the most patient people on earth. When we ask our current cab driver David how much longer to go he simply laughs. As we inch along I daze out the window and wish I could capture what I see with photos, but am trying to be a polite observer in this setting and one that does not get her iphone stolen out of the car.
  • I am perfectly comfortable (even alone) and happy in our wonderful apartment. It feels homey and I even created my own temporary yoga studio. Despite two of us spending a lot of time attempting to figure out the DVD player, so far we have only been able to watch movies in black and white. This makes every movie appear artistic and indie (even Eat, Pray, Love).
  • My Swahili has not improved, but I love listening to people speak it. It is a playful and sing-songy language that seems like it would be enjoyable to speak if I ever learned how to say more than “How are you?” “Good thanks” “Welcome/Your Welcome,” and “Thank you.”
  • I am learning to not be in control of plans and just let things happen. We were thinking of going on a day trip this weekend, but the person planning it decided to stay here so we are going to explore Nairobi this weekend. There are specific things I want to do here, but I am trying to not make my days like checking off a to do list. It is more about the experience and less about seeing everything. I struggle with accepting that I will leave Kenya with so much “unseen,” but this seems very glass half empty thinking to me. Instead I will focus on the experiences I am going to have and forget whether I get the perfect photo opportunity or see the places other people talk about it or that are featured in the guidebook. I need to constantly remind myself that this adventure is about personal learning and growth, and the other stuff is just an added bonus. 
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My Yoga Studio

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