“So James, I hear you are going on holiday to Africa! How cool is that!” Someone remarks lazily on a cold November evening, in between sips of Glühwein, maybe in a bid change the conversation or distract themselves from the horrible weather.
“No I am not, I am going home, to Kenya. Africa is quite large you know.” I respond for the umpteenth time, not to my current querier of course, but to others before.
“Oh really? No safaris or weekends at the beach?”
“Nope, none at all, just home!”
Yes, interesting, everything was interesting! How I was feeling was interesting! See, there is quite nothing like a first time. No matter how well you think you are prepared, there is always that element of surprise. The first time you date, kiss, get a significant other, break up, make up (in no particular order) is more likely to remain with you than the succeeding similar encounters. Heck, there is even the, ‘the first cut is the deepest’ saying, (or song,) one that is only really a saying because it has no scientific backing.
It goes without saying then, that my first visit home after my hitherto, longest stay away would always invoke a peculiar blend of feelings and emotions. The closer the day approached, the more indulged I got, my blatant efforts not to think about it notwithstanding. In all honesty it doesn’t help when you buy your tickets three months in advance because every day after feels like a countdown. Hmm, you know what, don’t give a fish’s tit about idiot X, jerk Y or muttonhead Z! After all, you have only sixty thee days, seventeen hours, 3 minutes and 20 seconds to your trip!
Without knowing, this becomes your go to thing when you need some cheering up, not that there is anything wrong with that, but it does add a lot of expectations related pressure.
On slow evenings you find yourself drifting, thinking, contemplating; The idea of matching imagination with reality can be quite a task. Just how much had things changed? Would I fit in? Did everyone move on? Wait a minute, maybe nobody has time anymore! After all, most of your friends are now through with school, some even married with kids.
Then comes the curiosity. I hear there is a huge Standard Gauge Railway and roads are sprouting right left and center. This surely must be good, right? I hear, too, that billions are disappearing faster that my January salary and that now that elections are approaching, nobody wants to take any financial risks.
Just how is Kenya doing?
Days turned into weeks, weeks into months and finally it was time to swap the 0° C in Chemnitz for the 25° C in Nairobi. Home was beckoning and the feeling couldnt be better!
Friday was just the perfect day to arrive and nothing felt like landing to your familiar crew of family and friends and partying till early morning, even before unpacking. Seeing family was priceless and going home was, for me, exactly what the doctor ordered.
The experiences made,
the plans that changed,
the contacts made,
and the life ‘gone too soon’ we celebrated
are all part of the reason why I am nostalgic today.
Till next time,