Heat, Wine, & Work

I’ve officially been living here 2 weeks and it’s been another busy week. Honestly, it feels a lot longer because there is so much to see, learn, and do. In a short amount of time, I’ve learned quite bit about myself and what I want in both my professional and personal life just from the experience of every day living and meeting many people who have very interesting stories.  I think my Mom will be happy to read that I have found out that I am not the type of person to go live in Sierra Leone and rough it for 8 months. But I have met some great people who love that sort of thing and I think its amazing. If you want to meet a lot of very adventurous and ambitious people who care about the world, come to Nairobi.

This past week I have become waaaay more tech-savvy compared to my phone habits in Canada. There is a good 3G network here and a cheap $10 CDN monthly data plan, which I am using to its full potential. I’m loving bbm’ing my best bud Christy when I want and neither of us have to worry about the international texting price. The calling plan to Canada is also soooo cheap. 3 Kenyan shillings a minute! So I had a nice hour-long chat with my Mom today. However, calling my boyfriend in Belgium is a different story with the calling rate at 30 shillings a minute and the alternative being a poor internet connection that’s terrible for Skype, I am getting quite frustrated. I’m keeping on the lookout for cheap calling cards!

At work this week I was busy making templates for new flyers, learning to use Adobe Indesign, making work plans for my projects, and attending meetings & special events (Preemie’s Day). So far with my project I am enjoying the graphic design aspect the most and looking forward to learning this Adobe program. It’s giving me an opportunity to use my previously dormant creative side that I haven’t really tapped into since I was in jr.high. But the office has been very hot this week. The communications department is in a pre-fab building at the moment and it gets positively sweltering in there. I have no idea what I am going to do when it gets really hot in November and December. Probably pass out at my desk because of heat exhaustion (kidding! Or am I? I’ll keep you all posted if this actually happens).

On Saturday I attended ‘Preemies Day,’ an event I intend to include in the Pediatric’s newsletter. The event was held to celebrate and lend support to parents who received care for their premature newborns at AKUH,N. I got to witness the great relationships that have developed between the Hospital staff and the patients. The success of these babies are proof of the excellent care at the hospital as Kenya continues to struggle with high infant mortality rates. Many parents brought their children with them so there were a lot of young, cute children running around with bright face paint while the parent’s shared their stories with each other and reconnected with their nurses.

Another picture taken by my sister, Dusk in Tanzania. This must have been difficult to capture because the sun sets so quickly here. Beautiful!

This week I have exercised at the Sport’s Club in the evening, which has helped me get settled into life here because the evenings in Nairobi are so lovely (they must be around +20 C). I find that going out in the evenings is really something I savour now. In Canada and Europe, I definitely took it for granted that I could walk anywhere at night (and usually by myself as well if need be) where that is not the case here. So each evening out feels special, rare and exotic. I managed to do quite a bit of socializing again this weekend. My colleague Ferial, who grew up in Edmonton but has lived in Kenya for 11.5 years now, invited me to her home for some wine and food. Her siblings came over as well and we went to a bar called ‘Gypsy’s’. The nightlife in Nairobi is really fun. People are friendly but not too in your face and I have had some really great conversations with fellow expat’s and locals.

The big highlight was the Wine Show on Saturday night! Lots of wine sampling and bitings. I tried bacon wrapped bananas slices, lemongrass chocolate, and a bevy of Brown’s cheese. Brown’s is the best cheese manufacturer in Kenya but most of the cheese is dairy-based. I thought goat cheese would be plentiful here but because of the drought goat milk has been scarce (as most goat farmers are located in the North). I was disappointed with the red wine selection that was available but had 3 really nice white wines and a fresh and zesty rosé (a wine a usually avoid). The show featured many wines from Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa. I met a bevy of Americans, Canadians, Brits, and one Belgian at the wine fest. The event had a great mingling vibe so even if the wine didn’t blow my socks off I still had a great evening.

I finished off the weekend having a lazy Sunday watching a marathon of ‘Ice loves Coco’ (shameless guilty pleasure tv that is really heartwarming haha… those two really love each other). Then out for ice cream at Ooh! ice cream parlour in Diamond Plaza. I am starting to experience some chivalry in Nairobi. A nice gentleman who was sitting a couple of tables down from Jess and I decided to pay our tab, which was a surprise. I tried to decline but I found out he had already beat me to the bill when he stopped by our table on his way out. We had a chat and thanked him for the ice cream and I managed to gracefully turn him down, he left his card with us so if we ever have computer problems we know who to call… “The IT Guru.”

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