Saturday, May 18, 2019

We're Not in Kenya Anymore, Toto.

Since getting back to the States from Kenya, there have been a few things that make me giggle every time they happen.  While our adjustment has been relatively seamless (home assignment last year helped this) there are still a few things that make me have to stop and think.  Here are some examples:

1.  Which side of the road should I be on when I turn on right on an unlined road?  For the most part I have not had to think twice about it.  But for some reason my right turns always confuse me.  I want to be in the lane closest to me rather than crossing the full road.  This could be dangerous if it was a busy road, but usually the confusion only happens on unlined country roads, thankfully!

2.  Stocking up for Kenya.  The last several times we have been back I would go into doomsday stocking mode.  If I saw good prices on parm, ranch packets, pepperoni, or something else we always took back to Kenya with us I would buy a huge load and take them home to pack in a bin.  Several times I have found myself grabbing unreasonable amounts of things.  The first time I went shopping I bought 4 things of parm "just in case."  Just in case of what?  A sudden shortage of parm in the whole country?  In my defense, this did happen ALL THE TIME in Kenya.  Once I had everyone I knew looking for black beans.  But here - not so much.  Stores are stocked and easy to get to - no going through security a million times, paying for parking, and then realizing the thing you need is not there anyway.  Today I was at the dollar store and saw pepperoni.  The first thing I thought was, "Good price for a pack that size.  I should buy them all."  I refrained.

3.  That's a bird, not a monkey.  Tonight we had a campfire.  We kept hearing the branches of the trees above us moving when birds would take off in flight, and several times Anna and I looked up expecting to see monkeys jumping while we prepared to protect our stuff.  (Monkeys are nasty thieves!) The birds here at not as aggressive as the Kites that we had in Nairobi, so usually we do not have to duck and dive.

4.  Water is easy.  When I am in my bedroom at night and I have finished my glass of water, I can simply go to the bathroom and fill my cup from the sink.  I don't have to buy water or wait for it to filter.  I can also get water for free at restaurants, because they can give me tap water without me worrying about getting Cholera.  Bonus!

5.  It's just barely spring here in upstate NY.  Don't let that sunshine fool you.  I definitely miss the warm sunshine of equatorial Kenya.  The last few days here have been sunny, but if you step outside of the direct sun you still feel the cool breeze reminding you that winter has just ended.  (Side note - this is not the the opinion of the people who live here!  We've been seeing these tough New Yorkers in tank tops and shorts since we landed.  Meanwhile we are wrapped in Kenyan blankets and wondering if the lake will get warm enough to paddle board before we leave at the end of June!)

6.  I don't need a bank loan to eat Keto.  Last week I bought 4 huge packs of butter (hoarding again...) for the price of what one pack would be in Kenya.  And cheese - it's every where and so completely affordable!  And so many kinds and flavors!  Last night we finished off a creamy block of bacon infused cheese! Yummmmm.

7.  On the other hand, avocados are a sad state of affairs here.  I was spoiled with an avocado tree in our backyard in Kenya.  Even when I did have to buy them they were 20 cents apiece and always a yummy texture and taste.  Not so much here.  I saw a sale - 2 for $5.  And they are not even the nice, big ones - just tiny little things. Yikes.

I am sure there will be other cultural adjustments that pop up.  I have been watching the kids and seeing what they are noticing.  They all love free refills of soda here when we eat out and driving here - even in DC - is so much more enjoyable and safe! We miss friends and nice weather, but we are excited for new friendships and putting roots down deep.  It's always an adventure! 

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