Let me start by saying I'd still be a little punk if it wasn't for America, I think. It has a way of rattling you to the core. Growing up, I never once thought about venturing abroad, not seriously anyway. I literally waltzed through high school, a very average student. I never really tried to excel; I was content to just get by. [Kinda like my boy misguidedly used to say: Always do the minimum] In my final year Mom was convinced I’d flunk the final exam and with good reason – I didn’t put any effort into it. It was only when we took the KCSE mocks that I was like Holy sh*t, this won’t be half as easy as I’d thought it would be! That’s when I put real effort into it and didn’t do terribly in the final exam, and that’s what got the Parentals thinking I might have some real potential. Before I knew it my country ass was on
My experience here has been an eye-opener to say the least. There’s so much stuff to experience, good and bad, but in retrospect I don’t regret much, if anything. Of course, if I could do it all over again I’d do a lot of things differently, but I’m sure everyone says that. But more importantly,
For one, I’ve resigned to the fact that my speech and pronunciation has changed forever. The tweng, if you will, is here to stay, fortunately or unfortunately. Of course I get ribbed all the time about it, especially when I call home but what can I say - we are, inadvertently, influenced by our environs.
[Which reminds me – it’s impossible to forget our ‘tribal’ languages. Yes, I said it. A lot of people though grew up in cities and I see how they don't speak any other languages besides English and Swahili, and that's fine. However, unless you left our beloved black, white, red and green when young and have no one to practice your, say, Kao with, I daresay it can’t be forgotten unless one willed themselves to forget it, if they could speak it before. One does, however, get a little rusty with time, that I can’t deny.]
Then, I lost my innocence, I think. Allow me to explain. For instance, amongst many things, I’ve always treated women with respect, but I temporarily lost that with my first heartbreak – if that’s what that was. It seems so juvenile now, but that one incident made me be a complete jackass to several subsequent women. Thank God I didn’t stay there. Growing up is a beautiful thing.
Then I discovered alcohol. Sometimes I wonder if that’s a good thing. I almost never messed with it back home, with the exception of the occasional rebellious sprees in high school. Like a lot of people new to it, I used to drink to get drunk. Not no more, thank God. Like I said, growing up is a beautiful thing.
And then there’s the luxury of choice. That was one major thing I had to get used to. Like, when I needed some laundry detergent back home, I asked the shopkeeper for Omo. When I asked for chips & sausage, no one asked me what type of sausage I wanted – sausage was sausage was sausage. When my Dad needed a phone at the house, there was only KP&TC to contact. Conversely, it’s amazing that I can flip through 300+ TV channels and conclude there’s nothing good to watch.
Perhaps the one thing I can straight out say is sad here is the fact that most people are extremely individualistic, almost selfish. It doesn’t help much that this alarming trait is infecting me too, unfortunately. No one gives two sh*ts about anyone else. I don’t even know my neighbors’ names and it’s almost as though I don’t want to – that bad. Gotta change that. You could be broken down in the middle of some desert in
It’s amazing that I now have to look for physical stuff to do. I was forced to join the gym, for goodness sake! It’s entirely possible to spend an entire day without even adding 5 pulses to the heartbeat. Typical everyday exercise is walking up a flight of stairs, not counting the walk from the car to the house. I knew then it was ridiculous when I would drive the trash to the dumpster, just 100 feet away. If it wasn’t for my love of basketball and my numerous attempts to get better at it, I’d be fresh outta luck in the health department. Shoot, I don’t even get to play no more. Au contraire, back home I was trying not to do stuff, and even those moments were few and far between.
See, I could go on for eons about this but in short,