Friday, February 20, 2015

2015 Africa Expat Life Update

1.       Teenager. I have a 14 year old who thinks that over 50% of what I say is SOOOO lame – make that 90% - totes, LOL, cray, cray, whatevs – I feel like the embodiment of Kris Jenner right now.  Said daughter gone away to school which is horrible. I’m trying to encourage her to become an online sensation (such as teen fave Zoella who, incidentally, has just bought her very own million pound house in Brighton) so then my daughter can buy her own clothes online and stop bugging me with emails that just consist of weblinks to random US fashion houses selling crop tops and eye-wateringly short shorts and miniskirts.

2.       Local News. I’ve stopped reading the local newspapers.  Phew, that’s a relief! Honestly, I couldn’t bear it any longer.

3.       Job. Loving enjoying my job as a local magazine editor, which goes hand-in-hand with a hefty dose of frustrations, but hey, I’m out there actually working, engaging. The best thing? It’s part time – so definitely can’t complain. Just ticked off two years and only just beginning to get the hang of it. Not sure why it’s taken so long to get my head above water on this one?

4.       School Run. The traffic is horrendous.  More horrendous than is imaginable.  Picture this; kids on a bus for 2 hours to get to school.  And the bus leaves at 6.30am. It’s still dark!! Alarm now goes off at 5.40am to take the younger two to school. Reduction in fuel prices made Nairobi residents race to their car ignitions, keys in hand and suddenly it seems like the number of cars on the road has doubled (again...). #Tired.

5.       Friends. Loads of stalwart expat friends have left.  Last year was the final straw when the security situation in Nairobi went haywire. There was a big exodus, but don’t worry – from what I read, they have been replaced by young Harvard grads who are here in Nairobi in their droves investing in tech and socially responsible, do-good start-ups which are all bound to be ‘the next big thing’ globally!  I blame MPesa for catching the world’s attention. Problem is; I haven’t met any of them yet. They are too busy working 7am-1am apparently.  Bloomberg article about the young Americans 

6.       Weather. The weather is great (lots of sun and the odd dose of rain but only when we particularly need it). Proper rains due end of March and it’s all downhill from there.

7.       World Affairs. Kenya is (finally) not featuring on my BBC news app on a weekly basis.  Phew. We’re clinging on to ‘not being in the news’, as this as it’s the best news we’ve had in ages!

8.       Hubby (do we hate that word?). My husband continues to be addicted to his smartphone, even though it’s Lent and this might have been the perfect opportunity to give it up.  Here are the games that we have finger swiped our way through over the past 4 years (in this exact order); Angry Birds, Temple Run, Hill Climb, Flappy Bird, Bubble Shooter, Jelly Splash and now Crossy Road.  In fact, I’m not entirely against these games.  They are a great stress reliever and make ‘waiting’ a lot more manageable. Shame the phone battery life runs out so fast. L

9.       Home. What else? Oh, the house is great.  So pleased with the extra space and no regrets there – but the landscape has changed. We are now hemmed in by monstrously large town houses on two sides and the building site at the bottom of the garden has been going on for two years and counting... Goodbye trees, hello massive orange painted walls, balconies, towers, windows overlooking and a grey block boundary wall topped by an electric fence that make us feel like we are bordering Colditz.

10.   Nairobi Life. Life is changing here in Kenya crazy-fast at the moment.  This blog is all about dispelling myths or preconceived ideas about expat life in Nairobi. A Danish friend who lived here seven years ago and came back on holiday said ‘it’s just the same – there are more buildings and new roads but in between are the old, familiar places that we used to love.’   But i feel that the city has moved on. Nairobi is a seething, churning, melting pot metropolis and there’s a feeling of optimism, entrepreneurship and ‘anything is possible’ here right now.  As usual, life is never boring.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

#Nairobi Blue

February is definitely the best time of year for sunshine in Nairobi. 

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Oh how we love camping ;)

We had one of our better camping experiences last weekend.  It was a school event, camping inside an upcountry school grounds - fully catered, a fun crowd of fellow campers with similar aged kids, hot showers, flushing loos, great views.

All I had to pack was an in-car lunch and sundowners (crisps, beers, nuts) to reward ourselves once the tent was up.  Okay, it certainly wasn't the greatest nights sleep - at one point, when temperatures dropped, I was convinced I had developed arthritis all over - but we were home by lunchtime on Sunday and there was time for a recovery snooze.  If only camping were always that straight forward, then it might not be another 5 years until the next time I dust down our tent again!

Read more about how the Africa expat stereotype copes with camping by clicking here: (wine is definitely a must).. ;)

The Telegraph Expat Life page: The Reluctant Camper

Fabulously Kenyan Music

I got really excited about a song recently because I thought that it was by a Kenyan artist, this was because of the 'Africa' scenes in the video - turns out it was Nico and Vinz who are Norwegian (Am I Wrong) - a bit sad on my part...

However, I feel I have recovered my cool credentials slightly since then as my latest favourite that blasts on the radio on a regular basis IS indeed by a Kenyan band Mankind and my 14 year old daughter, back from school in England, didn't even know it.

There's no music video yet, but it's a great track.

In other news, The Telegraph ran an article on 'antisocial expats' last week, for which I added my tuppence worth. Please read here:

Unsociable? British expats fail to make local friends

Also, read the latest Africa Expat Stereotype: Security Specialist here: (wink, wink, nudge, nudge..)

The Security Specialist