Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Insights into my everyday life

Some Canadian friends of mine, who live here in Mombasa, recently posted this list on their blog of how their lives have changed since they have moved here. I couldn't help but giggle through this list as so much of it rings true in my life. I think I have been here so long that I have forgotten that many of these things are not normal for Canadians. Now, they are my norm.  

Here is the list * my additions are in italics

I am tanned. In the weirdest of places. Permanent sandal tan...
My hands always smell like bleach. Bleach is one of my best friends here. I use it for almost everything.
I buy my produce from a person. 
I buy my meat at joint I would have never stepped into back home. 
Sweat... I could write an entire essay on sweating in Mombasa. It's nasty. 
My kids pretend to speak Swahili when they role play. I don't have kids but I am sure they will actually speak in swahili. 
The call to prayer is my clock. and my reminder to pray and study my bible
If I want hot water I have to boil it. Love my kettle. Best appliance I have ever purchased.
I can feel cold when it is 27 degrees. Weird, I know! Oh how I long for that temperature right now!
I home school my kids. Not sure if I will do this or not.
Explaining how one schools one's children at home is a daily event. I can only imagine the perplexed looks she gets over this one.
I am an employer. Currently  I don't employ anyone but, at one point, I was employing 5 people at my house.
Most my clothes have been made for me. Most thrift stores wouldn't accept my ratty clothes.
I clench my teeth often when I'm out. Processing about my surroundings. Yes.....all the time
Eat mango and pineapple everyday. Lets not forget the watermelon, bananas, oranges and passionfruits. 
Half of the things I cook are a flop...I used to know how to cook. If I cooked canadian food, they would flop too. I have learned to cook Kenyan food. It's easier and less flopable.  
Nairobi is my Regina. Nairobi is my Vancouver or Kelowna.
I haven't baked cookies in 7 months. I actually bake alot. Today I am making a big banana cake. 
Swallow a malaria pill once a week, and trick my 2 year into it too. I don't take malaria pills but sleeping under a net is a must and we constantly have a can of DOOM handy in the house. 
Haven't been in a Walmart for a long time. I'm good with that. I miss Walmart. A lot. 
I bath instead of shower. If I want hot water, I bath in a bucket. Otherwise, it's a cold shower. 
Water is used with thought. Water is precious. You don't realize it until you don't have clean, unlimited water that flows from your tap. 
The wind is a gift from God. Truly.
I live with ants. Although it has gotten better in the last while. Still I'm always thinking, "Will the ants come if I leave this here?"Amazing how tolerable I have become with bugs. Thumb-sized cockroaches don't freak me like they used to.
Our family can eat out for 8-10 dollars. Nice. I like that one. Kelvin and I eat out at about $2 in Kongowea. Although, I am becoming more cheap. I can make a big meal at home for about 70cents. 
Years of being told to drink my water...and I do now...without making myself. I think I drink too much water for my own good, if that is even possible. 
I haven't driven in 7 months or more. I really miss driving and having that freedom. 
I rarely wear makeup(hard to apply on top of sweat) and my hair is always frizzy. My hair goes bonkers here. I do wear make up but it melts away after an hour or so. 
Can't throw food away like I used to. Not when you have friends who are not even eating...
Often don't know what anyone is saying. Smile and nod. Yes, this is how I get through my days.
Sleeping under a heavy blanket has become my idea of a luxury. Oh to be cold! 
My feet are NEVER cold. When they are (in Nairobi), it's heaven. Lately my feet have been burning hot. Actually, I run them under cold water several times a day especially before I sleep. If I wake up in the middle of the night to use the toilet, I must wet my feet.
I live in a city. Of around 800,000 people. Castlegar can't even compare.
I live in an apartment. I love the security but hate the lack of space and privacy and having my own yard. 
I know some Swahili. Some being, a little. I know quite a bit but still not enough.
My kids drink soda...often. I drink a bottle or two of soda a day. Worse, I call it soda instead of pop. 
Driving on the left side of the road is normal now. Yes, I forget that other people do it differently.
Jon and I are falling asleep every night at 9:00pm or earlier. I am zonked by 9:30 with Kelvin.
I don't have a landline. i.e. I have a cell phone...of my own...that I know how to use. We have 4 cell phones for the different lines and service providers.
I have a gas stove.  I light it with a match.
No drier for the laundry. Which I don't mind. The sun is fine. Just gotta make sure you turn your clothes inside out or the sun will discolour them.
We do have a washing machine but most of the time our clothes are washed by hand. Washing machine=glorious. Although I still have to wash a few things by hand too.
My bath tube is in a different room from the toilet. Handy. Not my case. In my old house, the shower head was directly over the toilet. Not so handy. Right now, my shower has no curtain so gets everything wet. Annoying.
I sleep under a net. And feel like a princess...a princess who won't get malaria. 
I never wear pants. Too hot to.
Monkeys come visit us about once a week. No squirrels. We don't have so may animals around us except the odd herd of goats.
Most of my friends don't have an oven...nor would they want one. They would rather have a large sound system. Weird, I know. 
I carry my two year old on my back with a piece of fabric knotted around my shoulders. Definitely, when I have babies. 

Hope that gives you a glimpse of my lovely Kenyan life.

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