At dinner J and I have a routine where we watch “How I Met Your Mother” on her computer while we eat. A few weeks ago we watched an episode about “graduation goggles” which is a phrase used to describe how when something is ending you look back on it so fondly and with such nostalgia. Just like how at high school graduation you feel so emotional about leaving, regardless of what you are leaving behind. As we walked through Nakumatt doing a last grocery run J and I were commenting on how it was going to be our last time there and that we were having “graduation goggles” about leaving Nairobi (even though earlier that day we had been saying how excited we were about going back to the U.S.).
This week has been grey again after weeks of sunshine. It is similar weather as to my first week in Nairobi, which seems like so long ago. I have graduation goggles mostly on car rides through Nairobi (with David of course). I look around and make sure that I notice each and every unique detail about Nairobi. I want to remember the beautiful furniture and animal statues sold on the side of the road, the men going from car to car in traffic selling my favorite Kenyan newspaper, the matatus with their crazy decorations constantly pulling over and letting more people in and out than it looks like they can hold. It is hard to feel like I can truly make the most of my last few days here, especially when I am also desperately trying to finish a work project.
I can’t deny that I am so excited about going back to the U.S., but it is difficult to accept that my big adventure is coming to an end. It is not so much that I will miss Nairobi as a place, but it is more that I will miss the experiences I have had here and the person I have been while here. The thing about “graduation goggles” is that they affect the way you look back on experiences as well. I can just see myself now reminiscing to my boyfriend about just how bad the traffic was here, how much Indian food I ate, or about how I almost got captured by pirates (sometimes reminiscing includes exaggeration).
The last few days abroad seem to always go by the slowest. We have a few last experiences planned here including another trip to the Msai market and a hike in the Kurura forest just outside Nairobi. While I am sad to think that this chapter and amazing adventure has come to an end it has only made me more eager and ready for the next challenge. Maybe “graduation goggles” can also be a way to view the future, imagining the positive experiences that will fill your next adventure.