I have been saved from the big city and delivered back to my beloved Africa. My son and I arrived in Nairobi in early September and we are enjoying the mild climate, the friendly people and a much more comfortable lifestyle.
Nairobi sits high up on the hills almost 1700 m above sea level. It is lush, green and sunny, and no wonder it is known as the Green City in the Sun. The headquarters of my organization sits in the middle of a tropical garden, and every morning as I walk to my office I stop to take in the flora and fauna, the colours of Africa; the smell of the soil, the spice and the herbs; the bird song and all the small and large things that make this place home to my heart.
Even before my arrival to live here, Nairobi has been a decisive stopping point in my destiny. In June 1999 it was the site of my first ever arrival in Africa en-route to Johannesburg. I bought myself a ticket on Kenya Airways then, and had a very heavy carry-on with dozens of unread books. Ten years later it was my entry point into the organization I serve since 2011. I already have memories here, so it wasn’t difficult at all to feel instantly at home.
I do not miss New York, but I am lonely for my friends. And although I have been to many social events so far (almost as many as I usually attend in a year or more in New York) I haven’t yet made a meaningful connection with a true friend
This loneliness, coupled with the novelty of the new place makes me emotionally vulnerable. And although I have been through this silly heartache before, I must admit that soon after my arrival I was caught by my first crush on an educator. I have never had this before, and it is almost 25 years too late. At my age this is quite embarrassing but I am just living through it at the moment. The positives are a renewed interest in learning, a rejuvenation of long dormant feelings, a temporary respite from a long-held cynical view on love and relationships, and a reaffirmation of being alive. The downside is facing up to the fact that as a middle aged woman I still have the heart of a 19 year-old, and that perhaps we grow old but never grow up.
It is all part of opening up to life again. I am happy to be in mother Africa’s arms again. I will take whatever she gives me, she has been always kind and generous to me. I love being back here.